A few years ago, someone I trust said I should write a blog to accompany my home page. So, I thought I'd give it a whirl. Please understand that I have written two non-fiction books, two novels and numerous articles for trade and academic journals. So, I thought, "This will be a snap." I was wrong!
Writing a blog is not for the faint of heart nor an easy thing to do. After two years of writing blogs, allow me the arrogance of sharing why it is I love writing a blog. These are my "lessons learned."
First, I get to write for a specific audience. This blog is intended for readers interested in writing their first or second blog (as you probably could tell from the opening paragraphs). I know that this will not reach millions. But, then it is not intended to. As I write this, I envision the reader as someone with the desire but not necessarily the knowledge and skill for blogging.
Second, I found that the best blogs are limited in scope. A normal blog is approximately 350 to 500 words in length. Of course this is not a hard and fast rule, but if you read blogs by the well-known bloggers, you will note their articles are not simply short but are to the point.
Third, I have learned that titles are what catch a reader. Give it a direct and catchy title then get to the point quickly. Your title should signal exactly what your blog is about. And it should grab the audience's attention immediately. The movie industry calls this the hook, or that which grabs and holds the audience's attention.
Fourth, I discovered that what you write is only the start. Getting people to your blog is dependent upon the words you place in the "tags." This is the part of the html code that the search engines use to classify your page. So, make sure you put every conceivable tag you can honestly say refers to your topic. Then when all else fails and people still can't find your piece, get a computer geek to help you.
Finally, have fun writing directly to your audience members. Help them feel they know you and they'll want to come back for more. Always strive to write your best, but don't worry yourself sick over it. If you can't have fun with it, it probably isn't worth writing to begin with. That's what I do.
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