Lesson 1: If you’re gonna write a blog, you gotta read lots of blogs
Writing a blog is different than writing just about anything else. At least if you want to do it right. And to figure that out, you’ve gotta read lots of blogs to figure out what you like and what you don’t like, what appeals to you (and therefore will probably appeal to your readers) and what doesn’t.
So read blogs. Lots of them. Everyday. And start doing this BEFORE you start your blog.
When you’re reading blogs, here are a few things for you to take note of that might translate into your blog. By paying attention to this stuff, you can maybe shorten the learning curve a little:
- How often does that writer post?
- What reaction do you have when they haven’t posted in a while?
- What do you like about the layout of the blog? Is it 2-column, 3-column or something completely different?
- What links and widgets (the cool stuff in the sidebar) does the blog have?
- How long are the posts on average?
- How many different general topics does the writer focus on?
I’ve made no hesitation over several posts in my blog that Seth Godin is where it’s at. It’s after reading his blog for about a week that it hit me, “Hey, this blogging thing isn’t as corny as I thought it was.” Mainly, it’s because he writes about something I’m interested in. But he also has a great style and approach to his blog. His posts are simple, they’re frequent and informative. He seems to have just the right mix of his own riffs and rants molded together with lots of links to other sites and posts. In a way, I feel like Seth’s Blog keeps me in touch with what’s really going on with the web.
So that’s what you’re looking for: a few blog mentors. And by all means, if you’re gonna read lots of blogs, you’ve got to do it through an RSS Feed. I currently use Google Home Page (personalized), but I’m considering moving over to Google Reader. Either way, using this saves me a lot of time.
So, start reading. Needs tips on how to find blogs you’re interested in? There’s two major ways to do it: a) Check out Technorati.com – it’s a search engine for blogs (really, it’s a search engine for all kinds of social media) b) On blogs you already read, click the links on the side, the links in the posts, and the links in the comments. These are obviously people somewhat interested in what you’re interested in, so you might find some jewels there. That’s how I’ve found 75% of the blogs I regularly read.
In the meantime, if you like my blog, then here are some great blogs I suggest reading: