Why I blog, and other stories from the Blogosphere

First off, if you’re still trying to figure out what blogging is, go here. This post was inspired by one of my readers, Erick.

Why should anyone in his/her right mind want to blog? There’s no simple answer to this. I suppose any answer to this question will fall into one of these broad reasons:

  • One blogs so as to share ones knowledge, thoughts and opinions.
  • One blogs to make money.

So why do I blog?
I suppose I could go on and on, playing with words trying to rationalize my addiction to blogging. As they tell all addicts, the first step is always to admit you are addicted. So the simple answer is that I blog because I am addicted. But why did I start? Why am I addicted? The answer is a bit selfish. I love to read and I read a lot, probably more than is normal. When I read, I get an obsessive compulsive (haha) urge to share my newfound knowledge and insights. The easiest way to do that, is to blog. I also secretly hope to make some money off blogging, but I acknowledge that I am not that experienced. In fact, that’s another reason why I blog : to gain experience on all things internet, so that I can come back in a few years, snap my fingers and earn millions online. 😉 Above all, I love having people read what I write.

Okay, Why does the rest of the World Blog?
The Journal has this to say: Technology is allowing anyone with a computer, the ability to type, and an Internet connection to become a published author—of sorts. Web logs, or “blogs,” are the latest way that students, businesses, and many others are publishing their musings. Read more of this.

Webmasterview: Blogging’s something for anyone and everyone. I can’t think of anyone who can’t benefit from knowing more people, never forgetting a thought again and improving on their thoughts with little or no effort. Read more….

David Weinberger: As a writer, thanks to blogs I’m more intellectually stimulated than I’ve ever been in my life. I can’t get to sleep because I have ideas I want to respond to or that I want to instigate. I bolt out of bed in the morning to get in a little more time thinking out loud and thinking together. The water’s boiling with our ideas.

35 Bloggers tell you why they Blog.
I Cite.

What about You?
Why do YOU blog?
Why don’t YOU blog?

Leave a comment and tell us why, I’ll pay you. 🙂

The photo above, ‘Even the Sims Blog’, was originally uploaded by nickf to flickr.

17 Ways to Promote your Blog (Part 3)

Part 1.
Part 2.

Almost-Conventional-Marketing Techniques

12 You cannot live in isolation. Similarly bloggers cant blog in isolation – they live in blogoshere. The trick is to get other bloggers to notice you; to interact with them. Read many blogs and leave many comments on many blogs. It will pay off. All bloggers should subscribe to other blogs site feeds. Blog webrings are good place to start.

13 Participate in blogging games and memes (for example, this one at ProBlogger). These are often projects in which many bloggers try to write on a specific topic. They are fun. More importantly they generate traffic to your blog. You can get to know of such things by reading other blogs widely, especially those in your blog webring.

14 Join social bookmaking sites such as digg, del.icio.us etc.(My personal favorite’s reddit) Submit your best work to them and you may be surprised at the fruits of your labor. These sites can direct thousands to your blog! Use the tips under no.11 to ensure your posts rank highly on social bookmaking sites.

15 Use link baiting techniques. These are methods of getting people to link back to you from their own blogs/sites. Such links earn you visitors. Link baiting techniques range from good to evil. Some of the good methods are making other bloggers your friends your friends who will then link to you, writing interesting or useful stuff, linking to others in the hope of them reciprocating, Drastic, evil link baiting involves attracting others in your writing thus causing them to respond (with links) and any other devious scheme you can think up. More of this here.

16 Put your blogs URL (address) in your email signature, on your business cards, on posters, stickers, letterheads and anywhere else you can.

17 When all else fails, advertise.

Now, to burst some jargon:
Social bookmaking websites – These sites aim to develop a community of friends, online or otherwise. These friend’s interactions are primarily the sharing of each others list of interesting websites.

You can find more tips at problogger, specifically here. more Cool Tips.

17 Ways to Promote your Blog (Part 2)

1.Technical Techniques

2.Content- based techniques
These have to do with whatever you’re blogging about and how you deliver your content.

