Brian Bailey Preface to the Revised Edition

Blog Day Afternoon

My thanks to everyone who stopped by today and read my recent post, Building a Better Blog. I appreciate you taking the time and especially those of you who have continued the conversation in my comments and on your own sites. Surprisingly, this post has received more traffic than anything else I've written (yes, even the Channel 9 Guy) and brings me my first appearance on the del.icio.us/popular list (way cool social bookmarking site) and my first link from Blogging Pro.

Many have offered some additional tips that I don't want people to miss. A Penny For provides a great tip-by-tip commentary. Thomas Hawk suggests that we always be honest and willing to admit a mistake; definitely a must.

Des Paroz offers a few additions to my list, but one in particular is essential: credit the source. One of the simplest ways to miss the spirit of the blogging life is to ignore the people who brought something to your attention. Very few of us can follow enough original sources to claim discovery of the latest post, idea, or controversy. Don't just link to the original source, also give credit to the person who pointed it out to you.

I actually faced this dilemma just yesterday, when I linked to the very popular post demystifying the Starbucks menu. The article has now been talked about on many sites and I was tempted to just link directly to it. But in truth, I would not have known about it without Scoble's Link Blog and I gave credit where it was due.

There is also an interesting discussion in my comments section, including the topic of using categories. I should clarify that item a bit. My idea is to categorize your posts for your readers benefit. Here's two examples. First, if a reader comes to a specific post on your site through a link or search and enjoys that post, they can quickly sample more of your writing on the same subject by clicking on the category. For example, many people came to Leave It Behind for the first time for a single post on weblogs. By clicking the weblogs category, they can read similar posts on the same subject. They can decide later if they are interested in my thoughts on politics, Apple, or the local church.

Second, if your blogging software allows readers to subscribe to a specific category (TypePad unfortunately does not, yet), regular readers can decide to enjoy all of your C# tips, but none of your vacation photos (though that transparency is often one of my favorite things about blogs).

A final note on timing. One of the tips I listed mentioned the importance of when you publish a post [my apologies for my rather US-centric version of time!]. Deep down, I have faith that quality, original writing will eventually get noticed no matter what, but I do believe that the time and day of week plays a role. I'd be interested in hearing from other bloggers, but I've seen a regular pattern of traffic that starts on Monday, peaks on Thursday, and goes fairly quiet on the weekend. What this weekend's experience taught me is that certain posts can really thrive during low traffic times. First, a post that starts to generate some buzz can more easily stand out during these times. Second, some posts are perfect for days when many people are relaxing. Tips on improving my weblog is just the sort of thing I would like to read during the weekend, whereas Top 10 Tips on Installing Movable Type might attract more attention during the work week.

Thanks again to everyone for visiting, and for sparking more thoughts and conversations about our shared passion.