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September 25, 2005
Everything You Always Wanted to Know About BloggingBy Greyhawk
(But were Afraid to Ask)
(Note: reposted in response to numerous "how to" questions received regularly here. Some of the links below may no longer be active. Feel free to leave alternatives in the comments section.)
Okay - I'll tell you right off that the title is deceptive. You won't find everything here. But this guide will offer ten fundamentals about which anyone wanting to be a blogger should be aware. Whatever your blog might be about, I think you'll find this info useful. This isn't about writing, or site design - it's about the knobology of blogging, the nuts and bolts, (hmmm, maybe nuts is the wrong term...) and that applies to everyone.
1. Get a Blog
Done? Good. If you want to you can stop now and blog happily away.
2. Hit counters
And how much should you charge for blogads once they do?
Get a hit counter - a little string of code you add to your page that allows you to see who's visited. Sitemeter is the blogger's "industry standard". (Hint: get one) I also really like the Onestat hit counter - it can't be beat. Click my onestat link in the sidebar (the round symbol below the sitemeter visit numbers). Check the features. Test drive. Once you're on the onestat page note the pull down menu in the upper left corner area, and the listed options below it. They're both free.
Don't lock them - leave them open for public view. They tell you how many visits you've had and they also tell other bloggers how many visitors they've sent your way. Don't get obsessed about either number - your visit numbers will likely be small initially, I know mine were. But they are of interest to anyone who's serious about blogging. Let's face it, we're in this to communicate, and these are simply letting us know who we're communicating with. I like to know what works best when I link to someone else - a simple "This is a must read!" or a paragraph sample followed by a "read it all". Lock me out of your site meter and I won't know.
Another option you might try is the on-screen referral log. I have that too, you'll find it farther down the right side bar. I often use the blog list there to find new sites I hadn't seen before.
Last important note: be sure to put the hit counter code on your main page template and all archive templates too. At least 40% of visits here come to individual pages from links from other bloggers. I know a few bloggers who are getting a lot more visits than they think they are, because they don't have hit counters on individual archive pages.
Comments are easy and need no explanation. I began my blogging career by commenting at another blog. When Mudville started I had a handful of regular visitors who knew me from there. If you're a new blogger, or one who wants to draw a bigger crowd, leave comments at those other blogs that have posts about topics on which you write. Etiquette note: don't just say "Great post - I linked it from my blog here!" along with a url. Contribute something to the conversation and people will follow that url linked to your name in the comment back to your site anyway. Do this at enough places and people will soon see your obvious expertise - do it wrong enough times and people will know you're just a pest.
Besides, that "I linked your post" stuff is what trackback is all about.
Blogspot recommends Haloscan's free service. A lot of big bloggers use this option.
But here's a quick fix that's just so cool you'll probably want to try it just to see it work. Wizbang's Standalone Trackback Pinger.
To use it, first click the 'trackback' option below. You'll find this entry number there:
That's the one you'll want to enter in the first box on the Trackback Pinger. (Note: it is not the url you link too! The url to link to is the 'permalink' below) The other entries should be self explanatory.
That's it - trackback!
5. Open Posts
I also run at least one open post every day, a place where fellow bloggers can trackback any post they want, on any topic. (Well, I'll delete any pure attack pieces or anything I think gets too much inspiration from Jerry Springer...)
6. Finding your tribe
Memeorandum - this one tells you what certain big blogs are linking too.
There are other options, but these will give you a start. Find others on your topics, link, trackback, comment or
On the other hand, some bloggers don't have open trackback or comments, and they welcome emails. Most will be quick to tell you they prefer a pointer to a specific post than to an entire blog, but few would post their email on their site unless they wanted people to email them. Of course, smaller bloggers will probably be more likely to respond.
You also will want to email your entry into the
Now back to the future: there are lots of carnivals now, for medical blogs, for recipes, for you name it. My advice to you is to visit the Carnival of the Carnivals - it lists them all. See which ones are on topics you write about, find out where the next one will be, and get your post submitted. (Note the compiler of the Carnival of Carnivals has offered it to a new home, perhaps you would like the task?)
Then watch the numbers rack up on those new sitemeters.
You'll also find bloggers in your area of expertise, and as you do, be sure and add them to your
Here are some tips for running a blogroll:
Two methods to create a blogroll. 1. Manual - build the links yourself or 2. Use blogrolling.com. With blogrolling you also have an option of their free service or a paid service with more features.
Greyhawk's advice: Use blogrolling's paid option. It's not that much money and it's money spent in the blogosphere, and that's good.
Now, as to building your blogroll. Do: add as many fine blogs as you can. Do Not: Simply put Instapundit, LGF, Hugh Hewitt, PowerLine, and Michelle Malkin, and The Corner on your blogroll and stop. Do add those sites, but do not stop there. Add several smaller blogs too. Are you using the open post trackback feature here? Go visit some of the other blogs that do. Have you checked out the Carnivals I directed you to? I know there are great blogs there, and many would love to exchange links. Blogroll those you like. Leave a comment at their site telling them that you enjoyed your visit and added them to your blogroll. They'll likely be glad to learn that - I know I am when I find a blog that's just linked to me.
Whether you use blogrolling or not, be sure to "ping" blogrolling whenever you put up a new post. This will automatically update other's blogrolls to announce your new post. In some cases "new" will appear by your blog's name (or whatever the site owner has decided) in other's you'll actually move to the top of the list.
Little by little your site visits will begin to creep upwards, and you too will be climbing...
