Monday, April 4, 2011

Five Tips for Bloggers

Today is the fourth birthday of this blog, and in the past year, the site has reached a surprising level of success. With over 800 pageviews a month, the content of the site has improved considerably.

In a medium that has grown as saturated as the internet, being heard becomes a tremendous challenge. Being interesting is even harder. Having a url diverts many from a site and getting regular readers is difficult. In addition, many sites run by people my age consistently feature uninteresting and non-compelling content worth only a cursory glance. Through my few years of experience, I hope to impart advice to other teenage bloggers. Without further ado, I present Five Tips for Bloggers. blogging

5. Keep it Concise: Considering the massive range of content available on the internet and the sheer pace at which information moves, it is no surprise that readers have short attention spans. In order for content to be read, it must be presented in a format that would support such attention spans. Coming across a "Wall of Text" is intimidating and will drive readers away. Indeed, in past months, the problem of conciseness has been the single biggest challenge this blog has faced. With the last three important posts being well over 1500 words, some of my better pieces of content have not yet received the attention they deserve. In general, short paragraph structure keeps readers interested and keeping posts under 1000 words ensures that readers will read entire posts.

If it is any consolation, Diana Hacker writes in her stylistic manual The Bedford Handbook: "Don't expect web site visitors to read in the traditional way: word by word. Most will scan your site, looking for information of interest and ignoring the rest. To keep the attention of a Web audience, make your page layout and writing style as user-friendly as possible"

4. Post Regularly A regular and predictable blogging schedule will keep subscribers revisiting your site. While the majority of my pageviews come from Google, I still have a few subscribers. Nonetheless, predictably so, the months where I have lapsed in my writing have shown a reduced number of site-visitors. As with the body, staying active will keep the blood of your site flowing. Generally, I attempt to write a new post each week. This is especially important in the early months of your site, as your site will come off as an abandoned project. Stay consistent, stay lively.

 csb3. Nobody Cares About You: I try to avoid discussing my personal life and relationships in this blog. This is done not to protect my privacy, but because no one would take interest in it. Sociologically revelatory musings are fascinating and keep readers entertained, but musings about personal feelings and issues are not. While there may be the occasional exception like Tynan of lifenomadic, who lives a nomadic life interesting enough to enthrall people unfamiliar with him, the vast majority of us are not blessed with the wealth and opportunity to enable such a blog-worthy lifestyle. Indeed, a stranger's baby pictures and a teenager's histrionically antisocial meditations would be interesting only to the writer. Avoid such kind of writing to ensure that readers will give more than a cursory glance at your content.

2. Be Awesome: Even though nobody cares about you, this does not necessarily entail that what you can make and do will not be interesting. Everyone has something to teach to another, and it should be a goal for the blogger to enliven his/her readers with interesting content. Show your best self in your work by seeking to teach your readers something that only you can teach. For me, this interesting subject matter takes the form of video games, and by reviewing games that I feel strongly about, I hope to leave my readers with a deeper knowledge of the games that they play. A journal of an uninteresting life will bore readers, a journal of an awesome life filled with awesome ideas will entertain them and leave them happier.

1. Learn from Your Mistakes Perhaps the most important piece of advice I have to give: learn from your mistakes. In retrospect, most of your early work will suck and look bad in comparison to your most recent stuff. More often than not, you might want to delete them in embarrassment. Don’t delete them! They serve an important purpose in charting your growth as a writer. You will make mistakes and you will have your share of failures: sometimes the idea for a post will fall flat or a previous post might not reflect who you are now. Being honest to yourself and learning from these failures is critical to success anywhere. The content of these five tips were developed from my own failures as a blogger and I hope to impart this piece of wisdom to you.


Thank you, and best of luck in your online endeavors.



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