Why the uproar over blogging?

A blog is a user-generated Web site containing journal-style entries that usually are displayed in reverse chronological order.

by Laura Orsini — 

Seems like everybody’s doing it — 50 million everybodies, at last count. So why all the hoopla about blogging?

First you have to understand what a blog is. A blog is a user-generated Web site containing journal-style entries that usually are displayed in reverse chronological order. Though they really began as online diaries (the term comes from “Web log”), many blogs provide thorough commentary or information by experts on specific subjects such as food, health, politics or local news.

Blogs generally combine text, images and links to other blogs, Web pages and social media (online technologies people use to share opinions, insights, experiences and perspectives that take many forms, including text, images, audio and video) related to their topics. Many bloggers allow readers to post comments in an interactive format.

The fact that blogs are dynamic — new content is added frequently — and largely text-based, makes them very attractive to the search engines. Because it is so easy to include links within your postings, blogs are an effective tool to improve traffic to your Web site.

Is there a particular blog writing style?

Blogs are often written quickly, in a more casual, down-and-dirty style that is less concerned with proper grammar, punctuation and spelling. The best-read blogs, however, tend to be the ones that combine excellent, authoritative information with persuasive writing that is correct and easy to read.

If you have a lot to say on a particular subject and think blogging might be for you, but you are not so confident in your writing abilities, consider a transcription service, like www.copytalk.com or www.idictate.com, which allows you to dictate your blog entries and have the transcriptions delivered to your e-mail inbox in a matter of minutes. You can then have a trusted editor do a quick read-through for polishing before you publish your posts.

As Amy Grahan points out in her blog, Contentious (http://blog.contentious.com), it is a myth that blogs are not edited or fact-checked. In fact, many blogs feature rigorous editorial processes that include substantive fact-checking and extensive citations.

Additional advice

Before you embark on your blogging adventure, do your research and see who else is blogging on your subject. This is not an attempt to derail you from your dreams of being the next great blogger, but merely to get you to begin considering how you are different and what sort of content you will write and post. Will you be perusing other blogs and posting your own commentary on issues with which you agree or disagree? Do you have a completely new spin on the same old thing? With competition for blog readers getting heavier by the day, you need to know that your material is (a) worth your time to write and market, and (b) worth your readers’ time to read.

Myriad sites abound for creating blogs, but some of the better known include www.typepad.com, www.blogger.com and www.wordpress.com.

Lastly, the most important thing a successful blog has is readers. Start by listing your blog on relevant directories. Do a Google search for “blog directories” and then a secondary search for blogs on your subject matter. Directory topics are almost as diverse as blog subjects, ranging from blogs by women to blogs on business, sports and fitness, political commentary, technology and everything in between.

 

Laura Orsini is a professional editor, writer and marketing advisor with a BA in Nonfiction Writing from the University of Arizona. http://communicationmadeeasy.blogspot.com, Laura@wordsmadeeasy.com or 602-253-8463.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 26, Number 3, June/July 2007.

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