Thursday, 20 September 2007

Blogging The Lazy Way

Are you feeling lazy? Me too. There are so many good reasons to slack off at the moment. But I'm feeling so lazy I can't even be bothered to give you examples on this. So you are just going to have to trust me. In such times, who can summon the energy to lift a mouse-clicking finger?
Naturally I have been slouching along the path of least resistance over the past few weeks. Coincidentally, I've also found myself on the sharp end of a few plans. All of them had one thing in common: they would have been twice as good if half as much effort had been lavished on them. This is because most of the preparation which goes into preparing your average plan is simply trying to account for all the questions a client may have but rarely ever does.

Blogging is a similar test which only the lazy survive. It's a Zen thing.

Rules for successful blogging include:

Keep It Short. Apparently there has been some research into the habits of regular blog readers. According to the people who know the results of this research, regular readers prefer short concise posts and would rather not use the scroll button on their mouse when the left button could redirect them to another blog with shorter posts.

Only make one point.
Isn't it a bit presumptuous to think anybody will listen to a lazy nobody like you make two?

Get your readers to do the work.
If it's a small group, ask them questions, start a discussion or group exercise. If it's a large group then invite them to actively participate in a silent way - for instance, visualise their favourite place, or the best meal they've ever had, or something else (if you're feeling on top of your game, this could be something relevant to your lone point). Sometimes it takes a bit of nerve to get this started, but as any pantomime dame will tell you, if they don't do what you ask them first time, all you have to do is ask them again. Readers love to feel important and it's less work for you.

Keep it brief
By now you can see that too much preparation simply creates trouble for blogger and reader alike. But it would be irresponsible of me to suggest that you step out in front of your readership completely unprepared. There are a couple of areas where your efforts aren't totally counterproductive, and I recommend that you concentrate on these:

Put extra effort into the first five words and the last five words If you start well and finish well, everybody will assume that the middle bit was excellent, too. This sounds flippant - and flippant it is - but it is amazing how far you can get on a good introduction. It doesn't hurt to end on a high either.

Produce quality not quantity
Dig up a single good one-liner, an excellent analogy or example, and perhaps one striking new piece of information. (Here's an idea - put one of them in your first five words and one more in your last five words.)

Use paragraph breaks Sometimes you may find fitting all your blogging moments of genius into that 10 word rule somewhat limiting and your posts may as a result stretch to two or more paragraphs. So please whatever you do remember and break up your paragraphs with an empty line. Don't worry no trees will be harmed in cyberspace with all those empty lines but you might just stop someone complaining about your paragraphs all running into one.

Spellcheck, spellcheck, spellcheck You don't want to come across as having the education of an 8 year old unless of course you are an 8 year old. So check you posts for spelling errors. And don't accidentally delete half a sentence, or worst still half a paragraph whilst correcting one misspelt word. If you do so, your post won't make much sense and all your efforts in following all the other rules will have been in vain.

Don't mix and match garish background and font colours Your readers won't thank you for the migraines you induced.

Of course I break all the rules of blogging. I never was much good at catering for the majority so my final tip has got to be - Don't do as I do, do as I say.

Good night & good luck.

4 comments:

Just a Girl said...

Wha?
Huh?

Heh! :)

I'm good at short but could work on the interesting part.

Night!

Misssy M said...

I think blogging rules suck. Just write what you want to write.

But I do agree that spaces in between paras and good grammar and spelling are a must- not just for blogs, though; for life.

The misuse of an apostrophe should be a capital offence. When I am First Minister I will make it so. I've yet to think of other policies...ahhh... there's a good post idea.

phoenix said...

I am guilty of the no space between paragraphs,which I shall now endeavour to change.
It has improved since my first blog though.I don't think that even had commas or full stops!It was such an area for venting that I got writers cramp from typing too fast and if I stopped then I lost momentum.It was just a blog for me though so I reckon I can be let off.

Cat said...

I agree with you about the short post thing - generally I can't be bothered to read long drawn-out writing unless it's really engaging. If I wanted that, I'd buy a book!

And I'm completely with Misssy on the apostrophe thing. At work I am known (and feared) as the punctuation police.