Monday, March 7, 2011

Blog Questions and Suggestions
During the past few weeks I have been asked numerous times by fellow outdoor bloggers if I had any suggestions on how they could improve their blogs. I am no expert and still have a lot to learn, I am not a professional hunter or writer, and instead of sending out countless emails to each person, I decided to do it here to help everyone with their blogs. Mind you, this is only my opinion and you should take these ideas with a grain of salt.
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Do write short bits, add photos and humor.
Don't write a book everyday, your readers will avoid you.
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Do break your long stories up. Have a long hunt that goes on for a week? Break it up into a few entries. It'll give everyone something to come back to. It also helps fill the void of having to figure out what to blog about during that week. You have a specific topic for a few days!
Don't write everything into one entry. It'll only drive you crazy and stress you out from having to write it all down in one post. It'll also be tiresome for a person to read if they don't have the time to read it all in one sitting. There is nothing wrong with a series.
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Do give your readers a chance and the ones that want to read it will.
Don't  get on Twitter and Facebook repost the link over and over in a short period of time.
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Do pose questions that will spark debate. It'll make your blog more interesting and you'll be surprised how many people can't avoid a good debate.
Don't  just regurgitate things from the web all of the time. Put your two cents in there. It's YOUR blog, right? Nothing wrong with adding a press release once a week if it relates your blog, but don't do it every day.
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Do share your personal feelings on certain subjects. People want to know who YOU are.
Don't  hide and think you have to follow what everyone else says.
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Do post often, but not everyday, unless you have something very useful and unique everyday. By posting every other day or every few days it gives people time to catch up on other blog and to have something to look forward to on your blog.
Don't  just post to post. Don't throw something up there just to fill a void for each day. It'll only make people frequent your blog less.
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Do share the good and the bad. We all know that people miss animals, or do stupid things. We also know people do wonderful things and it all doesn't have to relate to hunting. Write about your adventures!
Don't  think every post needs to be a hunt or an outdoor event. You can mix it up. I encourage you to! Don't feel that you are singled out if you make a bad hit on an animal or can't figure something out. Write about it and see what responses come in.
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Do comment on other bloggers pages. Leave your mark. Put your opinion out there and let them know you are reading their material. 
Don't  shy away or become a lurker. Posting comments only helps us all become better.
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Like I said, I am no expert, nor am I perfect. I make mistakes. I write posts that people don't read, but I write and I continue to write. I share my experiences, my opinion and my adventures. It's how I roll and you should comment and let me know what you think. Leave your opinion and your thoughts on what I have said. I don't care if you don't agree with my thought process, let me know. Please add the things I missed (this is a short list) and make suggestions. The only way I can improve it to hear about it from others, too. Still, you know I'm right...right?

6 comments:

  1. Al, you have brought up some great points here. I know that I need to get better at some of them.

    In the end, I think it is important to know who you are and why you are blogging. Are you doing it for readership? Are you doing it to promote a business? Are you doing it to take part in a community? Or, are you doing it for purely personal reasons? Obviously the more you are concerned with outside readership, the more you need to carefully decide how you use your blog.

    I started blogging for purely selfish reasons...I wanted to track my outdoor adventures and wanted to journal what inspired me along the way. The more I blogged, the more I discovered the outdoor bloggers community. Discovering that community was really the first time that I thought about blogging for an audience. I am still not blogging to gain a following, but I am now blogging in a way that is more aware that others are reading and participating. In a way, I am still blogging for myself, but I am also enjoying the community and dialog that comes with blogging. The more I make community and dialog one of my goals in blogging, the more I need to adjust how I blog. Make sense?

    All of that said, to say: this post wouldn't have mattered a bit to me a few months ago, when I was blogging for myself. But now, I am seeing that I do need to make decisions, not to gain readers, but not to isolate them either.

    "Still, you know I'm right...right?" LOL!

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  2. Mighty fine advice....though I will confess to writing rather long form at times. You have a great blog. Enjoy stopping by.

    Cheers!

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  3. Thanks, guys. I am going to add one more.

    Do take your time with posts and don't hurry them. If you hurry and try too hard you will experience burnout. I know this firsthand and I am seeing it more and more each day.

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  4. Excellent points, Al! Very good post! I agree completely about writing a novel. If a post is really long and isn't broken up in some manner, I normally won't read the entire thing. Blogs are meant to be fairly concise and to the point. Most folks follow several blogs and you have to consider your visitor's time.

    I also agree about not posting for the sake of posting. I'm not interested in quantity in people's blogs. If I don't feel like writing or can't come up with a post topic that excites me, I won't force it. I've experienced the burnout, especially with social media and it's no fun. I don't want that to happen with my blog.

    Great tips, my friend! Well done! This is an awesome post for beginning bloggers, too.

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  5. HeyBJK suggested I check you out.... and I am glad I did. I love all your bullet points. I will definitely be taking some of these back with me.

    If you don't mind...I'll be tagging along for the ride. I've enjoyed the posts I've got to read so far. Great blog!

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  6. A big thank you to everyone and for the insight.

    @Mark - That is one point I missed entirely. Know your audience! Great stuff.

    @Ian - We all tend to get wordy from time to time. I am also guilty of it.

    @Brian - Bingo! Yes, for the new bloggers getting aboard they need to heed this advice. It'll help them survive in the long run.

    @LB - Welcome! Tag along, comment and make suggestions. This is and will always be a work in progress. The only way I can get better is from readers like you all making suggestions.

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