NBI: On Cruest and Goss Posts

I would feel terribly guilty if I didn’t make sure to put in at least one original post for the Newbie Blogger’s Initiative, so here you go.

So, on the topic of Grest and Cuss- erm, discussing Guesr and Csoss… Oh forget it. Let’s talk about Guest and Cross posts for blogs.

Wait, no, I said cross posts! Cross POSTS!

Anyway, for a while there was one idea to better support your blog would be to post it everywhere. This is referred to as cross-posting. And to be honest, it makes sense. If you have to advertise for a concert while you’re on a budget, hopefully you make a large (but well made) poster, copy it, and then start posting it everywhere you can. Given the opportunity, you will also stick a smaller version of the poster onto your neighbor’s cat. You don’t hand draw a flier and then pass it to your mom, and then get started on making a different one to give to your dad, then your sister, then your best friend… At that rate, you’ll never even reach the neighbor’s cat, let alone a new person.  It’s time consuming, difficult, and ridiculous.

Cross posting is essentially the first option. You cross post by typing up your main article and putting it up on your blog, and the on another person’s blog, Myspace, Facebook, a Ning Network, a Giant Bomb blog, in several forum threads, and then maybe because you can’t be bothered to steal your neighbors cat, you elect to just put a picture of a lolcat somewhere in that blogpost. Good going, right?

If only my friend, if only.

It turns out that Search Engines (such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo) are not happy with this. In fact, they frown upon your use of all these fliers on their internet. They don’t want to show multiple search results of the exact same post which is only different in the fact that they’re on different sites(though you may be able to keep the lolcat useful).  Thinking about it, that’s not too surprising. Instead of putting up fliers all over the town, to a search engine you’re just putting up a bunch of advertisements in their house and asking them to tell people which of the identical ten is their personal favorite. So naturally they respond by ripping off the posters in frustration. Then, they them into their storage room, and if someone happens to be so persistent that they come knocking on Mr. Search Engine’s door asking, Search Engine will with a sigh direct that person to the storage room to go pick out one of those fliers.

Basically, while a search engine normally won’t go so far as to delete all the results for your blog, they will instead knock down the search results for them, and try to put up some less annoying pages in their place. In the age of viral marketing with with Twitter, Facebook and Digg, search engine’s would much prefer you try sharing your site/posts that way. Now, onto the Guest Posts…

I don’t think you can call yourself a “guest” in another person’s clothes…

If you look at the image too long, you start to imagine how you would look in it yourself. So let’s move on while we still can.
As I was saying, guest posts. A guest post can have a few meanings depending on how you view the word “guest”. But this time let’s just look at one definition, yes? The general idea of a guest post is (to stick with the concert analogy) to be the opening act for another band. You perform at someone else’s concert in order to promote your own tour, the only caveat being that you need to play a new song (remember, this isn’t actually a cross post, you need new content!)  And the great thing about posting on another person’s blog (with permission of course) is that you’re significantly less likely to be booed off the stage or have bottles thrown at you in the event that they hate you. Of course, if you actually need that thought as a safety blanket we might have a different problem at hand.

Regardless, the great thing about guest posts is that both sides will benefit, so be sure to try and guest post on another person’s blog, but also try and have guest bloggers yourself! The guest has an opportunity to promote themselves, while the host is given the opportunity to spice up their blog with something different. It’s pretty hard to go wrong with that.

And then of course, there is also the warm and fuzzy feeling from working together.

Riknas, signing off!

NBI: By this (Key)board I rule!

“By This Axe I Rule!”- Kull, Exile of Atlantis (Robert E. Howard)

Although it began with chisels and quills, writing has since been championed by the keyboard in case you haven’t noticed (Get out from under your rock, I mean really.) Never mind that though, the medium is not what matters, but what comes from it. Since we have invented writing (Be it traditional English, Cyrillic, or some type of cuneiform) you still need to follow the same general rules in order to interest people. Can you use grammar, can you spell? Use correct punctuation? If you can’t do any of these, your writing career is no doubt a short lived one. However after that, you choose how you play the game. Be it a visceral style like Robert E. Howard, or the excruciating details of JRR Tolkien, statistically, you have to find someone who doesn’t think your writing sucks.

But that may be going in the wrong direction, for I digress. If I may, this here is a blog for the fellow bloggers once more. Just as it works for a sword, the keyboard is only as good as the one wielding it, sure you can create a handi-cap to make your faults less visible, such as a hand guard for your blade (Ergonomic design, or Spell-check in terms of the keyboard). But frankly, if you’re bad, there’s really no getting around that with just some nifty tools.

In a previous blog, I did indeed mention that its good to get your name out there by talking on other people’s blogs and contributing, however I now feel I must clarify this further. Imagine, if you will, someone who is a complete shut-in, anti-social, the works. Now in order to improve on this person you want to convince them to just talk to people more, else they will never know the light of progress. Now, by some form of deus ex machina they have blossomed into a social butterfly and are talking to everyone. One problem though, they never shut up, and talk about the most absurd things (ie, he’s trying to pick up the hot blond with his l337 skills in World of Warcraft). You now fear that your previously anti-social friend will find their head jammed in a locker or toilet (High school still isn’t a pretty place). And so you now must explain the concept of moderation.

Moderation is important to all things of course, too many video games, too many candy bars, even working out too much can be unhealthy if you’re not careful. That said, let’s assume you have a blog now and are getting used to working with other bloggers plenty, great! Now imagine you’re the imaginary friend who is about to have his face broken in for not shutting up. Bad. To translate this analogy, it’s good to get out there, but just like in real life you need to be wary of what you’re saying. Much as we want to say we can, there is no walking into someone else’s blog and getting all buddy-buddy with them like you’re a big-time blogging vet like him. If this person is blogging about how much RMTs are the work of Satan, even though you may think you’re a great blogger (And you might be), the odds of you being able to show the heathen your amazingly enlightening views so that they completely re-think their opinion and, impressed by your fantastic writing prowess, talk about you on their blog nearly every post and now have you on their blog roll…is remarkably small.

This is not to discourage people from getting to know the community, but is a reminder on perspective for the ambitious of us. You won’t hit fame right from the start, and it won’t go any faster (Quite the opposite really) if you try to compensate for time lost by commenting that much more. Most importantly though, while a blogger might not agree with you right from the start, you do have the potential to rub off on these guys if you keep at it. Have a thoughtful comment every week or so, but don’t hammer them with your thoughts every day. Fast forward a few months or a year later? Now you’re one of the big boys too, so hop to it!