Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Being a better blogger

Maureen kicked off a discussion of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Homeschool Bloggers. She posted seven thoughts on how to be a better blogger, and then invited other bloggers to make a list of their seven. Several people have taken up Maureen's challenge. Many bloggers have added a comment with a link to their seven suggestions. For example Dana posts her seven at Principled Discovery.

I currently am working my way through Glenn (Instapundit) Reynolds' An Army of Davids. He explores how technology is taking away the advantages of large organizations, and specifically news organizations. As the price of production quality cameras, and studio quality software drops, for five to ten thousand dollars individuals can produce professional documentaries that a decade or two ago would have taken hundreds of thousands of dollars. Glenn's point is that like in the battle between David and Goliath, technology is equalizing the playing field, and there will be great changes in how we get our news.

Between chapters six and seven Glenn has an interlude on "Good Blogging." As Instapundit Glenn gets seventy thousand hits on a poor day, with gusts up to half a million hits in a single day, he has great insight into what constitutes good blogging. His first rule is that good blogs have no typos. After that he says it is important to have a personal voice and have rapid response times. Most readers enjoy the personal touch. A dry boring account will drive away readers. The next point he makes is that good blogs have links. When talking about a topic it is important to provide the reader with links. If you are responding to a post, link to the post so the reader can go get the full context of what the original post said. If you are writing about a topic like a book, provide a link to the book.

His final point is that good blogs are well written. My wife and I have talked some about how to improve our skill with the written word. We want our blog to be interesting and engaging. Glenn says: "The key to good blogging is simple: having something interesting to say, and say it well."

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Spunky said...

I have plenty to say but I lose it on the typos. My keyboard is dying a slow death. The space bar and the "s" key are nearly useless. Someday when I grow up and get to be a big blogger like Glenn maybe I'll get a new one. Until then it's the best I got.

I notice that Glenn never writes long prose either. It's much easier to proof when your post is only a sentence or two long. He's at the top of the food chain in terms of blogging. That is, he is mostly just a blog clearing house to other blogs of interest. He'll add a bit here and there but no post is over a paragraph long. That's not a criticism he makes it work quite successfully. But if all bloggers were like him then there would be no one to link to. Someone has to write something for him to link to it. That's where we all come in. It's people like you Henry that put together a Carnival that Glenn links to. You've done all the work and he sends them your way. So I don't worry that I will never make it to the level of 70,000 hits a day. I'm hitting the ones that God seeks to hear my thoughts. And as long as I'm blogging for HIM, they'll hopefully be something of usefulness for others to read as well.

Henry Cate said...

Spunky, you remind me of:

"You say the little efforts that I make will do no good; that they never will prevail to tip the hovering scale where justice hangs in the balance. I don't think I ever thought they would. But I am prejudiced beyond debate in favor of my right to choose which side shall feel the stubborn ounces of my weight."
- Bonaro Overstreet

I'm just trying to make sure my ounce is on the right side.