Wednesday, June 08, 2005

My Secret Blogging Practices Revealed

my secret blogging practices REVEALED

What Do You Mean by "Secret" Practices?

As many of you have probably noticed, I use some special, unique, innovative blogging practices.

Now, for the first time, I'm going to reveal these virtually unknown, "secret" techniques.

You may wish to follow my example, and start using some of these special practices. They may help your blog be more effective, more interesting, and more popular.

When I say "secret" I mean: Not widely used. I've been using these techniques, but have never really explained them. These techniques are "hidden" or "esoteric" in the sense that I'm not aware of any other bloggers using them, nor discussing them.

A few may not be that unusual or "secret", but some are quite extraordinary.

Most blogs could benefit from these practices, thus I'd like to see them spread through the blogosphere.

My Secret Blogging Practices:


I "sign" every post, as follows...

[signed] Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate

Strategic Reason = To make the posts seem a tiny bit more personal. It also increases the search results when doing a search on my name or on "Vaspers the Grate".

A simulated "hand-written" signature is NOT used, due to identity theft and security concerns.


aka = "also known as", a nickname.

Strategic Reason: I use an "aka" that is the name of my first and still primary corporate blog site ("Vaspers the Grate").

I use the "aka Vaspers the Streight" everywhere, in my own blog posts, in comments at other blogs, in discussion lists, at online forums, and in my email signatures.

When I do a search engine search on the name of my blog, all these "Vaspers the Grate"s come up, so I can track all my comments, blog posts, everything.

This use of an "aka" also helps spread the meme of my blog title. Every time I leave a comment at another blog, for example, my name appears as "Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate". So my blog is promoted with every comment posted, in addition to the URL being embedded in my name.


I often add extra spaces between paragraphs, primarily when I wish to separate thoughts in a way that is more emphatic than just regular one return paragraphing.

Also, I will use ellipses ("...") to separate two thought within one sentence...

...and insert a paragraph space or two to keep them even more separated.

Strategic Reason: I know that most blog readers are in a hurry, are impatient, and tend to skim, scan, and skip past what seem irrelevant or difficult to read.

Readers HATE dense blocks of text.

Even long sentences can be difficult for readers to absorb. So I either split a two thought sentence into two fragments, or I will list the items, using numbers, bullets, or asterisks.


I have begun to ask more questions in my blog posts, to encourage readers to interact, to join the conversation.

I also have created some "feedback banners", those graphic images inserted at the end of a post, asking readers to post a comment or email me their opinion.

Strategic Reason: Comments are user-generated content. Some readers may have good information, new facts, great opinions to add to what I've written.

My blogs are not pulpits from which I bang out sermons.

I want to foster an online community of blogophiles (blog lovers) who care about the same topics that I am exploring. It's a joint effort, a team investigation.

You tend to get more comments when you actively seek them and ask for them.

Just saying "Now, what's your opinion on this? Am I right, or mistaken?" can inspire someone to react to what you've written.

The word "opinion" seems to be more effective than "thinking" as in "what do you think?" People see "thinking" as hard work, but people are full of opinions and like to share them with others.


I sprinkle graphic, non-textual, colorful rectangular separators in my sidebar.

Strategic Reason: To prevent one item from seeming to be connected to, or implying an endorsement of, another item. Or to make a specific function, like "email update notifications" have an enclosed space in the sidebar.

Basically, to keep the sidebar tidy looking.


In a blog post at one blog, I will encourage readers to visit another of my blogs, with a link to the other blog's main page, or with links to various articles (posts) that are new, instructive, or controversial.

Strategic Reason: Why neglect your own blogs as platforms for promotion? One blog can point readers to your other blogs, web sites, or wikis.

This should be done only once in while, not constantly, but a sidebar list of "my other sites" is a good idea.

Most readers will be satisfied with just one of your sites, but other fans may be highly motivated to see your other work.


I almost always display the URL {web address starting with "http:(forward slash, forward slash)..."} of any hypertext link in a post. In other words, I don't just embed the URL in the text, making the text a hypertext link.

Strategic Reason: Some users prefer to type in, or copy and paste, a link. They don't like click-selecting a hypertext or image link.

This also enables me to see the URL address for use in other posts. I can print out a post, and have all the URLs typed out. Otherwise, a print-out of a post will not provide any URLs.


When refering to the activation of a hypertext or image link, I say "click-select it", rather than the more common "click it."

Strategic Reason: Not everyone is using a mouse as interface. Some use keyboard commands, others use voice activation systems or other assistive technology, to navigate sites and activate links.


I put the title of a post in the title field (right above the post text), in a caption under the accompanying artwork, and sometimes even in the first sentence of the post text. In other words, the title is repeated or "redundant".

Strategic Reason: I do this multiple citation of post titles due to how the various syndication feeds and email updates derive the "title" of a post.

Some will use the actual title in the title field, others take the artwork caption as the title, and still others take the first several words of the post text.

I may need to reduce the title redundancy and try to resolve this problem in a different manner.


Readers of my blogs know very little about me. I strictly limit how much private information appears on my blogs.

Strategic Reason: I want to provide practical, insightful information to readers. Personal, private, family, employer, etc. details are not conducive to helping others understand, implement, and improve their blogs.

To reveal a lot of private tastes, interests, experiences would seem egotistic vanity (assuming that readers "like" me, when what they really "like" is the information I provide).

Then there is the very real concern about identity theft, the most "perfect" crime in human history. Almost no identity theft criminal is ever caught.


At the end of some blog posts, I'll add a "secret edit for close readers" of a few sentences or paragraphs.

Strategic Reason: To encourage blog visitors to pay close attention, to inspire them to slow down and catch subtle cues, and to reward those who do so.

This "close reading of text" is what Jacques Derrida has been described as doing with large portions of philosophical text by Rousseau, Hegel, Heidegger, Husserl, Plato, Levinas, Blanchot, and others.


When a blogger posts a comment at my blog, I visit their blog and post a comment there. This is called "reciprocal" or returning the favor.

Strategic Reason: Being polite and showing my appreciation for their taking the time to post a comment at my blog. Builds an online community of bloggers commenting at each other's blogs, a show of support and friendship.

Defend Blogs from Political Censorship

vaspersthegrate [at] yahoo [dot] com Posted by Hello

[signed] Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate

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