Tuesday, December 12, 2006

My Blogging Smarts: Balance

It's been several months since I posted the previous installment in my blogging tips series. I figure it's time to revisit the topic. You can find my previous posts here, here, and here.

This time, I would like to present effective blogging from the perspective of balance. Let's consider three dimensions that describe a blogger's approach:


Content Refresh - How frequently are posts added? How new and unique is the content presented?
  • If content is refreshed too seldom or if it lacks originality, readers will perceive the blog to be stale. If they believe there is little to see, they will return seldom, if at all.

  • If content is refreshed too frequently, the blogger risks setting a pace for themselves that is not sustainable. The result is burn-out and loss of interest.

Tightness of Focus - To what extent does the blogger establish and follow a coherent theme?
  • If the blogger's focus is too disjointed, their content may attract readers and then lose them just as quickly as posts bounce from one interest to another. In order to build a regular readership, it's best to concentrate on a single theme or target audience.

  • However, if a blogger's focus is too narrow, they may run out of interesting topics (yielding stale content) or fail to attract a significant audience.

Level of Engagement - How involved is the blogger with the larger community?
  • A blogger in isolation is a single voice that will seldom be heard. The power of the web, and blogs in particular, lies in connections among people, sites, and ideas. Failure to leverage these connections will doom even the most insightful blog.

  • At the same time, connections can easily become a distraction. Time spent reading blogs is time that a blogger cannot invest in their own site. Without a certain amount of self-control, this trap can divert a blogger's energy and efforts.

For each dimension, success lies in finding a workable balance. Balance points may vary widely based upon bloggers' objectives and values. The real challenge faced by every blogger is finding and maintaining their comfortable equilibrium.

3 comments :

Spanky said...

Bonnie, this is a good post. I admire your blog for the variety of interesting things you find to put on it. I think this is an area where we can improve our blog, but we're still learning as we go. Thanks for your inspiration and insight!

hugs, Spanky

Amber said...

Interesting Bonnie, since I put mine up, I was thinking carefully about all of those questions - what makes people read my blog and come back? Writing a successful blog, as I see it, is the same type of salemanship you use when selling, say, meat, or school raffle tickets or what have you.

I found that's important to appeal to a large enough audience while within the same field. I find that it's important to have a little something for everyone.

I also found it very interesting see some of the fellow bloggers and their blogs, and what following they develop - who comments, what mood is set (I only read 5 other blogs regularly, and a few others very ocasionally), the atmosphere, the circle of people who comment regularly.

I found that a tasteful, readable template is very important to me as a reader - I simply don't read blogs when they are hard to read visually, because it hurts my vision.

I found it important to cultivate the nascent "community" by responding to people's comment's personally and showing to them that I appreciate their reading it and care about what they have to say.

Also, people like pictures, people like to stare at stuff which gets them thinking, even if it's not my striped bottom.

I also found that I wanted to avoid profanity in terms of language and pictures.

All in all, it's been a blast, and because I look for new subjects for my blog, I get to experiment a whole lot more in r/l. It has addedd something special to my relationship.

Thanks again,
Amber

Bonnie said...

Spanky - Thanks! If we had as much fun as you and Kallisto, I wouldn't spend so much time pondering what to post! I think you're doing great.

Amber - I agree that a blog should be marketed to a certain degree. I've never made a dime on my blog and I seriously doubt I ever will. Nevertheless, I'm a writer and every writer wants people to read their content.

That's why I try to encourage or entice readers to return for more.

I don't need a huge audience, but it's wonderful to have enough dedicated readers to support participatory activities like brunches and polls. I also adore their insightful comments. I want readers to feel as though they are part of the blog, because in my mind, they truly are.

I think your other points are all quite valid. If you haven't read my previous blogging articles (linked at the top of this post), they may offer a few more suggestions.

I look forward to following your future adventures on the farm!

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