The world of blogging is continually changing. Share 3 things you are essential tried and true practices for every blogger and 1-3 new trends or tools you’ve adapted recently or would like to in the future.
I recently wrote a Sunday Salon on this very topic; I’ll cover some of it here, but if you’re interested in what I think is the essential toolkit for the aspiring blogger, take a look.
The three tried and true things you’re going to need is a basic knowledge of HTML, an RSS Feed Reader, and patience. Can’t stress that last one enough. A basic knowledge of HTML is just good manners, quite frankly; nothing makes me hit the back button faster than finding naked links scattered haphazardly around the page. I’d compare it to the basics of grooming; it’s not a bad faux pas, of course, but it’s akin to not brushing your hair or sleeping in your make-up. You’ll be able to go places, but you’ll look messy and like you don’t care, you know? An RSS Feed Reader is essential for keeping up with the blogs you follow, even beyond the book blogosphere. Google Reader is a popular option for an in-browser reader. Brief is a Firefox add-on that I quite liked a while back. If you want a free application for your computer, FeedDemon is a popular choice for PC users, and Mac users will probably like NetNewsWire, which I myself use. It truly makes keeping on top of blogs you want to read easier. And patience is essential, especially when you get negative comments. Getting angry will only make you look like a lunatic; a thoughtful comment that treats your negative commentator like an adult makes you look beyond classy. Kill ’em with kindness, you know what I mean?
I’ve recently added to my toolkit comment trackers, which I talked a bit about on Tuesday. These are websites like CoComment and co.mments that will track comments on any post on any blogging platform, which allows you to keep up with the discussion. While searching for a way to track my comic books (which I ultimately found in StashMyComics), I discovered a Mac application that’s essentially iTunes for your physical books called Book Hunter; it’s a nice way to keep track of your library, especially if you’re parted from it a lot like I am, and there’s also a mobile app for your phone so you can double check if you already have a book, which has happened to me once or twice. But the biggest discovery I’ve made between last year and now is Fluid. It’s Mac-only, of course, but it’s amazing; it will turn any website into an application on your computer. These applications are essentially itty-bitty web browsers that will only go to, say, Google Calendar. I use this for my comment tracker and my to-do list (TeuxDeux, for the curious), and it’s beyond useful. If you use a Mac, I’d check it out.