Tips for Bloggers

I really like a recent blog post by Edna Sackson.  It was titled “10 Tips for Reticent Bloggers“.  In the posting, she laid out some tips for people to become more successful in their blogging pursuits.  I thought her list was bang on and would recommend the reading for anyone.  The tips are equally as applicable for students as they are teachers.  She could turn it into an infographic that could be posted on classroom walls!

I’d lke to continue her list with some of my own thoughts.

  • Use a blog editor – I found that I’ve been a great deal more successful with less frustration when I use LiveWriter, Qumana, or ScribeFire.  Why?  At any given point in time, I might have up to a dozen potential blog posts on the go.  For me, ideas come when I’m watching television, walking the dog, reading a blog, testing software or many other things.  I’ll just open one of these tools and jot a few notes to myself and potentially finish them later.  Since doing this, I’ve never felt “under the gun” to create a post.
  • Use a graphic organizer – Sometimes, the random thoughts from the blog editor need to be arranged or otherwise manipulated.  Just like we tell students to organize, it can work for us.  My choice of graphic organizer is currently Popplet but I’ve used and had success with many others, some which have ended up here in a post.
  • Read a lot – When I read, I find that I’m also researching.  Particularly when I’m reading an article that challenges what I think I know, it opens the door to other possibilities.  One of my favourite writers is Stephen Downes.  I subscribe to his OLDaily where he shares what he thinks is significant in his daily reading.  It’s a format that works for him and I’m the beneficiary of his efforts.
  • Don’t worry about being right – Regular readers of this blog should be able to agree with that!  It’s amazing how people who interact with a blog post can steer your thinking and that may be the single most valuable reason I blog.  Bonus – it’s always really good when people agree with you.
  • Evaluate things – Another of my favourite technology writers is Jerry Pournelle.  When he wrote for BYTE magazine, he never seemed to get anything to work the first time.  Or, at least that seemed to be his style which I enjoyed.  Beyond that, he was always discovering things.  That sent me on a road of discovery and blogging about it just seems natural.
  • Don’t get hung up on replies – I may be out on a limb here.  There are some bloggers who write one post that generates hundreds of replies.  I’ve yet to have that type of “success”.  My primary goal is to get my thoughts posted and it’s gravy if someone happens to add a reply.  Since I announce posts on Twitter, Google+, and Facebook, feedback can also come from there.  And, some readers subscribe by email so they’re not even at the blog to read it.
  • Find your niche – or have no niche and enjoy it.  Stephen Downes is a perfect example of consistency in approach and regularity.  I’d like to think I’m completely different because I’ve given myself license to write about anything and experiment with things like my recent interview series.
  • Enjoy yourself – I’ll be honest.  I don’t think I would enjoy blogging for a living.  (although if I was offered enough money…)  I enjoy it as a hobby and a way to get some of my thoughts out into the open.  I’ve met some incredible people online and face to face because of it.

There you have it.  My extension to Edna’s original post.  If you’re a blogger, what tips would you give others?

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