This is a blog about blogging, as well as WordPress, and over the past year I’ve written plenty about blogging.
When I began this blog, Lorelle on WordPress, was meant to be about WordPress. All about WordPress. I quickly found out that you cannot use WordPress without blogging, so the two fit together.
I’ve written about a lot of different aspects of blogging. I just posted a review of a year’s worth of writing about writing, with articles, tips, and techniques about blog writing. I’ve also offered a lot of other tips and techniques to help bloggers blog.
Blogging has a long history. Didn’t you know that? I was blogging before I was blogging. We just called it “journaling” back when the most popular car on the market was an Edsel. Okay, I’m only slightly kidding. In “Blogging Predicted in 1800s?”, I wrote:
According to MosNews’ Blogging Predicted by 19th Century Russian Prince, blogging was predicted in a novel written in Russia in 1837.
Prince Vladimir Odoevsky, 1803-1869, was a gifted man. Apart from writing philosophical books, stories for children and composing pieces of music, he also wrote science fiction, trying to imagine what his country would look like in 2,500 years, in 4338…Odoevsky suggested in future there would be a kind of connection between houses that would allow people to communicate quickly and easily, the way they do now via the Internet.
“Houses are connected by means of magnetic telegraphs that allow people who live far from each other to communicate,” Odoevsky wrote…
Makes you think. What are you blogging about that might predict what the future will be like in 2,500 years that will turn out to be true sooner than you think? What do you think the future of computers and blogging will be like in 2,500 years?
I love research into writing, especially writing associated with blogging. I found research on “Bursty Blogging”, the study of email letter writing, and blogging. Researchers are trying to put a mathematical formula onto the process of letter writing and blogging:
In previous work, Barabási looked at how long it took people to answer their email, and found a “bursty” pattern – most emails are answered fairly quickly, but a few sit around for a long time, and some sit around for a very long time.
To describe the pattern, Barabási created a mathematical model in which people prioritize their emails, then respond to the high priority emails quickly and the low-priority emails more slowly.
…Yet despite the differences between electronic communication and paper, the same pattern held up – both men answered most of their mail quickly, within about 10 days. But some of the answers took months or even years to send (Nature, vol 437, p 1251). “From the scientific point of view, the interesting thing is that there is a fundamental way that we do things,” Barabási says.
Okay, so I can be forgiven for procrastination, right?
On another “scientific” front, research also revealed that many bloggers use websites as therapy:
Nearly half of bloggers consider it a form of therapy, according to a recent survey sponsored by America Online Inc. And although some psychologists question the use of the Internet for therapy, one hospital in High Point, N.C., started devoting space to patients’ blogs on its Web site, a practice Inova Fairfax Hospital is also considering.
…The project has been so successful — both as a marketing tool for the hospital and a form of group therapy for patients who get feedback from their readers — that High Point is considering adding video blogs, said Eric Fletcher, a spokesman for the hospital.
There are a lot of ways to sharing tips about blogging and I had fun trying to come up with different ways to convey related information. In “The 12 Biggest Problems With Your Blogs”, I followed up on Sedition.com’s “The 12 biggest problems with your blog” with a few of my own:
1. Too Many Gizmos and Gadgets: Once you figure out how easy it is to add crap to your blog, you reach that phase of wanting everything and thinking everything is essential to have. This includes polls, asides, showcasing most recent comments, mood graphics, what music I am listening to right now, weather reports, geographic locations and maps, tag clouds (heat maps) everywhere or before content, and anything that blinks, dances, clicks, or whirls. Get past that phase now.
…3. Give Me a Reason to Return: I really think that bloggers don’t concentrate on this aspect enough. You want an audience badly yet you do little to provide us with a reason to return. Tease us with upcoming stories, give us quality content, and give us a reason to return to learn more.
4. Original versus Redundant: As pointed out above, if it makes the top of Digg or Slashdot, the odds are that everyone is writing about the same thing, so just give your audience a pointer to it if you have to, but I’d rather see your perspective and opinion on the subject in addition to the heads-up. Tell me why you think this is important and how this information impacted your life and decisions, then I’ll really be interested in it and have more information.
