I HOPE tThis is a helpful contribution to #UgBlogWeek – especially for those who are finding it hard to either blog or get their blogs seen by the rest of the world.
This is a list of tips that are easy to implement and that should be useful this week and into the future of Ugandans blogging more than the other stuff we do.
1. Use the easiest-to-reach Writing Prompts: Unless (or even if) your blog is theme- or topic-specific, you can write about almost anything. The word ‘blog’ is shortened from “weblog” – as they started off by people keeping a log on a website of what they were doing through the day. It was the precursor of the social media updates that we do today, which have become more interactive and conversational.
So when writing a blog one can choose any topic and go for it, without being pressured to make it a certain length or keep it from being too short.
One tool that some writers use in order to get started is the ‘Writing Prompt’ – which is a phrase or statement or word that they pick up on to start a story off. Writing Prompts exist anywhere – conversations, books, articles, newspaper pages, adverts, overheard snippets, SMS messages, anything.
To kick off your daily blog, open the blank ‘New Post’ page then look around for these prompts and kick off when one catches your fancy.
And the reason I’m suggesting the easiest-to-reach ones is so that you don’t unleash your research skills upon an unsuspecting reader who might have a phobia for the deeply academic and will collapse at around paragraph 367 (a) (iii) citation 4.13.278 et al…
2. Maintain a note book: I use both an electronic one and an ordinary paper note book. The note book is the writer’s most powerful weapon – not the pen. The pen is to the gun as the note book is to fire practice. If you always have a note book handy then you will always catch brilliant thoughts that would ordinarily go whizzing out of your mind leaving a lingering memory that will disturb you for a long, long time and only return in full two days after you have published.
A note book by the side of your bed, in your pocket and always within easy reach will ensure that you never let anything go by.
(You have to be awkward to expect the next line to be ‘Keep a Pen or Pencil or Charcoal handy’ – either that, or your fingers have a little outlet for ink/blood to be used for imprinting purposes).
3.Write with simplicity: Refer again to the origin of ‘blog’. Don’t over complicate your writing otherwise it will confound most people. Of course, that is not to say that you should adopt those irritating abbreviations and colloquialisms that are so pervasive in our societal setting <— you see? Avoid that type of kaboozi but keep your writing decipherable (is that a big word, also?)
I can’t genuinely maintain this line of thought without revealing a little of my grammatical special forces experience. Do NOT write carelessly! Simplicity does not mean carelessness – which is why ‘Dress Code: Smart Casual’ means you can wear a t-shirt but ensure it is not wrinkled, does not bear dirty words, and is NOT a vest or piece of underclothing. Sandals are not permitted, so if you abbreviate words like “Okay” to “k” in your ordinary life, ensure that in your blog post they are only made part of quoted conversation.
But back to reality: write what you like, the way you want to write it. I am not your only blog reader, and you need as many as you can get to follow your blog and keep following it. Nobody writes for Everybody, so focus on your following and write for them.
4.Use the Follow button: This seems to be a sensible place to insert the tip about a ‘Follow’ button. Ensure that you have this button visibly positioned on your blog so that everybody reading it can click follow.
Don’t click on that one up there, it’s just a picture.
5. Use Images: And that’s another thing – use images as often as possible. They break up text and make a blog more appealing. Don’t use too many unless your blog is a picture blog (are those called ‘plogs’ the way video blogs are called ‘vlogs’?)
But do keep in mind that the vast majority of Ugandans online find surfing (I am not sure whether we still use this term) expensive, so pictures and videos might turn them off.
Just a couple here and there are good enough.
6. Tag Wisely: The tag is a simple word one appends to your blog to help determine how it shows up in searches. The tag is very important because if it is wisely chosen then your blog will pop up higher in the order when someone is doing research and types out ‘tag’ in the search box. Make your tag relevant, easy-to-remember and popular, but also try to make your tag unique so the blog shows up higher when someone is searching for your unique topic.
I have no examples to give you.
7. Because Size Matters: Don’t make your blog posts too long – you also have the option of writing and publishing a novel instead. That’s why I’m stopping here.