Friday, February 26, 2010

Creating a blog

This is a massive topic that cannot be covered in one single post. I've got some sub categories (like blog design, writing and blogging) on blogging, so you may want to read up on those later. But right now, you're probably wondering why you should even start a blog.

There are many reasons:
  1. It links with your LinkedIn profile and makes you look better
  2. You can use it to showcase your knowledge
  3. You can use it to track the information you discover along the way
  4. It will force you to follow other important people in your field and interact with them
Those are just a few, once you start more reasons will wander out of the woodwork. It's not easy to write, some people have a lot of difficulty with it. LC has a network of copywriters there for you to utilise and get help from, this is just another facet of the support structure. Most of it will involve reading other peoples work of your topics, but remember blogging also allows you to present your own spin on any subject matter you feel.

This will always look good to potential employers when they can see that you're an original thinker.

There are many free hosting sites that you can present your blog on. I used the blogger network because it's very simple and the dashboard application allows me to navigate into google analytics without any fuss. I can also track other blogs from the dashboard, so in essence it gives me all I want without any problems. But if you want more customisation you may want to go with WordPress.

How you want to present the blog is completely up to you, but look at some of the other popular blogs out there and notice what works and what doesn't. You're not going to be monetising your blog any time soon so try not to fill it with clutter and make it difficult to navigate.

Widgets are a part of any blog and you're going to have to play around with them. This will help give you a feel for the environment and design. They can also be useful for generating visitors. I use a widget from BlogCatalog that keeps track of any incoming visitors that have been referred here but Google Analytics also tells me this, so in essence it's only there to show my visitors that I'm being visited regularly.

You've definitely got to think strategically with your blog, but the whole exercise of creating your own blog is to explore and experiment. This will give you invaluable experience that will carry over outside of LC.

You don't have to blog only about your LC stuff. Remember it's your blog, so try to work in a topic that you're passionate about and let that passion shine through. I've got a few different topics that you can see in my category tags and I also have multiple blogs (mainly because the tone and subject matter are too varied to be in one). What topic you choose is up to you, but keep in mind that certain topics will get more interest, like dating or relationship advice over tricking out your laptop with the latest designs. So keep note of the audience you will be attracting with your subject matter.

Keeping your blog interesting and coming up with new subject matter can be difficult. How you solve this is up to you, but reading other blogs always works as inspiration and when you follow them, most of the time they'll follow you back and you'll get breadcrumb visits from those blogs. Don't worry about building a big audience right now, that will come over time as you make connections over the net with other people in your field.

These connections will most likely also have a LinkedIn profile and your steady connections will grow from that. By now, you'll see how it's all integrated and how each facet lends to the other. As your time investment grows in your blogs and social media profiles, so will your reputation and credibility.

Commenting is also an important part of blogging. A blog looks lonely without them and you'll discover there are many automated bots that will worm their way into your site with atrocious spam masquerading as valid engagement. One of the best parts of working at LC is you can send everyone an update on your twitter feed when you've posted a new blog and more than likely some of the staff members will leave comments. They'll probably also be following your blog and then what do you know, you've got a popular blog with interactive readers!

Next step: Tweeting and

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Short Stories and other Curiosities

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