Blogging Tips

I was recently asked how to setup a new blog and then how to get that blog some visitors. So in an aid to anyone else who may be considering the same, here are a few tips.

Firstly create a new blog, there are a few free blog hosts to choose from such as  wordpress.com , or blogger.com , it’s up to you, my personal preference is wordpress.

There are some considerations here, firstly choose a good name for your blog, one that means something in some way and is not too long. Secondly, the free version of wordpress is somewhat limited in that it won’t let you use various scripting languages, but this is outweighed in that it is virtually hassle free to setup and start using. (if you more web savvy and have a bit of spare cash you can always get your own domain and host and install wordpress.org to overcome the restrictions on wordpress.com).

I’d also suggest you use a gmail, or other free email, account to link to your new blog. You can use the free email account to get notified of various things (such as comments awaiting notification) and to communicate to your readers rather than using your ‘normal’ email account (though be aware of spammers and don’t make it easy to acquire/use your email address).

There’s not too much I can say about setting up a wordpress.com blog it’s fairly straighforward, if you have specific questions leave a comment, or check the wordpress faq.

OK, so you’ve got your new blog, got it set-up and looking like you want, posted a new article. Now what? Who’s going to read it? How are people going to find it? Well thanks to vjack and my own experiences here are a few ideas.

Visit lots of other blogs with similar interests. As far as atheist blogs go there’s Friendly Atheist’s and mine top 30 lists for a start (see previous post), then there’s Mojeoys blog roll which lists over 800 blogs (see sidebar or  my Atheist Blogroll page). Then write comments on them, taking note of the following ‘rules’ and ideas. (all ideas based on using a wordpress.com blog that has an atheist slant)

Firstly whenever you comment on someone’s blog make sure you put the url of your web site in the appropriate box, this will make your name a clickable link. If you comment on a Blogger website use you WordPress  OpenID (your site url) as your identity, this will also make your name a clickable link. The idea is that if you write intelligent comments people will click through to your website to see what else you have to say.
Secondly, a word of warning – there is an unwritten etiquette code that says you shouldn’t put links to your own blog in a comment on someone else’s blog (especially on the first visit!), however it is OK if you have just written about something similar, but use this sparingly.

  • Subscribe to Mojoeys atheist blogroll  http://mojoey.blogspot.com/2006/09/join-mojoeys-atheist-blogroll.html
  • Subscribe to Planet Atheism http://planetatheism.com/ (see their faq link) this is a blogging aggregate site which regularly updates and displays all the latest atheist blogs. A suggestion, which some might not agree on, only display the first part of your post, not the whole thing (there’s an option somewhere). My reason for this is, why will people visit your site if they can read the whole post at Planet Atheism? However if you do only display the first part you have to remember to make the first couple of sentences very interesting and intriguing such that people will want to visit your site to read the rest of the article.
  • Sign up to Technoratti  http://technorati.com/ and then add appropriate tags to each of your posts, as well as adding appropriate categories to each post.
  • Sign up to Intense Debate http://www.intensedebate.com/ a lot of bloggers are starting to use this very good commenting function on their blogs (it can’t be used on a free wordpress.com hosted site) and it also allows others to “follow” you.

Write a good article and submit it to the relevant blogging carnival http://blogcarnival.com/ the Carnival of the Godless is the top atheist one (that I know of). This carnival is hosted once per fortnight and the host lists all the submissions (or all they feel are worthy) and they get a lot of viewers, some of which may read your article, then, if you are lucky, become a regular reader. In case you haven’t seen a blog carnival post check out mine: https://ozatheist.wordpress.com/2008/08/31/carnival-of-the-godless-99/ or the current one: http://thegreenbelt.blogspot.com/2009/02/carnival-of-godless-110.html

Once you have the hang of this blogging thing, and a bit of spare time, consider hosting a Carnival, it doesn’t have to be as extravagant as the examples, but it is an excellent way to promote your site.

