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The question of the day is "Should you start a Blog?"
People all over the planet are blogging. Companies, CEOs, lawyers, journalists, stewardesses. Even dogs and babies.
Why? Because they can. It's that simple.
Blogging requires little or no learning curve. If you can type, speak into a phone, bark, chew, record a holiday movie, you can blog.
Blogs have taken publishing out of the domain of those who know HTML and designing, to make this powerful tool available to the rest of us.
That holiday in the Far East, your grandma's birthday, you company's latest product offering, your new recipe for rum cake, your daughter's first step, your pet's antics, what you thought of the Garfield movie - you can blog all this and more.
A blog is an online journal or diary. Which makes it ideal for voicing your opinion, recording your pregnancy blahs or announcing your company's latest acquisition.
People are using them to communicate with family, for education, for business, and almost anything else you can think of.
But one thing not all blogs get is a readership.
Unless your blog is only for your family or your business colleagues, you're probably writing with the hope that someone will read about what you think.
So many blogs are started with little or no purpose. If you want to blog and survive, first start by answering your why.
If you're writing only for the search engine spiders, then be prepared for no one but them to read your keyword-rich spam.
Blogs demand a readership. And for that you have to write about something worth reading.
Here are some tips to follow if you want human beings to read your blogs.
1. Stay on topic
Opinions are fine, but unless you're the CEO of Microsoft, very few people will want to know what you ate for breakfast. If you started your blog to air your raves and rants about the latest movie you saw, better mention movies in at least every post you write.
2. Write in a conversational tone
Forget what your English professor taught you. Write the way you speak, or you'll end up sounding uptight and unnatural. And no one reads tightass copy... even from the CEO of Microsoft.
3. Be opinionated
Your blog is not a company brochure or a press release, but a way for people a.k.a. your target audience, to get to know the real you. The worst sin you can commmit is to bore your readers. Most people respond better to an honest airing of views than pleasant platitudes. And if you get a few rude or nasty comments in response to your posts, just accept the fact that you can't please everyone
4. Be funny
Infuse your posts with your natural wit for a better response from your target audience. And if not everyone appreciates your particular brand of humor, read the last sentence in the point above.
5. Stay informed
If you're writing about your profession, you'd better know what you are talking about. Word spreads at the speed of thought in the blogospere and if you're trying to become an authority on something you know very little of, prepare yourself for the brickbats.
6. Stay current
Write about the latest developments in your field. No one wants to read stuff that has been around for a long time, or that hundreds of other bloggers have chronicled.
7. Update frequently, but don't burnout
Most blogs die because of blogger burnout - bloggers trying to update too frequently. Stick to a publishing schedule that is humanly possible for you. If you've just updated your blog and find a story you want to share, save it for later.
On the other hand, don't post just because you think you have to stick to a schedule. Going a few days or even weeks without posting is fine if you really have nothing worth sharing.
So are you still wondering if you should blog?
If you think you can meet the requirements above, and know your why, then like the shoe people say - just do it.
Resistance is futile.
Priya Shah is an ezine publisher by day and doubles as a Blog Maniac by night. Blog Brandz is the legitimate offspring of her affair with the blogosphere.
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