Blogger Basics

This is a compilation of my 12-article column for BlogAdda. It contains tips & tricks and also references some of the questions about this space.

1. Checklist For A Blogger

So you have a blog! You’ve been bitten by the self-publishing bug and you have a place to call your own on the Internet. In my forthcoming posts, I’ll talk in detail about some of the features and tricks that are relevant to any blogger but first let’s run your blog through the checklist. Does your blog have the necessary essentials?

2. Building Access: Feeds & Link-sharing

Last week we looked at the basic features that a blog must have. Once the blog is up and running, the most important question is how to build readership. Grabbing interest is a tricky subject and one that nobody has a concrete answer to, since it all depends on the quality of your content. However, making that content accessible goes a long way in building your readership. Let’s examine some tools that can make your blog content more accessible.

3. Protecting Your Privacy

While the internet opens you up to a broad range of people and experiences, it also leaves you open to a number of undesirable elements. Fortunately, filtering mechanisms are available that can help you tailor your online presence with the level of accessibility and privacy that suits you the best. Privacy is as relevant an issue as accessibility and I felt that after talking about how to make one’s blog visible, it was vital to know how to also protect oneself online.

4. Is Your Blog Facebooked?

So you have a blog checked off with all the essentials, you’ve made sure it can be shared and you’ve protected yourself. Now, how do you find readers? Try your own community first. Friends, classmates, acquaintances, family, everyone’s online and connected to you on the social network.

The concept of ‘access with privacy’ is synonymous with the Facebook era. Facebook is one of the two big pillars (the other being Twitter, which I’ll discuss in a future article) of the online social media movement. How do blogs tie in? Let’s find out.

5. The Twitter Birdie At Your Blog

Here we are in a fresh new month and a new season. It’s a time for change all around and in keeping with that thought, this column looks at something new. I talked about Facebooking the blog the last time around. The online social media force is driven by one other platform. If you’re one of those who hasn’t figured out what the big deal with 140 characters is, welcome to the Twitterverse!

Twitter, unlike Flickr or Youtube or Blogger doesn’t serve just one purpose. It doesn’t even have a broad focus like Facebook does, on networking. It’s a little bit of all of those but more.

6. Dress Up Your Blog

You’ve got your blog up and running and you’ve got readers. Now it’s time to go shopping for the blog! The internet is a treasure trove of delights for a blogger. Let’s look at what’s on offer.

7. Dear Reader, Stay Awhile Longer

Content is king as far as I’m concerned, so why not bring the king out to meet his public more often?

You’ve got a great blog and you’ve managed to get some interest coming to it from various sources (shared links, Facebook and Twitter). Having your readers stay at your blog for as long as you can manage, is crucial if you want to keep them engaged. So how exactly do you keep readers glued to your blog?

8. Group Blogs: Becoming A Part Of The Online Community

They say there’s strength in numbers. The worth of your blog is defined by its visibility, its loyal readership and its fan base. We’ll look at how to measure & monitor these in detail, in a future post. But before that, let’s look at one way to expand your blogging presence.

I started with one blog, back in 2004. A year later, I had expanded that to five different blogs (a chick-blog, a review blog, an office-stories blog, a poetry/confessional blog and my ‘main’ blog). Yet another year later, I found myself wondering how I could grow in this medium and in my craft (of writing). The answer came to me in the form of group blogs.

9. The Internet Undesirables

I’ve discussed ways to protect your privacy but those are not foolproof. In every case, your own judgment is your best bet. If you’re stepping out of your house, you should know about the dangers that could befall you. Similarly, if you’re on the internet, you’d do well to be mindful of its pitfalls. Even if you don’t always have a way to avoid them, forewarned is forearmed. Here are some of the strange creatures you might meet in the dark alleys of the internet.

10. Blogger Profiles: Creating An Identity For Your Blog

The ‘About Me’ section also known as a bio is a much neglected but very important part of a person’s online presence. It is the first communication about you to your readers and defines your blog. In my column I cover the basics that a bio should have and a few other things that it could include.

When I find myself grappling with a problem, especially a creative one, I go back to my basics, my fundamental assumptions. New ideas usually emerge from there. While thinking about what to talk about in this column for bloggers, I went back to my first post listing the basic 10 essentials for a blog. And in that, I found my answer.

Number 3 on that list is the Blogger Profile. Does that merit a column? Let’s see. How long does it take to describe a person, to define his identity, to etch out her life? How long does one have? A Blogger Profile (or the About section as it is known in certain places) is an introduction, a description and a definition. It can also be a portfolio, a marketing tool, a showcase or a resume. This is the place you go to when you’re facing an identity-crisis of sorts, about your blog.

11. Reader Devo Bhava!

This is the era of connections, of actively seeking them out and building on them. It benefits the people at both ends of the connection.

I believe that the audience is an integral part of any artist’s performance. In the case of a writer (or specifically, the blogger), the readers play this role. Any blogger who says that they don’t care about readers, has to be lying. If you didn’t care, you’d write in a private diary, not on a website visible to the whole connected world! So you can see why a blogger needs to establish a tangible connection with his/her readers. A good blogger ensures that his/her content is fresh, top-quality and recent. A great blogger goes the extra mile by thinking about how to make the blog, a real experience for the reader.

12. “This happened today…”: Blogging An Event

I talk about something every blogger faces at some point of time – covering an event. It could be a personal do like a wedding or a party. Or it could be a professional one like a conference or a seminar. It could even carry semi-journalistic tones if you’re invited to a press conference to write about it. Writing about a one-time event has its own special nuances and that’s what this post is about.

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