47% of all statistics are made up on the spot.
There is currently a dearth of articles on how to blog within the blogosphere. This series will take the effort one step further, giving instruction not only on the basics, but all aspects, including coding, promotion, technical considerations, and more. The aim is to give a complete overview for the novice/beginner as well as those wanting and needing a more complete understanding. This is the first in a serial effort to fulfill that desire.
I would state at the outset, as I oft times have elsewhere, that I am not a blogger; I merely play one on the ‘Net. While ordinarily said in jest, there is a grain of truth here. I am not, by popular definition, a blogger. While Wikipedia, that font of knowledge so quickly dismissed by the uninformed (yet hailed by many academics for its community of learned individuals who keep a jaundiced eye cast to the contributions made by the masses), defines a blogger as “A person who writes a blog, or weblog,” and is further edified by Dictionary.com as “a person who keeps a Web log (blog) or publish(es) an online diary,” the common viewpoint is described as one that specifically focuses on the activity, i.e. updates and publishes their communicative on a regular basis, usually daily, certainly more than once a week. While I fall into the former category, I often fail in the latter. I typically will avoid using the term blog, instead opting for article, in an attempt to separate myself from that great collective priding itself on journaling effort.
Still, if something is to be done, it should be done right. What follows is therefore a recipe for writing a blog. It is not exclusive, nor I daresay most favorable – just a technique. Tools for the task will be listed, then my own methodology.
Software: text editor (Notepad, TextEdit), word processor (Word, iWord), GUI HTML editor (HTMLPad2010, Dreamweaver), blog platform (WordPress, Blogger)
- Before ever placing fingers to keyboard, one should ideally have some notion of what they are going to write. This can be a roadblock. My best ideas for a subject almost never occur when I’m ready to sit down and post; more often they happen when I’m doing anything but. Therefore I maintain a text file expressly for ideas – when I have them, I jot them down, as obscure and nebulous as they may be. As I ready myself to work, if I have no idea what to say, I refer to said list, and then am able to have a starting point. To make a long story less long, I’ll skip work place readiness, leaving it for another time and place.
- Using a text editor, I dash off fragmented sentences, one line after another. When the missive starts to take shape, I fill in the missing blanks. I don’t concern myself with grammar or spelling, as that will come. At this point I simply want to flesh out the blurb. Once I have a working prototype, I move to the next step.
- Within the word processor, grammar, spelling, and finishing touches can be initiated. Certainly the strivings of step 2 can be eliminated and done here. During this juncture refinement takes place. Utilizing the thesaurus and dictionary, quality and value is added. Reference sites and search engines will furnish needed attribution and citation. Grammar and spelling cannot be overemphasized. Little is more chafing to the reader than being interrupted by having to figure out what the correct spelling is, or that what they read doesn’t flow in a logical manner. Popular shortcuts employed when texting or zipping off eMail should be avoided, as the user is taking valuable time to view the dispatch; they therefore should be accorded the courtesy of at least a secondary education-level written account. Word processing software will assist greatly in sidestepping these pitfalls by automating the process. Good money was paid (or should have been) to acquire the program, and utilization validates the investment.
*Note: the point in this activity is to communicate effectively – the use of flowery language (what my eternal beloved Nelle refers to as “pompous ass talk” – one can only wonder what, or more accurately who, her inspiration for this terminology came from) does little to effect this. As was pointed out by Shari Weiss, blogger and professor of journalism, a $1.00 word customarily serves as well as a $10.00 one. The thesaurus should be used as a tool, not a bludgeon.
- Enter the concept of proof-reading. Once the first, second, and even third drafts are accomplished, the completed declaration should be read critically. Mistakes can easily be overlooked, especially the little ones. Proof-reading will help to out these blunders and provide a polished bulletin.
- Coding the blog will be considered by the populous as unnecessary overkill. Nonetheless, the language of the Web is HTML, and from the standpoint of completeness, the choicest route is coding the blog with it. Also, the ability to be found in search engines (SEO) may be increased via this method, and the finished product looks cleaner and more appealing (more on this subject will be presented in Things Your Parents Never Told You About Blogging – Part 4: SEO). It further adds a touch of professionalism. These issues will be covered in Things Your Parents Never Told You About Blogging – Part 2: Coding I and Part 3: Coding II.
- The completed blog is now ready for publishing. While I will avoid pimping a particular product here, simply referring the reader to the myriad products, along with their instructions on use, available on the Infobahn, I would add that further instructions on coding in future installments will be presented on WordPress blogs.
One of the wondrous perks that the Internet has provided is the ability to have our voices heard. Blogging serves as a digital age megaphone.
Join Grannelle’s Social Media for the next installment, Part 2: Coding I