Wednesday, April 28, 2010

What they do not teach you at the blogging help menu

Today, suddenly I had a flash idea. Why not blog on blogging itself ? I do not know whether you will like it or not, but I have obeyed my intuition. Here is my Chitra Poornima gift to you.



The essentials of Successful blogging

I have noted that despite being articulate, well read, and sharp, intelligent people often wane away without recording their thoughts in writing. The print and publishing industry operates in a way to favour the rich and the unmeritorious , leaving the genuine talent out of its consideration. I think that was the reason the phenomenal talents of commoners in this country got suppressed.

Not any more.Internet has changed every rule of the game. Blogging rewrote every rule of self expression.. What started as a weblog to jot down one's thoughts has grown leaps and bounds into what it stands today. The huge plus side being that every blog post has a unique URL and is listed in search engines. This means you have enormous visibility. Only you need to know the rules to fully utilise it.

I am a blogger for three years. I went to blogging after I started contributing to email groups. I noticed that people liked my style of presentation however crude it seemed to me. Then started this pleasant journey of self expression . In this journey , I learned many things, most of them belonging to the common sense domain. I will call it " what they don't teach you at the blogger help menu". These are secrets of successful blogging. These are gathered from my own and other's successes. Now we go

Initiation:

I know two of the world's greatest blog sites- http://wordpress.com and http://blogger.com. Enter these sites and learn to register as bloggers. Now you are ready to write to post on the internet. The registration is a routine one and anyone with some internet knowledge can handle that.

Deciding your line of expression:

Before you start, you must well know what you are going to tell the world. If you are a yoga specialist, decide on the topic you are going to share. Here are some rules

1. The content, even if technical, must be expressed in a language easily understandable to others.

2. The content, must not be more than one to one and a half pages of typed matter in an A4 sheet. I have learned that an ordinary person's concentration does not last more than 30 minutes at a stretch. Remember that people read in the night, and might already have gone through some material prior to yours. So safely limit your content to a readable limit of five minutes.

3. Dramatize your content: For this technique , I owe my gratitude to Dale Carnegie. Dramatization means simply adding more stuff that will enliven the reader. My most potent choice for this is a picture or a photo. Most of my posts have a photo. I add one even when these was no need for it. It works. It keeps your readers alive. While choosing pictures, you can choose from the internet, some photos from your digicam, scanned content from books, or your own photoshop work.

My next dramatizing weapon is the video. It is simply fabulous. Sites like youtube offer embedding codes which you can simply paste in your post. When the videos of your choice are not available, create one. Youtube accepts videos of ten minutes duration. Watching videos within a blog post is a tremendous advantage since the reader does not have to open many windows. You can also add voice or music content into your post. Even simple applications like windows movie maker will help you create and edit videos that can be uploaded into your blog.

Appearance:

I know you will be tempted to decorate your blog. Obviously you will choose some flashy scheme. My experiences tell something different. If you value the eyes of your readers, you will think differently. Not only should your window look simple, splashing colours will make your reader tired quickly and he will lose concentration. So, go with care here.

Choose your font style and size with equal care. Select fonts that are easily readable like Times New Roman, Arial etc., and your font size should be minimum 12. Do not use varying colours for your content in paragraphs, this is also unfriendly to your reader.

Split your typed content into small paragraphs of not more than three or four sentences. Make your sentences short with minimum of conjunctions. Use straight sentences unless you are presenting poetry. Don't use your linguistic skill in saying " it is not unheard of.... ". I would prefer it to be simply " It is learnt as ..".

Emotive and Intuitive content

Make sure your content contains, more 'I's. This is important. Without your personal touch you cannot reach the emotional side of your readers. " The early morning rising sun is a great sight" is a poor sentence. I would instead use " I feel great to see the rising sun in the morning". Do not question this. It is almost a law. A mere knowledge cannot a stir an emotional reaction . Only a person can. Without an emotional bondage, you can never make a reader come back to your blog.

