The Birth of Dianosphere– A Labor of Love
by Martin Diano
I can recall vividly the birth of my first blog. I decided to spend three months during the summer of 2007 in Greenville NY, where my wife, Annette, and I have a second home so we can be closer to our grandson. Annette, who works as an RN, would commute from Arizona, our primary residence, to New York during the same three month period.
Although I would frequently be visiting with my daughter, Michelle, and our grandson, Alan, I still had lots of idle time on my hands, which I had originally planned to occupy by reading. One evening at dinner, upon mentioning the possibility of boredom setting in because Annette would be away most of the time, my daughter said, “Dad, why don’t you create a blog. That will keep you occupied and you like writing.”
While I was certainly aware of blogs, and subscribed to several, it never occurred to me to publish a blog of my own. I had no clue how to begin. Where to host a blog, the cost involved, the time commitment required. Can I make money blogging? Michelle had a personal blog she began in 2006, where she wrote about motherhood and posted pictures of Alan, so she pointed me in the general direction to start my online journey.
The next morning I sat out in the back yard and mapped out a strategy for what would eventually give birth to Dianosphere.com.
I began my blogging journey by reading just about every book on blogging I could find? over a dozen books in all? and subscribed to numerous A-list bloggers on the topic. At first, it was a daunting task. So much to learn! Gradually, though, I developed a sense of what I had to do and took the plunge.
Two years and 199 posts later, with a few fits and starts, Dianosphere has seen a steady climb in readership. And the experience has been intellectually fulfilling.
I do not consider myself in a position to offer advice about blogging, preferring to leave that to the likes of Rosie Horner, I can say that blogging can be a very satisfying experience. Clicking the ‘Publish’ button on your first blog post for the entire online world to read is an exhilarating and memorable moment.
But I do have advice to offer. I have listed below two issues that you may want to research yourself, or confirm with a blogging consultant. The two issues I learned that are the most perplexing are: 1] the length of a blog post and 2] the frequency of posting. Blogging can be a very time-consuming adventure and these two issues are critical to consider.
With regard to the number of words:
As part of my research, here’s what I discovered some of the experts on blogging have to say about the length of a blog post: over 100 and under 500 words; 200-600 words; one pro blogger recommends 250-1000 words because that’s what SEO experts believe. “…anything longer than 300 words is not a post,” asserts a professional blogging consultant. And, finally, “Shoot for 500 words or less,” touts another expert. The question of the length of a blog post, as you can see, has no right answer.
It is my view that the length of a blog post takes second place to the quality of the content. If content still reigns as King and you have something particularly compelling to say, why should it be limited to an arbitrary number of words to convey your message? As long as there’s a take-a-way for the reader, something that he/she can put to practical use in their business or personal life and you need 595 words, or 870 words or 1275 words or 2,000 words to make your point, then just do it.
As to the frequency of your blog postings:
“If your blog isn’t updated regularly, why should people come back to it,” I read in one book. ”They don’t,” says the author, who suggests updating your blog at least two or three times a week. If you accept at face value the author’s advice, you would have to post to your blog even if you have nothing especially important or valuable to say because, according to the author, if you do not post two or three times a week your readers will not return.
What about the quality of the content, I asked myself? Why would readers return if I am publishing content, just for the sake of frequency, solely to ensure reader retention? If a blogger has nothing compelling to say for a week or two why then post unusable content that may very well have the opposite effect – drive readers away! There is a growing consensus that indicates whether you post once a week or not, the quality of what you have to say will always trump blog post frequency.
There are some terrific books on blogging, too many to suggest in this posting. Go to Amazon.com enter a search query and you’ll see all the bestsellers. Read two or three of these books. Subscribe to several A-list bloggers, like Rosie’s Blogging for Boomers or Chris Brogan’s blog. Many of the A-list bloggers also offer free eBooks and great tips.
Blogging is still in its infancy. Some advice and recommendations for new bloggers should indeed be followed. If you’re reading this blog, then you are well on your way to becoming a better blogger and enjoying the experience that much more.
About Martin Diano
Martin is a retired public relations professional living in Arizona and New York. His blogging experience with Dianosphere led him to create, in 2008, the Baby Boomer [Knowledge Center], a web destination for and about the baby boomer generation.