— 4 December 2005 —

10 Tips to Better Blogging

I feel compelled to knowledge you on some things I have learned over the past few years about blogging. Navel gazing in the blogging world seems to be in rare form of late and I wanted to jump on the bandwagon. Actually, little known fact here, I minored in bandwagon jumping at university.

Tip The Number One

Really important here so pay attention: Write posts that list 10 things your readers can do to become more complete humans. Everyone wants to improve themselves and frankly there’s money to be made off that desire. I wonder if toptenblog.com is taken. You could make your own top ten lists and cull other lists from the Blogosphere (aka, Steve Rubel).

Tip The Number Two

Write about me. Seriously, it will make you a better person. No, I am not kidding. Think about it… I am successful, handsome, rich. Women want me and men want to be me. Why wouldn’t you want to write about that? The more time you spend observing a subject and writing your thoughts, the better the chance you will be able to emulate some of those characteristics. It’s simple math really.

Tip The Number Three

Link innocuously to other sites that link to top 10 lists. Put their links in the first paragraph of the post, but don’t mention them by name. The reason you don’t want to mention them is two-fold: First you want the links to show up in their referrer logs, which undoubtedly they check every five minutes. Secondly, you don’t really want the names of their sites on your site because that’s just way too much free advertising. There are many things these people need to pay for and advertising is one of them.

Tip The Number Four

Jot down ideas for top 10 lists before you start writing them. I recommend this largely because by the time you get to tip number 4, you start running out of ideas. The thing is, you really need 10 things in your list to not look like a moron. I mean who ever heard of lists with just 3 things being popular. And that’s the whole point of writing top 10 lists: link love.

Tip The Number Five

Categories are just another way to organize things. In a traditional blog, you might find many topics all conveniently organized by category. That isn’t very Blog 2.0. In the Better Blogging World, i.e. the aforementioned Blog 2.0, you should look at each category as it’s own separate blog. A quick tally of this blog shows 20 different categories in use. That is a potential for 20 different blogs. This is, obviously, a do what I say tip. If you follow this tip you are sure to land on the Blog Network lists, again driving more link love.

Tip The Number Six

Set up news alerts via Google News. Set up topic alerts via Technorati and Blogpulse. Whatever pops up on these alerts: blog about it. It doesn’t matter really if you are turning your 20 blogs into regurgitators of other blogs and news sites. If you make sure you can post at least, um, let’s say 50 times a day you will quickly become an authority on what’s happening around the web. This will cause people to invite you to speak at conferences and shower you with cash because they love you. You are just being a Feed Filter, but stay on that horse as long as you can.

Tip The Number Seven

Become the Poster Blogger for your employer. For the most part, it doesn’t matter what your company does. If you are the first, or most prolific, or best looking employee who is currently blogging you are probably a shoe-in. Talk to your manager. Talk about how blogging brings a personal face to a company. If your manager needs more information talk to these guys. The benefit of this is that you coming out as an employee for company X who is actually blogging with the blessings of the company will make a splash in the blogwaters. The size of the splash will depend on the size of the company or perhaps more importantly what it produces. That splash will bring you more readers. Look for hits from sec.gov if your company is publicly traded! (Ask if you don’t know what that means.) If you don’t have an employer go get one so you can follow this tip.

Tip The Number Eight

Weigh in on the debate du jour. Think Firefox memory hogging is boring? Doesn’t matter. Right now it’s a hot topic. Talk about full-feeds versus excerpts. The stupid use of the term “vlogging.” Choose a metric for determining a successful site and write about it. Weigh in on the I for an Eye controversy. Also, come up with cool names for these wacky debates.

Tip The Number Nine

If you aren’t going to take my 20+ blogs-per-person seriously, at least don’t limit yourself to one. Write two blogs. Write one about things you know about. Write another about something you know next to nothing about. Especially good if you can find a topic that you also don’t care about one way or the other. Forcing yourself to write in a topic area outside of your experience will force you to do more research, more thinking, more reading. All of those things will make you a better writer and thus a better blogger (note to self, someday try to consider bloggers as writers). Once you become reasonably knowledgeable about your second blog’s subject matter, start a third. And so on. The thing about blogging is if you write well enough about pretty much any topic people will pay attention.

