Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Blogging bad habits

I've just recently read a decent concise book about blogging for business called “Blogging to Drive Business” by Eric Butow and Rebecca Bollwitt, due out on 28th February next year.

I got sent the chapters by the publishers who were after a quote for the notes on the cover. So hopefully my comments are there when the book arrives on bookshelves (if there are any physical bookstores left in 2010)

Anyhow, this book explains the "who, what and how" of this art-form.
Note: I've called it this, rather than a science, as the: subjects, measurement and quality are completely subjective.

It has therefore got me around to thinking about blogging best practice and I think it's time to mention, not the good things I find about blogging... But the mistakes that are made so often.
  1. Writing badly
    Yes, i know I'm guilty of it sometimes (I use an iPhone blogging app sometimes, so I don't get the chance to correct my spelling before I post), but this has to be a major reason why I stop reading blogs. Not everyone is a great writer... so if you're not, take time to read your entire posting again before you submit it. If you can wait a bit beforehand, even better.
  2. Blogging in anger
    Submitting a post just to vent your spleen is the equivalent of drunk-dialling. However unlike a midnight call to an ex-lover... your post can be up on the web for a very long time and you can quickly regret doing it. Always remember that everyone on the web can read your post, not just you. In particular, if you mention a person or company in a particularly nasty way.... consider NOT doing this and then consider it again! (I'll not even venture into the legal nightmare of defamation and libel for more vitriolic posts)
  3. Not replying to comments
    So someone has taken the time to read your blog and even write something in response. Now assuming they are not a spammer or a mad person.. what reason or right have you got to ignore them? Blogging is a platform for a dialogue, not a monologue. Even a "thanks for the posting" response goes a long way to building a relationship with your audience, so whether you are a company or personal blogger... you have a brand to consider
  4. Intermittent blogging
    Yes I know that writing a daily blog can be a huge investment in time, so if you can't maintain a daily blog... don't do it! (consider writing a weekly blog instead). Its understandable that we take holidays or time off, but if you know this is likely, why not write a post or two in advance and schedule them to go live when you're absent - most blogging packages allow this functionality these day.
    Note: I've yet to see a headline of a dead blogger continuing to post thanks to this feature, but I bet it has happened!
  5. Writing posts that are too short or too long
    If you wanted something fluffy that goes "meow" then you wouldn't buy a dog and try to train it to do it, would you? (you'll be disappointed or on TV/YouTube very quickly). So don't blog if you are only going to post a few words (use Twitter) or a huge amount (write a book/ebook). Statistics from back in 2006 from ProBlogger showed that the average time visitors spend reading a blog post is 96 seconds. Now, potentially these times have decreased as people have got used to Twitter's 'microblogging' format, but the general consensus still to keep your postings between 200 - 500 words.
    Note: If you have a much longer piece, consider breaking this up into two or more articles

So... does anyone have any more?

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