Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Blogging for Newbies - An interview with Lynette Chandler

Today's post is going to be a little different.

Recently, the good folks at BlogEnergizer.com have offered to write any blog an exclusive interview so I said yes and here's the interview with team leader, Lynette Chandler.

I hope you find lots of good information in it as I have and don't forget to vote for me because the interview with the most votes will win some cool prizes! http://blogenergizer.com/teip-vote/

Interview with Lynette:

What is your advice for someone interested in setting up a blog for the first time?

Lots but in order not to write a novel, I would say, start with your own domain. When you use your own domain, you will always have control over it - provided you keep it of course but don't build lots of content and traffic to someone else's domain.

Which platform do you recommend is best for novice bloggers & advanced bloggers?

Oh I am so very partial to WordPress, this is probably not going to be a 'fair' answer but I truly believe it works so well for those who are new and those who are really experienced too. No doubt, if you are new, you will either have to have someone do the initial setup or get some guidance so you can be walked through the setup. For that, again I am going to be partial and suggest Blogging Starter Pack http://bloggingstarterpack.com. Once the initial setup is done, it will be like riding the bike downhill.

What is your advice if you are stuck for content or what to write?

You get blogging prompts from BlogEnergizer premium.

Ok I suppose you mean other than the obvious answer. Here's what you can do:
Look at the calendar. Here's a free blogging calendar you can download.
Dig into your affiliate emails. Affiliate managers are often running promotions, send out coupons and deal notices.
Look at old posts. You may find there were some posts where you promised an update that you never got around to or you wanted to expand on a related point but chose to keep that post focused. Now is your chance to go off that tangent and write updates.
Have you reviewed products independently? Re-read them. Do you still feel the same way about the product? Why or why not. Write an updated post to that review.
Check out what everyone else is talking on Twitter. Can the subject be somehow made relevant or lead you to a point that is relevant to your topic?
Borrow the limelight from someone else's popular post. Write your own thoughts about their post why you agree or disagree, expand on the topic.
There's just a ton of places and ways you can get your inspiration from. One of my best tactics is not to sit and look at a blank screen. Get out, enjoy life and other people you'll be surprised how many post ideas come at you while you do that. Oh and keep a notebook, audio recorder or something handy while you're out so you can jot these ideas down.

What is better to keep readers interested? Short or long posts?

Neither. I believe it is not the length that matters but the substance of the post. If you can wrap your thoughts and ideas down into a neat, short post that's great. It takes a lot of practice and even good writers sometimes find that difficult. But in blogging to me is not defined by the number of words in a post. If what you have to say is not that exciting, you could make it short or long nobody will respond to it.

Some topics naturally take a lot longer to explain and to make your case so you write as much as it takes to educate the readers but if it is going to turn into a novel then perhaps you may have to ask yourself if you should break it down into a series of posts or even to limit the scope of the topic and leave the rest of a later time. Do not be afraid of not covering every single point. In fact, it is a good thing because that means you will have more to write about later on :)

I have heard of people saying you should always post a image with your post when you can but also heard that too many images can slow down the loading of your blog page. What is your opinion?

Both are right and the good news is you can do both very easily. I love images in my posts. They add interest and it I've heard of some people doing well in image searches too. Images break up the content and makes it easy to read a long post if you have a long post.

As far as page speed goes, you just need to make sure your images are well optimized. Don't put in a 1280 x 960 image and scale it. Instead, edit the photo. Yes, we bloggers have to be amateur photo editors too. All you need to do is resize it to an appropriate size and re-save the resolution so the file size is as small as possible without turning the image into a blur. The nice part about WordPress is, you can edit, crop and scale the image right there after you upload.

Having said that, it is not wise to put in 10 images in a post that is only a few paragraphs long just for the sake of it. Some posts like tutorials is OK but general posts not quite. Use your judgment. My personal rule of thumb is at least one but not more than 2 images in a non-tutorial post.

Did you like this interview? Then give Monica a hand and vote for it at http://blogenergizer.com/teip-vote/

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