(The following is a condensed version of my talk on how to improve your blogging skills during the Visayas Blogging Summit last Saturday. The summit was well-attended and had several corporate sponsors, an indication that blogging has indeed gone mainstream in Cebu)
WHAT’s the goal of effective blogging? What should you strive for if you want to build a blog following beyond your circle of family and friends?
Make it worth readers’ time
Why should readers take time to visit your blog? Why should people read your article? Today’s high-paced, technology-driven culture offers a lot of distractions. There are billions of web pages on the Internet. Why should people, who are not your friends or relatives, take time to read your blog?
People visit a blog or read an article because of either or both of two things: 1) they’ll learn something from it, or 2) they’ll enjoy the experience of reading it. Strive to provide both but one out of two isn’t bad.
Poynter associate editor Mallary Jean Tenore lists tips for online journalists to build an engaged audience online in her post “5 small steps journalists can take to build a bigger, more engaged audience.”
The post provides great pieces of advice on getting the word out on your article like letting your news sources and people who may have a stake in your article know about the piece through the social networks. To be effective, Tenore suggests that you include their Twitter and Facebook names in the update so that they can be notified.
She also suggests linking to the work of other news sites and informing them about it.
Tenore also suggests engaging with others covering your beat and tweeting follow-ups “that help advance the discussion about your story.”
Aside from being a good blogging tool, WordPress is also a lightweight content management system that can be used to run such diverse sites as news or magazine publications, personal and organizational websites.
I recently started accepting paid web development work and website management. Several weeks back, I bought a domain, Tugkaran.com (from the Bisaya word for staging ground), and created a static HTML page as placeholder because I did not have time to configure WordPress to run the site.
FROM SKETCH TO WORDPRESS DESIGN. The steps I took from planning a site to deploying a custom WordPress theme for it using Yahoo UI Grids Builder, Aptana, and Bluefish.
But when one of my projects was about to go live, I needed to quickly build Tugkaran because I already placed a link to it in the footer. I spent whatever time I could spare from newsroom and web development work building Tugkaran, 30 minutes or so here, an hour there, a few minutes here.
It took me five hours to go from sketching the site on paper, protoyping the design in HTML, and setting up WordPress with the custom theme. The site was designed “live.” Developing it locally and then replicating the work in the server would take more time—which I didn’t have.
The Tugkaran website still needs a lot of work but it will do for now. I’ll polish it when I have more time. If you want to study the files I worked on, you can download it at the end of this post.
A dozen or so Cebu-based bloggers met in Bo’s Coffee Club on Osmeña Boulevard in Cebu City yesterday afternoon.
Winston organized the gathering by posting an invitation in his site for a meet-up. Winston and Blogie Robillo then shared with Cebu bloggers how they were able to organize the Davao blogging community.
DAVAO, CEBU BLOGGERS. Wilson Ng talks about plans for the coming Mandaue Business Month during the meet-up of Cebu-based bloggers. The business activity in August will have several tech-related events. Click on photo to view larger image.
I came into the meet-up from a meeting with Wilson Ng and Rio Calle on a web development project related to the Mandaue Business Month in August. During the meet-up, Wilson presented his plans for the Mandaue activity, which will include several technology-related events.
During the meeting, the bloggers agreed to meet regularly for coffee on certain weekends. Winston gathered contact details of those present and will be setting up a mailing list to centralize discussions related to Cebu blogging meetings and events.
Several Cebu-based bloggers are set to meet tomorrow
at 2 p.m. in Bo’s Coffee shop near Capitol and Cebu Doctor’s Hospital. The meet-up is being organized by Winston, the blogger at BatangYagit.com.
Quite a few Cebu-based bloggers have already confirmed their attendance. I’m also attending the event and, if I can remember to bring them, hand out the remaining Ubuntu CDs still not claimed by Sun.Star Cebu readers.
Many of those attending use WordPress to run their blogs. The meet, organized by Winston so that he can meet Cebuano bloggers, might be a great time to start a local WordPress users group, what with Blogie Robillo attending.
If you’re a Cebuano or a Cebu-based blogger, let’s meet tomorrow
at 2 p.m. Manny Pacquiao‘s gonna win anyway. If not, we can drown our collective sorrow on espresso.
I never thought that I’d be enjoying it but here I am, using Twitter regularly for the past week. Twitter is a micro-blogging service that has become all the rage among tech-savvy folk and many connectivity addicts since last year.
With the service, you can write short (140 characters) updates about yourself and have these published in your Twitter account or your website and blog. These updates can also be sent as text message or instant message (IM) notifications to your friends and anyone “following” you.
I signed up for a Twitter account last year but never got around to using it regularly. I sent a few messages to the account as a demonstration on the use of various media during a seminar for Salesian priests.
The main reason I wasn’t using it regularly was the price for each message you send via SMS. To use Twitter via SMS, you send your update as a text message to an international phone number. For each Twitter update, you are billed one international SMS charge.