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September 1, 2014 | 6th Elul 5774

Technical Notes

Despise no man and consider nothing impossible. For there is no man who does not have his hour and there is nothing that does not have its place. (Ben Azzai, in Pirke Avot)

  • There are tools (also called "widgets") available for your blog's sidebar that show "Recent Comments." This is a great way to invite conversation – people don't often want to be the first to comment, but if others have already added their voices, they feel more comfortable. This also goes for "Followers" or "Subscribers" – even if you only have a few followers or subscribers to your blog at first, place that prominently so that others know that they're a part of something larger.
  • On that note – make it easy for people to subscribe but not TOO easy – offer RSS feeds and Email Subscriptions, but only "partial" so people have to click over to read and comment.)

  • Make sure your blog also has a way to submit posts for the blog. You may have assembled a great Blog Team but there's bound to be another person out there with something to say! Don't shut them out, invite them in.

  • Don't be too wordy. Encourage all bloggers to be brief. Online readers tend to lose interest in long posts.

  • Keep your blog updated regularly. Nothing turns off a reader more than a blog that hasn't been updated in a month. It tells the reader that this community is not really functioning. Active, regular posts keep people coming back.

  • Don't get discouraged! The first few weeks, there may be few or no readers (although that's when your Blog Team should be working hardest!). Those posts might be great, but won't get read. Feel free, in a few months, to re-post them, to link back to them, or to remind readers to check the archives for older posts. Keep moving forward with great content, though, don't rest on your past writings.

  • Encourage your Blog Team to monitor the rest of the Jewish "Blogosphere." People are writing and saying so many things these days in the online world; while original content and congregational stories are important toward building community, it's just as important to open discussion about an article in today's New York Times or a post at Jewschool. This could be an assignment for one member of the team, to regularly share posts and articles.

-- This article by Rabbi Phyllis Sommer, imabima.blogspot.com

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