6. Not only should your blog’s name be catchy but so should all your articles titles. If in doubt, make big promises in your titles – it works! E.g. loose 2 kg in 2 weeks.

7.Quality is paramount. Whatever you write, write it well. Nobody wants to struggle reading poorly written material that may not make much sense.

8. Update your blog frequently. Trust me, it is quite a disappointment to keep on checking a blog for updates – you eventually give up on the blog. For novices, a few posts per week are okay. However, if blogging is anything but a hobby for you, you need to blog daily.

9. Planned blogging always beats random blogging. Think about what you want to tell your readers in a given amount of time (say a week), plan your posts, do some research and take your readers for the ride of their lives. It is true that failing to plan is planning to fail.

10.Keep in mind that most surfers aren’t ready to get into 1500 essay with huge intimidating paragraphs. Keep many of your pasts short, with short paragraphs.

11. I’m in no way a writing instructor, I know you know your stuff, but the following tips can make your blog more readable:

  • Occasionally write an article in which you attempt to teach your readers something i.e. a How-To .
  • Make a list e.g. ‘methods of promoting your blog’. Better yet, number your list e.g. ’17 ways to promote your blog’. Such types of posts are very reader friendly, to say the least.
  • Writing about technology is a definite crowd puller, especially if you display expertise.
    In fact, if you manage to convince your readers that you are an expert on anything, you have hit it big time. Now anyone looking for information on what you write about will come to you.
  • Another crowd puller is inspirational writing. I guess people love getting inspired. They will keep coming back for more.
  • Lastly, humour still works. Use it.

17 Ways to Promote your Blog

I hope that our previous discussion on blogs influenced you, in some way, to go out looking to join the let’s–all–be-bloggers bandwagon. It would be really nice to know that you all have sparkling new blogs. That would mean that the blogoshere got larger, cool. This reminds me of my first foray into blogging. Few things beat the excitement that comes with setting up a new blog. How will people react? How many readers will like it? So many questions. No answers. Anxiety.

Unfortunately, a few days down the road many new bloggers are worried. Their bubble burst. Your parents siblings, significant–others and friends have all been to the blog that you told them so much about. Nobody comes anymore. (Unless you threaten them with those …you can’t even visit my ….emails). To avoid the heartache, spend some time promoting your blog – and get those much–sought–after regular readers!

There are three main methods of blog promotion:

Technical Techniques
Theses have to do with the more technical aspects of your blog

  1. First things first. Your blog has to appeal to the eye. Nobody wants to read what they can’t bear to look at. If you got your blog through blogger or other fine service, take some time to choose one of the more aesthetically correct templates. As for professional blogs, it would pay to hire a professional website (or blog) designer.
  2. Provide a site feed to your blog. Most blogs already do this out of the box but just make sure it is that important! We all get tired of continually checking a site for updates. It would be much better if we were automatically notified of any updates, right? A site feed does just that. It allows people to subscribe to your blog and be automatically notified of any changes or updates you make. If you really want to do cool amazing things with your site feed, check out the Godsend that is feedburner.
  3. All your posts should have the ‘email-this-post’ feature. This allows your readers to email your articles to their friends (and publicise your blog).
  4. Register your blog with sites such as technorati, blogtopsites or weblogs. These sites track many blogs. Therefore, many people search such sites for interesting reads. If you are not registered your blog cannot be found by such people.
  5. Join a blog webring. These are blog communities where you cannot only make good friends but also make frequent readers. A good place to start would be the one and only Kenya Bloggers Webring (KBW).

Blogging And the Blogosphere

Everyone has something to offer the world. All a person needs is some sort of stage. Needless to say, the internet is the perfect stage. With a click of a button you can offer whatever you have got to the whole wide world. It really is that easy! Actually, the internet offers a number of such stages. One of them is blogging.

