The Implicit contract of the blogger

If you have ever studied creative writing, you have probably heard of the ‘implicit contract of the writer’.  Just as this implicit contract applies to works of fiction it applies to blog posts, and perhaps blogs as a whole.   I will describe how this contract applies to both person, journal like, blogs as well as technical, educational, ones.

For personal blogs this implicit contract could change with every post, following your emotion for that post. If you post a sad story, It will most likely make the reader sad.   If however your post is short there really is no implicit contract for that post, although there still is for the whole blog.  For a personal blog the contract for the whole blog would usually be a variation of the following:

1. I will give you a better understanding of myself, or at least a specific aspect of myself.
2. I will share similar experiences with you.
3. I will let you see part of my world, and what it is like to be me.

Technical blogs should set up the implicit contract in the first post.  It may though be second, following an introductory paragraph if the post will be longer.  It should explain what specifically a user will get from that post. So common promises might be:

1. You will learn how to do something new, how to do something in a new way, or how to do something better.
2. You will learn that I agree with you on  something and feel reassured, or perhaps proud “I was right”.
3. You will be kept up to date on a certain topic, or topics.
4. You will learn something  interesting, although not necessarily useful

The Implicit contract for a technical blog as a whole will come about naturally as  you create multiple posts.  Readers will expect you to keep posting more of what you have been posting.  This does not limit you to a narrow topic, if you create many post of varying topics readers will expect you to continue to doe so.  This applies not just to the topic, but to the type of posts you make as well.  If most your post are tutorials that is what readers will expect.  Most of them probably would not mind if you thew in a news article, but they would if that suddenly became your focus.

As you build your blog you will build a community of readers who like what they are reading.  So keep giving them what they want and keep them coming back.  Feel free to though in new types of post, just make sure you regularly feed your readers the post they are expecting you to.

Starting a weblog, and getting traffic

Do you want to create your first blog, or have you be blogging for years and want to start a new one.  Do you know what your first post is going to be?  I know that I was having trouble deciding how to start my blog.  I read many articles on blogging, many of them talked about how to draw readers to your blog.  The problem was most of the tips were designed more for established blogs than new one ones.  In particular I had these questions:

1.  What can you do to draw your initial readers?

There are a lot of articles on how to draw readers to your blog, but they will not all work with a new blog.  I don’t think that making your first post a response to someone else’s blog would work, so you can’t link to it from blog.  I don’t think summiting your first post to social networking would work very well.

2.  How often should you post when your blog is new?

I have seen Widely differing opinions one this for blogs in general.  I agree with this post I read on Problogger that about 2 posts per week is right. However many articles I read said the more the better,  some even recommend twice a day.  Having agreed with the post on Problogger on how often a regular blog should be I still question if that is the right amount for a new blog.  If only a few people have read my first post, do I hold off so more of my first time visitors will read it first? Do I post more often to try and quicly inject content, or do I just post as normal?

3. How much traffic should i expect, and how much should I am for on a new blog?

How many hits should I get in a day? What about in two day or a week?

I could not find the answers to those questions, although I would like to discuss them. While I was looking for advice on how to start off a blog, I though of some advice of my own.

1.  Make your first post about something

Most articles I read said to describe what your blog would be about in your first post.  This is fine, but most likely it will not be very interesting.  If you do start your blog with a welcome post, I would follow it up quickly with another post.  If you can I recommend letting people know what your blog is about while covering something of interest.  I simply put a link to an about page witch describes my blog and wrote my first post as a topical one.

2.  Have and Idea for your second post before you make your first.

Good post take time to prepare, make sure you give yourself enough.   I would say this rule is twice as important if your post will include images.

3.  Pick your format Before you post.

Not that you can never change your layout, but remember every time you do your readers will need to get use to your site again. The would still be learning your site in the first place if it is new so don’t throw them off.  This goes for your theme,  and how you format your posts.

4. Don’t be afraid of using up your good posts.

You may think this is a really good topic. I want to wait until I have more visitors, or until I am more skilled.  If your worried about the former don’t be how else are you going to get those visitors than to make good post, and you can link to your old article in a new related one.  If you think you need to wait until you have more experience, remember you can correct you old post with a new post later.

5. Read 7 Mistakes for your first  week blogging by studentnyc

Most of those should be obvious, but sometimes it is the simple things that escape us.  I have tried with my first post here to give you some advice for yours, hopefully you find it helpful.  If you are wondering what my site is about, the check the about page.  It will let you know what topics I plan to cover and what you can expect in the future.

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