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Guest #1: Five things i've learned, by Vidster

I have only been blogging since late November 2009 but there are (at least) five things I have learned.

#1: using a pen name does not make you less credible or, hinders you from getting a web presence.

Using the pen name “Vidster” has not stopped me from getting anyone to collaborate with me and has never undermined the credibility and essence of my cold case analysis. After reading my posts, people see that I am a serious blogger. No nonsense. That makes all the difference.

#2: are you blogging for yourself or to get seen on the web?

Everyone has a motive. Why do you blog? Your motive will influence how you write and that will either motivate you to continue or discourage you.

I write with the victims in mind and not for web presence. Despite the fact that I have never followed any advice you read in “how to blog best for SEO” DCC has landed (depending on your continent) on Google search pages 2 or 3 if you look for “cold cases.” How? DCC has unique content not repeated elsewhere (e.g. multiple postings of the same blog post on different sites and blogs) and everything is clearly written “in my own voice.” I am not a profession writer. Nobody edits what I write. So, you can get seen if you stay true to yourself. It will make blogging a natural and fun experience without stressing for numbers!

#3: blogrolls are not all the same.

On some blogs, a blogroll is an overview of all the blogs/websites related to the one you are reading or, they contain the links of every site/blog that blog owner knows. Others have only links listed from blogs the owner actually reads him/herself or, the blogs from those who comment frequently and some only list their friends’ blog links.

Blogrolls can serve as a guide to find likeminded bloggers but remember, just because a link is listed does not mean that the blogger actually reads that blog.

#4: Think outside your own blog comment section!

We all want comments on our blog. One way to get people to discuss your posts is by using Twitter. But you need to do a little more than tweet: start a chat!

Chats allow for a deeper discussion of a subject/topic in a stream of tweets and it also refers people back to the original blog post. As a result, people may still not immediately comment but by participating in the chat you do get feedback about the post.

Enhance this experience by using Twitter apps like Tweetchat to filter only tweets with your hash tag so you can concentrate on those.

Before you start a chat, make an outline. What are you going to discuss, why, and how is this different from anything already on the blog? Enlist some Twitter friends to help plug the first chat. Last, to make sure you keep people interested, post a recap so those who could not participate see what they missed.

#5: interact with other bloggers!

You cannot expect that others read your blog, participate in your chat, and comment on your posts if you never return the favour. So retweet another blogger’s link to a new post and comment on their sites.

The easiest way to keep up is by using Twitter lists. I check them at least once a week. You see what others are doing, what inspires them and you get to know them.

You will find that a little interaction will lead to people asking you to participate and offering help when you are stuck. And the latter has amazed me! The number of people on Twitter willing to help for free is enormous. Use that potential but make sure you contribute as well.

So if you ever thought about starting a blog, do it. Go!

Note From Ollie: First off, thanks to Vid for being part of these birthday celebrations. I picked Vid to be a guest blogger because he has been a consistent positive presence in my blogging life since he started blogging, just a few months after me. I have admired his ability to coordinate large groups of people in meaningful and productive discussion, be that on twitter or on his blog. This is not all i admire...i admire his commitment to his cause. I spend my time commenting on things that interest me, but Vid produces tangible developments in public awareness. Go check him out...if you're interested in cold case investigation this should be your main stomping ground.