October 1, 2007

Tips for Good Blogging

I need your help, everyone. I am applying to teach a blogging class through my city and am trying to come up with a class syllabus. The class would be for people interested in creating a blog or those who have just begun and would like pointers on how to proceed. I've thrown together a rough outline below of a few things that I think might be of interest to a newbie. Please tell me what I'm missing or what things you would be interested in knowing. I haven't yet decided how long the class will be but am thinking maybe four one hour long sessions. Your advice is greatly appreciated!

Blogging 101

How to create a blog
Various platforms to create a blog (blogger, wordpress, livejournal, on your own, etc)

Finding a Theme for your Blog
Making your blog a trustworthy source. Determining what will and will not be posted.

Creating an Audience
Listing your blog on blogrolls, finding similar interest groups, courting other bloggers, utilizing social bookmarking websites, personal p.r.

Proven Post Formats
Simple tips to make sure your posts aren't dismissed before they are even read and how to make sure people come back for more

Blogger Ettiquite
Respecting your readers, turnoffs, the law of reciprocity, giving credit to original sources

Basic html formatting

Formatting Tricks to create a polished blog
Drop down menus, an inviting color scheme, testing your blog on various internet browsers to check format variations

Protecting your Privacy
How much information is too much? What others can learn about you from a non private blog. The pros and cons of anonymity. What statistics programs can tell others about you and your surfing habits.

Beyond the Blog
Syndication, publishing, editorials, contests, and making money off all your hard work.


Adum said...

"Protecting your Privacy
How much information is too much? "

better let me be a guest lecturer and teach that particular portion of the class. otherwise it will be the blind leading the blind.

Hollywood said...

It's true, I choose to be overly revealing with personal details. Does blogging about the fact that my husband sucks his thumb when he sleeps really make my post better? Probably not. I guess I could spare that particular detail. Adum, you and your thumb are welcome guest lecturers.

Teah said...

The only thing I could think of would be a "pimp my blog" section. ;-) Maybe not in so many words, but there seem to be "bling" available for blogs (that I don't know how to do yet!) Counters, stats, perma-posts of movies, etc.

chronicler said...

the possibility of using a psuedonym and why.

I was looking at an article about John Chow today. He says don't add advertising to your blog until your hits are sizeable (like upwards of 10,000 hits a day) wow. I am not sure I get 10,000 hits a year.

the wiz said...

I want to come. I could probably learn a lot.

Special K ~Toni said...

courting other bloggers is that what we are doing??

Looks great to me!

Janell said...

Photo basics - how to resize a photo, crop a photo, store it online, use thumbnails, and position it on your blog.

HTML - include how to create a link, how to make ordered and bullet lists, how to control text (aligning text, styling text, changing fonts), minimal cross-browser compatibility

Banners/Headers and buttons - how to design a banner, when is something too large or too small,how to create blogs, what "instant" tools are available to make custom-looking blogs

Theming - how to make your website catchy and coordinated (a la how your sections are all creatively named)

Organization - that is "why to link within your own website first and then put links to your 100 friends"

Time - how to find the time, energy, and enthusiasm to blog

Advertising - why or why not to use various advertising widgets

Style - how to make your writing engaging and notable

shauna said...

My only request is that you post all the info on your blog too. I want to learn all of those things from you. Sounds fantastic!

Hollywood said...

Great ideas, Janell and Teah! I'll definitely work that info the presentation. I need to do a little homework on some of that html stuff. I loved the suggestion of "how to find the time, energy, and enthusiasm to blog." I need a class in that myself.

Chronicler, I definitely disagree with John Chow about the ads. That may be the case with Google ads (very low yield) but with just my one BlogHer ad on the site I'm getting a significant check each month. I get 10,000 hits a month, not a day. It definitely depends on which ads you use.

As far as "courting" goes, if you can woo a blogger that you admire and actually make them like you too, you increase your networking power. While many bloggers don't care about whether or not they are read, others really want more exposure and getting noticed by other bloggers and mentioned around the blogospehere gives them warm fuzzies (myself included!)

Jenny said...

Blogging 101? Food critiquing? Free samples to review? How do you get these kinds of gigs?

Janell said...

I just brainstormed up a list of either things that I wish I knew, things that bother me about other people's blogs, or tutorials I myself have been intending to write for ages. I'm glad some of it is useful to you!

Lindsay said...

Good list. I'd sign up. I'm curious to learn more basic html. Like, I'd love to learn how to do drop-down boxes.

Melanie Seasons said...

I think one of the main things to think about is whether or not one really has enough content and time to update at least once everyday.

When starting a blog, you should really be able to rattle off ten or so topics you'd like to discuss right off the bat.

Oh, and also the fact that you need to read a lot of blogs to be able to write one. It's really important to know where to look for ideas for posts. To do this, you have to be familiar with the types of blogs your target audience reads on a daily basis. (This is also a great way to boost traffic.)

Man, I read too many blogs.

Susan M said...

I want to come to that class!

pflower10 said...

What about MAC ATTACK : the in's and out's of bloging with a MAC. I'd sure like to know about that one

s'mee said...

maybe how to make four one hour sessions stretch into a semester class.

now there's a gig!

aubrey said...

i think all that sounds really good. i would come to that class just to hear what you have to say. very cool that you've been asked to do it. my only question is how you test "your blog on various internet browsers to check format variations" cuz i know some people can't open my blog or have a hard time. i need to figure that out. plus, what about commenting etiquette? maybe that doesn't apply to new bloggers starting out.

Samantha said...

I would like to take this class!

JLJ said...

Its just blogging people! Don't take yourselves too seriously! (don't kick me off - I love your blog)

Hollywood said...

The "don't take yourself too seriously" line is so true. But I get people asking me EVERY DAY to help them with some aspect of their blog or how to start one so I thought it be a fun class to teach to interested community members. I go through phases where I could care less about this blog and then other phases where if EVERY DETAIL ISN'T PERFECT then I am a wreck until it's fixed. Stick around JLJ. I need someone who's keeping it real around here.

tishacalhoun said...

seriously wanna take this class- you'll be great at teaching it!