Developing a habit – blogging regularly

Blogging is something that many people have a mental block about actually doing.

Still, they invest heavily in the concept. They invest time in talking and blogging about starting one; they are kept awake into the wee hours thinking about topics they could write about, if only they had the time; and they spend valuable man hours tweeting on Twitter about how they’ve been too busy to sit down a get one done. They’ve great ideas, they claim, or no ideas, or no way with words; they’ve great excuses.

Plenty of us are guilty of that. But what can we actually do about transforming inaction to action? How do can you go about writing a regular blog that develops a following, helps people find your website, and gets people talking about, if not buying your product or service?

If you want to start blogging, do your market research. Sure, find out who your audience is and who your competitors are, but what’s most important is that you find out what a blog actually is.

Here are some tips to get you started:

  • Online know-it-all Wikipedia explains that “Many blogs provide commentary or news on a particular subject; others function as more personal online diaries.”
  • Blogger.com describes blogging as a “way to share your thoughts — about current events, what’s going on in your life, or anything else you’d care to discuss”.
  • The benefit of a blog to a reader, in the words of Blog.com is to “observe the world, from the smallest details to life-changing events”.
  • WordPress.com takes the assumption that most of its users are familiar with blogging and give no explanation as to what blogging is, apart from the very succinct message: “Express yourself. Start a blog.”

I think that’s enough. If you’re still not sure, think about what Posterous, one of the newest blog kids on the block says to do: “post everything“.

Inseperable: excellent design and excellent content

Reading is something I do a lot. At times, I just scan over the content of a broadsheet, a magazine, an e-mail newsletter or an online news website. Other times, I read every word in detail. Or, words jump out at me. I love seeing how different words can be used in different situations, or more interestingly what substitute words are not used. It’s all about reading between the lines.

One word that jumped out at me lately was the word ‘inseperable’. It was in an obituary and the relationship between the lady who had died (may she rest in peace) and her husband. They were described as ‘inseperable’ and nobody could recall seeing one without the other in decades. I thought that was sweet, to me it said something about a certain type of relationship from a certain era.

It made me think about relationships nowadays and how eyebrows are as equally raised if a couple are seen together the whole time or if they never seem to be in each others’ company.

Anyway, that was just a musing and I couldn’t really figure out whether inseperable is good or bad in human relationships. (I think it’s bad if say one half of the couple is more dependent on the other and doesn’t mix with anybody other than their inseperable half. But I think being inseperable while alose retaining strong friendships and relationships with others is a sign of soulmates or two halves becoming one. But less of that).

So anyway, my mind brought me off on an Alain Botton-esque tangent into the philosophy of love and relationships, but ultimately brought me back to the role the word inseperable has to play in my business. I’m in the business of words, writing online copy for businesses websites, ensuring that the content naturally contains those all-important keywords so that it’s found easily. But I also concentrate on good writing, making sure the content is interesting and readable, written in such a way that the reader wants to read it.

But, I’m a strong believer in good design and this is where the word inseperable comes into play. Why have a beautifully designed website if it’s just pretty to look but nothing else (unless maybe you’re just a visual artist and communicate in pictures and not words). The whole point of the exercise (in most business cases anyway) is that the website is informative or it makes people want to hire you or buy your product.

If your content is just slapped together by four or five people in the office, not edited for consistency, has no style about it, is way too long, or not informing enough, is filled with misspellings etc, it’s just not going to wow either existing clients or potential customers or investors. Good design and good content are inseperable. It’s a bit like being all dressed up and nowhere to go. You can separate the two, but really, honestly, in the age that content is king, you really shouldn’t.

The power of persuasive advertising

About a week ago, tired of my laptop slowing up and Internet Explorer crashing etc, I decided to do things like Defrag and delete unused programs and realising I only have 15% capacity left, bought an extrenal hard drive. One of the programs I removed was Google Chrome. I like messaging my friends on Gmail chat. I find it a pain in the a$$ to have Chrome and Explorer open. I pressed remove. Great. Only since then everywhere I’ve been seen “Have you got Google Chrome it’s faster”. I don’t have it, haven’t plugged in my externald hard drive yet, and my computer is chugging away worse than ever. So I’ve just downloaded Google Chrome again. And in the course of writing this I’ve realised it is now letting me use Google Chat. Yay!