Archive for the 'guides' Category

Unconventional Ways To Build Your Blogging Confidence

Ah ha! I’m back! Here’s something to consider: in my personal opinion, the average beginner blogger does not have the confidence to write clearly or strike up a coversation with another blogger. So how do you do this?

Say Thank You to the Bus Driver, talk to the people at the bookstore or have a flirtatious conversations with a person of the opposite sex. Oh noes I said the word “sex” on the Internet. Don’t let it scare you.

Happy Holidays and have a Merry Christmas.

Hedonistic Pleasure Seeker

Here’s a fun blog. Hedonistic Pleasure Seeker brings you tales of the pleasures of a life well lived: food, art, botox, lingerie, kitty prints, beautiful men, and the occasional book review.

Hedonistic Pleasure Seeker’s got a great voice, one I’ve been listening to off and on for months. She’s funny and cheeky and likely to inspire you to go buy some good shoes for yourself or someone you dream of pleasing or to put on a kitten print dress and do something you’ve never thought you’d do before. What that is, I leave to you and to Hedonistic Pleasure Seeker to explore in more depth.

A wonderful find for our first December Blog A Day.

The Moment of Realization + Different Schools of Thought

The Moment of Realization:

A while ago I wrote about guides and how in some cases they cater to the lowest common denominator. So there’s this short story we’re reading in college by Peter Ho Davis about a creative writing teacher who is teaching at a troubled middle school somewhere in America. In this excerpt the fictional teacher has just given to his students advice on how to write short stories:

I felt my heart clench. I think about explaining that the rule ought to be: “Write what you want whatever you know just a little bit more about than your reader.” But what I want to tell them is that these rules aren’t, after all, rules for writers; they’re rules for people who are trying to be writers but won’t ever make it. -Peter Ho Davis What You Know

Different Schools of Thought:

I was reading through the various different blogs on the Internet and came across Daren Rowse’s site problogger. He’s actually a very well known blogger who writes about how to be a pro blogger. His articles feature tips on how to SEO, make the most out of your Google Adsense and tips on how to be more productive.

It’s a very popular site and he even has some great articles on how to write. And then I was thinking about our site and how we have a completely different school of thought. While Daren writes about the mechanics and logistics required to run a profitable blog, we here at Best Blogs take the emo touchy feely approach and attempt to help our readers understand why the hell they’re here on the Internet in the first place.

Be Careful of Arrogance

Hi everyone! For the writers who emailed me a while back I have not forgotten about you. Ken’s working on getting through the proxy server and the accounts will eventually be updated when he logs in from China.

Tonight I wanted to talk a little bit about arrogance in blogging. What you need to know about arrogance is that it is unhealthy and that it does more harm than good at the end of an argument, no matter who’s right. Instead of going through the scientific and psychological process of arrogance, I will tell you two stories. One is from someone I know and one comes directly from the blogosphere.

When I was younger I had an old acquaintance once, a very smart man.  We would get into philosophical debates over dorky things like computers, operating systems and life…our dorky lives. He was a very strong mined individual, who in most cases, would turn out to be right about most of his claims. Macintosh being better than Windows, right vs. wrong and hand-coding vs dreamweaver.

He lived alone. He had a few friends among his colleagues but I doubt that he knew any of them very well. To this day I sit back in my chair and wonder if he was truly happy. Because the issue in this case isn’t necessarily whether one is right or wrong but rather if one is living life in a healthy manner. Arrogant people don’t necessarily need to enjoy arguments but they do try to fill the void in their lives by feeding off of them.

The second story comes from a post I saw a couple of weeks back while reading through 9rules. Paul Stamatious, a blogger who is part of the Network, wrote a post in which he refers to this other well known blogger named Robert Scoble.

  • Stamatious is a blogger (with quite a following) who, for the past year and a half has been blogging about technology from his college apartment.
  • Scoble is a former Microsoft employee who is also a blogger.

In Stamatious’ post, he calls out Scoble for making factual errors and “erroneously [accusing] *blank* of spamming and got Google to temporarily cancel his AdSense account the same day. Only after looking like a fool did Scoble find out that he was blaming the wrong person…”.

Scoble responded to the criticism shortly thereafter: “I’m glad none of you have ever made a mistake. Sorry I made one.”

Wow okay, that’s all for tonight. I’m sorry that the team hasn’t posted anything in a while but I hope that these posts are useful to those of you who are new to blogging! Once we get the new guys on board we should be back to our usual schedule. Good night and make smart choices.

A Good Guide is a Guide and Nothing More

Bloggers take critical advice a little bit too critically. Fix this and this about yourself and maybe you’ll be successful. It’s a trait that I see far too often among “pro bloggers” and people who claim to know what’s going on. “10 steps to boosting your traffic, SEO optimization.” Guides like this I find, tend to prey on human weakness and appeal to those who want to “make it big in the blogosphere”.

Why do self help books sell so well? Because people want a quick answers to their problem. These books/blog aren’t a bad resource at all. The reader will either a) not read the book/post all the way though, b) take the advice a little too literally and fail to think for him/herself c) completely miss the point of the book/post.

If you’re read a post made by a fellow blogger, take the time to read it thoroughly before dismissing it. Skimming an article is bad and if you’re not paying attention to this article you would miss things like this. And this.

Taking a post too literally can be also dangerous. For instance, if you have a fellow blogger telling you to do x, y and z, you should at least consider why the blogger is telling you to do it. If an advice blogger is telling you to “write good content” what does that actually mean? Think and if that doesn’t work, experiment.

