Tuesday, March 09, 2004

Blogging Advice

Beth asked me if I had any advice for a would-be blogger. I didn't think I did until I started writing.

Would-Be Bloggers' Advice
Decide on your purpose(s) in writing a blog, and make sure your postings are consistent with that. My purpose was initially to document my knitting, so I had some log of what I had worked on. I realized I also liked the validation of readers, so I modified my purpose to include writing a blog that would encourage readership.

Make decisions now about personal blog policies, such as what topics you will write about, and which ones you won't. I personally hate reading knitting blogs with lots of children content, so I'm careful to severely limit my writing on nieces and neighbor children, and I won't include funny little things they did in my blog. I'm not a big fan of pet stories, and while I will post an occasional cat picture, I write very sparingly about my cat.

I do have a passion for knitting (mostly) and civil rights, so I consider both of them valid topics of blog writing. Establishing your own focus will make it easier as you decide what you will and won't write about.

If you're interested in a large readership, here are some of the ways I've done that:
- Included lots of pictures
- Include a lot of knitting content
- Make sure there's some ability to comment
- Write about interesting, or funny or controversial topics
- Encourage all opinions, even highly insulting or opposing ones
- Cross-reference other blogs that are popular that you like a lot
- Refer to your blog in e-mail knitting lists
- Reply to all correspondence from blog readers

Finally, I would offer the old adage, be true to yourself. I like what I write, and I enjoy writing it. If I didn't, I'd stop the blog today. I write it for me, and I'm glad folks are able to see my passion for knitting in my writing. That's been very gratifying.

As for technical advice, I would recommend a few things as well:
- Don't use Blogspot (I do, and their software is too slow). I've heard Moveable Type is better, but might require more technical knowledge (Wendy uses that)
- Edit any pictures to make them as small in file size as possible and still allow for quality of picture
- Make sure you know a little about HTML or have access to someone who does
- Choose a template that you won't get tired of, it's sometimes difficult to change over to a different one
- Use a counter software that allows you to track visitors (I like GoStats, but I've never used anything else)

Sorry for my egregious typo in yesterday's post. How is it that I know that yolks are parts of eggs, and yokes are the top of a sweater (among other things), but I can confuse them just because they sound the same?

Today's picture isn't very good, but I wanted you to see how I've been evaluating this sweater so far.

I won't be able to do this as easily once the sleeves have been moved to stitch holders (although, I could thread yarn in as stitch holders instead, I guess).

Overall, I'm happy with how it's looking. Honestly, I think the sweater will look better on Thaddeus. It's got that stable, sturdy look that is so flattering to his handsome face.

Readers' Comments/Questions
Amanda mentions that the color of the Merino changes a lot based on the lighting used in the picture.

The most accurate color is the actual picture of the yarn I used originally. I'd call it more gray, but it definitely looks kind of tan/taupe too.

Kerry and other readers have complained that not all of the pictures are displaying on my blog.

I think BlogSpot is having some issues, but I'm not sure. I've decided to only show three blog entries instead of five, to limit the number of pictures that need to be downloaded. Hopefully, this will solve some of the problems.