Blogging Tips, Traps and Tales
In the webinar "Blogging for Nonprofits: Tips, Traps, and Tales" last month, Kivi Leroux Miller, founder of EcoScribe Communications and keeper of the Nonprofit Marketing Guide, covered blogging inside and out, including information about the types of blogs nonprofits can create and questions organizations should ask themselves to make sure a blog is right for them.
Blogs, or Web logs, are Web pages that feature short, link-heavy articles and running commentary that appear in reverse chronological order and are frequently updated. For those new to the game, Leroux Miller went over the following basic blog terms:
- Post — individual article on a blog.
- Tag — a key word within an article that's linked to a page with other posts associated with that word.
- Comment — a response to an individual post.
- RSS feed — a means by which new blog posts are pushed out to the people who subscribe to it. Delivered to an RSS reader. Individuals also can subscribe to a blog and receive posts to their e-mail accounts.
- Trackback — shows who has linked to a blog.
- Permalink — a permanent link to an individual blog post.
- Blogroll — a list of links to other blogs that a blogger likes and reads.
- Plug-in/widget — boxed-out extras like polls or testimonials on a blog site.
- Badge — graphic elements on a blog site like links to Facebook or Twitter pages.
According to Leroux Miller, there are six key ways in which blogs are different from Web sites:
- Blogging software is easy and fast to use. Users can create and publish posts very quickly.
- Updates appear at the top of the page, whereas if you update your Web site, visitors don't necessarily know what content was updated when.
- Posts don't have to be long articles. You can add brief, frequent entries.
- Blogs take on a personal, friendly style. It's a conversational, not institutional, medium.
- Heavy use of links.
- People can subscribe so updates are delivered to them, rather than them having to visit your site to search for updates on their own.
Leroux Miller recommended RSS as a good way to subscribe to and manage blogs. RSS readers serve as central locations for all the blog posts.