Hurdles 4, 5 and 6, you may remember, were inspired by a fellow blogger. This fellow blogger, who shall remain nameless, was once a very influential political blogger but in the past couple of years has stopped blogging any original content. Hurdle 11 is to be based on the most recent post by this blogger, and is all about avoiding the trap of style over substance.
So what matters about a blog? Is it the name? Is it design? is it the features? is it how its hosted? Or is it the content?
From Hurdle 10 you will know that the primary focus for a blogger should be content. Everything else is nice, but irrelevant until you have built up a core readership and found your feet. Readers only really care about what you are posting, and wont come back purely for a nice design, or a clever name.
This blogger is persistent in attempting what i consider to be the impossible; Taking his blog from a cold start to a 'magazine' blog, that he can take the credit for, while all the original content is supplied by sub-bloggers. You will know i am of the view that there is no substitute for creating your own original content, and any attempt to pass the buck is a recipe for disaster.
It's been a month since this blogger announced his new concept, and there has been no change in the site. Clearly (and hopefully) there has been work behind the scenes, but in Hurdle 10 i said that it's important to strike while the iron is hot. The time difference between announcing the concept, and physical changes, has made the idea feel stale already. I would suggest that a blogger announces any fundamental changes to their blog a week in advance of a new concept going live. If you are working from a cold start, don't even bother announcing because no one will care until you have proven yourself. See Hurdles 4, 5 and 6 for a little more information on cold starts and how fickle the blogosphere can be.
Back to our blogger. His most recent post by this blogger is admirably encouraging audience participation on choosing the name of the new blog. The new blog will obviously need a name, but getting caught up on the aesthetic details is counter productive. What a new, and i consider this blogger to be new, blogger should be doing is picking a working title and getting started with the substance, the original content. Once the readership builds up, you can start worrying about aesthetics.
But is this sort of behaviour part of human nature? How many times have I, as a law student, sat down to do some work and spent hours labelling, filling, organising, time-tabling and alphabetising...it gets to the evening and i realise i have done everything except what i am supposed to do. I suspect it is a bit of this procrastinatory (did i invent a new word?) behaviour that is behind the actions of this blogger.
But as all law students know, procrastination rarely takes hold forever...i am hoping that this blogger will take a control of the project and we will see him back to being the ground breaking political blogger he once was.
Have any advice you want to share for fellow bloggers? Drop a comment below and i will add your tips to future 'hurdle' posts with your name and a link to your blog/website...can't beat free advertising!
Click 'see more' for a few more pictures that made me giggle;