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Blog Tips – Getting Comments

What is your experience with Blog Comments? Do you use them? How do they enhance or hinder your blogging experience? How do you suggest bloggers starting out approach the issue?

One of our citywide papers has a section on a Thursday dedicated to Media and Technology. One of the writers there has started his own blog – The Bleeding Edge. Its got some good posts on it and as with most new blogs its being updated many times per day.

Today they wrote a post about the lack of comments on their blog. As they put it, its a bit of a ‘No Comment Zone’. I decided to leave my thoughts and then after rambling on a bit decided to add them to my Blog Tip Collection.

Here is what I wrote…
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Weblog Primer

Franois from padawan.info has just written a great Weblog Primer.

‘Since I’ve sold the idea of weblogs within my company, I’ve been charged with the task to explain what are weblogs to people who haven’t heard of them yet. I wrote this primer as a starter. This is a work in progress, with probably more to come. I’d love to have your feedback on it.’

Its a great piece that I’m going to add to my blog tips collection. Thanks to Presurfer for the link.

How Blogs Work

How Blogs Work in 7 Easy Pieces is a great little piece that explains in easily understood language the steps of blogging and RSS. It even has pictures!

How to be a Top Blogger

John Robb posts about how to build a hot/popular weblog. His suggestions of different approaches make some sense. Basically he breaks it down into a number of approaches you might take to become popular.

- Connection machine
- Name dropper
- Ideologue
- Thinker
- Topic Owner
- Voice of outrage/affirmation
- Cool Hunter

You’ll have to head to John’s to get explanations on each.

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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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.

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.

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.