Wednesday, July 29, 2009

How to blog

This morning I got asked, "How do I write a blog?" This, culled from various sources, is my answer:
  • Set a schedule, blog often Aim for somewhere between three and six posts a week for the first month. Writing blog posts so often will likely be tough at first: it's something else to do in an already busy schedule, and most people find it hard to write well. But it does get easier with practice.
  • Don't aim for perfection It's generally better to aim for quantity, not quality. Don't try to craft every sentence to perfection, instead get information out to your audience quickly.
  • Write casually but clearly Write quickly, as if you're talking to a friend. Readers want you to get to the point. Ryan Singel, who writes about security and privacy at's Threat Level, offers a great tip: Start every post with a good first sentence that describes the story you are going to tell. Assume your reader won't get past the first paragraph. Never start with anything like "Sometimes when I hear about stupid things in the news, I just want to hit the wall," or "I haven't written about this in a long time, but today there was a story ..."
  • Add something new Readers won't stick with you unless you give them something they can't find elsewhere. Contribute some reporting or focus on an aspect of the story that few others have noticed.
  • Join the conversation. And link! The only way people will find your blog is through other blogs—and you'll get other blogs to notice you by responding to what they're writing about. Do this both in your blog and in the comments sections of other blogs. Take other people's ideas seriously: Don't just say you love or hate a post; say why he's right or wrong. Also, try not to steal other people's scoops. And if you do cite another blog's work, give credit prominently (e.g. These ideas come from Farhad Manjoo writing at Slate).
  • Don't expect instant fame Actually, don't expect any fame. There are better ways than blogging to get rich and famous.
  • Write in short chunks, use Bold to highlight the key words - make your content punchy, easy for the reader to scan for the bits they want to read.

So why should you blog? Because if you do it well for long enough, people—maybe a few hundred, maybe a few thousand, maybe more—will begin to read you. How long will it take to gain that following? You'll probably have to wait a year or more before anyone starts paying attention. If you can't wait that long, stop now. Also keep in mind there are reasons to stick with blogging even if just a handful of people read your work. Writing regularly will boost your ability to express yourself, a boon in any conceivable task, Atwood says.
Read the full article from which I drew this at