Last autumn, I wrote an article on blogging for everywoman that has been well received. It is always easier to preach than to practise. So, if I can write convincingly on what makes a good blog, can I practise it myself?
Any self-respecting professional in any field is interested in bettering themselves and their work. Sometimes it is a necessity for survival in competitive arenas. Recently, I witnessed copywriter and friend Al Allday make changes to his site – influenced by his competitors but still strongly fashioned to himself.
My space is very different – it is in not fashioned as a business portal. But this observation has certainly made me think about what it takes to improve even a quiet cornerstone.
Although Writing Privacy has a small readership, the beginning of this academic year brought a more positive approach to writing that has delivered some benefits here. Interest has remained steady, for which I am grateful.
It is often said that regular blogging maximises the performance of a blog. It is less often said how it benefits the blogger. The benefits it can bring are astounding:
- It exercises the brain (a muscle like any other).
- It improves thought. Dedicated blogs on early modernity are popular. There is a readership at stake.
- It develops research ideas. Explaining ideas aloud to non-specialists helps me to express them more clearly and to understand them better myself.
- It aids networking. It is a great compliment when somebody shows interest in something I’ve done, and I have enjoyed wonderful dialogue as a result.
So, where next? Do I stretch my principles and actively advertise? Or, are there more localised changes that could be made?
WordPress is currently highlighting a feature of its own: want to blog better in 2011? It recommends more thought around titles and relevance. While that seems fairly rudimentary, it is a definite area for consideration.
I cannot recall all of the combinations that have led search engines to ‘Private Party’, but the full title of the post, which seemed extravagant at the time, conveys a lot of information, and has attracted more views than any other post in its short life-span. Hopefully it will dislodge some of the torrent listings that scourge my musical champions.
It is often tempting to follow an academic favourite: ‘“Quotation”: Title’. But efficiency of words and characters is key. Clearly, then, there’s a certain amount of optimisation that can be done.
For a blog like this, I have always hoped that the writing could do most of the work in maintaining a small readership, and perhaps growing it modestly. Perhaps some small modifications will squeeze even more from it al.
How important are titles? Has anyone consciously changed the way they used titles and noticed any difference? I would be glad to hear any thoughts!