Tip The Number Ten

Every time you google, “How do I [whatever],” write about it on your blog. Do attribute where you got your information, but when you write about your How I Did experience, people will appreciate the personal touch to the story. Too bad howdoi.com is being used as a nothing site right now. That’d make a sweet blog. In the future, when people google your How Do I topic they will likely find your site because everyone knows (or they will once they click the link) that Google loves blogs.

Tip The Number Which Is Not Ten Or Eleven But Exists Between Yet Doesn’t Make Your List Technically Longer Even Though There’s More Content

Is there a site out there that just posted something you wrote about two years ago but for some reason everyone is in a tizzy about how amazing their insight is? Time for a “Best of the Archives” series. Start it out with, “This post on 10 ways to be a better blogger reminded me how I wrote about this very topic two years ago. The post below has been dusted off from the archives. Enjoy!” And you only had to write two sentences and a command. How easy is that?

Tip The Number Eleven

Always say you are going to write 10 things about something, but actually write eleven. Think about performers who get called back on stage by an enthusiastic audience. This is your list encore. Plus, it is a way to add a little bit of humour to the mix. “I said ten, but I did eleven. Aren’t you amused!” Seriously, you can’t go wrong with eleven.

Easy Reblogging of This Post

I just read a post about 10 Tips to Better Blogging by Matthew Oliphant over at usabilityworks.org. Great stuff. Particularly number [insert your favourite number here]. Check it out.

Actually I think putting stuff like that at the end of each post to make it easier for others to blog about what you just wrote isn’t such a bad idea. Some may consider it arrogant, but keep in mind how many sites you read each day and how many things you find to let your readers know about. Why not just copy, paste, and post on things you read that you don’t really want to go in-depth on but want to notify your readers about?

10 Responses to 10 Tips to Better Blogging

  1. commenter's gravatar.   Jack eloquently responded with:

    Ooh… satire and commentry on the blogosphere.

    I don’t think even Scrivs has hit 20 blogs yet.


  2. commenter's gravatar.   Sam eloquently responded with:

    Wow, between this post and the last one, you guys are kind of assholes


  3. commenter's gravatar.   Mike Rundle eloquently responded with:

    Hey Sam – The post I wrote about The Flock movie was all in good fun, the Flock guys know I like to bust their chops once in awhile.

    As for Matto’s post, I’m not sure. Maybe he is an asshole ;)


  4. commenter's gravatar.   Rick Turoczy eloquently responded with:

    Thanks much for the “easy reblogging” content (although choosing a number was really pushing the limits of my creativity, so I left in the brackets). I especially like how you misspelled Busines Logs [sic] to draw attention to it. I like typos too! You sly devil, you.

    I await the next 10 (wink) with bated breath. Whatever that means.


  5. commenter's gravatar.   Martin eloquently responded with:

    Dear Matthew, I made a list of seven things last week, which I incidentally posted on my blog as list of 7 things.

    Am I a failure, or should I just try harder?

    Your faithful fan
    Martin


  6. commenter's gravatar.   Matthew Oliphant eloquently responded with:

    Martin: You rock. I am a big fan of 7 +/- 2 anyway so I think you are spot on.

    Rick: The spelling mistake makes it easier for me to track who reblogs it. then I can google “busines logs” and filter out “business logs.” I never do anything wrong. I thought I was wrong once, but I was mistaken.

    Sam:

    Jack: Paul has 69 blogs which doesn’t even include the fine Fine Fools Network.


  7. commenter's gravatar.   Rick Turoczy eloquently responded with:

    Matthew: I am but a willing pawn in your dastardly plans. But I like it. Now, I’m going to tell people we are buddies.


  8. commenter's gravatar.   Matthew Oliphant eloquently responded with:

    I spent a year as guest lecturer at the Sorbonne teaching The Evil Mastermind: Planning World Domination Using Microsoft Project 98™.

    That’s where all this dastardliness comes from.


  9. commenter's gravatar.   Martin eloquently responded with:

    Phew, thanks Matthew, I guess I’ll be OK after all…

    And whoa, Project 98 is what you pull out of the hat when you really want to prove that Microsoft is evil!


  10. commenter's gravatar.   TechRodent eloquently responded with:

    Have you got some spare time on your hands… I find it difficult to maintain 1 solitary blog and you are talking about maintaining 20 ?

    An extention to your tip number 3…

    Post a comment to such top 10 lists where ever you can ;)


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