Sunday, June 12, 2005

What You Owe Your Blog Readers

Here's what you should do for your blog visitors.

This is a manifesto dealing with what
your responsibilities as a blogger are.

Read what I believe are the obligations
of anyone who operates a blog.

PRINCIPLE: Operating a blog
entails a lot more than
just posting articles to it.

Operating a blog is hard work.

Many abandon their blogs after
just a few months or less.

Being a Good Blogger is not easy.

What You Owe Your Blog Readers

1. Frequent Posting: daily if possible.

2. Nice Design: Attractive, uncluttered, and professional-looking.

3. Constant Improvement: better colors, brand-new design template every year or so, refined writing style, new functions, more descriptive tagline, increased expertise, more timely content.

4. Credible Content: accurate, complete, reputable, reliable, trustworthy.

5. Relevant Content: of practical value, entertaining, or interesting.

6. Substantiating Links: to online sources to verify facts.

7. Supplementary Links: to online sources to enrich users' information pool.

8. Complimentary Links: to other blogs to familiarize readers with them.

9. Images: photos or art to enhance text, to show objects written about, and to provide visual variety for the eye.

10. Blog Cleansing: quickly and consistently delete Trackback Spam, Comment Spam, Abusive Comments, Link Rot (URLs that no longer connect to intended destination).

11. Rapid Response: reply quickly to blog comments (within the comment threads, not in a summarizing post) and to emails that readers send you.

12. Minimum Trivia: light on the irrelevant narcissistic details, especially in business blogs. Don't make readers grope around through private confessional drivel, searching for the meat. Identity theft is just one reason to not reveal too much.

12. Humor: tell jokes, be funny, when appropriate.

13. Mature Transparency: frankly admit mistakes, bad moods, factual errors, regrets over rash statements, misinterpretations of reader comments.

14. Dignified Tone: use a calm, understated, diplomatic, reserved approach whenever possible, even when expressing justified anger or frustration.

15. Professional Editing: fix typos, misspellings, grammatical errors, spacing flaws, inconsistent boldings.

16. Brevity: try not to be long-winded, keep your posts as brief as possible.

17. Easy Readability: use short sentences, short paragraphs, extra paragraph spacing, lists (numbered, asterisked, bulleted), bold heads and sub-heads, simple language (remember younger audiences and foreign readers who don't know your language well).

18. Sincerity: be true to your real opinions, tastes, experiences, beliefs.

19. Courage: don't back down from a position when attacked by flamers.

20. Friendliness: thank readers for posting comments, post only material that you think could be either helpful or interesting.

21. Informative: stay up on the latest news, facts, developments, and provide your readers with your expertise and research.

22. Free Content: provide abundant information without charge.

23. Revolutionary Ideas: help readers stay on the leading edge, and don't be afraid to be as radical as the situation demands.

24. Originality: don't just link to other content, with no analysis or commentary of your own, unless your blog is a link log, like many early blogs.

25. Focus: have a declared purpose and stick to it. The "blog about anything and everything" is so stupid, trite, and over-done it's ridiculous.

26. Authoritative: know what you're talking about, and let it show in an assertive and confident writing style.

27. Humble: be open to learning new things, and be ready to revise your own opinions when better information, or more experienced people, arrive to correct you.

28. Compassion: really love your blog readers and those who post comments, even when they question, warn, or scold you.

29. Contact Info: display a non-harvestable email address (that spambots cannot capture when they spider your blog: see how I display mine here). If a business, provide a mailing address, land phone, fax number.

30. Profile: provide some sort of "About Me" background information, biography, credentials.

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

I'm sure I've left out some other things we owe our readers.

Can you think of anything I've missed?

Post a comment, or email me your opinion.


[signed] Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate



Hans said...

Very true, I agree, thank you Steven. What my blogs do not need is maybe point
"12. Humor: tell jokes, be funny, when appropriate."

Why should posts always be short ? I like to read longer posts aswell.
"16. Brevity: try not to be long-winded, keep your posts as brief as possible."

Very good: "23. Revolutionary Ideas: help readers stay on the leading edge, and don't be afraid to be as radical as the situation demands." Fully agree.

Hans said...

The artbloggers should work 7! days a week, not only Monday until Thursday Afternoon.

steven edward streight said...

Yes, Grijsz, each blog must formulate its own standards and qualities.

This list is merely a guide to a more individualized set of principles.

But each blog needs some guiding light, some goals, some plan for benefiting the readers.

I say "Brevity" mainly because I myself am too long-winded!

My posts are often very long, more like chapters in a book, I try to cover every possible angle, so no one can comment: "But what about this point?" or "You forgot to mention this situation!" or "This is not the complete picture of the problem, it's far more complex, you simplify stupidly!"

Then again, I've seen blogs where the posts were much too brief, too short, did not do justice to the topic.

Your blog is very exotic to me.

Photos of monks, mountains, beer chalices, WOW...breathtaking.

If you are the photographer of most of these photos, you are an incredible artist and should be rich and famous by now.

I try to slow down on the sabbath, but I do work 7 days a week basically, and up to 15, sometimes 19 hours a day. Even 3 days straight with no sleep.