When I first started writing a blog about three years ago, I found myself constantly explaining the strange phenomenon of “blogging”. I would talk about the excitement of publishing your own ideas, commenting on the blogs of others and the buzz that comes when you begin to shift from a readership of one to 10 or 20 or 30 or more. In turn, I would be met with blank faces. You see, blogging is hard to understand from the outside. It is fundamentally about participation.
Since that time, things have changed – a little. I no longer have to explain what a “blog” is – and I am often asked ABOUT my blog, rather than being asked WHY I write a blog. And increasingly, my friends and family are thinking about establishing their own blogs, which means that they turn to me for advice.
Over the last few months I have spent quite a lot of time playing with WordPress, setting up new blogs and explaining how blogging software, domain names and social profiles fit together. I have explained the process of setting objectives, writing “About” pages and getting into the rhythm of writing.
Finally, I turned to the draft of a book that I had begun months ago – The Dialup Guide to Blogging. I had written this simple guide after I moved house, only to find that the broadband access that I was used to, was not on offer in my new premises. Months of dialup access transformed my approach to writing and reading blogs – and I thought I’d jot down some of the lessons I learned. Increasingly, I found myself printing this out and sharing it with friends to help them get started.
So I thought I would turn this brief guide into something useful to a wider audience. This brief, practical guide is now available for purchase via Lulu. It comes in a paperback and a downloadable (eBook) version – and could well be the best $10 you have ever spent (even if I do say so myself).
The book takes you through a series of steps that will make your life as a dialup blogger much easier:
- Chapter 1 — Knowing Your Objectives: Blogging is much harder work than it first appears. By asking yourself some serious questions you will be able to frame your blog in a way that is valuable to you as well as to your readers.
- Chapter 2 — Welcome to Your Domain: Looks at some of the basic elements of web domains — what you need to think about and how you go about getting a “domain” of your own.
- Chapter 3 — Setting Up Your Blog/Website: Helps you set up your website — either for free or for fee.
- Chapter 4 — Setting Up Your Social Web Identity: Looks at a variety of ways to create your social web identity, suggesting sites and tools that will make your dialup life easier
- Chapter 5 — Writing Your First Posts: Is about writing your first posts, establishing a publishing rhythm and finding “your voice”.
- Chapter 6 — Making Blogging Easier: Explains where you can find ideas for your ideas — that is, how you can find topics to write about, and some of the practicalities of blogging.
- Chapter 7 — Out and About in the Blogosphere: This last chapter looks at contributing to ongoing conversations and determining where best to direct your reading efforts.
Now, if someone asks you what they need to do to get started with blogging, you can simply send them this link – or better yet – buy a copy for them as a gift. Enjoy!
9 thoughts on “The Dialup Guide to Blogging”
How much of a cut does Lulu take from the $10?
For that size book, it costs about $5 to produce and then the Lulu commission is another $1.30 or so on top. The eBook is commission is $1.50.
But then, there are no upfront printing costs.
Gavin, I’m happy to see that you included a chapter (7) about contributing to the conversation. I think the big point that many bloggers miss is that a blog is not all about the blog author. Blogging is about contributing to conversations and answering the questions people have. While a blog is an excellent self-promotional tool, it will fail if that’s all it’s used for.
Congratulations on publishing the guide!
Thanks for the info. Blogging can be so tricky. But if you really take it seriously there is tons of opportunity. It doesn’t just happen though. Its a business in itself if you want it to be.
Thanks Jay … I am hoping it is a useful introduction for others!
You are right that “it just doesn’t happen”. There is no magic bullet – but as I say in the book, it can be surprisingly addictive!
Seems a universally accepted rule of blogging to “contribute to the conversation”.
Yet after 6 weeks and around 150 comments on between 30-40 blogs worldwide, all of which were entirely post relevant without any spammy attempts to link back to my blog, I have had only one real comment (Matt Moore) and one link back (Julian Cole).
This is not to say that I only comment to draw attention to my blog, I am genuinely engaged in the conversation. It just doesn’t seem very much like a 2-way street.
There seems to be a mercenary trend to invest comments where there’s plenty of traffic, where the comment will be seen by the maximum audience and consequently bring more audiences to the commentator’s blog.
I don’t think I’ve seen anyone comment as frequently, tirelessly or intelligently as Gavin. I would imagine him to be better qualified than anyone to address this trend. Is there anything in the Dialup Guide to Blogging about comment strategist bloggers?
Not a lot about commenting strategies … I wanted to keep it short and focused on the introductory aspects.
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