Posted on July 17, 2008
5 tips for blog beginners
Craig Stolz, formerly a journalist at The Washington Post, has been blogging for one year. On the occasion of his blog’s anniversary, he wrote this succinct list of lessons learned, which is rather brilliant:
- A personal blog is as valuable to the writer as the reader.
- Entry titles are as important as content. Titles should be dead-clear.
- Don’t expect your best content to be rewarded. Accept that blog audiences are so unpredictable and that some of your most valuable gems will stay buried.
- Stand on the roof in a thunderstorm holding up a rake. You never know when lightning will strike, but you can improve your odds. (Definitely go to Stolz’s post and read the further explanation of this one!)
- Write short and use pictures.
Just a few comments:
Tip No. 1 cannot be emphasized enough among journalists and journalism students. Writing a blog will make you better at everything related to being a good journalist. Word. You will become a better writer, researcher, investigator, skeptic, listener, communicator — and editor. You will also become better at everything concerning the Web, if you really apply yourself to blogging. I speak from personal experience on this.
Tip No. 2 has a direct relationship to No. 3, and I think we could learn something from Stolz’s own post. His post title: “Five Lessons from a Year of Blogging.” My title for this post: “5 tips for blog beginners.” Now, think about a person typing search tems into Google. Lessons and blogging? Or tips and blog? Your choice of keywords in the post title is of paramount importance to the findability of the post itself. Every word counts. The title also needs to be short — five or six words is an ideal length.
No. 5 is as great as the immensely famous tip from Strunk and White — “Omit needless words.” Yeah.