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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.

Blog Design Showcase

Want to know what a good blog design looks like?

Blog Desiger – Rachel Cunliffe has just released the Blog Design Showcase. She writes:

This is a collection of outstanding blog designs, thoughts on what makes a good blog design, and will also be where I announce new blogs that I have designed.

She also invites readers to submit suggestions for inclusions.

Blogging Books

Blogging about Blogging is happening with growing frequency on many weblogs, but writing in hard copy is also becoming more popular. Here are a few of the best selling and most popular books on the topic. (Descriptions are taken from Amazon) I’ve read most of the first two – both are worth a look. If you’ve read these or other books on blogging leave your reviews and suggestions in comments.

Blog On: Building Online Communities with Web Logs By Todd Stauffer.cover

Weblogs — or blogs — are taking the Internet by storm! Now you can expand your site using message boards, mailing lists, and numerous other features to maintain and promote community with help from this easy-to-understand guide. Includes practical tips for making tweaks and improvements with HTML, Flash, Web images, and much more.

Blogging: Genius Strategies for Instant Web Content by Biz Stone.cover

Turn your home page into a microportal with fresh content that will keep readers coming back. The first hands-on book on building blogs, this is an excellent tutorial for new bloggers, and includes many advanced techniques for veteran bloggers…. This book features hands-on tutorials for building a blog, adding a user based commenting system, adding team members, syndicating with JavaScript, adding searches to a site, and much more. This is the book for creative web-enthusiasts looking for the “next thing” and it’s the first book of new ideas and advanced tutorials for bloggers already numbering in the hundreds of thousands.

We’ve Got Blog: How Weblogs Are Changing Our Culture – By Rebecca Blood:cover

We’ve Got Blog is a collection of 34 essays that explore this rapidly growing trend. Contributors include such noted bloggers as Joe Clark, Cameron Barrett, and Giles Turnbull. The discussion covers the history and community of weblogs, contrasts weblogs and traditional journalism, and offers advice on starting a weblog.

We Blog: Publishing Online with Weblogs By Paul Bausch, Matthew Haughey and Meg Hourihan. cover

Your Complete Guide to Creating and Maintaining Weblogs. Weblogs offer an exciting new way to voice your opinions, share ideas with others, and help your business grow. Written by a team of weblog pioneers-the people who helped create Blogger and the MetaFilter community blog-this book shows you how to build, evolve and automate weblogs for personal and business use.

The Weblog Handbook: Practical Advice on Creating and Maintaining Your Blog by Rebecca Bloodcover

Weblogs–frequently updated, independently produced, and curiously addictive–have become some of the most popular sites on the Web today. The Weblog Handbook is the first book to explain how weblogs work and explore their impact on the media landscape….With a clear and engaging voice, Rebecca explains how to choose among the available tools, even walking the beginner through the process of creating their first weblog. Along the way she answers commonly asked questions concerning weblog etiquette, how to attract readers, and the qualities that make a weblog stand out, alerting the novice to considerations–and pitfalls–they didn’t know to ask about.

There are others around also including:

- Essential Blogging
- Design for Community: The Art of Connecting Real People in Virtual Places
- Running Weblogs with Slash

Unleashing the Idea Virus By Seth Godincover

Whilst not about blogging at all – ‘Unleashing the Idea Virus’ is a book that taught me a lot about the medium. I’m re-reading it again at present.

Counter to traditional marketing wisdom, which tries to count, measure, and manipulate the spread of information, Seth Godin argues that information can spread most effectively from customer to customer, rather than from business to customer. Godin calls this powerful customer-to-customer dialogue the ideavirus…. In Unleashing the Ideavirus, Godin examines how companies like Napster and Hotmail have successfuly launched ideaviruses. He offers a recipe for creating your own ideavirus, and shows how businesses can use ideavirus marketing to succeed in a world that doesn’t want to hear it anymore from traditional marketers. Seth blogs here.

Understanding Trackback And Comment Notification

Dave Pollard writes some great Blog Tips – here is another good one on Understanding Trackback.

‘Trackback simply lets another site know that you have a post referring to it on your own site. Read the previous sentence until it makes sense.’

Three quick ways to increasing visitors to your blog in a week


Wayne Hurlbert shares Three quick ways to more visitors in one week. It is written more with a business blog in mind but most of it is somewhat transferable.

He also has a good link on Analyzing our visitor counter logs

Blog Content Tools

Finding good fresh content for your blog will make it more attractive to your readers. There are a number of great online tools that I have used to come up with up to date content that might be useful for others.

Let me say first up that the relevance of these tools will vary from blogger to blogger. Most of them will probably be of less use to those writing Personal Journals than to those writing K-logs or filters. Personal Journals will probably draw more upon the brain of the writer as a tool than anything I share below.

The following tools help you to see what else is happening online – if current up to date information is of relevance to your blogging you might find them interesting. It is not a definitive list so please feel free to add your own tools in comments and if appropriate I’ll add them to the following list:
[Read more...]

Blog Ethics

Here is a great article on Weblog Ethics.

1. Publish as fact only that which you believe to be true.
2. If material exists online, link to it when you reference it.
3. Publicly correct any misinformation.
4. Write each entry as if it could not be changed; add to, but do not rewrite or delete, any entry.
5. Disclose any conflict of interest.
6. Note questionable and biased sources.