Blog Advice

by Jun 9, 2010Tech3 comments

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A friend just asked me for advice in starting a blog. This is what I sent him:

  1. Have a definite purpose and audience for your blog. My purpose is to be for other younger seminary guys what my seminary roommate was for me: an older friend encouraging and modeling good Bible interpretation and nascent scholarship. I also throw in tech advice.
  2. Post every other day at least. This is absolute when you start out, a little negotiable as time passes.
  3. Read blogs so you understand the medium. You need to know what makes for a good blog: the length of posts, the kinds of posts, some of the mechanics of posting (like HT’s, etc.).
  4. Have a Feedburner subscription counter on your main page.
  5. Get a nice design; get help from friends who know design if you’re not sure.
  6. Use Windows Live Writer to write your posts. It’s free. For Mac I bought Ecto.
  7. Think very carefully about your blog’s name. Choose it only after looking at many other blogs in your portion of the blogosphere. Justin Taylor’s Between Two Worlds is arguably the most prominent, followed by Challies.com. There are many others, of course.
  8. Recognize that the blog medium demands a little whimsy every once in a while. You can’t be dead earnest with every single word. Dryness won’t reach readers.
  9. Use pictures whenever possible.
  10. Comment on other people’s blogs, but never tout your own blog on their blogs. That’s considered very bad form.
  11. Consider carefully whether this is a medium you can really shine in or not.

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3 Comments
  1. Jon B

    Mark,

    What is your reasoning for #’s 2 and 4?

    Reply
  2. Mark L Ward Jr

    Good question.

    2. Obviously, this “requirement” may vary by blog, but my understanding of the medium leads me to suggest that those who best maximize it are those who use its immediacy and keep readers engaged by posting on a regular basis—a basis without too much of a gap in between the regularity. This was probably more the case when feedreaders weren’t as big, but even today not everyone uses feedreaders.

    4. Now that I look at 4… I’m willing to back off a bit! My reason is that people tend to take more seriously a blog that already has some readers.

    Reply
  3. Jon B

    Thanks, Mark

    Reply

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