Category Archives: Blogroll

Is blogging still relevant?

Blogging is old hat and no longer needed as a separate entity. There, I’ve said it. After blogging for 11 years, I have had an about face and decided that blogging for blogging’s sake is irrelevant.cms-265133_1280 pixelcreatures Eileen Brown Amastra

But am I right?

Blogging has been around for the whole of the 21st century.

First coined as a term “weblog” in 1997, blogging exploded in 1999 with the launch of blogging tools such as LiveJournal and Blogger which made it easy to put your thoughts down online.

Writers live-blogged events long before instantaneous tools like Twitter and Weibo were thought of. Writing down your every thought became the de-facto “thing” for bloggers to do.

I started blogging in 2004 – fairly early on in the big scheme of things blogging-wise. Back then it was the only way to be able to communicate with an audience. We were hidebound with simple newsletters, fairly poor web pages and had little opportunity to interact with our online writers or customers.

Over the last 11 years there has been a plethora of tools that enable us to express ourselves online. YouTube (2005) allowed comments, shares and uploads of visual vignettes. Facebook initially allowed us to write on another’s wall, poke each other, and post snippets of our lives.

Self hosted WordPress sites have been around since 2003. These allow all traffic to be directed to your website and blog. Blogging was an easy way to gain clicks and eyeballs of your content

Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, MySpace, Google+ and now Tsu, the new kid on the block all allow us to express our thoughts. Even LinkedIn encourages posting directly onto its platform. We are no longer hidebound to short status updates (even Twitter has apps that enable you to tweet longer updates – or send direct messages that have no character limit.

All are discoverable by a web search. Even your public posts on Facebook can appear at the top of search results if you know the correct keywords to use.  Google+ has long indexed posts and Tsu has recently opened its doors so that its content is fully searchable.

So, with all of the opportunities to talk about what you want to, spread across numerous platforms, is blogging really necessary?  This post will propagate across four different sites – to get an audience that might find me by different means.

But will a carefully crafted bunch of content ever beat a quick post with a link to a funny video or “you’ll never guess what happened next – I was shocked” clickbait article?

Has blogging had its day? Will it be lost amongst all of the other instantaneous pieces of hurriedly curated links and status updates populating everywhere online? Or will our thoughts and musings be appreciated, discovered and relished years and years down the line as the genre evolves into something completely different…

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Blogging Generosity: Tips to be a good blogger

I like this post on how to be a good blogger.  You can be a good blogger by being a generous blogger.

I particularly like these points:

    • Writes posts that are of service to her reader.
    • Uses her blog stats to figure out how she can create more posts of value for her reader.
    • Reads other blogs as often as she would like to be read.
    • Is grateful for her readers no matter how many, or few there are.
    • Makes it easy for readers to subscribe to her blog.

imageI often have a look back at older posts that are still getting clicks and turn up in searches regularly.  I’m surprised that some of my really old posts, written when I was still at Microsoft, still get queried every week.  These are often the basis of my new blog posts and I’m often surprised at what topics people want to know about.

But repetition isn’t too much of a bad thing.

Posts can be revised and revisited, improved and enhanced.

Blogging is still a great way to get your message out and demonstrate your credibility.  It can lead to an increase in sales leads and it can help your customers review information you’ve told them in the past.

There are a few fundamental blogging tips that span the test of time and are still very valid blogging tips:

Tell great stories to keep the reader coming back to your blog

Blogs are not dead.  Keep your blog alive by regularly posting, blogging effectively and responding to comments.  Don’t lose focus because the next new shiny thing has appeared in social networking circles.

Make time to blog.  Keep your credibility going.  The new shiny thing might not be there forever…

If you want to increase your connections using social blogging then make sure you are in listening mode.  Stop broadcasting.  comment on other blogs, engage and interact.

Be generous with your blog links.  Trackbacks and pingbacks are powerful blogging features that will improve your blogging reach and visibility.

It’s not always about the shiny new thing.  Sometimes traditional ways of working still stand the test of time…

Eileen is a social business strategist and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Contact her to find out how she can help your business extend its reach.

Image Credit: Flickr

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RSS feeds and how to use them

I know that for all experienced bloggers out there, RSS feeds are a piece of cake, and the little orange XML button by the side of links actually mean something.  But, I’m a Systems Engineer, not a Developer, and the world of XML is completely mystifying to me. 

Well, they’re RSS feeds.  RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication.  If you have a newsreader like SharpReader http://web.archive.org/web/20051210032337/http://www.sharpreader.net/, NewsGator http://web.archive.org/web/20051210032337/http://www.newsgator.com/ngs/default.aspx or RssReader http://web.archive.org/web/20051210032337/http://www.rssreader.com/ all you do is press the little XML button on the site you’re interested in, get a page of code, and post the URL that you wish to subscribe to into your newsreader.  Then, whenever something new appears on the site that you’ve subscribed to, it appears as a new item in your news reader.  You’ve got the information in one place and don’t have to go to the web site.

Simple isn’t it?  And yet it took me some time to decipher what everyone was trying to tell me about the various types of newsreaders, code and RSS feeds.   I’ve pressed the buttons on several sites now and automatically subscribed to sites I use regularly, like the Exchange team blog (paste this URL into your reader http://web.archive.org/web/20051210032337/http://blogs.msdn.com/exchange/Rss.aspx).