Would you buy a book on blogging?

On one of the writing lists I’m on, there’s a great discussion right now about whether there’s a meaningful market for books on blogging, and there are two main categories of responses. One is “What’s a blog? Isn’t that just a diary? Why would someone need a book on how to write a diary?” and the other camp is represented by “maybe I’d buy a book if the author had a unique perspective on what to do with blogs, but it sure doesn’t seem like a very big market.”

Here are my two cents on this subject: books about blogging are going to be boring, just another subset of books about writing (the vast majority of which seem to miss what I view as the essence of learning how to write, which is to write. Peter Elbow captures this in his great book Writing Without Teachers).

To me, though, blogging is just a tool. What’s important is that the locus
of control with Websites has moved from the technicians to the creators. If
you have a static Web site (that is, one that isn’t built around a content
management system) then I bet you haven’t added a new page to the site for
at least 45 days. It’s just too much hassle. Further, I bet your web site
pages don’t all interlink either.

Huge crisis? Depends. Do you actually want to be findable in search
engines? For that matter, how do your customers find you, your products, or your services?

By contrast, a weblog offers you the ability to sit down and write about
whatever you want to share with your online community, be it politics, an
award you won, a new product launch, or even a particularly delightful
customer testimonial you just got via email. I don’t agree with Free Software Foundation head Richard Stallman
that information wants to be free, but I do believe that there’s a lot of
information that wants to be disseminated but isn’t because the tools of
communication are in the way.

I have a new book coming out in about four months from Penguin/Alpha that
begins to capture my thoughts on this subject from a business perspective.
It’s not about how to blog, how to write for blogs or even why to blog. It’s
about how systems like weblogs are fundamentally changing the landscape of
business and how you can take advantage of that for your own company. Oh,
and it mentions a little company called Google too. 🙂

Pssst… if you want to know more about this book, pop over to the Website that I’m building for it: findability.info.

8 comments on “Would you buy a book on blogging?

  1. Would you buy a book on blogging?

    On one of the writing lists I’m on, there’s a great discussion right now about whether there’s a meaningful market for books on blogging, and there are two main categories of responses. One is “What’s a blog? Isn’t that…

  2. I’d like to build a blog at work on our Intranet for disucssions like “tips and tricks” or a “knowledge base” but I don’t know what tools are needed or how to go about it. I like the ability to add topics on the fly and have people directly enter their “2 cents”. I understand that you need a data base to house the entrys. Can Access be used? Can you refer me to a place for the “How to build a blog in ? easy steps?”

  3. Well,
    Here is what I am interested to read:
    – How can a company market their product with a blog (what’s advantage and drawback)?
    – How can you market the blog itself (how can you attract people to read your blog)?
    – What to blog and what not to blog
    – Easy 1-2-3 step to blog
    – Blogging Resources
    – How will blog evolve in the next couple years?
    – Are you going to employ someone to write about your blog or outsource it somewhere else?

  4. Also,
    You can talk about blogging industry.
    Who’s the big player.
    Where to get more information on blogging
    Etc…etc… etc…
    Then you can write about “how to write” in the blogging world (different than how you write an article). Is grammar or right punctuation really needed …. Lots of you can write …
    Hope you write this fast when it’s still hot …
    Hope this help.

  5. Michael, if you’re looking to run something in-house, I’d suggest that you check out either Movable Type or WordPress, both of which are reasonably priced and quite featureful. You’ll need some expertise to get them installed and configured properly, but any halfway decent IT person should have it going in an afternoon. Getting it to look “perfect” can take a while, but if you’re looking for a functional skeleton it shouldn’t be too bad.
    Good luck. Pop back and let us know how you’ve done if you do proceed to install and configure one of these packages!

  6. Dave:
    Consider writing about the cloud of keyphrases generated by a business blog as opposed to the [narrow] keywords that typical SEO activities achieve. In my view, the INdirect associations are just as important as the direct (and obvious) key-phrases that business optimize for in search engines.
    Consider – “Skyway Skiway” – in Google this ranks #3 for http://blog.snowhome.com. This is related to a new project at Breckenridge – a project that the owner of SnowHome recently wrote about. Now look at “breck main street redesign” – the rerouting project for highway 9 through Breckenridge; SnowHome is #3 for this phrase as well.
    Conclusion – Blogging on subjects of great interest to a community is likely to gain respect by the community as well as increase brand impressions.

  7. Absolutely true, Bill. One thing that never fails to surprise me is how often people use “it” instead of the name of what they’re writing about, ending up with entire articles that only mention the subject by name once or twice. That’s just not a good strategy in the online world..

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