Schrijven voor het web

How to write a better weblog

here’s been a recent retread of the weblogging phenomenon following a few articles at PC Mag, Time, and The Morning News. After posting my own short list of things that ought to be banned from weblogs, I realized that a list of things to be encouraged would be more useful. Some people are new to weblogging. Others want to raise the bar. In the end, everybody wants better sites, and some of these suggestions might help. The bulk of this advice focuses on writing, which is generally at the heart of weblogs. All of them are obvious yet often ignored, to the detriment of both the readers and the writers. They’re aimed at people trying to improve the general appeal of their weblogs, but folks writing privately for friends and family might also find them useful. We’ll begin with an example.

The Rules
There are, in fact, rules—even online. Rules are not restrictions. Grammar, spelling, punctuation, rhythm, focus, syntax, and structure aren’t especially romantic terms, until you get to know them. Writers want to make sense. They want to move the reader. It ain’t never gonna happen if you got busted paragraphs, mistaken punctuation and, bad rhythm, not to mention kreative spelling: see? Clarity is key. Learn the rules. Break ’em later.

Offer Something New
And are you attempting to produce quality material, or just killing time? If you’re killing time, O.K., but don’t be startled when your audience is small and no one links to you. Instead of publishing disconnected diversions (by the way, look at this, check it out, here you go, really cool), connect the dots or offer a full opinion.

Amuse Your Readers
If you want to share an anecdote or story from your life, pretend the readers weren’t there. Because they weren’t. “You had to be there” never makes a joke funny. Readers crave your anecdotes and stories. They really do. So give ‘em the whole megillah. Instead of, “The party was a riot!” or “I’m depressed today,”. Anything makes a good subject, as long as you take your time and crystallize the details, tying them together and actually telling a story, rather than offering a simple list of facts.

Beyond Wired
One popular complaint about weblogs is that they all link to the same sites, over and over and over. Sometimes that’s true and sometimes it isn’t. But if you do find yourself linking to a Wired article that’s already been noted on ten other sites, you might consider finding something else. Sharing great discoveries is largely why weblogging got so hot and sultry in the first place. Big, heavily funded sites weren’t acknowledging the grace notes and hidden talents of the web, so it was up to webloggers. For some webloggers, it still is. Wired doesn’t need your help as much as undiscovered sites, which may be offering equally good (or better) material.

Successful Weblogging
Producing a successful weblog, however you define that, is tough. Instead of money, fame, and Jacuzzis full of sexy nude readers, you’ll probably feel like you’re shouting in outer space. And you probably will be. In 1994, you could hook a thousand readers if you wrote about the mold underneath your refrigerator. Now, you’re lucky to get a hundred regulars, even if your work is excellent.