9. Teach Me: I love a good opinion, but I like learning things more often. Unless you are an amazingly gifted commentator, satirist, and editorialist with the gift of gab and opinion, then teach us. Tell us how to do things better, or worse. Tell us something we should know or shouldn’t know. Let us sit at the feet of your blog and absorb your knowledge, oh, wise one.
11. Make Me Think: The biggest problem I see with most blogs is the lack of interaction with the audience, and you get that interaction by getting your audience to stop and think about what you are saying, why you are saying it, and get them to respond on whether or not what you are saying is a good thing or totally nuts. If your blogging has a purpose, then make sure I know what your purpose is and then make me think about it. If you can stop me in my daily, rush around tracks and make me think, you’ve got a fan, and I’ve got a reason to come back.
Exploring how to succeed in blogging, I took a “negative” approach with “10 Things You Need to Know Before You Blog”:
* Everyone has an opinion – make yours count with facts, references, and validity.
* Content, content, content, content, links, content, links, content, content, content, content.
* Be prepared for time spent 70% blogging and 30% maintenance and updating, though at first it might be 40% blogging and 60% maintenance until you get the knack.
* Reach out to more than just friends and relatives. Speak to the world, or at least a larger audience.
* Want to be found and noticed – think SEO and keywords.
* Spell check. Spell check. Spell check. Grammar check. Spell check.
* Write in complete sentences.
* Don’t assume.
* Don’t read minds or assume others are reading yours.
* Be gracious and thank those who contribute and help you blog.
On another ass-backwards method of giving tips, The Top 10 Clues That You Are an Amateur Blogger took another look at the same issues, including highlighting blogs that do nothing but provide link lists to other blogs:
Link Lists: Yes, link lists are fun. Yes, link lists are easy. Yes, we are all thrilled to know that you managed to find 10 sites to link to that you liked today or this week. We got it. Lists are nice and easy. Lists suck. I hate lists… Link lists are fine if you have content to match. But links for links sake = boring and time wasting.
So I’ve swore to join the daily grind and, as I’ve said, it’s hard work. Lucky for me there’s lots of nice folk out there lending a blogging hand. I’ve read through all their archives and it seems the advice boils down to one point, you’re gonna have to write. If you don’t like to write then blogging will be painful.
I love learning from others, and I often share tips and techniques from my prowls around the web looking for things to learn. The recent Blogathon, a 24 hour marathon of non-stop blogging, I pitched in by reading and commenting on many of the blogs participating this year. I learned a lot, and I learned a lot about the many things you should do, and not do when you blog, especially when you blog in a Blogathon:
Over and over I read people writing about how they will never come up with enough stuff to write about to cover the 24 hours. How they will never think of 48 things to write about. Wrong way to think, folks.
You had an opportunity to write 48 precious posts. Only forty-eight. Not 365, if you blog daily. Not over 600 if you blog more than once a day. Just 48. A tiny number. Each one counted. Each one means something. Each one is an opportunity. Don’t waste a single one.
Think about how many steps it takes you to walk from your computer to your refrigerator. Two, three, ten, twenty? Maybe 24? Round trip would be 48 steps. Is that so far to go for an ice cold soda? Put into 48 steps, that number doesn’t seem to be so far, does it? If you think 48 steps is equal to a short distance instead of a long way to go, your perception changes.
Blog as if each of those 48 posts might be the last 48 things you blog about. That will change your Blogathon perspective.
…The deadline for registering as a Blogathon participant was over a week before the Blogathon. The time between learning about the Blogathon and registering was probably more than a couple hours. In that time, you must have come up with 48 things to blog about, right? I did. And I wasn’t participating.
You all had time to make lists and come up with ideas. For those who paid attention to my Blogathon tips, I listed an article with 100s of resources for finding things to write about. There is so much information on the web to write about, I’m overwhelmed. There is so much information everywhere to write about, the view out your window, making up stories about the people walking past your window, life stories, how you solved a problem or three, school, family, dogs, cats, jobs, news, friends…so much to write about – so don’t waste one of your precious 48 posts on a statement that you can’t think about what to blog about. Time waster and audience killer.
