Remarkable Blogging - What Does it Take?
The Top 10 (or more) Blog Skills Necessary to Becoming a Remarkable Blogger.
Anatomy of Blogging: This Blog thing can be a full-time gig. Seriously! I’m sure that most of us have read the adverts about how easy it is to start a blog. But that is only just the beginning.
Has anybody else noticed that this blogging gig takes a lot of time and effort? So what on earth have we gotten ourselves into? What is it that makes blogging such an all-consuming labor of love?
These are just some of the questions that I’ve asked myself throughout my career in blogging, so I thought I would take inventory and make a list of the things that are taking up so much of my blogody time.
Just looking at this list makes me tired and it’s no wonder I’m spending most of my day at it. (Crikey, I must really be nuts)!
Background: Ever since I started blogging it was with the sole purpose to become the very best blogger on the planet. And if that wasn’t attainable, I wanted to at least to become the very best blogger that I could be. I don’t think I have come anywhere near attaining either goal yet, but if I can clone myself a few times and add another decade or so onto my life it just might be possible.
I take this blogging adventure very seriously and not a day has gone by that I haven’t asked myself what else do I need to learn to improve my skills. This post represents a culmination of what I have come to learn as the skills and knowledge that are necessary to be a serious blogger.
But before we continue I want to give you a tip on how to get the most out of this post. The primary purpose of this post is to educate and enlighten, but you don’t need to know everything that is listed here. There are things such as hosting your own blog that might not be relevant to you if you decide to pay for hosting or use one of the free host providers out there. But of course the more that you know, the more “remarkable” a blogger you will become.
What I have tried to do is put it all together in a manner that (hopefully) makes sense to you and to throw in a little commentary from my own limited experience. This post is not the be-end-all and should be considered only a starting point as you continue to learn and grow your blogging skills.
Perhaps you decide that your template needs a little sprucing up (or a complete overhaul). Or maybe you want to try out that new widget (so you have to edit your sidebar), but then you decide you don’t like it so out it goes.
You might want to add a link to your blogroll. Or you notice that some interlinks within your site are broken because you altered the name of a post. Or some outgoing links are dead because… well, they just died, gave up the ghost, expired. (Does it never freakin’ end)?
4. After you’ve written a gagillion posts you start to worry that your blog host might accidentally lose everything and so you realize that you need a backup. You have already backed up your template but what about your posts? You consult someone like me to point you in the right direction but then you find out that it is not as simple as first appeared. (Sigh! Are you tired yet)?
5. Of course you also have to learn how to use the interface that came with your blog to write posts and edit your template. You soon discover the one that comes with your blog sucks, so you start looking for something else. But then you discover there are tons of software packages out there, so which one is right for you? (I use w.bloggar). Who the he__ said that this blogging stuff was easy anyway?
6. After awhile your blog starts to look boring. It looks like everyone else’s because it was an off-the-shelf template offered by your blog host. Or your banner sucks and you need some graphics to pretty it up. So you realize that you have to learn how to create your own images (I use Photoshop Elements).
But that creates another problem because you notice that your site is taking forever to load because of all those bandwidth sucking hogs you just created. So you now have to learn how to trim those graphics down a little.
Are you tired yet? Suck it up because we’re just getting started.
7. Next we must learn about something called RSS newsfeeds. Granted it’s much easier now than the good old days when the Bloke wrote an ebook about creating your own newsfeed from scratch. Today it’s much easier because your blog host already provides it automatically, but that’s just the beginning (of course ;-). Now you have to learn about using feed management providers (aka feedburner), news aggregators/readers and the like.
8. What about offering an RSS to email subscription service? Services like FeedBlitz or ZapTXT (and even FeedBurner). Some of your readers might not be familiar with RSS so you don’t want to leave them out in the cold do you?
Ok, now take a deep breath before reading any further. Are you ready? All that other stuff was just the easy part.
9. Now you are going to have to think about promoting your blog to the literally hundreds of Search Engines, RSS and Web directories out there. Did you say HUNDREDS? Crikey, please don’t shout - and don’t shoot the messenger either because I don’t make the rules. The three most important are probably Google, DMOZ and Yahoo. But the more places that you submit your site to, the more publicity your blog will get and of course incoming traffic.
Right about now you are probably asking yourself are we finished yet? Umm, sorry (did I say there were only 10 tasks ;-).
10. SEO. No, that doesn’t mean for Serious Entrepreneurs Only. It stands for Search Engine Optimization. There are some camps out there who believe that SEO is irrelevant when it comes to blogs. But I take a middle of the road view and believe that some SEO techniques are indeed helpful, but just remember to be careful with it. In the wrong hands you could actually do more damage than good so please use with caution.
11. Making Tracks. After you have completed your post you might want to add it to the conversation. So you Google around a bit and find other bloggers who are writing on the same topic, and you ping them a trackback or write a comment with a link back to your post. If your blog host doesn’t have trackback there are several free Trackback Ping Services out there that you can choose from.
12. Social Bookmarks. Now it’s time to add your post to all of the social bookmarks services out there. But there are dozens of them, so which one do I choose? Why not use all of them (or most)? I use a service called OnlyWire. With just one click you can add your post to all of these:
13. To host my own blog, or not to host. That is the question. Warning: NOT to be attempted by the faint of heart.
What if you decide that you want more than just a free blog host? Maybe you want to host your own blog server to run PHP scripts or use your own domain name (see the Bloke’s wish list). Well you’re in for another shock. Because now you will have to learn things like MySQL databases, running and maintaining blog software such as WordPress (click here for a tutorial) and setting up a Blog Server (will that be Windows or Apache, or…). It might also be a good idea to know about things like DNS and Subdomains.
Whew! Have I forgotten anything? I certainly hope that’s it. Now I know why I spend so much of my time blogging. So the next time my wife complains all I have to do is refer her to this post.
P.S.: Each of the topics above can be expanded into their own separate posts, so let me know if you want more information and I will consider it. Are we having fun yet?