Well that should get you started.

If anyone has a new atheist/agnostic/sceptic/humanist/freethinker/philosophy/science blog they would like to promote, please feel free to leave a comment here with a brief description of you blog and a link to it.

One last thing, if there is anyone who thinks the whole blogging thing is just too difficult and time consuming (and it can be very time consuming) and doesn’t want to create and maintain their own blog, you can always become a guest blogger on someone else’s blog. I’m always happy to accomodate a guest blogger, so if you think you have something to say that is too much to put in the comments, leave a request in the comments here and we’ll see about signing you up as a guest blogger.

Happy Blogging

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13 Comments

Filed under atheism, atheist, blog, blog roll, blogging, wordpress

13 responses to “Blogging Tips

  1. Great tips! I really only like wordpress snow!
    🙂

  2. Mojoey is having issue with blog roll from memory

  3. A good blog I recommend is Obsessed With Reality. An atheist biology student who lives in Israel, has some varied interests and insightful posts.

  4. Rats! better link: Obsessed With Reality.
    ps. how does one do that linking email to blog?

  5. I wouldn’t recommend people to use a third-party comment system (Intense Debate, TypePad Connect, Disqus, Haloscan, etc.) if their blog host has a decent system built-in. Let’s take Intense Debate for instance.

    It only supports a handful of blog platforms well. I had problems using ID on my Tumblr page. It didn’t work on the first two blog themes I was using so I ended up using a heavily-edited, plain-vanilla theme.

    Second, on the off-chance that Intense Debate were to fold, or if the service starts going to the crapper, it’s difficult to save the comments on a different system (TypePad, among others, doesn’t currently accept importing comments).

    Third, there are occasions where the ID javascripts might conflict with other scripts on the webpage, or the browser might not have good javascript implementation to work with ID (I’ve experienced both). Built-in comment systems are usually less complex to run in a browser and less likely to affect other running scripts.

    Fourth, adding another service to your blog that connects to external servers might slow down your page a lot. I had a blog in Tripod that became tortuously slow when I installed HaloScan.

    I understand the desire to use third-party comment systems, and I use one myself. But it’s not without drawbacks, and the potential user must weigh in the positives and negatives before even trying to experiment with it.

    And BTW, truncating rss-feed posts is annoying IMO.

  6. @ Danny, welcome and thanks for your input. Not actually having a third party commenting platform I was unaware of any problems from an operators side.
    I was mainly pointing out the usefulness to be an Intense Debate member from a commenters point of view, as there seems to be quite a few blogs using it these days.

    each to their own re truncating rss feeds, that’s what IMO is all about. 🙂

    It would be interesting to see if there are any stats as to which style (truncated or not) generates more feed-throughs or hits to the associated blog?

  7. Some good tips here. Lots of stuff I wish I had known about when I was starting out.

  8. Re: commenter’s POV

    Definitely for the commenter, ID and others are great. But it can be really bewildering to actually set it up .

    Re: truncated or not
    Perhaps we could ask Pedro of Planet Atheism, he probably has the number of clickthroughs on each. Unfortunately, he’s not responding to my Join PA requests.

  9. I have never joined the blog roll. I’ve never felt I post enough about atheism to qualify.

  10. DB

    I also think commenting on other blogs (and responding to your own comments) is the best way to get traffic for ones own blog, plus it gives you an opportunity to see what the community is saying. I see too many blogs that don’t get into the conversation or respond on their own comments once in a while. I prefer the dialog that follows the post.

  11. It’s hard coming up with content, most of the time it’s already been all over the atheosphere.
    Poodles, I like your blog, you should join.
    Like I said before, I prefer commenting to posting.

    I enjoy reading ozatheist.

  12. I may be a heretic to say it, but I loathe Intense Debate.

  13. This is a great guide!

    I’ve only just bought a domain, and I’m looking to start blogging again.

    Thanks for the tips.

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