On the fun side of blogging, Business Opportunities developer Dane Carlson created an applet on Tristan Louis’s research into the value of each link to Weblogs Inc., and created How Much is Your Blog Worth. On October 25, 2005, just a few days after the applet was created, Lorelle on WordPress was worth $80,729.22 USD. I checked again on November 17, 2005, and it was worth $145,651. I just checked now and (drum roll, please), $500,182.44. The following sound you hear is me fainting on the floor. Sure wish it was real money.
We also had fun learning how to use Blogshares, a stock market of blog values. It’s also a fun way to learn about how the stock market works in general. Today, Lorelle on WordPress is worth B$36,130.92 (in Blogshares money) and outgoing links are worth B$4,528.86. If you want to buy shares in my blog, the current market price is B$704.25. Google is currently at USD $378.60 on the US Stock Exchange. HA! ;-)
I wrote a fun and inspiring article called 30 Things You Can Do to Change the World in 30 Seconds, which was a challenge to others to write a list of 20 things they can do to change the world, but each task must take 30 seconds or less. It was interesting to see a lot of people write about world hunger and peace, but that’s not something that will take 30 seconds or less. Even if you know the right people. Still, a lot of people took the challenge and it was great to see what their creative blogging minds could come up with.
This later inspired my Blog Challenges, an ongoing series of challenges for bloggers of all levels and types. Recent challenges include:
- Tell Us a Story
- Top 10 Keywords for Your Blog
- Blog About What You Know
- Who Is Linking To You?
- Who is Writing Your Blog
- Blogging Challenge: Describe Your Blogging Audience
- Testing Your Blog Clicking Experience
- Write WordPress Tips
- Comment on 10 Blogs
- Blogging Challenge: Travel Blog – Adventure in Your Back Yard
We all take time to reflect and review what we’ve done, and in May of this year, I asked you all to answer the question: “What Have You Learned from the Blogging Experience?”. It’s interesting to learn from what others learn, and I keep learning things from you, my readers, every day. Thank you for that gift.
The Downside of Blogging
We’ve had a lot of fun with blogging, but there are some downsides to blogging. In “Mean Spirited Comments and Blogging”, I talked about the mean blogging out there that insults bloggers by blogging from anger and meanness.
The Twin Cities News article, “Cutting Through the Blog Fog”, an attempt to translate all the media hype and speculation on whether or not blogs are just a passing fad, growing industry, or just plain dead.
Yet you’d never know it these days, checking out the latest buzz in the mainstream media and the tirelessly boastful blogs. But now, after several years of revolutionary rhetoric in each venue about the wonders of the blogosphere, doubters have surfaced. Suddenly, they are questioning the accumulated wisdom of the boosters. It’s boom or doom. Like so much of what pings around in today’s vast media echo chambers, odds are that neither of these visions will stand the test of time.
While the US offered federal protection for Political Bloggers, there were many reports last year of reading blogs at work wasn’t safe and many employees got in trouble, leading to a crackdown on access to blogs from the workplace, as well as other Internet access as employees were also caught viewing porn.
Spam blogs and comment spammers went into overtime in the past year to give a bad name to blogs from a variety of angles. It didn’t help when we learned about how traffic trolls create controversy to increase blog traffic to their blogs. The evil that some bloggers do hurts all bloggers.
I’m one-and-a-half-handing it here, crippled from my normal high speed typing technique, trying to convey my frustration at typing and communicating through my computer to you. Yet the urge to spell this out for you in my blog wins out over the OW! Ouch! EEK! pain of avoiding interaction between my thumb and the space bar with every word, and losing the battle.
The urge to blog is there, but don’t expect any great missives to come spewing out over the next couple weeks. I have to pack up my life-on-the-road-for-the-past-3-months and fly back home to hubby and Hurricane Alley (just in time for hurricane season! Wee!) and work right up to the last minute of the flight with only nine active fingers.
I have heard a lot of reasons for people to blog, and a lot of reasons for people not to blog. They get bored, frustrated, feel no one cares, no one is reading, or just bored with the topic they are writing about. They run out of stories, ideas, and enthusiasm. These feelings happen to everyone. If you are serious about blogging, you just pass through it and keep blogging. Fake it until you make it.
