Performancing Stream of Consciousness – Sun Apr 6, 2008

Some more weekend reading:

  1. Andrew G.R. asks how far you’d go to thank a blog reader, pointing to Georgia Getz, blogger at I Am Bossy, and her plan to drive 10,000 miles in total, in order to meet and thank her blog’s commenters. She’s doing this in five weeks, and Saturn has provided her with a hybrid car. But she’ll be crashing each night at the homes of over 260 bloggers who have signed up to participate. Andrew asks the question: would you let your fave blogger crash on your couch? My answer is yes – one of my faves, who is a colleague, is tentatively scheduled to crash on my couch once I manage to find an apartment in Toronto and move back there. But he’s one of few who I’d allow to do that.
  2. Do you blog for business or pleasure, asks Alan Johnson, at Copyblogger. That is, even if you are making money blogging for hire or on your own, is it in a niche that you enjoy? Or have you picked the niche because of the income potential? I have to agree with him that you have to write about topics that you enjoy, else the dislike will show in your writing – which ultimately harms your personal brand.
  3. Mark Seall, a guest poster at Problogger, asks who cares how many subscribers you’ve got. He explains why he thinks we bloggers obsess over statistics, and offers a diagram of various ways we can measure our site’s success. This is a must-read article, but I have to disagree with one part of his diagram: “Things you can’t influence directly – don’t worry about.” The advice is sound, in general, but you CAN influence inbound links, search results, repeat visits, new visits, subscribers and comments. It’s just a harder than many of the other factors he diagrammed. Though he did say “can’t influence directly,” and I’ll have to concede that for most bloggers, this is probably true.
  4. David Peralty asks, are you blogging naked. That is, are you just blogging, or do you have a sense of purpose and direction. I’m surprised to realize that, despite my extensive writing background, I started off blogging in 2005 with little purpose – something that continued up until about January 2008. I now have a blogging purpose, though I’m still not entirely sure I can make a living from it for a few years, without other regular blogging gigs. But unless I plan and try, I’ll never know – and trying is more important to me than not succeeding.
  5. Ali, a guest at Daily Writing Tips, recommends keeping a writer’s notebook and writing in it every day. I couldn’t agree more. I know from long experience that I am more productive and creative if I sketch out ideas on pen and paper. Just don’t buy a fancy notebook or you might feel compelled to write only your best work – which will ruin your creative juices.
  6. Running a forum has its pros and cons, but if it’s something you want to do, Kevin Muldoon discusses a number of ways that you can integrate a forum with your WordPress blog.
  7. Darren Rowse points to a post by Suzie Cheel on her Abundance Highway blog, about how many topics a blog should cover. Darren left a detailed 6-point comment there of his own thoughts about the topic. Personally, I think that you have to decide what net result you want from your blog. If you want to be a generalist, fine – don’t expect it to be easy to monetize. If you want to be considered an expert on a topic, then write only about that topic. (And no matter how much you think it’s okay to do so, don’t stick in posts about your cat or a recipe you just had to share if neither really has anything to do you with your professional blog. On the other hand, if you can think up a way to make them relevant, great.)