Please Help Me Not Look Stupid

Tonight I’m teaching a class at our local library about blogs. To help me not look like an incompetent blathering fool, I’m asking for your help.

What are some basic concepts I should include in my seminar?

What do you think is the most important function of a blog?

What do you wish you knew when you first created your own blog?

What makes you return to a blog?

How often should a blog be updated?

What should every blog have?

Please share your answers and suggestions in the comments section…


23 thoughts on “Please Help Me Not Look Stupid

  1. Oh you should be good at this, Christi! I think it’s a feel your way kind of thing at first. It’s hard to say what you SHOULD do, other than stay genuine and keep offensive material out. Have you ever read Kristen Lamb’s blog posts? She probably has TONS of good info in her archives.

    Best of luck!! šŸ™‚

    • PK,

      I’ve done a lot of public speaking, but that was years ago. I don’t really get nervous speaking in front of groups as long as I’m prepared so I’m hoping tonight goes smooth.

      Thanks for the recommendation about Kristen Lamb…heading over there now :D.


  2. Hey Christi, I’m sure you’ll do awesome tonight! If I were you I would totally read through Kristin Lamb’s blog about social media and writing. It’s great stuff and taught me so much.
    She’s also on twitter. LOL, I see that the commenter above beat me to the advice about Kristin Lamb!
    Otherwise, the main thing would be… Before you start to blog you have to think about what kind of blog it will be. (writing, parenting, life humour, surviving school?) Pick a topic and then you will create a following that will want to read about that.
    Also for schedule… as long as you’re consistent. I think even just once a week is fine as long as you’re consistent. If someone comes to check on your regular posting day and you didn’t post. Well, you’ve just lost a reader.
    Above all… have fun!
    Hope this helps and have fun!
    PS Ironic_Mom taught me tons too. Ask her what her top points would be.

    • Trish,

      Thanks so much for all your ideas! I’ve overhauled my outline after reading your comments and suggestions. Your thoughts on being consistent led me to create a separate section on just that.

      Thanks again!


  3. You’ve got one thing nailed — your headline on this was excellent and made me read it.


    1) write awesome/funny/poignant headlines
    2) you are now an online EDITOR not just writer, so you also have to showcase your work with great heads and graphics; MAKE me want to read it.
    3) Be funny, dammit! Enough with the hand-wringing and ranting and too-confessional whining. Make me laugh and I am yours
    4) Move me…make me cry or laugh or want to comment. Do not make me want to yawn. Take a risk!
    5) Do not post every day. Do not do it! No one anywhere is that interesting. Every 3-4 days is plenty for most people.
    6) I think it’s fine to remain a generalist (I have) but then you must have a strong, clear, distinctive voice and point of view on whatever you write — TONE is key and consistency of tone/voice is why readers return and subscribe.
    7) Answer comments and do it thoughtfully. It’s a conversation.
    8) I return to blogs where the writer is: a) revealing of himself or herself in a funny or interesting way; b) lives an interesting life in an interesting place (many of the ones I read are written from foreign countries) c) not boring!

    Every blog should have….value! What are you adding to my day or life when I devote my limited time and attention to you? You must try to GIVE readers something, not just be hungry for attention — which way too many bloggers are guilty of.

    Good luck!

    • Broadside,

      You’ve give me so much fantastic information that I had to get into my outline and add about three more sections! A sincere thank you for taking the time to help me out!


  4. I think you are a natural for teaching, especially teaching about the blog. Your style and approach has always been sincere and direct. It is why I continue to read you and recommend you to others.

    I haven’t read Lamb, but it sounds like a good referral. Below is my referral to Anne’s post about blogging.

    Ultimately, it’s about honesty. Be honest to yourself and what you love to do. I love NYC and so many of my posts are centered around the city I love and miss.

    Blogs can be expository and informative, funny and entertaining … but no matter what they are … they should be an honest attempt to communicate who we are to our readers.

    Have fun šŸ™‚

    That is a referral to Anne Allen’s once weekly, Sunday posts. She did a very good piece on the dos and don’ts of blogging.

    • Florence,

      Thanks so much for the link to Anne’s post for new bloggers. I included that link and a link for “getting started” in the handout for tonight.

      You’re the best and I thank you again for all your insight and support!


  5. People have already posted great suggestions. I can speak from my vast experience as a reader-of-too-many-blogs and suggest: 1) less is more – try to keep your posts a readable length and 2) respond to comments. If someone takes the time to comment on your blog, it’s only polite, and it will gain you loyal readers.

    Have fun tonight!

    • Monica,

      Ooooh, keeping them to a managable length is a really great one. I am always amazed at the bloggers who can create daily super long interesting posts. I can’t, so I keep mine short and every other day šŸ™‚


  6. That sounds like a fun class to teach. My 2 cents:

    -Less is more when it comes to widgets. Too many lists or flashing badges over on the side of your blog is distracting and just looks messy (yours is lovely, btw).
    -A blog should be updated regularly. Vague, but true. Once a week is all I can manage, but there are some excellent blogs that only post once a month. But they consistently post once a month and don’t skip a month. I think that every day is a bit much unless you have a photo blog or the posts are very short.
    -I like blogs that are honest. “This is me, warts and all” types of blogs. Usually they are humorous, but sometimes they are moving or just make me think. I also like writing blogs because it’s a topic that I am interested in and want to learn more about.
    -What I wished I knew when I first started blogging is that if I wanted readers I had to read other blogs and comment on them. It’s fundamental. No one will find you unless you seek them out first. In one month I went from 10 views a day to over 100 just by reading and commenting on blogs I liked. I think you have to treat blogging more like a community rather than a solitary venture if you really want to get anything out of it.

    Good luck with your class!

    • Amy,

      WOW did you give some great advice! I got into my outline and added a bunch more information based on your comment. (Yes, I’m less than four hours until the class starts so I’m doing my homework on the bus)

      I included your last sentence as a quote to sum up the section I’m calling “Before getting started”

      Thanks so much for the help!


    • Meghan,

      I love when everyone shares such great information. I had no idea Kristen had written a book too!

      *scrambles for wallet and logs onto Amazon with credit card in hand*

      Thanks for stopping by,


  7. Meghan,

    I saw your comment over at the Wordbitches blog. Aren’t they great over there?! I’m glad you enjoyed it šŸ™‚

    I’m saving my pennies for a laptop!


  8. Tim, Amanda, and M.,

    It went really great! I was happy with all we accomplished and even got a blog up and running at the end of the seminar. The author of the blog is a aspiring novelist who had JUST gotten a new laptop so she was trying to learn the keyboard along with following my directions. It was very entertaining!

    Once she’s a bit further along I plan to put up a link to her blog so everyone can introduce her to the blogging world šŸ˜€

    Thanks again for your support!


  9. Pingback: Tips from My Blogging Seminar « Christi Corbett's Blog

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