Blogging

Introduction

This guide is designed to introduce activists to blogging.

 

Overview

In 2002, few recognized the potential of blogs as a journalistic medium. In recent years, however, this mentality has shifted entirely. Today, bloggers command prominence and recognition as journalists. Moreover, in some regions, blogs are considered to be more credible information sources than state-run news agencies. In light of this, today’s blogosphere remains an invaluable forum for the activist community. Issue-based blogs unite like-mined individuals, and such connectivity helps to establish support networks for any given cause.
 
 

 

Considerations

What are blogs?

What should you blog about?

What blogging platform should you choose?

How long should a blog post be?

What to include in a blog post?

How to cultivate a loyal readership?

How often should you post?

How to launch you blog?
 
 

 

The basics

A weblog, or blog, offers commentary on any given subject matter. Furthermore, blogs are not limited to text. In fact, posts by some bloggers consist purely of video and photographic content.  
 
 

 

Choosing a topic

When choosing a topic for your blog, it is important to keep in mind that there are no strict guidelines dictating appropriate blog content.
 
 

 

Choosing a platform

Fortunately, there are many free platforms for would-be bloggers to choose from:

Blogger

WordPress

Tumblr

b2evolution

Dotclear

Serendipity

LifeType

Posterous  

With a wealth of weblog software to choose from, any blogger’s eventual decision on a platform comes to be a matter of personal preference.
 
 

 

Word count/Length

As there are no rules when it comes to the appropriate length of a blog post, the word count of any given entry depends on the personal preferences of a blogger. However, to ensure your posts are read, it is recommended that posts remain within a reasonable word limit.  Nevertheless, a blogger should never feel that their creativity is constrained or confined.

Interestingly, bloggers are encouraged to populate their blogs with posts of a variety of lengths. It is believed that a range of post lengths and styles appeals to readers.
 
 

 

Blog post must-haves

One consistent recommendation is that hyperlinks are a crucial component to any post.

 

When to blog

A blogger's decision on how often to post will affect their ability to cultivate a readership. Simply, readers are more likely to return to a visibly active blog. As such, new bloggers are often encouraged to devise a strict, personal posting schedule -- for instance, posting an entry every Sunday afternoon. This way, your audience will know when to expect new content and hopefully will return accordingly.
 
 

 

Post-launch/Building a readership

While you may be ready to dive headfirst into the blogosphere, there are a few additional tips to keep in mind before and after your blog's launch:
 

To improve your chances of building a loyal readership from your launch date, new bloggers are encouraged to have at least three entries posted when a blog goes live. Prepared blog posts will make readers more likely to consider your blog active, and therefore more likely to revisit.
 

Even if experiencing blogging fatigue or writer’s block, bloggers are strongly encouraged to continue posting. Whether it is an embedded video, a reference to a previous entry, or a recycled post altogether, an updated blog means that your readership is satisfied.
 

With social and participatory media gaining popularity amongst the masses, would-be bloggers should consider posing questions to their readership. Furthermore, a blogger may want to consider conversing with those who comment on their entries. Communication and engagement with one's readership may help to foster a more loyal audience.

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