But when there is a life event that threatens your passion, desire, and ability to blog, then what?
…I’m not crippled for life, by any means. I’m just down for the count. But I know that once you stop, even if to slow down for a bit, the old adage takes over: energy begets energy, lazy begets lazy.
The Joy of Blogging
And yet, blogging has survived it all and there are more people blogging than ever before. It’s exciting and it’s been exciting blogging with the free WordPress.com blogging community watching the number of blogs soar. As of today, the number of WordPress.com blogs is 338,000 and rising fast.
As I write each of these collections of articles over the past year, I keep thinking about a post by Kamigoroshi’s “Footsteps in the Mirror” in which I wrote about the concept of anniversaries and looking back:
It’s also a scorecard, a way to measure what you’ve done. For Kamigoroshi, he not only realized he’d passed a birthday, but also another milestone of 1000 posts. Wow, 1000 posts in 3 years! I’d call that an accomplishment not just a milestone.
Did you just check your blog post count? Did you just stop to think about how long you have been blogging and how many posts you have done in that time period?
This is another aspect of birthdays and scorecards. When they happen to other people, they make us stop and think about ourselves.
…How did your blog post count compare to Kamigoroshi? Have you done 1000 posts in 3 years, or more or less? How does it make you feel? Does it inspire you or depress you? Do you feel a sense of competition? Or loss?
What are the scorecards and events you use to mark the passage of time and success on your blog? Is it chronological? Do you think about honoring one month, two, three, six, one year, two years, etc.? Do you count the number of posts and/or comments? Do you measure your blog traffic statistics and mark high or low points on your blog scorecard? How do you score your blog?
Two last things to think about when you consider measuring your blogging.
Which of these scores and measurable accomplishments mean the most to you? Does it mean more to read 3 years or 1000 posts? Is one more important than the other?
And when someone says they have been blogging 10 years, 5 years, or 3 years, how does that change your opinion and perspective of them? How does hearing about other people’s measurable accomplishments impact you and your blogging?
Articles About Blogging
- Splogging or Clogging: The Worst of the Worst of Blogging
- How to Impress with WordPress
- Not Just Slashdotted! Washingtonposted with Technorati
- Guinness World Book of Records and Other Blog Score Cards
- Touching the Spirit When Blogging
- How to Write Like a Wanker
- Pro Blogging Tips from ProBlogger – Blogging to Success
- Website Development – International Standards and Languages
- Wikipedia – The Bloggers Dictionary and Encyclopedia
- Bloggers Use Websites as Therapy
- How People Search the Web and How They Can Find Your Blog
- 30 Things You Can Do to Change the World in 30 Seconds
- Lorelle on WordPress Blog Worth $80,000.00
- Top News Sites for September 2005
- Forbes Trashes Blogs
- 10 Things You Need to Know Before You Blog
- Now Blogs Not Safe for Work
- October Sifry State of the Blogosphere Report Released
- Firefox Bookmarks Help Bloggers Blog
- Looking for Blogging Ideas?
- Bursty Blogging – Studying email, letter writing, and blogging
- Quick Online Tips Site – Good for Blogging Tips
- Judging Blogs by their Post Content Styles
- Blogging Predicted in 1800s?
- Lorelle on WordPress Now Worth $145,651
- The Key to Blogging Success: Perseverance
- Weblogs Are to Words What Naspter Was to Music – The Blogging Revolution?
- Computer Models – How New Words Become Part of the Language
- To Blog Free or Paid – It Might Matter
- How to Exercise Your Brain By Opening It Up
- How to Write Good – Tips For Bloggers on Blogging
- Dvorak’s Blogging Primer
- Posts and Articles I’m Proud of Writing
- Top Searches for 2005
- Horse Sex and What is Dictating Your Blog’s Content?
- Blogs That Look Like Blogs But Ain’t – Splogs
- Learning More About Blogshares
- What Makes a Blog Successful?
- Why Do You Blog? Do You Have a Purpose?
- A Blogging Wish for Bloggers in 2006
- How is Blogging Like Stand-up Comedy
- Wearing Two Hats – Writer or Blogger?