Yes, blogging. I am yet another writer writing about blogging. I just have to tell you of blogs. Blogging is, in my books, a phenomenon. And not just an internet phenomenon. There are million of blogs and even more millions of blog readers. Thousands of blogs are created everyday. I would say that blogs are one of the most important consequences of internet technology. It is reaching a point in time when blogs not only shape the internet but the real world as well (if it still is possible to separate the internet and the so-called real world).

Think about it. All you need to do to spread a rumour is to post it on a popular blog. There are now professional bloggers (people who live off their blogs). Blogs are increasingly being turned to books. Bloggers are migrating to the traditional media, having launched their careers on a blog. Traditional media writers are migrating to the blogosphere. Some bloggers were even invited to the White House, along with traditional media journalists and reporters. An Egyptian blogger (Alaa Abdel Fatah) was arrested for being anti-government. Company-sponsored blogs are the in-thing in the corporate world. There is even a Kenyan Blog of the Year – tHiNkEr’S rOoM! Blogging is big!

Whoa! Let’s not get all excited and forget to ask some important questions. What is a blog? A web log, which is usually shortened as blog, is a type of website in which entries are made much as in a journal or diary and displayed in chronological order. But that’s just the technical mumbo-jumbo. A blog can be anything you want it to be. Your diary, your magazine, your newspaper, your photo album, whatever.

There are several types of blogs. Personal blogs are often used to record your own opinions, feelings, experiences and views much like in a diary or journal. Blogs which aim at fostering a community with a specific interest may be called community blogs. These are blogs like Kenyan Soccer, Kenyan Cricket, the Capital Breakfast Crew blog the awesome Mzalendo or even the type of blogs used by the U. S. presidential candidates last time round. An ODM-K or NARC–K blog would fall in this category. Some variation of community blogs are those family blogs – a convenient way to tell the whole family something quickly and accurately. There are also news blogs which, like newspapers, aim at delivering news. However, such blogs often deliver highly slanted news, to say the least. Finally, we have company or corporate blogs such as the Google blog.

Apart from just text and pictures or photos, some blogs ‘broadcast’ audio or even video. These are called podcasts and blogs respectively.

It is a shame that you have to tell people of something’s benefits before they try it out.

Why would anyone want to blog? For the individual, blogs are the ultimate freedom of expression. Now you can say anything to anyone or everyone. People interested in writing may find blogs particularly interesting. If you haven’t broken into print yet then a blog is just what the doctor ordered. It’s your opportunity to show the world what you are made of. The number of blogs being turned into books is increasing, so blogging doesn’t just have to be a hobby. Believe it or not, some people blog their novels! If you already are a writer, a blog may be the way of getting around your editor. Above all, blogs can make you money.

A surprising twist to the story of blogs is that corporate blogs are now cool. They’re in. It is not hard to see that blogs can be the perfect PR or marketing tool. Readers find blogs and bloggers to be more approachable and readable – they have a personal touch that we all like. I, for one, would be more likely to read a blog that ‘just happened’ to tell me something about a company than an official, boring, uninviting company statement. Is there a better way to reach your customers?

The easiest way to get a blog is via blogger or blog who both promise to have your blog up and running in three easy steps, and, in record time! Live journal is another notable blog publisher – all your posts are not only published on your blog but also to a giant aggregator on which all live journal blog parts are published. All 11 million (at last count) of them! These all allow you to get a blog for free. However, there are many other blog publishers out there: wordpress.com, wordpress.org, movable type among others.

Go ahead, get a blog today. Do remember to join the Kenyan bloggers webring while you are at it.

For more info. on blogs, and neat tips, visit problogger or check out his Blogging for Beginners series.

You may also like:

Blogging For Dummies .

Naked Conversations: How Blogs are Changing the Way Businesses Talk with Customers.

What No One Ever Tells You About Blogging and Podcasting: Real-Life Advice from 101 People Who Successfully Leverage the Power of the Blogosphere (What No One Ever Tells You About…)

Now, to bust some jargon:

Blogger – a person who writes and maintains a blog
Blogosphere – that part of the world where bloggers live
Posts – articles written for and published on a blog.