Serious Blogging is more than just a personal storytelling experience. Sure, the point of having an online diary itself can be rewarding, but these days blogging can make you some pocket money and, if you are really serious about it, a living as well.
What it takes?
So what does it really take to make it big in the blog world, and, for that matter, the Web world as well? Of course there isn’t any instant magic-mantra that you can follow to get blogging success, but by following these simple tips, you can make your mark and, probably, a few bucks as well.
Pen and keyboard ready!
For serious blogging, it is important that you have the pen and/or keyboard at hand at all or most times. This doesn’t mean that you need to carry a laptop with you all the time. It just means that mental notes of things you want to blog about are often forgotten, so it is advisable to write it down somewhere (backs of bus/train tickets, napkins at restaurants, etc., make for reasonable idea remembrance). Ideas are no respecters of time and place, they may come at you in the oddest of moments. If you are planning to be a dedicated blogger, always keep a pen and shorthand pad within easy reach. Better to jot down the fleeting idea, rather than lose it. It may be that one such idea will be your greatest post and float you to the top of the blogosphere.
Put thoughts to words
A great idea is just an idea until you work on it or tell someone about it. To blog, you need to be able to write. Which doesn’t mean that you need to be a ‘writer’ per se. Basically, you should be able to spill out the idea in words. The reader must be able to see what you see, and ‘get’ what you want to say. The better the articulation of your thoughts, the better the reader’s experience, and more likely will be the connection with your thought. So get your words as vivid as your thoughts. There are few things to keep in mind when spilling your thoughts out on paper. Do not get into long sentences often. This is a sure shot way to lose readers. This does not mean that you cannot use long sentences. Sometimes what you have to say cannot be said any shorter, but use them sparingly. Group your thoughts into paragraphs. Keep a logical flow from one thought to the next. Proof read what you’ve written. If you are using Microsoft Word you can use their Spelling and Grammar (Press [F7] or Tools > Spelling and Grammar) tool to check for spelling and grammatical errors. Remember that the tool is just a guide and you will have to make your own judgment and decide what is right. For example, a general rule of writing is to avoid passive sentences. MS Word may highlight certain sentences as passive. Your decision to change it to the active voice should be dependent on the context and not just what MS Word says! The final decision is yours.
Be topical… or not!
This is one of the great debates in blogging. Should blogs be personal diaries? Should they be opinions on things of ‘popular importance’? Should they be a description of how bad your lunch was? I say, you don’t need to confine yourself to ‘generalizing’ your blog. Write about anything and everything you fancy. As long as you’re true to your words, and you feel that it’s a thought that has readership potential, go ahead, blather all you want. There is also a merit in discussing just one topic like rock music, or cricket, or bus travel. But decide where you have more things to write about, consistently, and go with that. What you write about will in part be dictated by your blog’s theme, your objectives (if any!) in maintaining a blog and of course what’s buzzing in your mental word factory. In general if you decide to focus on a particular topic you should stick to it. Though of course, it being a personal blog, going off topic once in a while will be a refreshing change that will break the monotony of sticking to the same subject.
Language no bar
This is the next wave in blogging. Regional language blogs. Chinese, French, Spanish, Swahili. Blogging is not just an English language fad anymore. There are many readers looking out to read content in their own language. Desi Pundit (www.desipundit.com), a popular Indian blog, is available in, apart from English, Hindi, Kannada, Tamil, Bangla and Marathi! Hindi Blogs (www.hindiblogs.com) is a free Hindi blog aggregator and is a great place to get into the whole Hindi blog movement.
Consistency pays – Don’t be away for too long
The blogosphere is littered with one post and ten post blogs. If you wish to make a name or earn an income from blogging you will need to be there posting to your blog regularly. If today is October and your last post was in July, the likelihood of anyone reading your blog is slim to nil. With blogging, you have to be regular. This is not to say that you should think of it as a daily chore, but more that you need to have at least some schedule of regularity in your updates. You may choose to write every day, or you may choose to write once or twice a week. Whatever the regularity you decide, stick to it. Choose a regularity that you are sure you can keep. Long spells of no updates are a strict no-no. If you must be away, or are unable to update for a reasonably long period (even two weeks is long in the blogging world these days), let your readers know that you are going to be away. The longer you stay away the more you risk losing readers.
Be prepared to have no readers!
At the beginning, it is quite likely that the only person, who visits your blog, is you. Things are usually slow when it comes to visitors on blogs. Remember that there are millions of blogs on the web all vying for readers’ time, and though you’re not just another blogger, you are just another blogger in the bigger picture. To build a loyal reader base you need to be persevering enough to go a long time with a very few set of visitors. But perseverance does pay and will pay in the long run. Be persistent and consistent and you will see the results soon enough.
To be Continued……..