Building an Effective Blog

We’ve offered tips in the past about blogging, because it tends to be one of the more popular and effective tools for connecting members within the EB community. But what are the basic elements or characteristics that contribute to a blog’s success in resonating with visitors? If you are thinking of starting your own EB blog or perhaps re-launching an existing one, here are some important aspects to keep in mind.

  • Blogging tools. We won’t offer our vote on the best blogging tool to use, because there is no such thing. You’ll find people in the EB blogger community using WordPress and still others using Blogger or Blogspot, so it varies. We suggest that you review a variety of EB blogger sites and when you find one in particular laid out a way that feels easy to read and right for you, do your homework. You should be able to tell from the address or at the bottom of the home page which tool was used to create it. But don’t be afraid to reach out directly to the blogger and ask them what they like and don’t like about the tool – its ease of use, flexibility and accessibility. Then begin the self-serve educational process on your own and dig in. You won’t truly understand the tool until it’s in your hands and you’re wielding it!
     
  • Frequency of posting. When people subscribe to a blog, there is a certain level of expectation – that you will get the same kind of content with the same look and feel on a fairly regular basis. A subscriber may not know exactly what that is at the time but once the first blog update is sent, a set of expectations begins to formulate for future posts. Make certain as you are setting up your blog that you determine what level of posting frequency is going to be realistic for you. Often people set out with an aggressive desired frequency like daily but once they begin blogging, quickly realize that it can be a time-intensive job.
     
  • Nature of content and tone. Similarly, determine what will be the general nature of your content – are you presenting 'day in the life' bite-sized views and sounds of life with EB to educate people who don’t know about the disease? Or are you using your blog to share caregiving tips with those who know it all too well? And what about tone — are you setting out to provide witty observations to bring some bit of humor to a usually darker, more serious topic or does your tone appeal to followers to take action and encourage more civic or social involvement in national or international EB awareness campaigns?
     
  • Interaction. For many, blogs can serve as journals to record relevant details or events in their lives. However, for others, they may be viewed as a meeting place for one voice to pose questions or perspectives and welcome others to contribute to the conversation. Most are often a hybrid of the two. How much interaction do you want to inspire at your blog? Keep this in mind as you plan what kind of content you will be posting, lay out the different features at your blog and establish comment settings.

There are so many wonderful EB bloggers and soon we plan on featuring one of the EB community’s better known contributors as part of our ongoing Q&A interview series. So stay tuned for that very soon! In the meantime, congratulations on the making the decision and taking that first step. Don’t forget: never be afraid to ask questions or seek out advice from those who may be blogging already. We can always learn from each other. Good luck!

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