Tip c) goes alongside tips a) and tips b). If you read a post and don’t understand it, then well of course you’re going to get nothing out of it. Are you missing some key background information or is it that you don’t understand some of the vocabulary the particular blogger is using? Check Wikipedia for Tech terms or read the darn post again.

Now this is some pretty basic stuff, but you’d be surprised at how many people read online advice and don’t take the time to think it though. Am I telling you to be a skeptical reader? Well I suppose I am. Feel free to disagree and leave a comment.

Creativity in Blogging

I was thinking about blogging for the last couple of weeks and how certain people tend to succeed a blogging while other’s do not. Writing a blog requires passion, work and creativity. It is an art form in itself and in many ways is harder than writing for a daily newspaper.

I was in my University’s career center looking through some of the books on print journalism and I discovered that a weekly columnist generally gets paid more than a staff writer. What? How does that work?

If a staff writer is required to write several times a week then why does a columnist receive more money for a column that is only published once a week? Now this discussion isn’t about money but it helps to understand the situation. The columnist is being paid to be creative and the staff writer is being paid to crank out news articles.

I’ve done some research on this and apparently a staff writer will use a standard template to pump out multiple news articles to fill the news section of the paper. Feature writers get paid a little more; then opinions writers and so on. The point is that the more you head up the creativity scale, the harder the work gets.

Blogging is great because there are no boundaries to what you can do as a writer. If you want to write about how significant your MacBook purchase was, you can have it your way. No responsibilities and no there to tell you what to do. I know it sounds cliched to say it, but blogging is freedom.

Now that doesn’t mean that everyone’s good at it. If you’re regurgitating the news via RSS syndication, then that’s not very good at all. If you’re regurgitating the news and throwing out a couple of comments then that’s kind of better. But the truly good blogs, or at least the ones with the most intellectual value, are the ones with good original content.

Far too often I hear people discuss in comment/forums/ about “your [their] site’s content” when in fact their content is somebody elses content with a few random idea’s and bits of commentary thrown to the wind. And that’s not to make fun of anyone in particular. Being creative is hard. Oil painting is hard. Poetry is hard. Dancing is hard. And now blogging is hard.

Well what are you waiting for? Get to it!

Midtown Lunch

Midtown Lunch is a great read. It doesn’t matter if you don’t work in Manhattan. It doesn’t even matter if you never go out to eat lunch. Midtown Lunch is fun anyway.

Midtown Lunch perfectly illustrates a great formula for Best Blogging:write about things you love and things that make you laugh, and your blog will be magic.

Some Unconventional Blogging Advice

As a blogger you can talk about SEO, feedburner statistics and wordpress plugin strategies all you like, but there are very few advice columns on the human element of blogging. You know the human element, like that commercial on TV.

The writing is often stale, boring and sometimes downright painful because you know the person has nothing better to do with their time. It’s a mix of politics, blog culture and internet flames but at the end of the day even the most successful people don’t even want to deal with the culture and yet there are people who love it.

I think perhaps Scrivs from 9rules hits the mallet on the pogo stick in a recent post in which he says that the reason why people love the internet so much is because “they can pretend to be somebody they are not or maybe they get to connect with other geeks like themselves”. AKA some people take the web a little bit too seriously.

Personally as a writer, I would not find things to write about if I simply hung out on the web or went to the same places time after time. Is eating at the same pizza restaurant ever satisfying? No and to be honest it would be downright depressing.

Because in the end blogging is only a supplement to life and to be perfectly honest, if you don’t have much of a life outside of the internet, chances are that you won’t have much of a blogging life on the internet.

Here’s my advice: go to the beach, meet new people, by golly eat a hot dog / cheesesteak. And when you’re done come back to your computer and voila! You might find that you have something to blog about. And if not at least you had fun.

Writing Strategies For Your Blog – Part II


The Message:

Every writer must find a voice. Skillful poets and painters develop their artistic voices through years and years of practice. If you really want to get better at writing, you’re going need a lot of practice and you’re going to need some virtual elbow grease.

Cliched writing, in general, usually comes from a voiceless person. Copying is bad and crimping someone’s style is painful. Cliched writing is one step away from quoting your favorite blogger. Don’t do it.

The Bad Example:

Word: Opt
Used in a sentence: I opted to buy the Macbook at the Apple Store.
Incorrect usage: I opted you through the gap in the door with using the sniper rifle.

Additional Tips:

Don’t use the passive voice and don’t use really weird words without knowing their true meaning. Lorelle has a list of good grammar tips. If you don’t know what the terminology is, ask your English professor. I know that a good percentage of you people are still in school which by the way starts in a couple of months.



Writing Strategies For Your Blog – Part One


What kind of writer are you? Do you write in long form or do you tend to make your posts short and sweet? And then of course, what are you going to write about? We can't tell you that [what to write] but what I'm hoping to do with this series is educate bloggers on a couple of good writing strategies they can use to improve their blogs.

In journalism there's this thing called a lead that writers use to hook people into the story or in our case the post. The lead or hook will usually give the reader facts right off the bat. Don't lose your readers.

Long doesn't always mean good and short doesn't always mean interesting. When you write for an average audience, you're going to want to be as concise as possible. Have enough information to make the piece worthwhile but at the same time don't make the piece so long that your readers fall asleep at the table.

So there you have it. We'll do a couple more of these in the future. And don't you dare use these words like "concise" or "lead / hook" out of context or in a way that defeats the purpose of the word. Part two of our series will cover writing cliches and originality. I'm looking forward to it.

-Peace out!


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