The River

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Forgive me, for I have sinned

First of all, thanks to Frank for pointing out how much my blog sucks. But we knew that already. I am a sinner. I have sinned often and I have sinned hard. But now, thanks to Pinyo’s The Seven Deadly Sins of Blogging, perhaps I can find a way out of this pit.

Ok, time for a painful accounting.

The Seven Deadly Sins of Blogging

Posted by Pinyo on GreatNexus Webmaster Blog

1. Using Free Blog Hosting Services


I have nothing against free blog hosting services like Blogger, Live Journal, or TypePad. If you are doing it just for fun, or just want to give blogging a try, these services are highly recommended. For those of us that take blogging a little more seriously, I think it is essential to run a good blog software with your own domain name and professional hosting.

(Hmmm, I’m doing it for fun and I take it very seriously. Perhaps this is the root of my problem?)

2. Ignoring the Basic Principles of Good Web Site Design and Usability

(Bzzt. Form over content. THAT, my friend, is a sin.)

It really doesn’t matter if you do everything right, if the first thing a user sees is a badly designed site in neon colors cluttered with flashing graphics and laced with background music they will leave.

(My site design is pretty clean. Some would say boring and cookie cutter to the point of offensiveness – Jeneane – but it is clean, you have to give me that. I think I have avoided sin on this one. 50-50. Half saint, half sinner. I can live with that.)

3. Being the Jack Of All Trades

(But that’s who I AM!)

Blogging is very much like magazine publishing. Have you seen a sport magazine featuring Thanksgiving recipes or comparing the top ten baby strollers? I don’t think so. People read blog because they are interested in a particular subject. If your blog does not focus on a subject, a person, or a thing — then you risk hurting your blog popularity.

(Have you seen a progressive magazine that covers politics, pop culture, personal reflection, if not anguish, parenting foibles, voices of the dispossessed, and the general funkiness of the Web? Probably not, but wouldn’t it be cool if you did? I think my readers, Baldassare, Frank and Ray, can answer that question.)

(I don’t subscribe to a belief system that says being who you are is a sin. So this is a N/A on the sinometer. Still batting a safe and sane 50-50.)

4. Not Posting Regularly

(Blogger forgive me!)

My rule of thumb is to publish at least one post per day — more if possible. Without a regular publishing schedule, it is very hard to establish loyal readers. Beside, I found that the more I post, the more traffic I get.

(I’ve found the more I post, the more typos I get, and apparently, that’s not just me. But seriously, as soon as somebody pays me to do it, then I’ll start treating blogging as another day at the office. Until then, I will just privately castigate myself for committing the – yes, admitted – sin of posting irregularly.)

(I’m slipping, the devil has me by the heel. Then again, baseball players do quite well batting 300. Whether or not they are living cleanly, I can’t say, however.)

5. Publishing Badly Written Posts

(If Baldassare, Ray and Frank are discerning gentlemen, then I get a passing grade on this one. If they are merely rubberneckers too fascinated to look away, well…)

I am not saying that you have to be top-notch and write like William Shakespeare or JK Rowlings. I am not saying that you have to be a top-notch writer, or internationally renowned like William Shakespeare or JK Rowlings [but it helps]. In order to attract readers and build credibility, your writing has to be decent…below is a quick checklist:

Your writing clearly and effectively convey thoughts and ideas
Your writing has minimal grammatical and spelling errors
Your writing has good structure and flow
Also, if you are stating facts and statistics in your post, make sure the information is well researched.

(Sounds like good advice for an annual report.)

(Assuming the best about Baldassare, Frank and Ray, back to 500 and glory bound!)

6. Spamming and Stealing

(why, I never!)

To be successful at blogging, you need more than a good site and great writing. [This job is getting to be more a drag with each passing commandment.] Unless you are already exceptionally well known, success in the Blogosphere is all about networking and community. [Been there done that.] Do not try something that would hurt your reputation and relationship with the blogging community [been there, done that].

(20 years of schooling and they put you on the blogshift.)

(Failing to see how this whole sin thing is working for me.)

7. Failing to Establish a Personality

(Hey, sometimes it takes a while, gimme another few years.)

There are a lot of blogs out there, therefore you need to establish a personality. You cannot succeed as another John Doe Blogger, because readers can read the other million John Doe’s Blogs. These are some of the easy things that you can do immediately to establish a personality.

(Break the first six rules I’ve just posted. Fold, spindle and mutilate them. Put them back together the way YOU think they can best guide you.)

(Day of reckoning: three sins, two righteous acts, one don’t know, and one N/A. Jesus, that makes me look almost human or something. So, I guess I’m back where I started, with the same damn dilemma. Embrace my humanity and fall to the lower ranks with Baldassare, Frank and Ray for company, or follow the rules and elevate The River to a strong brand, a marketable product, ads, wealth, success…)

(Or perhaps there is a third way…Baldassare, Frank, Ray, stay tuned.)

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