Lessons learned – The Huffington Post Guide to Blogging

Posted: July 3, 2013 in lessons learned
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I guess it was inevitable, now that I’m spending more time blogging, that I’d revert to my old-tech habits and pick up a book on it. The book in question – The Huffington Post Guide to Blogging (HPGB from here on out) – was recommended by Jeff Vandermeer in Booklife, a book I found a lot of other useful stuff in.

I’ve said before that my initial approach to this blog was a bit haphazard. I started because I knew that a writer should have a web presence, and this was an easy way to achieve that. If over time I got some grasp on what I was doing, that was through instinct and piecemeal advice, rather than the grunt work of learning. This made HPGB a useful step forward for me.

So what did I learn? From the first half of the book, a lot of fundamentals that I should have researched years ago. Models for structuring a post. How to encourage people to read it. A lot of dos and don’ts that I won’t go into here, partly because I don’t usually blog about blogging, partly for fear that, like a magician giving away his tricks, once you see through the technique you’ll lose interest.

The second half of the book, a brief history of the Huffington Post and a selection of their favourite posts, interested me less. If you’re heavily into news media or American politics it might have more for you. But what I did learn was that you can make any subject interesting if you write about it well. The Post doesn’t matter much to me, but I read that whole section, read it quickly and never felt bored. I may pick over it for writing style later, because these folks clearly know what they’re doing.

So HPGB was worth my time. It’s gone in the shelf of useful writing reference books, and I’m already applying some of its lessons. If you’re blogging, and like me you’ve never done your homework, it’s worth a look.

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