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Remarkable Blogging - What Does it Take?

Bloke's Quick Blog TipsThe 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.

So why reinvent the wheel? Unlike some of my colleagues who just copy and paste, I don’t see any sense in repeating what someone else has already said, and I believe in giving credit where credit is due. It is therefore very important that you click the links I have provided (because that’s why I put them there) that will take you to original sources that should answer at least some of your questions.Ok, nuff said. Let’s begin the journey shall we:1. The first (and most obvious) thing is writing the post. And that entails writing the first draft, the second draft, and so on. Then of course there’s proof-reading. I know that I’m not finished writing until I’ve been able to read my post through from beginning to end without having to edit something again. Then I publish it to my blog. But damn! I missed that typo. So I edit it again and re-publish. Damn again! I didn’t notice that either… I think you get the picture.2. Pinging services (after publishing your post) that notify sites that track and publish to weblogs. There is a host of pinging services out there but the most comprehensive pinger that I’ve found is Pingoat, ’cause it’s not the usual mehehe.3. Creating, changing, repairing and maintaining your blog. Does it ever end? Whether you create your blog template from scratch or modify someone else’s, you will be in for a shock. The learning curve can be a steep one, and a journey that never seems to end.Which leads me to another matter. Unless you can afford to outsource you will have to learn HTML, XHTML, CSS skills (and maybe even PHP, Javascript, or AJAX for you adventurous types).

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.

(Double sigh)!!

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:

  • Backflip
  • Blinklist
  • Blogmemes
  • del.icio.us
  • Furl
  • Jots
  • Linkroll
  • Looklater
  • ma.gnolia
  • Maple
  • Markaboo
  • Rawsugar
  • Shadows
  • Simpy
  • Spurl
  • Wink
  • 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?

    Related Posts:

  • Are You A Remarkable Blogger?
  • 10 reasons Why I Don’t Like Your Blog
  • Bloke’s Tips for a Successful Blog
  • 10 Killer Ways to Increase Traffic and Stickiness to Your Blog
  • Filed under: blog bloke, instabloke, blog, blogosphere, blog tips, blogging, web 2.0, blog resources, internet, computers and internet, social bookmarks, rss, search engine, blog tips

    Written December 2nd, 2006 by | 15 Comments | Filed under: *Best Tips, Blog Tips, Design Tips, Tutorials , , , , , , , ,

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    There are 15 Comments so far to “Remarkable Blogging - What Does it Take?”

    1. I spend too much time on my blog. I love to create links to content in my posts ( think I got that idea from you), and I love to play with widgets and stuff to make my blog look fresher and more appealing aesthetically. Another big part of my blog time is reading others’s posts and commenting, so they’ll maybe visit me. I don’t understand a lot of the technical stuff. I wish I knew pinging was and it’s valued. Do you give seminars: blog technology for dummies? But I know I spend way too much and in fact, someone called me a blogaholic this week–another blogger. Whaddya think of that? I was crushed. Great post. I keep thinking if I read about this stuff I’ll absorb it by osmosis.

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    2. Whew is right! I really am tired already :). Entertaining, informative as always, and another excellent post from the Bloke.

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    3. Much thanks. An excellent post.

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    4. Amazing post! An amazing blog! You really are one of a kind Bloke.

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    5. Re: 4. Creating…

      Blogger Beta doesn’t anymore change postings’ URL if you alter the name of the post later on.

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    6. Thanks for the kudos everyone.

      Gem, that is the purpose of this blog. To teach and enlighten. Just let me know what you want and I will write about it.

      Seminars? For starters I’m going to be at Vegas next year. I’ll see you at the craps table ;-)

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    7. You’re doing a great job with teaching and enlightening all of us, thank you. I enjoy your writings, your great personality shows through every post.

      BTW would you do a post as to why you have or need word verification for leaving comments? I think lots of people are turned off with this. Maybe you could take a poll or something? lol

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    8. Hi Sherry. Thanks for the kind words.

      I’ve already dealt with comment verification in my previous post “10 Reasons Why I Don’t Like Your Blog” (see my comments below the post).

      Unfortunately, as a blog becomes bigger having some form of spam protection becomes a necessary evil. I’ve found that using comment verification is the least intrusive of all the options.

      I hope that doesn’t turn you off altogether and I look forward to you becoming a regular commenter @ Blog Bloke.

      Thanks for the input and cheers!

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    9. Bloke, you promised a post explaining to the idiots like me what a ping is.

      Still waiting.

      Love your site by the way. I try to take a little advice at a time.

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    10. Bloke,
      Thanks for responding to the need of word verification for you. I did read your other post about it also.

      I’ve had a good time reading your comments and visiting other blogs. :)

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    11. I just posted on how important it is to get outside expertise in almost any area of human endeavor. Your post is an excellent proof of this. Thanks for all the great tips!

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    12. Thanks for the kind words Manny. So here’s another tip. Link to posts that inspire you. ;-)

      OhDave… I’m working on it, but here is a good place to start.

      I’m glad it helped Sherry. So does that mean I’m forgiven?

      Cheers, and thanks to everyone for hanging out at Blog Bloke!

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    13. This was enormously helpful. Thank you for this, and for all of the great information that comes from the generous sharing of your knowledge, time, and hard work for this site.

      I am just starting out, and this site has taught me so much and saved me much time, and I just discovered it this morning!

      This site’s high signal-to-noise ratio should be a role model for everyone.

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    14. Thank you for the kind words clkl. Stay tuned because there’s (much) more yet to come.

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    15. […] Related posts: What Does it Take to Be a Remarkable Blogger? A Primer […]

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