Blogging For Dummies, by Amy Lupold Bair
Being in general very fond of the Dummies series , it is little surprise that I would want to read about an activity I am involved with on a regular basis. This book does a good job at discussing various logistical matters of blogging and those who follow its clear and sound principles will do well. Admittedly, and not surprisingly, this book is aimed at not only those who are personal bloggers like myself but aimed at those who have careerist ambitions and who want to integrate more photos and sound and video material in their blogs than I have tended to do. Likewise, the book also has a lot to say about those who are interested in writing a great deal of code and involving themselves in the structure of their blog in a way that I simply have little to no interest in. Still, if you want to set up a blog and you need some kind of guidance as to what this involves, including plenty of discussion about the repercussions of writing personal things on the internet where other people are likely to read them and may not be fond of what you have to say, this book is certainly a wise read. As is frequently the case, it is those people who do not want to be dummies that take advantage of the wise counsel that books like this provide.
This book is a large one at nearly 400 pages and it is divided into seven parts and 23 chapters. The book begins with an introduction about blogging and its history. After that the first part of the book explores how to get started with blogging (I), namely through discovering the basics about blogs (1), entering the blogosphere by figuring out what to title one’s blog and what sort of material one wants to write (2), and then choosing and hosting blog software (3). The author then discusses setting up blogs (II), which mostly involves a discussion of the comparison between Blogger (4), WordPress (5), Squarespace (6), and other platforms (7). The author then discusses the important matters of fitting in and feeling good (III) through finding one’s niche (8), creating great content (9), building community with comments (10), and blogging anonymously (11). The author then discusses going beyond words (IV) by working with photos (12), starting a podcast (13), vlogging (14), and then adding forums for even more community involvement (15). After that the author discusses marketing and promotion (V) through making the blog easy to find (16), getting to know social networking (17), joining the big four social networks like Facebook and Twitter (18), and measuring blog presence (19). The author then discusses how to make money from a blog (VI) through various means (20), as well as blogging for companies (21). The book then ends with the usual part of tens (VII), including ten ways to grow community (22) and ten things all bloggers should do (23), after which there is an index.
The fact that this book has gone into at least seven editions (this review is for the 7th edition) suggests the way that blogging has changed over the course of the last 25 years or so since it began in the early days of the Worldwide Web. Given the frequency of changes and the ease of bandwidth and the ever-elusive search on the part of content creators for a decent living, it is certain that there will be more changes in the years yet to come, and so there will likely be more volumes of this particular book for later readers to enjoy. If you think that you have something to say, are willing to be known for who you are, and have some idea of whether you are willing to add materials that would attract readers and structure your posts and develop a community of readers, this book will certainly be useful. Even for those of us who have blogged for quite a few years may find much to think about, as I may eventually add a forum to my blog to allow for more conversation between readers if there is interest in such a thing. Even old dogs can learn a few new tricks about blogging from a book like this one.
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