When I first purchased the domain name “Owlasylum.net”, it was with the purpose of using the WordPress software to practice my graphic design skills as well as front-end coding. As the name suggests, it was initially my refuge, my asylum away from the world of college as a homeless student. Initially, I did not even consider an audience nor Search Engine Optimization for traffic, let alone social media traffic. That my first posts were read and discussed with me on the quad by my lifelong friend C, and two other of my classmates stoked my passion to write. Yet, even with that fire lit, I was not moved to expand that small reader base. In fact, I was quite content with it.
While “blogging” is still a much despised title in many spheres, while also a slightly well-regarded one when financial or influential capital is yielded, I do find it important to understand the purposes I use the term. When I discuss “blogging”, I do it with a particular sight on online written pieces that often present cursory and quick topics with the intention of drawing attention to a particular brand. For me, there is a wide difference between a blog post and an essay presented exclusively online.
Due to the immediate need of Blacks to connect and to take advantage of the often powerful yields of social capital based evaluations of the online world, I believe the main reason a Black person should blog is to form and be an active member of a network of other Black blogging personalities.
Given that particular guideline, let us work out a more specific course of action steps to take:
Black Blogging Who
This might seem fairly easy here, but it has been one of my biggest stumbling blocks. While, of course, I never want to push away anybody, however, I do write for a specific enough audience. That audience is primarily Black, ages 18 to 53, with a large segment being Women. That is my who. To find out my who, I have used Google Analytics, Twitter, Facebook, and my most prized possession, my email list.
For the sake of brevity as well as to stay focused, I will discuss how I use each in a separate post, just know that those tools are available. Ultimately, the take away action is to find ways to center content as a discussion to those that will be reading the content. Simple enough, right?
Black Blogging What
Although OWL’s Asylum has grown over the years from my practice ground and personal online journal to more of a portal for my media assessments and frameworks, the focal point is still my expertise. A blog post is different from an actual essay, so what I define as an Asylum blog post is typically one with a word length of 300-600 words, a title that hooks, and informational with an intent to provide either actionable steps or something to download and consume.
Black Blogging When
While I spend from a week to a few months working on what I would refer to as an essay, my blog posting when actively blogging is at least one post a day. That’s me giving hope. Practically, for the intents of blogging, at least three posts should be published daily. As stated, the purpose for this is signal boost. This is not just to gain traffic from search engines like Google and Bing. This is not just to gain traffic from sites like Facebook and Tumblr. It is to also keep those visiting my site satisfied with enough portions on their plate. Consider the first post an appetizer, the second post a main course, and the last post a desert. Visitors that become loyal readers want a reason to stick around. Hard work? Sure, but the results can be life changing.
Black Blogging Where
I advise all people that produce online content anywhere to purchase a domain name and hosting. Once again, to keep this post brief and on topic, I will discuss the steps to do both in a separate post. Providing content for other sites is like the guys in the Bible parable giving away his talents. At any time, any site that is not under my control can do something with my content that is not within my control. I need my content on a domain that I can control. I need my content in a database that I can access and have control over. I need to be able to control the design, graphic and user experience wise, of that content.
One of the major reasons I still have Asylum on Twitter is network effects. I have given so much content away for free, that I have amassed a number of readers there that have not translated into readers here on the site proper. The fear of never having them here is one I will eventually have to conquer. This is one of many dangers of building a network that depends on the resources of another to maintain connection to the network.
Black Blogging Why
I am big on connections and social capital. The major reason I give for blog posting is to connect with others in a simple way. Consider the blog post a hand shake with exchange of name and a few ideas. It is the digital elevator pitch in some ways. These short and highly consumable posts are capable of being passed along, linked to, and in some cases, copy & pasted with ease that allows for convergence and branding. I am not trying to make the post stand the test of time. That is not the purpose. Ease of consumption of a particular idea and set of actions that can generate a desire to connect and connect often is the goal.
Black Blogging How
The hints and tips above are the action plan. Get the domain name, get the hosting, set up the site for posting blogs either with the Content Management System that I have gained expertise with, WordPress, or even set up Tumblr with the domain name. Plan out a set of ideas and topics and begin writing. Stick to the structure outlined above.
If implementing these steps and guidelines causes trouble, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I will respond at my earliest convenience.
Happy Black Blogging!!! Good luck, everyone…