Building a Mo' Better BlogJuly 22, 2004
Earlier this month, I wrote about Building a Better Blog. Since then, I've been reminded of two more tips, which you'll find below.
Tell Us Who You Are and How to Contact You
I often find myself on an interesting blog and decide I'd like to link to it or contact the author. Other times, I might find an opinion or perspective unique or challenging, but then realize that I don't know what the author's role is within an organization, or whether he or she is an employee, vendor or user.
A surprising number of weblogs have none of this information. Often weblogs start as a way of communicating with a small number of people who are all part of your inner circle and know exactly who you are. But you can be sure that soon Google will find you, and then others will land on your site and they need to be able to get the basics about you quickly. You don't want to be dismissed as a gadfly when you're actually the lead developer for a highly anticipated piece of software.
So, unless you have specific reasons for confidentiality, include your full name, position and role (if your blog is related to your professional life), and a way to contact you directly.
Don't Be Afraid to Promote
I've written a number of posts that I thought would be of interest to other bloggers or sites, such as Robert Scoble, MacSurfer, and Hacking Netflix. My first hope was that the writing would be so captivating that the posts would slowly rise to the top of the blogosphere and be noticed. Not a good plan!
My second hope was that by linking to these sites and clicking on those links, my site would show up in the referrer logs for those sites, which would spark curiousity and bring my post to their attention. This works fairly well, but relies on the site owners and authors religiously monitoring their traffic or subscribing to weblog search sites such as PubSub and Feedster. Better, but still inadequate.
Finally, I stumbled upon a brilliant, but underused technique: Tell them about it!. People who are active in the weblog world are active precisely because they are curious people who are always looking for new perspectives. I find that sending a short, polite email that introduces yourself, offers a thank you or general kindness regarding their site, and then brings your post to their attention, is generally very successful. I never specifically ask for a link and wouldn't recommend it. Your purpose is simply to be read by people you respect and if you achieve that, you have been successful. The choice of whether to link to your site is entirely up to them.