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July 25, 2014 | 27th Tamuz 5774

How to insure your blog is meaningful and useful

The beauty and curse of blogging is that anyone can create and run one. While there are many very good blogs in the "blogosphere" there are far more that are poorly done and rarely visited.

When a Reform congregation starts a blog, its rabbi, president or other "blogger" may post lots of material to create a useful and engaging forum for discussion. However if the blog is not kept up to date with fresh post -- a minimum of three or four posts a week -- the most interesting topic will not keep your readers coming back to the site.

Here are 10 ways to keep your blog meaningful and useful:

10. Write Personal Stories: By exposing a bit of your personality, people will "get to know you" as a blogger. Write your opinions on the topic. News or general information can be found anywhere, but your blog is the sole source of your personal views and ideas.

9. Write a Conversation: Blogging is informal. The more you engage in a written conversation, the more your readers will feel invited to comment on the posts.

8. Write Carefully: While blogging is informal and only takes a few minutes to do, be sure to check for spelling and grammar mistakes.

7. Start a Weekly Column: For example, if you write about the Torah portion every Friday morning, you will create anticipation for this piece, and it will drive people to the site on a regular basis.

6. Write about Current Events: Start by creating a Google Alert for your congregation or the blog topic. Whenever something comes up in this alert that is interesting to you, it most likely will be interesting to your readers.

5. Challenge your Readers: By asking questions and requesting feedback (and even criticism) you will invite people to engage with the topics.

4. Link to Other Bloggers: There is no need to do all the work. By posting a link to another interesting and topically relevant blog you will help your readers expand their horizons and increase your readership via the other blogs. (If you take another blogger's material or post, you must link to their site and in some cases ask for permission.)

3 . Keep it Brief: Blogs should not be long, drawn-out statements. They must be brief.

2. Establish a Style: Writing for a blog is different than any other kind of writing. By establishing a style you are creating a blog personality. Much like a radio personality, bloggers have followings and regulars who want to know what you feel about particular issues of the day.

1 . Keep it Fresh: If you are not writing three or four posts a week, your blog will become stale and boring. It doesn't have to be much of anything but a new post or link every other day will make your blog a place to bookmark and visit regularly.

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