I think blogging is a great thing, but I must say, I’m a little intimidated by the task. A lot of the blogs that I respect are people who are accomplished authors in the world of print selling bestselling novels, or are well-accomplished in their field of study. Being neither of these things, I feel like Wayne and Garth in Wayne’s World, “I’m not worthy!” That said, I do think it would benefit me to know how to write a good blog. Learning how to attract and keep users is essential to any blog as well as any website, and I’m sure some of the same basic principles can be applied to both.

I thought I’d check out the guru on the subject of better blogging, Stephen Downes, and his article, “How to be Heard.” I like the fact that Downes is honest with the reader from the get go (which I suspect is one of the reasons he is successful. Downes starts out by saying that writing a successful blog is hard. He also goes on to say that most people do not blog just to help out greater mankind- but usually have a lot of incentive for themselves. At the same time, you have to give something back to the reader. This point makes me realize I need to change the purpose of my blog a bit. Originally my purpose in writing a blog about being new to Dallas was simply to help other people who are in the same situation. But, when it comes down to it, I may stand to gain from the blog, like learning about the city I’m living in and maybe if I make the blog awesome I could possibly get some advertisers ;).

I thought Downes’ point about writing about intersections was very interesting. You can make a blog noteworthy by writing from your unique perspective on the world. Buildin a schedule for writing is also essential, Downes explains, for a successful blog. This of course makes a lot of sense to me, but I wonder how much discipline I have in the field of blogging to maintain a serious schedule. Downes also commented on the importance of a clean design, which being an aspiring web designer, I of course would be focused on. A simple layout does best serve a blog and you definitely don’t want to distract the reader. Downes also points out that you should interact with other people’s blogs, which can help foster interactivity. I think in doing a New to Dallas blog, posting comments on similar blogs to mine would help gain readership and get my blog noticed, and probably help me to learn a lot of new cool things about the city.

Additionally, I saw an article on ProBlogger.com by Darren Rowse called, “12 Ways to be a More Interactive and Accessible Blogger.” Again, I was struck by the honestly of the author, who basically says you have to be vain to be a good blogger. I definitely think this point is true, only you can truly make your blog a success. If you don’t care- who will? Rowse definitely emphasizes the extreme importance of being interactive with your blog. I know that if I commented on someone’s blog that I really respected and they wrote me back I would be really excited and would want to keep reading their blog. With all this interactivity you have to be organized. This is why Rowse recommends having a managagement system for your blog, which I think is a very good idea.

I thought Rowse’s point about video on your blog was a great point. Instead of a constant stream of text, it would nice to present the reader with something different and perhaps show a different side of your personality. In terms of actual writing style, Rowse suggests a conversational tone. I think sometimes when I write I try to sound “important” and it usually ends up sounding hokey, so this is definitely a good suggestion. Rowse also gives tips on how to get your blog to gain in popularity and how to keep track of what people say about your blog… which all comes back to being a little vain ☺