Wednesday, July 12, 2006

My blogging advice

for what it's worth...

La Shawn Barber
happens to be one of my blogging heroes, so when La Shawn speaks, I listen. La Shawn is now dispensing some blogging advice, along with the wonderful Sister Toldjah (is that one of the greatest names for a blog, or what?)

La Shawn has also asked fellow bloggers to share their advice to newbies. So here goes:

I entered the blogosphere on October 10, 2003--about a month before La Shawn did--and her rise has been meteoric, while mine has been less so. I seem to waver between Marauding Marsupial and Large Mammal status in the TTLB ecosystem these days, and I can't seem to put my finger on what causes the wavering. (My radio co-host, Darren Marlar, says I'm the only woman he knows who actually WANTS to be called a Large Mammal.)

However, I'm happy for the readership I do have, and I'm constantly trying to build that readership. Here are my tips, some of which you may have heard before, but they bear repeating:

1) Make your blog interesting, both in appearance and content.--Good writers are a dime a dozen in the blogosphere. You have to stand out in some way. Many of us have the same Blogger templates--if that's true in your case, jazz it up with personal photos and colorful graphics, judiciously used (not too "busy," please.) I actually would like to look into a more attractive template for this blog, and hope to do so sometime in the future.

Blog about what interests you, and it will probably interest other people as well. If your unique personality comes through, so much the better! I know some people like the pundit-type blogs that just spit out facts and links, but I'm much more drawn to blogs with personality. Take La Shawn, for instance. She's right on top of the news, but her unique persona is all over her blog.

2) Blog consistently.--It's OK to take the occasional break, but try to post SOMETHING on a regular basis. If people keep stopping by and there's nothing new, or if their blogfeeds don't show you as having posted recently, they could give up on you.

3) Link to other blogs, mention other blogs, comment on other blogs, trackback to other blogs.--The more you talk about other blogs, the more attention you'll get. I know some bloggers look down on "memes" and participation in things like the Thursday Thirteen, but the truth is, I've gotten a lot of new readers from participating in those things. And I think they're fun!

4) Participate in showcases like the Christian Carnival.--Such "carnivals" showcase your best work, and attract new readers to your blog as well. I've slacked off in carnival participation, but this reminds me to get back into it. Here's more info on the Christian Carnival.

5) Join blogrolls with people of common interests and beliefs.--I'm part of The Church Directory, Christian Women Online and Family Friendly blogs, to name a few...see my sidebar for links.

Most of all, BE YOURSELF and stay true to what you want your blog to be about. I determined from the beginning that my blog would primarily focus on faith, family, fiction and entertainment. That's a wide field, and I reserve the right to blog about anything I want--politics, current events, moral issues, whatever.

However, no matter what I'm blogging about, I want it to be filtered through my faith and my Christian world view.

As I told Jason Janz of SharperIron when I interviewed him, "The way I look at my own blog, I just hope that it's a little grain of salt and a little ray of light in the blogosphere...I let it be about anything I want it to be, but it's always out there that I'm a Christian, and the stand that I take. And my blog is just a tiny little segment of the blogosphere, but that's my prayer for it, is that it will be a little bit of light, a little bit of salt out there, because there's so much ugly stuff on the Internet."

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