Notes on Blogging V

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

OK. One more for the road.

If it ever seems to you that I tend to do pairs of posts on topics, it's because I'll post on something, only to find what we scientists call a "cubic assload" of new information on it shortly thereafter.

And this is how I find myself posting "Notes on Blogging V" so soon after "Notes on Blogging IV." Would the bloody blogosphere have the common courtesy to wait for a second and let me catch my breath? Heh!

So I check Instapundit and Michelle Malkin for the first time in eons, and both provide links to two separate posts that are loaded with good advice on blogging. On top of that, a few folks in my neighborhood have recently posted some hints and advice of their own. And I'm nearly obsessive about gathering information into one place, which comes from my superhuman (or might that be subhuman?) degree of absentmindedness. (You don't think I'm absent-minded? Just ask my mother!) This last places me in good company with the fellow who invented HTML, or so I hear, except for that bit about his inventing HTML.

This post will be a collection of links for my use and yours. Enjoy!

1. From Instapundit is this pointer to 25 Pieces of Advice for Bloggers. As I related in the fourth installment of this series, I learned #23 the hard way. And it looks like Chap got reminded of #14 today! (Sorry, Chap, but misery loves company!)

Here are three plus my two cents' worth [in brackets after each].

14) Create your posts somewhere besides your content management system (like Blogger, Movable Type, etc). It may save you having to rewrite the entire post from scratch if you hit an errant button (like refresh or if you click on a link and your previous post isn't saved in cache). [If you use Blogger and you're not doing this every time, you're begging for grief. I'd have lost a post I wrote earlier today if I hadn't followed my own advice!]

23) Avoid blogging angry. It may save you a lot of grief. [Or, say, a third of your readership!]

25) Given that there are plenty of people who've been fired or disciplined at work either for blogging on the job or for something they said on their blog, the fewer people at your job who know about your blog, the better. [Sometimes, I'd love to not be blogging anonymously, but my first blogging decision appears to have been my best. The author of the next post did once get fired for blogging.]

2. From Michelle Malkin comes a pointer to something that looks like it is becoming a series: "How to Blog Like Rockstar." Today's focus is "get[ting] over the need for cyber affirmation." Or as I might put it, "Keep your eyes on the prize."

If "it's not about hits," then for love's sake, stop checking your referrals every hour on the hour. I repeat: get a life. It's great to see who's linked to your site, but when it becomes obsessive, your motives are in the wrong place. The more you check your statistics, the more likely you are to be guided by what you see in those statistics. If you're out to be more than just an ordinary blogger, you won't be guided by the masses.

You might notice for example, that your traffic spiked when you wrote about Michael Jackson.

I had a long, drawn-out experience like this just after I started using sitemeter, I noticed I was getting upwards of 30 hits a day and my blog was something like 2-3 months old. But over half were hits on a negative commentary I'd written on a book cum treasure hunt! No. They didn't care about my commentary. They were looking for clues! For quite awhile, checking hit totals or trying to guess at trends in traffic (a very noisy measure anyway) were far more time-consuming than they were worth.

3. Curtis Weeks did some lengthy followup to my last blogging post over at Phatic Communion. He has lots of good stuff there, and has an interesting discussion on comments, which prompts me to digress briefly to explain myself on my comment-answering policy.

In a word, I have none, or at least next to none. On my own blog, I am most likely to answer an honest comment that raises an issue I think important enough not to merely let it be. But my unpredictable schedule often precludes me from doing much more than quickly glance at my comments and move on. If I must choose between commenting and posting, the latter wins out, for that is, after all, the purpose of my blog. I like it when other bloggers answer my comments and wish I could be better about doing so here, but, alas, I find that I often can't for lack of time. I always make an effort to acknowledge particularly good comments, though, especially when they lend something substantive to what I had been discussing.

4. Weeks then examines how much original content the big boys use in their blogs, perhaps inspired by my quixotic exploration of whether links and hits were related last time.

5. I tried this suggestion of Sarah Beth's recently without success. Perhaps it's platform-dependent. Perhaps I got the site on a Blogger-like day. I'll try again later. (See the PS for more information via a link to Reclaim Your Brain.)

6. Willy Shake has a post that, aside from making me want to give Moby Dick a second read, might hint at why so many of us submariners like to blog. Read the post and the comments!

Well, that's a wrap!

-- CAV

PS: More good stuff follows on the heels of this post. The General now has an informative credits page. Sarah Beth explains the link I cited in item (5) above, plugs Blogwise, and does some introspection about how blogging has affected the way she follows the news. Curtis links to "Jeremy Zawodny’s thoughts on Movable Type and Wordpress."


5-11-05: Changed wording of several sentences.
5-13-05: Added a some new links as a PS.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Yo, Gus, here's #26, or perhaps #23.1: Don't post when you're exhausted. That can be as bad as posting drunk.