Be target specific. You should have decided clearly what type of people you intend your blog to reach. Kids, Adults, students, mothers, etc. Do some research as to what appeals to these people. Mothers like to read about recipes, students like to see fun stuff, men like to discuss money. All your pictures and videos must confirm to your target. Remember the TV advertisement where they show a simply dressed woman when they advertise cheap soaps and shampoos. For the expensive Garnier, they will use the top celebrity in best costumes.

Respecting your intuitions

Wait for inspirations for a post. Wait for and look for hunches. When nothing seems forthcoming, just start the post and enter atleast a few lines. Then save the post in draft mode and leave it. Sleep with the idea for a day. By the morning, you will have more inspirations and hunches. The subconscious mind has to be tuned and trained to produce hunches.Always have a scribbling pad in your bed or nearby, so that you can record some out of the world idea when and where they come. Intuitions are what make a post sensational and separate it from the ordinary.

And, do not think you need some lengthy stuff to succeed. Even a small happening, like your encounter with an astrologer can become a blog post , provided you know how to start and enter the content. Remember whole movies have been made based on the happenings of a single day.

Pitching it right:

After you are done with the post, and having reread it at least once, you should start to pull readers. The post itself contains tags or keywords option. This is what the search engines will trace. So be careful with the choice of these key words. If I am writing about some special pranayama, I will enter Hinduism, Yoga, Pranayama, breathing technique, healing, revitalizing, immunity, longevity, spirituality, vital powers, etc. See what a far and wide net I have cast ! All the browsers who typed these search words , will see your post in their search.

Next, join emailing groups with like interests and send mail there with a few sentences of polite but powerful introduction to this post and send the URL of your post to the list. (Do not send the whole content). This is a sure way to visibility.

Next important way to pull people is to search for blogs with similar interests. Visit them , and comment on their blog posts after registering with the url of your blog. Whoever clicks on your name in the comment column will be directed to your blog. This method is a tried and tested one.

Finally, send notices to friends and relatives. Tell me whether your inbox is full of comments from your viewers. Happy blogging.

6 comments:

Right Angle said...

Nicely compiled points venkat.. Adding to it, i would suggest the following things.

1. Write blog as a normal conversation.

2. The analysis of the content we are discussing should be common man's perspective and NOT from academic perspective.

Acharya Satyakama said...

I read your above post on Blogs with much interest. Though I registered in both the sites you have indicated, and have plenty of material on various topics that I had written on different occasions,I was not able to figure out as to how to collate them and post them as blogs in the sites I had registered. The tips you have given will certainly be of much use. Hope you will not mind queries from me relating to blogs.
Thank you very much.
H. Subramanian

Venkatasubramanian said...

Thanks Senthil. What prompted me to compile this was to induce thinkers to spread their message with TELLING EFFECT.

Your points will also be of good help. I want many to fill up the still blank areas of the subject.

Particularly Hindu bloggers should make use of every opportunity to blog and spread dharma.

Venkatasubramanian said...

Namaste Sri Subramanian

After registering at their sites. Now go to either blogger.com or wordpress.com. Log in with your username and password.

Once logged in, you will be in the dash board area. There click on the new post icon. Search for it. Now a word processor window will open and you can enter text, add picture and video.

Venkat

snowboarder said...

Hi Mr.Venkat,
I had hit your blog from google when I was searching for 'sandhyavandanam' and loved your blog. Since then I have bookmarked your blog and today after a long break came back to your blog after starting a new blog entry for myself in blogspot hoping to start blogging. I have always been a avid reader and my wife thinks I should put my pen to paper and start blogging. It was a perfect timing that I am reading your blog on tips to blog. It was a great read.Thanks.. I am look forward to following your blog more closely.

TK

Venkatasubramanian said...

Hello TK

Welcome. Thanks for your complements. I know India and especially the Hindus have a great deal to tell the world. All things Hindu have been stolen and marketed as 'Indian' , 'Yogic', 'Eastern', 'Oriental', 'Mystical', etc. I was always looking to inspire new and new writers who will thunder to the world of our unique heritage and culture.

I wish you all the best. Arise, awake Hindu India, stop not till thy goal is reached.