Blog Basics

All posts in the Blog Basics category

Class #1 Links

Published November 8, 2010 by Dr. Tammy Powley

handskeyboard.jpgThese are links to sites we will be looking at during out first class:

Places to Find Blogs:

Other Sites to Check Out for Fun:

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Blog Software Options/Basics

Published May 31, 2007 by Dr. Tammy Powley

With the Read/Write web in full swing, there are a lot of options when it comes to the type of software that will operate your blog. Many blog networks provide free blogging software and storage for your blog. It’s sort of like having your own free web site, like at geocities.com, but along with storing your web files, the networks also provide WYSIWYG (what you see if what you get) software. Here are some of the more popular blog software networks:

  • Blogger.com
  • WordPress.com
  • LiveJournal.com

Most newbies start off with free blogs. However, you can also create a blog on your own using the same kind of blog software (such as Blogger, WordPress, Moveable Type, and Type Pad). The advantage to doing this is that you have more control and usually more power (bells and whistles). The disadvantage is that you usually need to be more technically savvy than if you used a freebie blog site. These blogging software platforms are just that, software, so normally, you need some kind of programming skills to really be able to use them well.

Leaving Comments

Published May 27, 2007 by Dr. Tammy Powley

comment-etq.jpg
One way to be part of the blogosphere is to read and comment on other blogs. Comments are a way of joining the conversation. Often, bloggers will actually prompt their readers to respond. Comments provide an outlet for readers to join in and discuss the issues posted in blog entries. 
 

Normally, when leaving a comment it requires you to include your name, email address, and the URL of your own blog (if you have one). A link under the post will actually say “Comments.” By clicking on this link, an area will open up allowing you to post your thoughts. Some blogs permit for comments to publish right away, while others will hold the comments for the blogger’s approval. Another option is to require comments to be registered members of a network (like at Blogger.com) or there might be a special series of words or numbers that must also be entered by the person leaving the comment. 

All of this is to provide a way to limit spamming. If a blogger opts for comment approval, she can go in later and either approve or deny the comment to be published. Safeguards such as registration or special words require extra steps from the person commenting, so this often will deter spammers (though not always).  

Other than commenting to be part of the blogosphere, another reason for commenting is to leave links back to your own blog. This way, you automatically add external links which point back to your blog. It is also a pretty good way for blog readers to find other blogs of interest because very often those leaving comments have blogs on the same or similar topic.

Joining the Blogosphere

Published May 26, 2007 by Dr. Tammy Powley

Most bloggers start out as blog readers. They usually have a few blogs they like to read regularly, either by bookmarking them on a web browser and visiting daily or subscribing to an RSS feed. So, if you want to join, that’s your first step: become a blog reader. After becoming a reader, the next step is normally to start commenting on these blogs, thus becoming part of the conversation; however, technically to become a full-member of the blogosphere, you need to blog. It sounds like a large leap from reader to casual commenter to blogger, but because of the free access to blog software and user-friendly platform most of them have, it’s really not that difficult.  You’ll need to determine the answers to the following questions to get started blogging: 

  • What is my purpose for blogging?
  • What type of blog do I want to write? Filter? K-blog? Journal? Combination?
  • Who do I want to host my blog? Assuming you want free hosting, options might be WordPress.com or Blogger.com (for example).
  • What do I want to blog about? Can you word this topic into phrase, tagline, or subtitle?
  • What would I like the title of my blog to be? (This can affect your URL.)
  • Do I want my blog to be public or limit it to a select group who will need a password to access it?
  • Would I at some point want to earn some revenue from my blog?

Blog Preliminaries

Published May 7, 2007 by Dr. Tammy Powley

Before jumping into the blogosphere and starting your own blog, it’s a good idea to do a little preliminary brainstorming first. Below are a few questions to consider before starting your first blog: 

  • What is my purpose for blogging?
  • What type of blog do I want to write? Filter? K-blog? Journal? Combination?
  • Who do I want to host my blog? Assuming you want free hosting, options might be WordPress.com or Blogger.com (for example).
  • What do I want to blog about? Can you word this topic into phrase, tagline, or subtitle?
  • What would I like the title of my blog to be? (This can affect your URL.)
  • Do I want my blog to be public or limit it to a select group who will need a password to access it?
  • Would I at some point want to earn some revenue from my blog?

By answering these questions before you start up a blog, you can save yourself a lot of time and thoughtfully create a blog you will enjoy blogging on regularly.

Niche Blogging

Published May 7, 2007 by Dr. Tammy Powley

Right now, there are millions of blogs out there on the World Wide Web, but there are not necessarily millions of readers for every single blog. That means there is a chance of getting lost in digital space. If you just want to write a blog for yourself, then this may not be that big of a deal for you. However, one of the cool points of writing a blog is the idea that you are starting a conversation for others in the blogosphere to join in. Thus, most bloggers want to be seen and virtually heard.

 

One way to become popular is to fill a void. Just like with any business, if you can fill a need you can usually make some money. Therefore, if you can fill a content void, then you can usually attract readers.

While this may be easier said than done, the idea of niche blogging is to find a rather narrow topic that you have some knowledge, interest, or expertise in, and which is not much (if at all) covered by other bloggers. For example, a political blog would not be a good niche because there are zillions of them on the net. If you are a famous politician, you might get some attention, but otherwise, you will be just one of (too) many bloggers covering a topic that is pretty much done to death.

On the other hand, if you are a gardener and have a keen interest in creating Zen rock gardens, then that would be a much narrower topic. Check a blog search engine to see how many Zen rock garden blogs you can find. Read through some of the hits that show up when you search, and ask yourself if you see a need for this topic. Is there an audience? Is there enough information out there already?

See these articles/blog posts for more on niche blogging:

http://www.problogger.net/archives/2005/12/16/niche-blogging-benefits/

http://www.problogger.net/archives/2005/04/19/one-blog-many-cateogories-or-many-blogs/

 

http://blogs.tech-recipes.com/davak/2007/02/19/is-niche-blogging-a-myth-small-isnt-the-new-big/

 

http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/6_startup_lessons_2007.php