10. The Ecosystem
NZ also tracks blogs by visits, by the way - if they have an open sitemeter.
There you have it - the power is in your hands. Why would I be so willing to help you out? Because when you become a huge blogger I want you to remember me and link me from time to time, okay? That is how this whole thing works.
1. Get a blog.
(reposted from 2005-04-28 21:12:08)
Posted by Greyhawk / September 25, 2005 2:15 PM | Permalink
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November 26, 2010
I think anyone who's ever pondered the "comment" option - once only available on blogs and bulletin boards, now ubiquitous on almost any web site - will appreciate this:
The so-called faculty of writing is not so much a faculty of writing as it is a faculty of thinking. When a man says, "I have an idea but I can't express it"; that man hasn't an idea but merely a vague feeling. If a man has a feeling of that kind, and will sit down for a half an hour and persistently try to put into writing what he feels, the probabilities are at least 90 percent that he will either be able to record it, or else realize that he has no idea at all. In either case, he will do himself a benefit.
That's wisdom from the past, captured for posterity at the US Naval Institute, shared via the web on the institute's 137th anniversary.
From their about page:
"The Naval Institute has three core activities," among them, History and Preservation:
The Naval Institute also has recently introduced Americans at War, a living history of Americans at war in their own words and from their own experiences. These 90-second vignettes convey powerful stories of inspiration, pride, and patriotism.
Take a look at the collection, and you'll see it's not limited to accounts from those who served on ships at sea, members of the other branches are well-represented.
I'm fortunate to have met USNI's Mary Ripley, she's responsible for the institute's oral history program (and she's the daughter of the late John Ripley, whose story is told here). She also deserves much credit for their blog. ("We're not the Navy nor any government agency. Blog and comment freely.") We met at a milblog conference - Mary knew (and I would come to realize) that milbloggers are the 21st-century version of exactly what the US Naval Institute is all about. Once that light bulb came on in my head, I mentioned a vague idea for a project to her - milblogs as the 21st century oral history that they are.
"Put that in writing," she said (of course - see first paragraph above!) - and here's part of the result.
Shortly after the first tent was pitched by the American military in Iraq a wire was connected to a computer therein, and the internet was available to a generation of Americans at war - many of whom had grown up online. From that point on, at any given moment, somewhere in Iraq a Soldier, Sailor, Airman or Marine was at a keyboard sharing the events of his or her day with the folks back home. While most would simply fire off an email, others took advantage of the (then) relatively new online blogging platforms to post their thoughts and experiences for the entire world to see. The milblog was born - and from that moment to this stories detailing everything from the most mundane aspects of camp life to intense combat action (often described within hours of the event) have been available on the web...
And et cetera - but since you're reading this on a milblog, you probably knew that. And you know that milblogs aren't just blogs written by troops at war, that many friends, family members, and supporters likewise documented their story of America at war online in near-real time, as those stories developed.
The diversity in membership of that group is broad, the one thing we all have in common is the impulse to make sense of the seemingly senseless, and communicate the tale - for each of us that impulse was strong enough to overcome whatever barriers prevent the vast majority of people from doing the same. Everyone at some point has some vague idea they believe should be shared - we were the people who, from some combination of internal and external urging, found and spent those many half hours persistently trying to write it down.
But where will all that be in another 137 years? Or five or ten, for that matter. That's something I've asked myself since at least 2004 - when I wrote this:
Membership in the ghost battalion has grown in the years since, and an ever growing majority of those abandoned-but-still-standing sites are vanishing. Have you checked out Lt Smash's site lately? How about Sgt Hook's? If you're a long-time milblog reader you know the first widely-read milblog from Operation Iraq Freedom and the first widely-read milblog from Afghanistan are both gone from the web. If you're a relative newcomer to this world you may never even have heard of them - or the dozens upon dozens of others who carried forth the standard they set down.
If you have a vague notion that something should be done about that, (a notion I've heard expressed more than once...) then you and I and the good folks at the US Naval Institute are in agreement. Preserving the history documented by the milbloggers is just one of the goals of the milblog project, the once-vague idea that we're now making real.
And it's a big idea, if I say so myself - too big to explain in one simple blog post, so stand by for more. Likewise, it's too big a task to be accomplished by just one person. So if you're a milblogger (and exactly what is a milblogger? is a topic for much further discussion on its own) I'm asking for your help. All I'll really need is just a little bit (maybe just one or two of those half hours...) of your time, and your willingness to tell the tale.
We've already made history, it's time to save it.
(More to follow...)
The Mudville Gazette is the on-line voice of an American warrior and his wife who stands by him. They prefer to see peaceful change render force of arms unnecessary. Until that day they stand fast with those who struggle for freedom, strike for reason, and pray for a better tomorrow.
Furthermore, I will occasionally use satire or parody herein. The bottom line: it's my house.
I like having visitors to my house. I hope you are entertained. I fight for your right to free speech, and am thrilled when you exercise said rights here. Comments and e-mails are welcome, but all such communication is to be assumed to be 1)the original work of any who initiate said communication and 2)the property of the Mudville Gazette, with free use granted thereto for publication in electronic or written form. If you do NOT wish to have your message posted, write "CONFIDENTIAL" in the subject line of your email.
Original content copyright © 2003 - 2011 by Greyhawk. Fair, not-for-profit use of said material by others is encouraged, as long as acknowledgement and credit is given, to include the url of the original source post. Other arrangements can be made as needed.
Contact: greyhawk at mudvillegazette dot com