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How to Write Better Blogs

Dennis A. Mahoney writes a great article entitled How to Write Better that picks up a number of things that he believes bloggers need to be encouraged to do. It focuses mainly on writing. His headings are:

- Professional vs. Amateur
- The Rules
- Offer Something New
- Amuse your Readers
- Beyond Wired
- Successful Weblogging

There are some great things there to keep in mind for any blogger whether experienced or just starting out.

More Accessible Blogs

30 Days to a More Accessible Blog is a great series of posts that really will help bloggers make their blogs more accessible to those that may not be able to use many of our blogs. I’ll let the author of the series explain (from his introduction to the series):
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Beginners Guide to Moveable Typle

Creating a blog with Moveable Type – A beginners guide is one of the best MT tutorials I’ve ever seen. Seriously – it is so simply set out that even I can understand it.

PART I
- Introduction
- About Movable Type
- About blogs
- Blog components
- Getting started

PART II
6 Steps to setup a blog:
1. Find a host
2. Register a domain name
3. Get FTP
4. Install Movable Type
5. Configure your blog
6. Customize templates

PART III
- Using Movable Type
- Other tips
- Resources

Not only is it very informative tutorial – but it is also beautifully designed – very clean and well laid out. I highly recommend it if you’re trying to get your head around Moveable Type.

Sins of Blogging

Caffinated Bliss has a great list of the Cardinal Sins of Blogging. Listed are 10 content sins and 9 design sins.

I don’t think I break too many of them – although might come close to the 120 in the blog roll one! Not to mention the eye popping colours in the template one.

Nice work Alison.

Rebecca Blood on Blogging

coverI’ve been Reading The Weblog Handbook by Rebecca Blood over the past few days and am really enjoying her relaxed and clear style of writing.

‘A weblog is a coffeehouse conversation in text, with references as required.’

She writes with insight and wisdom as a blogging practitioner. I found her history of weblogging in chapter 1 very helpful as a relatively new blogger. Her section on ‘why blog’ was also insightful. Her thrust was that weblogs build:

- Better writers
- Self awareness
- Critical thinkers
- Reputations
- Connected Business

Her following chapters of advice for bloggers were well presented and contained great information. I didn’t learn too many new things from them but would highly recommend them to a new blogger wanting to take their blog to the next level.

How to Translate your Blog into other Languages

Ever wanted to make your blog more accessible to people of other languages? I havn’t done it yet – but here is a link on How to set your blog up for Machine Translation Looks like it might be reasonably easy to do.

Viral Blogging

I’ve been reading Unleashing the Idea Virus by Seth Godin this past week or so. I’m really taking my time over it and whilst it doesn’t mention blogging at all I’m finding many applications for thinking about medium.

One of his key themes is that of ‘smoothness’….

A virus (of any kind) will not spread to epidemic proportions unless it is easily transferable from person to person. Consider SARS for example – the frightening thing about it was that it was something that was thought to be reasonably easy to transmit from person.

The same thing is true for ‘idea viruses’. If you want people to hear, buy into and then sell your idea for you then you need to make it as easy as possible to do so. Seth uses many examples in his book – one of the most powerful being ‘Hotmail’ which adds to the bottom of every email sent a simple tag/link that says – ‘Get Your Private, Free Email from Hotmail at www.hotmail.com’. All people had to do was to click the link, fill in a few details and they had their own account (which of course enabled them to spread the ‘Hotmail’ message).

coverSo how can this principle be applied to ‘blogging’. I can think of many ways of ME speading the word about my own blog – but a viral approach lets the reader spread the news (which is an infinitely more powerful approach).

One suggestion that Seth makes is to use ‘email a friend’ links on websites. This gives readers an opportunity to shoot a post that interests them to a friend. I’ve been considering adding this feature to my blog for a while. Having just read the book – I’ve decided to add it to each post. I’m not sure how effective it will be at this point – but its worth a try – I will let you know of any feedback I get on it.

Apart from the ‘Email a friend’ option – I’m wondering what other ‘viral techniques’ people might have seen used or tried themselves when it comes to blogging? Feel free to leave your tips or comments in the feeback section below.

Link unto others – Blog Tip

The following blog tip was submitted by Phil Wolff from blogs such as Don’t Blog, Blog Count, emblog and a klog apart.

Links make blogs different than paper. When you see something interesting online, link to it. Something useful, memorable, fascinating? Link, link, link. Each link is a vote. Your body of links represents your interests. Google understands links more than words. So does Technorati. So links become the gravity that attract like-minded people to your blog.

After all, if you write something that provokes thought, changes people’s lives, you’d want others to point your way too.

This golden rule of blogging is part of what makes the blogosphere a community.

It also is part of what makes blogging like journalism or science. Good bloggers cite their sources by linking to them. This helps people trust that you’ve not only done your homework, but that you’ve made it easy for your visitors to do theirs.

So the next time you write a post, before you hit that publish button, ask yourself “Is it linky enough?”

Blog Cards

Blog Cards are like Business Cards that feature a bloggers blog address to make networking easier.

Ripples and BuzzMachine are both talking about making and using Blog Cards.

David St Lawrence of Ripples writes ‘I made up a blogging business card some weeks ago because I got tired of writing my weblog URL on the back of my other business cards. This card has my name and the tagline Online Essays along with this URL and email address of choice.’

I’m not sure that the Average Joe blogger is going to be rushing out to get cards – but I’m sure they will be useful for some.