How to start blogging at work - Part 3

How to keep your blog going

This is the final installment of the 'How to start blogging' series, based on the advice, ideas and tips from the London NetSquared Meetup group - a rather nice bunch of bloggers, tech peeps, blog-hopefuls and others who are interested in harnessing the social web for good causes. I've also thrown in a couple of my own tips based on my experience getting the folks at NESTA blogging.

Writing tips

If you don't feel the love, don't write

The world is not going to fall apart if you don't post in a few days. And if you force yourself to write, you may end up feeling it's more a chore than a pleasure. Instead, you might consider one of these ideas for keeping your blog busy, without having to write yourself:

Invite guest authors & experts to post on your blog

If one of your colleagues or peers has a great way with words, perhaps they could pen a post or two. Make sure their topic is relevant to your blog, and be sure to give credits and link-love.

Use your bookmarks as blog posts

This can be a quick & easy way to ensure there are no tumbleweeds on your blog. Here's instructions: for WordPress, for TypePad, for Movable Type and for Blogger.

UPDATE: If you use WordPress, you can use Postalicious to post your bookmarks from mag.nolia, Google Reader, Reddit or to your blog. You can also customise how the post will appear, the tags, and more.

Publish your Twitter tweets as blog posts

If you use Twitter and WordPress, you can integrate the two services, so your tweets appear as blog postings, and your blog postings get automatically posted to Twitter. You can do it all using Twitter Tools.

Tools to make your blogging life easier

Use Netvibes as a blogging 'dashboard'

I am a huge Netvibes fan. I use it for everything from planning trips to viewing my website analytics charts. I also find Netvibes to be a great way of keeping track of blogs and ideas for blog posts. I have several Netvibes tabs set up with RSS feeds from my favourite blogs, one tab for each of my areas of interest. I also add Netvibes webnotes to each of these tabs, so I can quickly jot down any ideas and paste links to posts that I want to write about.

Use a shortcut blogging tool instead of logging into your blog admin panel

If you can't be bothered logging in to your blog admin panel, maybe placing your blogging interface closer to your 'usual hangout' will encourage you to blog more. If you spend all your time in Facebook, you can install a blogging app so you can post directly from Facebook. There are loads of apps for all the major blog platforms. Another cool tool is ScribeFire, a Firefox plugin that allows you to post from wherever you are on the web in seconds. (Hat tip to Farhan for pointing me to ScribeFire.)

Monitor, Measure, Rinse & Repeat

Monitor the volume & value of authors on multi-user blogs

If you are looking after blogs at your organisation, it's a good idea to keep an eye on how the different authors are doing. If things are looking stale, boring or empty, you may want to step in with some advice, or run a blog authoring workshop to help your authors get back on track. If someone has posted once & that's it, you may want to remove them from the author list to make room for more dedicated bloggers.

Measure the impact of your blog

It goes without saying that it's a good idea to set up a monthly report on your blog activity (number of visitors, page views, posts, comments & pingbacks), but there are also other areas that can be watched. If you link to your organisation's website from your blog, make sure you check your website analytics referrals section for visitors who clicked through from the blog to the website. Also look for 'softer' measures, such as people mentioning your blog in person, or spikes in traffic to your blog after mentioning it at a conference or event.

If you have set goals for your blog, or if your blog is part of a larger communication strategy, make sure you are evaluating your success against those goals.

Celebrate milestones

Have you just had your 100th post? Your 20th comment? Your 50th pingback? Why not take a moment to pat yourself on the back, and invite others to celebrate with you. Any excuse for cake, really.

That's it as far as tips from the NetSquared group, but I'd love to hear others if you have your own tips.

Many of the folks who came up with these tips have been blogging a lot longer and more frequently than me, so take their word for it... I will certainly be incorporating some of these ideas myself, as I could do with a bit of help keeping my own blog fresh & up-to-date. Life's so busy sometimes!