Yep, it’s that time of year again with the wave of competitive e-drama from 2010 known as the Aniblogosphere Tourney. Since then, the blogosphere landscape has changed significantly with some blogs dying and new ones popping up while others improve. With 2012 being a big year for bloggers, I want to share how people can improve themselves, especially for the newcomers who have yet grasp the joys of blogging and writing good posts. (Image Source)
Throughout my two years and 11 months of blogging, I have gained a lot of experience. Like I have shared in one of my editorials, Anime Blogging is not a popularity contest, but rather a discussion of thoughts and passion about Anime or anything related. If you are in it to become popular, gaining attention or making money, you are not doing it right. People who blog for these reasons only tend to get burned out easily and ultimately put their blogs in multiple hiatuses or let it die. I understand that some people have busy schedules that they blog infrequently, which is completely fine. In addition, bloggers should actively reply to other people’s comments. This will not acknowledge other people’s opinions, but motivate them to make future comments in future posts. Heck, you might come up with ideas for other posts as well.
Second and most important is the content. This aspect gets looked upon heavily since it affects how many readers and comments you get. To catch someone’s attention, one has to write interesting content such as reviews, editorials or episodic posts consisting mostly opinion/analysis. This means that you shouldn’t over summarize the whole episode, write nonsense or post news that was already published on other websites like Anime News Network. Unless you manage to make the synopsis interesting, you will only drown your reader into boredom and they might even skip what you had to say in the process. For most people, this can quickly become a time-consuming and unnecessary task. Instead, focus on the parts of the episode that catch your attention and only add summary to help support your thoughts. You should view these episodic posts as mini editorials, putting more emphasis on your thoughts and analysis rather than just synopsis.
Most importantly, proofread your work before publishing it! Not only glaring grammar and spelling mistakes will turn your readers off, it makes reading a chore. When proofreading, don’t over rely on grammar/spell check. I’m saying that because it won’t catch all the mistakes. Instead, one should read over the post at least twice or have someone else proofread it for you before publishing. By doing this, you can improve your writing while make the reading experience pleasant for your audience.
Although this is mostly cosmetic, appearance and accessibility is the final thing bloggers should give some attention. While this not as heavily weighed on compared to your content, your blog should at least look good, easy to navigate and accessible on all devices, including smartphones. When making your design, you should put some effort into making it such as your theme or the header image/banner so it looks pleasing to the reader. In addition, blogs should include a mobile website or adopt a responsive web design to their existing themes. As smartphones are becoming popular, nobody can ignore this any longer as your audience might view your content or even make a comment on the go. Having owned an iPhone for many years, trying to make comments on other blogs that don’t have a site optimized for mobile became a troublesome task since I have to zoom in and move the page around. Getting mobile ready is simple as installing a plugin like WPTouch and WordPress Mobile Pack along with responsive web design themes such as the default Twenty Eleven Theme. It’s 2012, so you really have no excuse not to implement this (for WordPress.com users, this is automatic).
So, in summary…
- Have Fun Blogging – Just write about what you enjoy and interact with other people. Don’t force yourself to blog just for page views, money or popularity.
- Write Interesting Content – Don’t over summarize (unless you can make it interesting) and avoid posting news or nonsense. (If you want to share news, just do it over Twitter, Google + or Tumblr)
- Proofread your work! – Make sure it sounds right before sharing it to the entire world.
- Be creative and accessible – Don’t make your blog look too generic and/or hard to navigate. Also, include a mobile optimized version of your blog with the ability to view the full site.
I hope all the suggestions I made were useful to everyone, especially the new bloggers who turn one year old this year or already reach this milestone. If you find yourself in the competition, I wish everyone luck and happy blogging!
If you see this text, this site has stolen my content. If you are affected by content thieves, look this domain up on a Whois Service, look up the IP and send a DMCA takedown with the host provider. STOP STEALING CONTENT AND MAKE YOUR OWN. Also, MATRIXAT, go fuck yourself you fucking thief!
14 Comments… read them or add your own.
Heh, you got me there… herp derp.
I am usually about to collapse after I finish writing a post, so sometimes I miss stuff in proofreading. I didn’t proofread my early posts, and the rare times I look back they are covered in typos. shudder
Yeah, it happened to me on a few occasions… Although not common, I may forget about one or two mistakes minutes after. Then, I have to correct it again, which can get annoying… Best to get it the first time. As they all say, humans aren’t perfect and mistakes happen… As long it’s not major, most people will overlook it.
It definitely takes practice to write good posts. Best thing to do in the meantime though is to just focus on what you enjoy writing about, and go at what pace works best for you.
And experiment! I think it’s good to try new things with your blog from time to time.
From my years of blogging, it took me two years or more to get my writing skills up to par. I think most of it got messed up during my grade school years and I had to improve it since I have to write lots of papers in college. But I agree that bloggers should become creative and write about other stuff aside from just episodic posts.
Sound advice! This was so much fun last time (even though I’d only been blogging for a month or two into it/ around the time of the quarter finals), but looking forward to seeing what this year will be like. ^ ^
Good to hear. Blogging got difficult when I was an accounting major before changing. If you see my trend on the first half of 2011, you see why… Intermediate Accounting just took a lot of time away and I kind of have somewhat bad time management skills. Thankfully, this time is freed up and got more time to write about stuff, especially now that I’m covering two shows this winter. I should be set on an editorial/review spree for now since I have a good idea what to write about sooner than later and it will be fun.
Nice post! It was helpful for a relatively new blogger like me. ^_^
I’m glad to hear, I wish you luck in your future blogging activities and have fun.
Some really good advice. I think after being n the blogosphere for a while, these are the things I’d think are most important, and in that order as well. Having fun (or at least finding fun in whatever drive/goal in blogging) is by far the most important. Then quality content, and finally accessibility. This should help people who are thinking about starting anime blogging.
p.s. I’m sure aniblogtourney is going to be quite an experience this year. Let’s have fun!
Yeah, I felt the same way. Back when I started blogging, I didn’t have much regard to my post quality although I was updating frequently and resulted a close loss in the first Aniblog Tourney. But yes, content, having a clean/accessible layout and having fun is the most important part. For most people who host their own blogs and not on WordPress tend to do it for the long haul. From experience, WordPress.com limits you on becoming creative that all the blogs have a problem of looking too much the same. It’s either that you dish out 30 dollars a year for custom design or look like everyone else.
Aside from that, I think the 2nd Aniblog Tourney would be an interesting one considering how many new bloggers enter the scene with some becoming inactive since the last one. I would like to see how they compare to the established Anime Blogs that lasted 3 years or more.