Tag Archives: blogging

Old posts…and self-honesty about motives

There’s an interesting phenomenon that happens to the blog, and it may be useful to bloggers who want to grow their readership. It is ‘body of work.’

If you write about a variety of topics, and do it long enough, your old posts become part of the Accumulated Mass of ‘Knowledge.’ Sure hope you knew what you were talking about, because it has become information people will now use. If they like it and your style, they might subscribe/follow; if they have some strong reaction, they may drop a comment.

For example, some time back I wrote about Gary Thomas Rowe, who infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan in the 1960s at the behest of the FBI. Turns out it’s not so easy to learn much about Tommy Rowe without buying one of the two books that discuss him in depth, so I turn up on searches. I wrote about a really clumsy union protest here in town, and now and then someone will still find it on a search. (WordPress provides me data about page views and the search strings that got people here.) The more offbeat the topic, the less is out there about it, and the likelier your take is to appear. If you’re going to game the system, might as well play to win.

Anyway, if you think long term, you can see the strategy easily enough. I’ve got a couple hundred-odd posts now, some of them of interest to almost no one, sprayed across the topical spectrum, and the result is a passive generator of public interest that requires zero activity on my part. (Except for dumping the spam bin, which WP makes pretty easy.) Information may not be the reason one blogs, and this is fine, but I’m learning that information will get you attention. That, I think, most bloggers would like, even the ones on the “I don’t give a damn if people read it, I don’t care what anyone thinks, bray bray bray” trip. Oh, yes, you do. If you didn’t, it’d be a personal diary on your machine. Instead you post it where you can never quite call it back. On some level, you want to be read.

It also helps if you can write, I think, but I know some fairly popular blogs put out by crappy writers, so it isn’t just your literary chops. It also has to do with knowing something–and sharing what you know. I think it’s fun.

Setting up a blog

There are lots of reasons to do this.  Check all that apply:

  • You just want to spout about world affairs, or whatever else you care about.
  • You want to practice writing regularly.
  • You want a diary you can share with people.
  • You travel and like to share as you go.
  • You take a lot of pics and like to share.
  • You don’t trust Faceplant with that stuff any further than you can throw a cheesecake under water.
  • Other odd reasons I never thought of.

I haven’t tried anything but WP, recommended to me by the highly esteemed CJ Cherryh.  There’s Blogger, Blogspot, Tumblr, and more.  What I like about WP:

  • It’s pretty easy to get started and figure out all the doodads.
  • They make it easy to get a domain name.
  • Customer service is friendly and honest.

What I don’t like, so far:

  • Gallerys are a mess.  If the gallery gets screwed up as you are creating it, you can’t fix it; you have to delete all the photos and start again, losing all the captions, sequencing, all that other work.  We had that when I posted the Alaska pics.
  • When you make a post, it puts up a sidebar congratulating you for the number of posts.  The sidebar does nothing useful, nor can you make it stop.  And if I try clicking on it, my browser crashes.  In the first place, I don’t need a brownie button for achieving 175 posts.  In the second, I like to be able to make stuff like that shut up.

If I were looking over blog software, I’d try the basics of all of them and then just keep the one I liked best.