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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.

How to be a Top 10 Blogger

The Evangelical Outpost is doing some analysis of the Top 10 Bloggers in the Ecosystem. He has come up with 9 things you can do to become a Top 10 Blogger. Its an interesting post – here are his headings – he writes more on each in the post so head over for a good read.

a) Be a lawyer (preferably a law professor)
b) Be a part of the elite media
c) Attend an Ivy League college
d) Get and Advanced degree at an Ivy League school
e) Write for the New York Times
f) Have your work published
g) Clerk for a (future) Supreme Court justice
h) Be a musician
i) Get lucky

I would add two more suggestions.

j) Be American
k) Be Male

Thoughts anyone?

How to Start a Weblog

Have you ever tried to explain how to start a blog to someone? Just point them to this post – Introduction to Blogging – its a great introduction including definitions of, tools and some great starting points.

He’s also written Part II – Syndication.

Also on the topic of how to start a blog:
- How do I start my own blog?
- The Why and How of Blogging
- Starting a Blog with Moveable Type

Set Boundaries

I found this great page 47 key tips from the World’s best Bloggers.

It was interesting to see that most of them talked about establishing boundaries for the content of your blog.

Here is what some of them had to say:

Meg from Megnut‘Set boundaries. Think about how much of yourself you’re comfortable sharing. You don’t have to ‘tell all’. Just decide which parts of your life you’re willing to share, and try to find a balance that works for you.’

Fraser from Blogjam‘Don’t write about work, and avoid writing about people you know in general. You’ll end up offending someone.’

Glenn from InstaPundit‘Starting off, pick some topics that you know more about than most other people – your profession, your locality, or whatever – and make those a major part of your blog. ‘

Robyn from Aint too Proud to Blog‘Remember that even though you think you’re writing to just friends and family, your words will have a global audience. You never know just who is reading your blog, and where they may be located when reading it.’

Hash from iMakeContent‘The blog should do what you say it’s going to do. You want people to come back, to become regular readers, so you need to live up to whatever you promise. If you’ve set up a tech blog, your readers might be surprised if you start writing long accounts of why your marriage/team/country is going down the drain. Of course, in the process you might pick up some new readers and decide to relaunch the blog. ‘

Rannie from Photojunkie‘Before you begin blogging, figure out your boundaries. Decide how much or how little you are comfortable with disclosing. It’s easier to change your boundaries once you have started blogging, but harder to put up those boundaries after you have crossed the line and posted something that you didn’t think anyone else would see.

I’m not really hearing any of them say don’t blog about personal things – rather the message is to consider what you will and will not share on your blog.

Its also useful to define your blog to some extent (at least in your own mind) and keep within the boundaries you’ve set yourself.

My last word on the topic is be careful. I’ve heard cases of people loosing jobs because their bosses found their blog – other have had similar experiences of pastors finding comments about sermons. Be prepared for people you know to find what you write.