BBAW 2011: Blogging

by Kim on September 16, 2011 · 42 comments

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Today’s Topic: 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.

Tried and True Practices

Be genuine. No one likes a fake person in real life, and that goes double online. You don’t have to share all of yourself on your blog, but be sure the parts you do share come from the heart. Similarly, be kind. You may not always agree with others, but engage people with a sense of kindness rather than anger. It helps.

Reach out. Like I said earlier in the week, it takes reaching out to find community. You can write amazing posts on your blog, but if you don’t do some work to help other people find you, no one will read them. It’s just a fact.

Ask questions. This is true both in blog posts and in the broader community. I love ending my blog posts with a question because it gives people a place to jump off if they’re not sure what to say. And some of my most interesting blog posts have been short pieces that just pose a question or dilemma for readers.

Outside blog posts, don’t be afraid to ask if you don’t know something. If it’s HTML, what an acronym means, how to contact a publisher… really, anything. Just ask. Book bloggers are generous people and will help if they can.

New Trends or Tools

Google Docs. I live in Google Docs. I draft most of my posts there because it’s easier to write without being distracted. I have shared spreadsheets with more people than I can count to keep blog projects organized. Google Forms are great for hosting contests. Learn to use Google Docs, it’s amazing.

Slaughterhouse 90210. Umm… this probably doesn’t count as a new tool, but maybe a trend? This Tumblr account mixes pop culture and books, combining quotes from classic literature with photos from tv, movies, and other media to make some pretty awesome commentary. I still don’t quite know what to use Tumblr for, but this blog has found a perfect niche.

W3 Schools. If you have any questions about HTML or CSS, W3 Schools is the place to go. They have amazing tutorials and resources to help you teach yourself HTML basics and play around with new tools. This if the first place I stop when I can’t figure out how to make something on the blog look or work they way I want it to.

And Thank You!

BBAW AwardYesterday they announced that Sophisticated Dorkiness was voted Best Nonfiction Book Blog this year. Thank you so much to everyone who nominated and voted for me — it’s a huge honor. BBAW always makes me more inspired and excited about blogging, and winning an award just makes it a little sweeter :)

And congrats to all of the other winners this year. There are some great blogs on the list. And thanks to Amy (My Friend Amy) and all of her helpers for organizing BBAW again this year. You guys rock.

{ 40 comments… read them below or add one }

Amy September 16, 2011 at 6:18 am

Congratulations on the win! And thanks for the links, especially to W3, sounds useful.

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Kim September 17, 2011 at 9:48 am

It’s a huge help. They also have modules where you can play with HTML to see what it does to change the look for stuff online; it’s great. I go there whenever I’m stuck.

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Chrisbookarama September 16, 2011 at 6:33 am

I find the weirdest things on Tumblr. If nothing else, it’s entertaining. Congrats on the win!

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Kim September 17, 2011 at 9:48 am

Oh yes, there are tons of weird things on Tumblr. I’ve lapsed from it a bit recently, but I think it can be a good tool.

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Lu September 16, 2011 at 7:05 am

Congratulations! You absolutely deserve it. Thank you for the links! I love Slaughterhouse 90210 and I’m really eager to try out W3. We used Google Docs for the Interview Swap and it was a dream. I loved it. We also use it at work, or we’re starting to use it at work, and it’s so useful.

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Kim September 17, 2011 at 9:49 am

I wish my job did more with Google Docs. Right now, we just have everything on a shared server, which is fine, but can be inconvenient when computer systems don’t match.

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rhapsodyinbooks September 16, 2011 at 7:36 am

I tried to get to know Google Docs, but I think I need to buy a Google Docs for Dummies book! LOL And congrats on your award!

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Kim September 17, 2011 at 9:50 am

It’s pretty simple once you play around for awhile. It does take some time though. I think the easiest way is just playing around once you have a reason to start using it. That’s not really helpful though, I guess!

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Teresa September 16, 2011 at 8:47 am

Congratulations on the win. You are right, Google Docs is a fantastic tool. I know I could use it even more than I already do.

Lu, I didn’t even think of using Google Docs for interviews. What a fantastic idea! I’m going to have to try that.

I haven’t gotten into Tumblr yet. Am I really missing out? I was hesitant to have another thing to try and keep up on.

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Kim September 17, 2011 at 9:52 am

I’m not sure if Tumblr is worth the time or not, honestly. But there are some really well-done ones out there that I like to follow just like regular blogs. The ones I like best are those with a specific concept or mission; general “These are links!” Tumblrs (like mine, sadly) are less interesting, I think.

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Kailana September 16, 2011 at 8:49 am

I am a bit of a Google Documents addict, too! How did I live without it before… It is so useful for so many things!

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Kim September 17, 2011 at 9:52 am

Google Docs went down for about an hour a few weeks ago and I almost lost it — where was all my stuff! It’d be terrible if it went away.

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quirky girls read-jehara September 16, 2011 at 8:55 am

I probably need google docs for dummies too. I find it frustrating to copy and paste from google docs into a blog post as it usually messes up the formatting. It is good for sharing documents with others, though.

