Friday, August 19, 2011

10 questions to you regarding your blog!

Your Blog is like your friend. A personal blog is owned by a person, where in most of the cases, the author has the total control over what he writes. Some of the below questions will help you in positioning your blog.

1) Who is your target audience?
Someone must be reading your blog. Who is addressed by your blog? Developers, geeks, public, or kids? Knowing the audience will help you focus on them.

When I started blogging, I used to consider myself as the audience. I write for myself. :D Later when my blog started to get readers, I changed my perception on my blog accordingly.

2) What is the theme of your blog?
It can be a personal blog, a technical blog, a photography blog, or a mixture of all. Once your blog gets branded, it is hard to change. 

I consider my blog as a mixture. It contains software stuff that impressed me, projects that I worked, some common posts like this one, or just totally random stuff. 

3) What is the title of your blog?
The title actually says more. An interesting title is always a turn-on. ;) In the commonest cases, the title represents the essence of the blog too. Many bloggers have their name as the title of the blog. Something like 'Pradeeban's blog'. It is the (default) suggested name by Google during the blog registration time.

I too had the blog name as 'Kathiravelu Pradeeban' when I started my blog in 2008, October, which I later changed to 'On my way home' in 2009. It is 2010 Jan, when my blog got the name 'Llovizna' (pronounced 'yoviz-nah'). 'Llovizna' means 'drizzle' in Spanish. It is also a waterfall in Venezuela. It is also a female name in Spanish. I picked this name, as I felt it is kinda kewl (cool). A heavy shower may be scary and annoying, but never a drizzle (Llovizna). Drizzle (llovizna) lasts longer.

4) Do your posts have proper labels?

It will be very hard to navigate to the pages of interests, without proper labels. Make sure to tag your posts with the relevant labels, at the time when the blog post was written. Make sure to show a tag cloud or a list of labels in an accessible place in your blog too.

An index with the monthly posts is similarly useful in navigating to the posts.

5) Does your blog have an introduction to yourself?
Some bloggers prefer to be anonymous. I feel, good to show your identity. At least, I am not writing anything controversial. No worries. :) Your real identity in your blog profile, adds value to your thoughts.

6) Does your blog bring you friends or foes?
I have seen several blogs becoming a spot for flame wars, just because they post bad about the project from the competitor. I don't discourage a constructive criticism or a discussion/argument. But blind comparisons praising one's own project, criticizing another is not so professional.

As a practice, I never compare the projects that I am associated with, with other projects through my blog. When you say "mine is better than yours" without proper data to back your claim, it will just ruin your own reputation. Even if you think you are analyzing something unbiased, chances are, you are highly biased. 

Let's say I am comparing AbiWord with some other word processor. In my eyes, all the features in AbiWord are important to me. However I can't make a good comparison as a freelance reviewer, as I am much experienced using AbiWord than other word processors. I always can say, my product X is good, really good, and awesome, but I am reluctant to say, my X is better than your Y, as my X has all the important features, where yours doesn't, and mine is efficient.

Better to make friends, I feel.

7) How to get updates from your blog?
Does your blog have the follow options and feeds? They enable the interested readers to get updated.

I thank all the readers of my blog. Their presence and their comments always encourage me. Readers are the most important asset of a blog.

8) What is the medium of your blog?
Most of the blogs are written either in English or the mother tongue of the writer.

Llovizna is an English blog (though it has a Spanish name), but I occasionally try to write a few posts with Sinhala or Tamil mixed, focusing the local / Sri Lankan audience. Sometimes I even have written posts in other international languages, including Spanish, Chinese, or Portuguese, using my incremental translation method with the help of the Google Translator. Believe me, those translated posts have got considerably good number of reads. I hope those posts are useful for someone. I hope to proof-read them by some native speakers of the respective languages sooner.

9) Is your blog ethical?
Some bloggers use their blog as a copy-paste medium. After copying, some just put 'Taken from the Internet'. That's pretty useless. They should at least give a link to the original post. 'Thank you - Internet' says nothing about the original author.

Using blogs to spread cracked software, or to share your personal software licenses with everyone breaking the EULA, is completely unacceptable, though it may make your blog popular. I have seen blogs on 'how to break the license of the software'. Unless you are a serious black-hat hacker, avoid these posts. They take you nowhere.

Blog is a good communication medium too. It provides everyone an easy way to convey a message to the outer world. Some bloggers misuse that by spreading hoaxes or false alarms, may be for fun, or just due to the plain stupidity, or just to get more hits. Engineered stories, photoshopped pictures, and misleading titles are a few  examples.

10) How responsive are you, in your blog?
Some blog posts have questions from the readers unanswered in the comments section. That's a sign of ignorance. If some one asks a question in your blog, he feels that you know the answer. Don't prove him otherwise, just because of your ignorance.

Have fun with your blog!

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