Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Better Blogging

This is my 200th blog entry. Starting in late August of 2009, I began this blog to document a trip I took to Italy with a group from the Albers School of Business and Economics at Seattle University, fulfilling some international electives required for the MBA program. In the 915 days since I started, the longest gap was 139 days, in early 2010, probably due to being busy finishing my degree. Discounting this gap, I am posting at a rate of about once every four days on average.
In which I am handed
a lovely leather case for
my diploma, which arrived
in the mail about 4 months later

My most viewed entry was a post I did last April, about how I learned to ski. It has been found by readers 238 times. Most of my posts are seen by about 20 readers, and Facebook drives most of my traffic (followed by Twitter).
I have written about travel, cooking and eating, pets living and pets dying, growing up in the suburban mid-west, and parenting. The label “dogs” is attached to 22 posts, but a search on my blog attaches it to 39 posts. Most of the expert advice around building a readership of loyal followers encourages a blogger to have a tight focus on one topic (indoor gardening, gluten-free cooking, atheist parenting).  One assumption is that if you’re a blogger you want as many readers as you can get, and if you want to learn about the finer points of using analytics and search-engine optimization, there are folks with lots of advice for you.
As for me, the blog is a place to send friends who want to know what’s up and it is a way to get myself writing while I figure out what I’m doing next. Beyond common sense rules, like “be interesting,” and “respect other people’s privacy,” I only have a few. Rules have to make sense. They have to be enforceable, broad and logical. They should be necessary, and sufficient. You should have as few rules as possible. If you have to break a rule, you should know why you did.
  1. Post a picture, preferably your picture. It anchors the text. No more than three pictures.
  2. Keep it short. If it’s a long story tell it in two parts.
  3. Include a link. It’s the internet. You’re supposed to.
  4. Be regular, but no more than one post a day.
  5. Say something.  Reposting without commentary is what Twitter is for.
200 posts later I’m still not sure why I do it.

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