Authors’ Blogs

The New York Times has an article today about authors who blog.  They were all very interesting and one thing is for sure.  Authors use their blogs as uniquely as they write their books.  Some were diaries, some shared book ideas, some shared book characters.  The book part of the blog seemed to work best for nonfiction topics where the author was posting ideas or facts and getting feedback, ideas, and pointers to sources.

The New York Times > Technology > Dear Blog: Today I Worked on My Book.

What’s a Successful Blog

Anne’s blog pointed me to this post on Asterisk about what makes A Successful Blog.  It’s a pretty good list, just check out the top five:

  • Well written.  Good content will make or break your blog.  Period.  This it the #1 thing that makes a blog successful in my book.
  • Frequently updated.  Unless you’re a guru of some sort you really need to stay on top of it.  This can be a real challenge.
  • Consistent.  This is kind of a combination of the first two.  I like sites that are able to maintain quality and frequency overtime.
  • Open.  I like to read people who are honest and willing to talk about tough issues in a free and open way.

However, I think the question you need to ask first, is "what are you trying to accomplish with your blog? " Some people want a journal, others want to keep friends and family informed, others are trying to influence political views, … Unless you know what you are trying to do, you won’t know if you are successful or not.

Which brings us to the question of "what’s the purpose of this blog?"  I started it to learn about blogging.  For me, it’s become a place to show what I’m interested in and what piques my interest in the world.  I think it has primarily three audiences:

  1. friends and family
  2. people looking for esotric information on topics like double dutch jump roping
  3. people looking for book reviews

I’ve often thought about starting a topic specific blog, but at the moment, I feel more like a jack of all trades.  There are way too many things to learn about to limit myself to studying and talking about just one!

Blogs Will Change Your Business

Business Week has a good article on how blogging will change businesses whether they are ready or not, Blogs Will Change Your Business.  It reads like a wake up call to businesses.  Worth reading if you are interested in blogging and how its changing our world – lots of good points and examples.

They also started a Business Week Blog called Blogspotting, after train spotting.

Most common search?

This weblog gets about 35-50 visitors a day and most of those are because something in my weblog was pulled up as a result of a search.  Believe it or not, at least one hit a day is from someone looking for information on double-dutch jump roping!  They go to this blog entry that I wrote in August, Double Dutch Jump Roping

For those that are now intrigued, here’s the best history I found on the web for double dutch jump roping,  National Double Dutch League.  If you are interested in finding a team near you, the USA Jump Rope organization can help.

Writing for the Web

Mark Bernstein has written a thought provoking article, 10 Tips on Writing the Living Web, about how to write for the web. How do you write an ongoing, ever changing column? What should you write about? (Something you care about.) How do you keep readers engaged? (By being passionate, personal, and consistent.)

Definitely worth a read for anyone who maintains a blog.

The New York Times & Google

Search for news on Google, and the New York Times articles rarely show up. This article in Wired discusses why. “The New York Times requires that its users register, which makes it difficult for search engines to spider its content. Perhaps an even more impenetrable barrier is the Times’ paid archive. Because it stows material more than a week old behind an archive wall, you have to cough up $3 per article. Since few are willing to pay for content they can get free elsewhere, search engines, which often base results on relevancy (read: popularity), will continue to dis the Times.”

I had to post this because just a day or two ago, my mom suggested that I not link to NYT articles in my blog since after a couple of weeks they are no longer available for free. The article had the perfect solution. This New York Times Link Generator offers a solution. They keep an archive of all of the NYT articles. Enter a NYT url and they will give you a “weblog-safe” link, one that will continue to be freely accessible even after two weeks.