How to condense “blog wisdom” from 9 years into 1 hour

(UPDATED) I’m going to be a guest speaker at a class at CSUF tonight, taught by Steve Scauzillo, who works at Pasadena Star News by day, and teaches an editorial opinion writing class by night.

This is my thinking-out-loud post where I gather my thoughts. Post will continue to change as I update things.

If you have any thoughts about essentials of blogging (esp for editorial opinion writing), please comment!

Being Found

  • The Post Title is what shows up in search engines as clickable item. It’s also what you see at top of various feeds. Write titles that are on-topic and clickable.
  • Choose some topic; enter it into Google’s blog search. Click view by recency. Experience your own preferences at the results. What are you drawn towards? Analyze what draws you. Incorporate whatever that is into your own blog posts. (hint: first coupla sentences of body of post are important)

And Finding Others
How do you find others who are writing about the same topic that you are?

Writing techniques

  • Blogs don’t have maximum wordcounts. So you can go long n wordy. But short is better, too. Practice makes succinct. In time, you learn to rid your post of goofy filler words. Or try out twitter. 140 characters forces your thoughts toward radical conciseness.
  • Interact w/ other bloggers: link elsewhere, cite, respond
  • Fisking (inter ‘graf responses to someone else’s writing)
  • paragraph breaks. Be easy on the eyes. Web blogs are skimmed+read. ‘graf breaks make it easy to skim
  • Roundup of opinion: cite multiple sources of opinion (link to each, excerpt), then have your own say. Thanks to Ontario Emperor via comments
  • Link to sources. Let reader explore basis on which you write if original is on the net.
  • Corollary: Thou shalt not break the web. Newspapers, who post articles, and then, some 30, 60, or 90 days later, take the story offline, I’m calling you out. You have broken God knows how many links of mine. Just stop it. Keep the page up. You can place advertising on it, web publishing people! C’mon! I double-dog dare you!!
  • Two styles: Actors and Non-actors (Scott Rosenberg and JOhn Dvorak, as described by Dave Winer, Scripting News)



  • LinkLove: Linking is the coin of the blogging realm.
  • Permalinks for each post make it easy for people to get back to you. Prediction: Eventually, you will come to hate those who make it difficult to permalink their content.
  • Reward your sources w/ a link to them. Link to Destination and via link (how you found Destination). If you Visit Blog A, seea link to Blog B that’s worth linking to, your post would look like this:
    Link to Blog B [via Blog A]
    Also | hat-tip to Blog A | h/t Blog A | (via)
  • Looking to break into a topic area? Don’t ask for links first. First, link outward. Golden rule: Link unto others first as thou wouldst have them link unto you.
  • Posting comments on another blog? Thou shalt stay on topic. There is such a thing as comment spam and it is horrible. It wastes time of [show samples thereof]
  • Comment Don’t: Hi, read my site: LINK
  • Comment Do: Hi, I blogged about you/this post at LINK

Building Traffic

  1. Carnivals
  2. Guest post elsewhere, invite someone well known to guest post on your site.
  3. See, Etiquette, above on Commenting etiquette.
  4. Elise Bauer’s tips for building traffic, as blogged by Christine at BlogHer 2006

Fun with links
Title tag mouse over this link in order to view. Can work with a real link, or as a total comment aside.*

Other collections of blogging wisdom

Social Bookmarking

  • Delicious links
    • Share yours, out in the open. Tag them, see what links others save under the same tag. Create networks of friends you share tags with. When save a link, tag for friend to say, “you should see this link”
    • Tag: Citizen Journalism
  • Diigo
  • furl
  • Ma.gnolia: Note: current object lesson in how your data resides elsewhere. Magnolia suffered major data crash last week.

Notable feats of Journalism on Blogs

Twitter: 140 characters Microblogging

The Daily Titan, proudly served by the journo-serfs at Cal State Fullerton (I kid, I kid!) 😉

UPDATE: Etiquette (Ethics?) On Updates and Corrections
Something wrong with the blog entry after you push the “publish” button? It’s dead easy to go back in and change it. That’s cool for typos and bad links. It’s considered uncool to change the substance of your post w/o saying as much. The key here is to be transparent about corrections. Go ahead and make corrections, but let readers know that they’re corrections.

One way is to append the new stuff with UPDATE to let readers know that more has been added to the post (hint: say “updated” at the very top of the post. On a post as long as this one is, anyone who’s been through this once isn’t going to scroll to the bottom looking — on the off-chance — for something new.

What if you wrote something and information has changed, or you learned that you were (gasp) wrong? Admit it and change it. You can use the strike tag to cross out the old stuff, so readers can see what was there. An UPDATE statement might be helpful if it’s a long post.

Weather Forecast for today calls for Rain, Snow, Hail, and high winds. Kidding. It’s sunny and brisk.

Or, if you write a new post that corrects the old one, Let the new post link to the old one, and put update in the old one with a statement to the effect that “More new info about this; it’s posted [here]” (here links to new post). That way anyone who arrives at an old post sees

10 responses to “How to condense “blog wisdom” from 9 years into 1 hour”

  1. Ontario Emperor

    If you want interaction from readers, just ask them (blog post title or last paragraph of post in the form of a question)

    For your “Interact” bullet, you may want to add “contribute to community” – that’s what you’re saying there, and “contribute to community” helps to frame a mindset

  2. Ontario Emperor

    One other thought, but I haven’t really fully developed it. Regarding editorial writing, you can either only present your side of the issue, or present multiple sides of the issue and then say why yours is better. There are probably pros and cons to either approach.

  3. GoingLikeSixty

    Excellent, ‘cept: “Fisking (inter ‘graf responses to someone else’s writing)” whaaaa?
    @Ontario Emperor: Boy I wish it was that simple… ask ’em.

  4. Susan A. Kitchens

    Excellent re: roundups of opinion w/ own analysis. Thanks, I’ve seen it, didn’t remember it. Yay! crowdsourcing gone wild. re: fisking, still filling stuff in!

  5. Susan A. Kitchens

    Just realized there are multiple meanings behind the @ sign.

    I wrote about the @susankitchens as the twitter username convention, but inblog comments, if you’re responding to someone else, as GoingLikeSixty did, above, then @GoingLikeSixty or @Ontario Emperor is a way to address your comment to previous commenter.

  6. Kathy H

    Great post! I’m sure you’ll do a wonderful job!!

    Ironically, I find that the biggest link breaker is the Pasadena Star News. They pull down articles pretty quickly. It’s to the point where I’ll actively search for another site to link to than there’s. 🙁

  7. Alan G

    Well, as usual a day late and a dollar short since you’ve already had your talk but nevertheless….

    With regard to “And Finding Others” I have found that if your blog allows the use of ‘tags’ that they provide an excellent way of finding others blogging on similar topics. My assigned tags appear on each of my posts and the first thing I do after uploading a new post is to ‘click’ on the tags to see if anyone has posted lately on a similar subject. And over the period of a week or so I may recheck those same tags. It’s a great way to establish a connection with other bloggers who may have similar interests.

  8. Margaret

    Very good, helpful post. I’m going to print it off. Good luck. You’ll do great.

  9. Ann Erdman

    On the Google Blog Search, I don’t see a link to “View by Recency.” Where am I going wrong?

  10. Susan A. Kitchens

    Ann, oh dang. I started to create a screenshot illustration for you. It’s made (but is on computer at another location), so I’m partway to answering it. Still must upload it. (hint: look at upper right, just under the horizontal line behind the search entry text box.