- A Day in the Life of a Blogger
- Learn Fast on How to Learn Theories
- Writing a Blog and Engaging Readers
- Bragging Rights: Brag About Your Top 10 Favorite Posts on Your Blog
- Feed Your Ego – Literally
- Break Your Mental Constipation
- Get Rich Quick! Go Freelance! Successful Entrepreneur! NOT!
- The Best EVER Set of Instructions on How to Start Your Own Blog
- Blogger as Researcher – Almost a Journalist?
- Reporting on Your Blog: Get Information Online, Fast, and Accurate
- Research: Tips for Surfing the Net for Information on a Deadline
- Blogging Tips – Hundreds of Resources for Finding Content for Your Blog
- The Power of Words: Online Lessons on Writing
- Some Interesting Analysis on the Blogosphere
- The 12 Biggest Problems With Your Blogs
- The Debate Against Anonymous Bloggers
- Investigating the Connections Between Blogging Styles and Traffic Stats
- Make a Boo Boo. What Do You Do?
- Turning Your Blog Into a Book
- How To Avoid Flame Wars
- Are You Writing Well for the Living Web?
- True Confessions of Early Adopter Turned Blogger
- The Movement Towards Collective Intelligence on the Web
- Blogger or Newzblogger? Good Question
- The State of the Blogosphere 2006
- Author Blogs: Should Authors Blog? How?
- Oh, The Joy of Being Slashdotted and Dugg
- Do You Ever Think About What You Write About?
- I Love It When You Say Nice Things About Me
- Hook, Line and Sinker: Luring Blog Traffic to Stay
- The Top 10 Clues That You Are an Amateur Blogger
- Prevent Blog Pollution
- Do You Update Posts or Post Updates?
- Being a More Productive Blogger
- What Blog Statistic Gets Most of Your Attention?
- Blogging is Hard Work
- ProBloggers – Blogging for Beginners Series
- Big Brother, Government, Corporations, and Perverts May Be Reading Your Blog
- Advertising on Blogs – Affiliate Programs
- What Are You Wearing While Blogging?
- Mean Spirited Comments and Blogging
- Gossip Rules Memory
- 2006 Bloggies Awards Announced
- Traffic Trolls – Creating Controversy to Increase Blog Traffic
- Are You Prepared to Prove Your Life?
- Google Analytics and Feedburner Reports Plugin for WordPress
- Best Websites for Writers from Writer’s Digest
- Bloggers Make a Difference – Taking On The Auto Industry
- Developing New Ways of Thinking about Blogging
- Happy Birthday Blog
- What Do Young Readers Want?
- Full Disclosure on Corporate and Commercial Blogs
- Have Your Favorite Bloggers and Blogs Run Out of Steam
- Help Wanted: Genealogy WordPress Blogs
- Define Blogging Success
- Global Awareness May Change The Way You Communicate on the Web
- US Federal Protection for Political Bloggers
- Washington Post – Why Bloggers Blog
- Sifry’s State of the Blogsphere: Strong
- The Blog Fog – Life or Death for Blogs as a Fad
- Corporate Bloggers Blogging for Business
- Blogging Quiz – Does Your Weblog Own You?
- Exploring the Invisible Library
- Multiple Bloggers – How Many Bloggers Does it Take To Screw in a Light Bulb? One or More?
- Link Referrals – Linking to Site Search Tags
- When was the last time you read your own blog?
- Blogs That Stand Out
- Relationship Geeks Building a Relationship 2.0 Network
- Using Your Feeds for Story Ideas
- While You Were Out…Things Happened
- What Have You Learned from the Blogging Experience?
- Blogging Yourself Into a Job: Is Your Blog Your Resume?
- Lorelle is the Author of Lorelle on WordPress
- Ripping the Blogging Mask Off to Find a Real Person
- Blog Writing: I lk yr blg
- Web Browser Blogging Tips
- Big Business – Listen to Bloggers, Please
- Fortune Cookie Blogging
- Because Ignoring Reality Is The Next Best Thing To Changing It
- When Blogging is Threatened: Losing a Finger
- When the Burden of Support is Too Great
- Cultural Colloquiums and Blog Writing”
- How Not to Blog in a Blogathon Blog
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Copyright Lorelle VanFossen, member of the 9Rules Network