People start blogging for many different reasons, personally I started the praguetory blog to float some policy ideas and have them challenged, but a major reason that people continue to blog is related to ego. There is a very fine line between blogging effectiveness and blogging addiction. Being an effective blogger means that your posts are influential, other bloggers react when you comment at their sites and people want to know more about you. That’s a kind of power and power is addictive.
Even before setting up a blog, most people spend some time being a commenter on other blogs. Even at this stage, which is the internet equivalent of dipping your toe in the water, you can develop a reputation and your curiosity or ego will likely tempt you to check back on comment threads to which you’ve contributed. So when I share my top tips on how to be an effective blogger, remember that I’m also describing a route to addiction. Ok that’s enough public service. Here's my top 5 tips for blogging effectiveness.
1. Set up a blogroll. This should be easy – if you link to blogs you like, your readers will probably like them too so you’re doing everyone a service. Don’t pester them, but you can tell your blogroll that you’ve linked to them. They might reciprocate the link which will increase your traffic. Another idea with blogroll is to group similar sites together. For example, if your site will be focusing on a local community, it would probably be a good idea to give a section of your blogroll to useful local links. On my site, I had a law and order section ,a health section and an education section because those were topics of interest to me which I occasionally posted on.
2. Set up google and other alerts for your blog. This might include your blog name or topics that you’d like to cover, so for example, if you’ve decided to focus on the environment, you could set up a google alert for Hillary Benn the environment secretary and also be notified by the theyworkforyou website each time he speaks in Parliament.
3. Use feeds. I use bloglines. www.bloglines.com. What you do is subscribe to blogs that interest you and whenever new posts come through they are listed in your feeds. The advantages to this method over haphazard internet surfing are as follows
- You don’t waste your time visiting sites where nothing has happened
- You know you haven’t missed anything
- You can check at a glance whether anything of interest is emerging
The downside is that like any collection, it’s likely to grow over time. I heard of one blogger who said she had a backlog of 2000 posts to go through. I keep my list of feeds down to my top 20.
4. Get yourself on mybloglog that’s www.mybloglog.com. Then add the recent visitors feature to your site so that when other mybloglog members visit your site their avatar shows up. It also means that your visits to other sites are more likely to be noticed, even if you don’t comment there.
5. Install a site meter so that you can monitor your site’s progress, where readers come from, what they read and where they go. There’s a perfectly adequate site meter function with mybloglog, but other programmes provide more information.