So, when I began this blog on June 29th or so, I set out with the goal to get 5,000 hits in the first month. Now, on July 30th, I managed around 4,700 or so. Not bad? Here’s to much more in the future. I have some lessons learned on how to run a good blog – one that not only accumulates hits, but hopefully shapes political agendas and creates news. I don’t think I’ve necessarily achieved all these goals, but I’m getting some ideas about how to make it happen.
-Always write original content. Seriously. I’m continually struck by the amount of utter bullshit on the internet; a blog that just posts links and comments doesn’t really help anyone; you should write because you believe you have something unique to contribute to ongoing discussions/stories, not just because you happened to figure out how Blogger worked. If you want to post links, get a Digg account.
-That being said, write about what you know – “personal is always better”. My most popular posts thus far are about Yupres and NYU Buses – two posts I was personally invested, as a student activist and a student intern. I think this shows up in the posts: personal blogging not only brings out passion and lucidity, but also means you’re writing about something you (hopefully) have unique ‘expertise’ in. Seriously – I got link-backs to the Yupre post that just referred to the job listings I pulled out of my email; sometimes just knowing the right place to look for content can give a post legs.
– Follow a news cycle – This is a modification of the ‘don’t just link’ idea above. Know what other people (bloggers) are reading, and work your posts around that. This comes from basic reporting knowhow: better stories have an ‘angle’ that tweaks another story, meaning you don’t duplicate the work of another reporter and hopefully drive more readers to your paper. Same with blogging: try to take account of what is ‘rising’ (in Digg terms), and then write in reference to that story, with your own perspective.
– Titillate – for me this means writing about NYU, the NYPD and Yuppies (key tags from the top 3 posts, as it stands today). Really, you don’t have to apologize for what you write – a hit is a hit, and as long as your message gets out, the how doesn’t matter that much. People will link to you if they like you, but also if they hate you (though more frequently if they like you – BoingBoing, one of the most successful blogs on this here internets has notoriously cool authors).
– ummm… focus. this post has taken me an hour or more to write. shit.
– Send trackbacks, but most importantly email. if you think you’ve written something good, and want other people to read it, just send a damn email to blogs you like (or read to get inspired to write), and give them a link. (Be nice about this) Each of my biggest posts blew up when I sent an email to people I like to read, and told them about a post I wrote. Don’t overload someone’s inbox; make it look like you care about what goes on their blog – which you should, if you read them – and show that you aren’t just dumping links on people by taking care with the links you send, and to whom.
– Always put up images. These show up in page previews (that damn Snap thing at least), Facebook when you post a link, Digg when you post a new submission, etc etc. Original images in particular make a post stand out, and should embody the fact that you have something unique to contribute to the internet. (since this is a meta-post, I took a picture of me writing… this post)
That’s all I got. Big day, tired brain.