The practice of blogging does not only consist of writing but it usually also involves reading other blogs, commenting and networking. Most of us are not fulltime professional bloggers so how do you divide your (spare) time between all these different blogging aspects?
This past weekend, the New York Times ran a semi-sensational article about the stressful – possibly life-threatening – nature of blogging. The headline read: “In Web World of 24/7 Stress, Writers Blog Till They Drop“.
The article highlights the pressure to relentlessly post day after day, poor health habits from sitting before a computer screen, and bad separation between home and work – tricky since blogging is usually done at home. Without limits, there is the temptation to forgo sleep to blog.
It seems this year the technology blogosphere is latching onto “lifestreaming” or “social network aggregation” as a new web service to explore. In plain English, this means pulling in your activity on selected social sites into one website or feed. So instead of checking in on ten different websites to see what people are up to, you can visit just one.
Consistency is critical for success in blogging. Though trying new things is important, if a blog finds itself drifting in voice, style and quality, it can lose readers and reputation seemingly overnight.
But maintaining consistency is almost impossible over the long haul, especially for blogs with multiple authors. As humans, it is our tendency to change and our writing styles will inevitably reflect that. Even blogs with just one author, eventually, run into the issue of their old posts looking and sounding nothing like their new.
To help keep that disjunct to a minimum and ensure consistency both between authors and over time, many blogs have begun to adopt a tool from the world of print media, style guides. These guides help lay down some fundamental rules for writing and work to create a single style for the site, without trampling on the voice of the author or authors.
Virtually any blog can benefit from a good style guide, especially those that seek to provide news or some other form of information, and best of all, creating a style guide is a very simple process. All one has to do is think about a few variables and, essentially, write down how they do things now.
Now on my second year of blogging, with well over a thousand posts published, I’ve gotten to a point where I can’t remember the majority of what I’ve written about.
Normally, the only time I revisit an old post is when I receive a comment on it. But even then, I don’t normally re-read said post. I merely skim it to jog my memory as to what it was about, so that I can respond to the commenter. I then reply to the reader’s comment – and that old post leaves my consciousness.
I very rarely take the time to “re-read” old posts.
I quite often look at my blog statistics to see who visit my blog, where they came from and which posts are popular. Lately I’ve been particularly interested in the keywords people use in search engines and where these keywords lead them. While you could definitely call me blog statistics addict and argue that the time checking stats could be spend more productive there are reasons why checking stats is good for you. They may serve as an inspiration for new blog posts.
The more time I spend blogging, the different angles I find to stay motivated. Lately, I’ve been having no trouble coming up with blog ideas, and have a list of subjects that will last me many months. So I’ve actually spent some thought into when not to post – when an idea isn’t worth writing about.
There’s no question that an economic slowdown in 2008 is a real possibility (otherwise, why would the Fed have cut rates for the second time in under two weeks?) Anyhow, even if you’re personally unaffected by a foreclosure a layoff, it doesn’t hurt to put the rose-colored glasses aside and just ponder how a recession would impact your blog.