30 October 2009

Tips for new bloggers

Blogger Shane Greer of Total Politics magazine has a link to an interview, which he offers some tips for new bloggers that I'd have found useful when I first started out.

If you're thinking of starting a blog, you might find some of his points helpful, even if you're a bit older than the questioner's target audience!

If you could give a 17-year-old startup blogger three top tips, what would they be?

Greer: 'Firstly, you have to have a strategy. Not in a Machiavellian sense, but you have to know what you want to achieve. Do you want to reach tens of thousands of people? If that’s your goal and you manage it, then you’re a successful blogger. If it’s just two very specific people that you want to reach and you do, then you’re a successful blogger. Know what you want to achieve, and don’t just write for writing’s sake – unless that’s your objective.

'Secondly, engage in the wider blogging community. Share links, ask for a place in a blogroll – but the bigger bloggers, like Iain, tend to keep blogrolls that only show what they read, so you might not get on there. When I was starting out I also found it useful to get involved in comments. If you’ve written something that’s interesting, then, without spamming, you can share the link in comments. Drive traffic by getting people from that bigger site to find yours through those links. If someone links to me from Iain Dale’s Diary or Political Betting, the effect can be quite phenomenal.

'Thirdly, a lot of times people get caught up in how their site looks, with loads of widgets and so on, but content is king. You can have the worst-looking site in the world – Drudge Report – and still have a gazillion readers because you’re putting up very good content that an audience wants to read. Your audience won’t come back to your site because it’s got lots of shiny things on it, they’ll come back because it has good-quality blog posts that actually add something to the discussion.

'... a fourth piece of advice to a young blogger, don’t just toe the party line. No-one wants to read someone who is just relentlessly on-message – it’s dull. If you disagree with the party, say it'
(extracts from an interview on the Tory Rascal blog).

1 comment:

chompermom said...

Excellent tips! Haha. Ironically, I have never seen drudge report. But geez, that's ugly, and looks like something from a early 90's hacker page. :P Funny how that works.

I recently noticed how many very successful sites: twitter, craigslist, google, flickr, youtube, etc. actually have a very simple graphics scheme. There's something to that.