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Kim September 17, 2011 at 9:53 am

That is one frustrating part. I’ve stopped doing any formatting in Google Docs and just do it all in the post now. That’s not the most efficient, but I do like the clean space for writing and sharing.

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Erin September 16, 2011 at 9:20 am

I love Google Docs! Perhaps my favorite thing is that they’re so portable. That makes them leaps and bounds better than their offline counterparts. I always forget about W3Schools, so thank you for the reminder! I love how they let you mess around with bits of code to see what happens when you change it.

And congrats on your win — it’s absolutely well deserved!

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Kim September 17, 2011 at 9:53 am

Yes, that’s one of my favorite parts too! It’s nice to just play around to learn new things.

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Meghan September 16, 2011 at 12:03 pm

Congratulations on your win! I definitely come here to read about awesome non-fiction, so you certainly deserve it. :)

Great post on tools – I use Google Docs and w3 schools are essential, so I completely agree. I hadn’t seen that Tumblr before, so I’ll go have a look.

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Kim September 17, 2011 at 9:54 am

Thanks! It’s probably mt favorite Tumblr of all of them because some of the juxtapositions between images and words are so funny.

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Florinda September 16, 2011 at 1:13 pm

Congrats on your (second consecutive) BBAW Award!

I swear by Google Docs, although Jehara does have a point re: the formatting changing when you paste into a blog post (this may not be an issue with Wordpress blogs, but it does happen w/Blogger). My workaround is: draft in Google Docs, copy/paste, remove ALL (default) formatting in the blog editor, and then format text/add pictures/add links. It also gives me one more opportunity to edit, which is rarely a bad thing :-).

I’m completely unfamiliar with W3Schools, so thank you for the introduction!

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Kim September 17, 2011 at 9:55 am

It happens in Wordpress too. Now that I figured out that Wordpress adds a few weird

tags when you paste in and I remember to delete them, it’s been easier. I like having an extra go-through to edit as well.

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Parrish September 16, 2011 at 3:19 pm

connect is the best thing you can do.

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Kim September 17, 2011 at 9:55 am

Definitely.

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Care September 16, 2011 at 4:31 pm

CONGRATULATIONS!!! YOU ROCK.

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Kim September 17, 2011 at 9:57 am

Thanks Care!

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Books are my Boyfriends September 16, 2011 at 10:17 pm

Yes on Slaughterhouse 90210. AND YES ON YOU WINNING!

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Kim September 17, 2011 at 9:58 am

Ha, thanks Kit :)

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Hilary Weisman Graham September 17, 2011 at 5:12 am

Congratulations on your win! You totally deserve it. Sophisticated Dorkiness is always a great read. Thanks for doing what you do. –Hilary

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Kim September 17, 2011 at 9:58 am

Thank you for stopping by!

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Ash September 17, 2011 at 12:58 pm

First off, congrats on Best Nonfiction, you are definitely deserving! Second of all, I totally agree with ending your posts with questions. I find that’s the best way to create an interaction with readers especially on posts that might not yield comments alone.

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Kim September 18, 2011 at 12:04 pm

Thanks Ash! I don’t always add questions, but I like to at least try so it gives people something to respond to if the post doesn’t seem to ask for much response.

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Trisha September 18, 2011 at 7:28 am

“Be genuine” has to be the best advice. I look for “personality” in the bloggers I read. Not that they are over-the-top in anyway, but that they come across as real people.

Congrats on the win! You definitely deserve it.

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Kim September 18, 2011 at 12:05 pm

Yes, that’s exactly it. I like when I can click on a blog post and immediately recognize the writer because they’ve done such a good job developing a voice. It’s hard to do, but so many bloggers do it well.

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Christina September 18, 2011 at 7:45 am

Congrats on your win! I’m always looking to your blog for good nonfiction reads so I’m glad to hear you’re getting the recognition you deserve.

I really need to be better about asking questions at the end of my post. I’ve tried in the past but I’ve always worried that I’ve come across as too forceful and that the questions I’ve posed are silly.

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Kim September 18, 2011 at 12:05 pm

I worry about that too. I wonder if it might limit people from responding if they have something to say not related to the question, but I think it’s probably the case that it helps casual commenters have something to say more often than it turns people away. At least, I hope that’s the case!

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christa @ mental foodie September 18, 2011 at 9:08 pm

Congrats!! :)

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Andi September 20, 2011 at 1:37 pm

Congrats on your win! It was well deserved!

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Kathleen September 20, 2011 at 1:53 pm

Congratulations on your win!

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Kate {The Parchment Girl} September 21, 2011 at 8:11 pm

Congratulations on winning your category! These are great tips. When I first started blogging I spent hours on the W3 Schools site trying to figure out HTML. Great resource!

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Kim September 27, 2011 at 9:13 am

I tend to forget about W3 Schools until I’m stuck with HTML, then I’ll Google something and that site will come up first. It’s an amazing resource that I wish I remembered to use all the time.

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softdrink September 22, 2011 at 6:13 pm

Congratulations on Best Nonfiction Blog…it’s well deserved!

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