We want bloggers
I have an ulterior motive for holding a session on blogging on Saturday: we want to add links to more blogs to our website.
We want to continue to be the leading information website for this area. One aspect of this is to bring together people who have something interesting to say.
What sorts of information makes an interesting blog?
There are infinite answers to that question.
Politics, religion, boating, bowling, fishing, real estate, yoga, chess, cooking, baseball, traveling, education, child-rearing, humor, trivia, comics, prospecting, coin collecting, volunteering, skateboarding, movies, golf, baking, biking, macrame, tattoos, photography, history, bocce, hiking, gardening, grammar, woodworking, racing, poetry, origami, and skydiving are just a few of the topics that could make a good blog.
Certainly some topics interest more people than others do, but a good blog doesn't need to appeal to everyone. It does need an author who knows something about a topic and, (this is crucial) it does need to be updated regularly.
In the pre-blog days, I received many inquiries from people wanting to sell (or give) me a column for the newspaper. In fact I still get such solicitations. There are many people who see themselves as the next Erma Bombeck, Art Buchwald, Jimmy Breslin or George Will.
And to be truthful, over the years I've read many excellent columns by unknown writers. It seems many people have a good column or two in them.
Now I'm not implying that writing a good column is easy; it's not. But writing interesting newspaper columns one, two or three times a week is supremely difficult. Few people can do it.
But blogging a bit different.
First of all, there's no set length; unlike a newspaper column, it doesn't have to fit onto a finite-sized page with other columns, letters and cartoons.
If you just have something short to say, say something short. If your topic is complicated and needs lots of space to explain, no problem.
Another plus is that blogging's interactive; as more people read your blog, they contribute comments, ideas and other points of view that make your blog richer and more interesting. On the Web, more so than in print, readers can easily contribute ideas; it's called "crowdsourcing."
Also, if you make a mistake, unlike the printed page, you can fix it.
In short, there are three keys to a successful blog:
1. Have something to say that will interest others.
2. Promote your blog. Secure links on websites visited by people you want to reach. Put the address on your business cards and any printed material you use.
2. Update your blog frequently. Once people find you blog and like it, they'll come back. If they come back several times in a row and it hasn't been updated, they'll stop coming.
I must confess I don't update my blog as often as I should; I'm making a resolution here and now to mend my ways.
Anyway, I'm excited to have the chance to talk about blogging on Saturday; I hope to help some people start blogs that we can add to our Blog Center on OneidaDispatch.com
The session is set for 11 a.m.-noon at The Dispatch office at 130 Broad St. in Oneida.