Why Blog?

I find this list by Ritholtz rather refreshing, and hopefully it helps you too in your blogging adventures. Makes me reminisce on the good old days when I started this site.

I can think of many reasons why someone might start and maintain a blog:

Blogs? Yeah We Got That

1. You have something to say

2. You enjoy the craft of writing

3. You want to figure out what you think, and do so in public

4. You want to be part of a larger community of like minded individuals

5. You have a hobby or interest that you are really, really into

6. You want to maintain a presence on the Intertubes

7. You have an expertise and you want to share it

8. You have an eye for content (text, graphics and video) and you enjoy leading other people to them

9. You want to create a permament online record of what you are reading, looking at or thinking about

10. You like engaging in debate with total strangers

Continue reading ‘Why Blog?’…

2011-01-20T03:12:45+00:00 January 20th, 2011|Blogging Tips, Books I Read, Daily Observations|0 Comments

Reading Your Readers

If you have been running a blog for some time, I am sure you would have gotten some emails from your readers once in a while asking you questions related to your latest blog post or just to say how much you suck. I guess this is part of the blogging exercise, to interact and engage with your readers. Some will give you constructive feedbacks, and these are the readers that you want to keep, while some will just list down all the negative stuff about you, and probably forgot to commend on the blog’s content.

To stay alive in this kind of communication intensive environment, it is important not to take things too personal. I am not saying you shouldn’t care about what your readers feedback to you. Instead, it’s important that you take these feedback to fine tune your blogging strategy and provide even better value for your readers. Real constructive criticisms from your readers is almost never an attack on you or your character, but on the content that you have posted or the way your opinions are different from theirs. As a responsible and open-minded blogger (if you decide to blog for the long run that is), we have to remember that the day you’ve decided to publish your writings to the world, you have agreed to disagree. You have to accept that- ‘Opinions are like assholes, everyone’s got one!’

The Hidden Gem in Your Blog
Anyway, back to my original point. If you’d been running your blog for a few years, you would have acquired quite a steady stream of readers, and also a rather good reputation with the major search engines. And if you are a blogger that fit this description, I would like to direct you to a treasure chest, if you haven’t already found it.

For every treasure quests, you must have the right tools to make your search easier. In this case, you will only need Google Analytics. Now, go to your ‘Keywords’ page, where you will find the list of what are the keywords people has been using to come to your website. It’s a good idea to set the time frame of your keyword list to about a year, since it will be much more relevant than a 5 years’ list.

The Six W’s
Now that you have the list of keywords within the specified timeframe, go to the ‘Filter Keyword’ tab at the bottom of the list. For simplicity’s sake, we’ll just use the basic ‘Filter’ feature. In the search field, type any of the following terms:

1) hoW
2) What
3) Why
4) When
5) Where
6) Who

Yes, the standard 6Ws. If you haven’t already been practicing this, you should be quite surprised at the questions people throw at you. Your next response should be something like this, “Have I thoroughly explained these questions in my writings?” I am not suggesting that you should answer every of the questions in the list. The idea of this exercise is actually to help you pick up ‘inspirations’ for your next post or just to help you workaround your writing block. One of the most helpful terms I like to use is ‘How to’ and the resulting keywords can look like anything like this (selected from Meshio.com’s actual keywords):

how to save money in kl for fresh grads
A blog post that gives money saving suggestions for fresh grads will definitely drive traffic up.

how to be a billionare in malaysia
Nope, you are not going to find it here on Meshio.com. I wish I have the answers :-)

how to set the goddamn maxis wireless broadband speed
Yeah, I was very vocal about Maxis hopeless broadband service in 2008.

how to hack an atm machine in malaysia
Though Meshio.com offers no manual on how to hack ATM machines, I can only hope this reader is not successful in his attempt.

how to hack into systems of ccris
Very ambitious reader we have here.

how to hack my bank account
This seems like a distress query by someone who’d forgotten his bank’s passwords. A blog post on how to manage your passwords would be helpful.

how to quicken menstrual cycle
Hmm…menstrual cycles. I’m no expert on this.

why visiber trinity ring so expensive?
Now, as you might have noticed, I haven’t been actively covering scams. Yes, no matter how many scams I’ve exposed, many new ones are still coming up, as long as they are gullible people falling for it. I can only conclude that people learn best when they make mistakes, if the mistakes don’t destroy them completely.

From the keyword list above, besides giving you a new perspective on how your readers dropped by on your blog, these question-oriented keywords also give you a lot of opportunities to drive traffic up by targeting your content to solve these questions. Again, I do not suggest that you solve every questions posed in your keyword list. Not everyone is an expert on menstrual cycles. Focus on the topics that are coherent with your writing direction and fits into your existing topics.

I hope with this new understanding of your readers, you will be able to approach your writing from a more guided source. There is this age old debate that if you start writing what your audience wants to read, you might start losing your originality and style. A paradox indeed. I do agree that if you write solely to please your readers, it’s not long before you begin to feel burn-out and are always under the pressure of fulfilling the bottomless appetite of your readers. Losing your personal voice is the last thing you want to happen to your blog. After all, that’s the whole reason why people read your blog in the first place- they want to hear your opinion on the issues that matter to them.

I’ve suggested that you only tackle questions or issues that matters to you. And this is where you can write and shine with your opinions and encourage a healthy discussion on the topic. Your readers will really appreciate if it comes from a genuine and sincere source. It doesn’t even have to please your readers. What you write might even offend some of them. But since we are in this business of blogging for the long term, you definitely don’t have to worry about pleasing all your visitors.

2010-07-21T19:27:17+00:00 July 17th, 2010|Blogging Tips, Daily Observations|4 Comments