Bookends for Bloggers

January 7, 2012 non-fiction 2

This week visiting the boy was awesome, with lots of time off together and one of our best dates ever at the revolving Sundial restaurant at the top of the Westin in Atlanta (so awesome!).  Unfortunately, the boy also had a lot of work to do.  Fortunately, this left me lots of time to work on my blog and read some 006 books on blogging, which I’ll be reviewing here 🙂

Non-Project Non-Fiction

Do you wish your blog had thousands of followers or was one of the best known blogs in its’ niche?  I can honestly say that’s not why I write (although I love having readers and very much appreciate that people read my ramblings, thinking about having an audience while writing just makes me nervous!).  But even so, the main reason I enjoyed The Rough Guide to Blogging was because it caused visions of future blogging success to dance in my head.  I would honestly recommend picking this or a similar book on that merit alone; it’s just fun to brainstorm ideas to make your blog better 🙂

The Rough Guide to Blogging

Technically the book was very basic.  Even as a new blogger myself, being reasonably computer-competent was enough that I didn’t take much away from the book’s technological advice.  The book started with a history of blogging, which I enjoyed very much, and after the technical section continued with some tips on increasing traffic, making money, and writing blog posts.  Although this advice was pretty basic as well, I suspect most people will still find a few interesting tidbits.  Ideas I got included:

  • adding a blog roll – I read enough blogs this should be very basic, but it still isn’t something I’ve done yet!
  • adding target = “_blank” to links (in the html <a> tag) so the link will open in a new page – this is both polite (so it doesn’t look like content you’re linking to is part of your own site) and makes it easier for users to return to your blog after viewing outside content
  • using sitemeter to measure traffic – although without hosting your own blog you can’t get visitor IP addresses, you can see what hours of the day most of your traffic occurs.  I mostly just think it’s cool to know, but serious bloggers might post content at the most high traffic times.
The Rough Guide to Blogging finished with their own blogroll, which gave a very broad overview of the sorts of blogs out there.  Although I was aware of most of the types of blogs out there, it was still a cool to see a cross-section of the blogosphere.
A similar book I read this week was The Huffington Post Complete Guide to Blogging.  As is to be expected from the authors of such a well read blog, the content was written very engagingly.  It was mostly the same content as The Rough Guide to Blogging in terms of blogging advice, although the section on writing good posts was more detailed.  It also included a bulleted list summary of the main points, which was nice since some of the points were too basic to be worth reading about.  As might be expected, this book did focus on political blogging and how blogging connects to more mainstream media.  The book concludes with a section on the history of the Huffington Post, which was well written but not what I was looking for when I picked up the book.
For bloggers looking for good traffic building ideas, I would actually recommend this blog post shared by the lovely Sarah Von at Yes and Yes.  I think the advice is much more novel than anything mentioned in either book.

Current Fiction Readings

None finished this week (lame, I know!), but I did get to read some more of Flyte with the boy.


The Rough Guide to Blogging and The Huffington Post Complete Guide to Blogging – 4 stars – Both books were pretty basic, even for someone such as myself who is new to blogging, as long as you have some previous experience with technology.  Both books begin with an interesting section on the history of blogging and continue with some good but basic advice on choosing a topic and writing style, building traffic, and making money on your blog.  The little extras in The Rough Guide to Blogging  where more interesting to me, but the Huffington Post guide gave more detailed writing advice.  For really good traffic building advice, I would suggest reading this blog post over either of the books.

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