Monday, September 10, 2012

How to Revive a Dead Blog

Cyberspace is full of school blogs with links to calendars or lunch menus two years old. We see blogs which sport 3 posts from the first day or its existence, 4 more posts over the next week, 2 over the next six months, and nothing new since last Christmas...Another casualty of a good idea for which someone no longer has the time or interest.


Our blogs are "home base" for our online presence. They define who we are, what we do, and what we think—in a context where we can dig deeper than 140 characters will allow. In short, of all of the social media options, blogs are the thing that is definitely "worth it."

Dead blogs don't have to stay dead. In fact, rekindling a dead one has advantages over starting a new one. The URL has been established. Some content is already written. There are some who are already subscribed through an RSS feed. Blow the dust off and begin where you, or someone else, left off.

What will be different this time?
How will the blog pump out quality content year after year when it died an early death before? What will keep fresh content coming...even during the busiest of times?

Planning is the key in so many areas of life, and it is what makes this time different. Specifically, the plan will include:
  1. How often to post.
  2. Where to trap ideas for posts.
  3. A trigger to cause you to write.
Decide how often to post
Posting "when I feel like it," "when I have a good idea," or "when I think about it" are all recipes for disaster. I would suggest posting at least once per week. That may be enough, Your favorite television program likely airs weekly. Less-frequent posting would lose your attention, you look forward to the weekly episode.

Posting daily would likely be too much for both you and your readers. Producing that much quality content is a challenge. People are busy and may burn out if they are seeing your material every single day.

For me, fresh posts on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday are the norm. Unfortunately, good ideas don't come three times a week, nor does the time to pen them come in such nice, neat blocks of time. Sometimes I write several posts in one day. Sometimes, I go for a week without writing anything. Blogger allows me to automatically schedule a date and time for each post to appear. Publication appears regular even if composition is anything but.

Establish a place to trap ideas
Ideas for posts come at the most unlikely times, and are often motivated by a situation just encountered. We need a place to trap that idea—not the complete text of the post—but just the idea.

Since writing the post is a "to-do," I use my to-do list to trap ideas for posts. The subject line of the task will include the word "blog" along with a germ of the idea. If I also know some details, and want a place to trap them, the note section of the task provides the perfect storage place.

For example, on my list, the "to-do" which eventually became this post was "Blog-How to a revive neglected blog." In the note section, I had entered:

World is full of neglected blogs. 
1. Decide how often you want to post. Schedule posts into the future 
2. Have a place to trap new ideas. 
3. Have a trigger which causes you to write the post and schedule it.

When I sat down to compose the post, I already had the beginnings of an outline.

A trigger to prevent forgetting
If "when I think about it" is what causes writing to happen, we should not be surprised when a month has passed without a fresh post. Life happens and we get busy. One month of inactivity turn into two. Two turns into four, and soon the blog is dead.

I talk about putting everything on a list and then working the list. Writing for your blog can't be something you do when the list is clear. It has got to be part of the list. Two things make it impossible for me to forget to blog.

First, my to-do list has a weekly repeating task which states, "Post drafts to my blog." If I have already composed several posts that week and scheduled them, I check off that to-do. If not, selecting an idea and turning it into a post becomes top priority. I search the to-do list for "blog," which is easy to do when the list is digital. I am now looking at a list of all my ideas for blog posts.

Second, because all of those ideas for blog posts are scattered through my list, each with its own due date, I am assured each of those ideas will be "in my face" at some point.

In the next post, we will examine making the transition from stagnation to vibrancy. We will also look at what to do when the blog has outlived its usefulness.



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