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Keep it Short!

February 2, 2009

Growing a successful blog requires more than just passion and a popular subject. It’s also important to find manageable ways to invest readers’ time and thoughts onto the site. Reader contributions, while crucial to a successful blog, should only complement the blog creator’s writing. In a blog about each of the subjects listed below, I would hopefully have time to interact with readers, too. If a blog post sparks a discussion in the comments section, readers might like to see the writer on the same level with readers, taking every coherent and well-reasoned comment seriously.

A reader-friendly site layout is crucial to a good blog or, at least, it should be. Sometimes, it doesn’t matter how high-quality the content is on a blog, if the site layout does not encourage easy maneuvering from one post to the next, readers will simply go to another blog. There’s too much competition not to make site layout a high priority (and as soon as I have the chance, this blog’s layout will reflect that).

I Miss That CarOf course, a blog author must be passionate about the subject for the writing to be any good. I’m passionate about the automotive industry, films and music — and that’s where my attention would focus if I dropped out of school tomorrow to start an amazing non-USC blog.

I’ve always been an automotive enthusiast, and the daily news within the international automotive industry provides more than enough content to keep a single blog going. And, not surprisingly, it does: There are countless blogs chronicling the happenings of the automotive industry from different angles. Besides posts catered to enthusiasts, I would also maintain a section of my Web site for people ready to buy a new vehicle. That’s where a majority of the site traffic comes from in major automotive sites, and I imagine mine would be no different…well, except for the 57-character reviews. Yes, readers would be encouraged to write reviews of vehicles they have owned, as long as those reviews run no more than 57 characters. This format is less intimidating than a completely blank reviewing slate.

The same idea would apply to a blog filled with film and music reviews. Complementing my longer reviews would be succinct reviews from users.

HaikusDefinitely an extension of the Six-Word Memoir idea, the 57-character review — along with my own reviews — would attract people to the site. Haikus have always been my favorite form of poetry; the space restrictions cut the fat found in many reviews.

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An assignment for an online journalism class at USC.

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