"The Huffington Post Complete Guide to Blogging"
by Various and Arianna Huffington
Reading history and reviews
Finished on 21st January 2009Kyle bought me this book for my birthday after we saw Ariana Huffington talking about it on "The Daily Show" at the end of last year - I'd started my own blog a month or so earlier (http://ironicbutton.blogspot.com) but I was still getting to grips with being a blogger. What should I blog about? How long should the posts be? And what are the rules of blogging anyway?
What I've realised since then is that of course there aren't really any rules, other than just to do it, and then find your own way by keeping at it - and that's pretty much the (very sound) advice contained in the core chapters: you should just make a start, write about what you know, post frequently (something that I'm struggling with), keep it short and use your own voice. Ultimately you'll find your way through actively practising blogging. There's also advice about how to find material, handle comments (both positive and negative), build a "community" around your blog, how to connect to other bloggers, and how to expand your readership.
It's all good stuff, although I'm not sure that I'd agree that this is the "complete" guide to blogging - I felt that the focus is very much on "building brand" with a blog, and most of the examples come from the area of political journalism and news reporting. There's also a lot of talking up of the Huffington Post and its history, and a chunk of the book reprints posts from the HuffPost bloggers (to be fair, many of them are well worth reading).
All that aside, it's a very readable book and some of the discussion about how blogging fits into the broader world of news reporting is interesting in its own right - besides which, the core advice (nicely summarised in another blogger's review at http://scottdig.com/?p=243) is as good as any for a novice blogger.
(Nb: I've made my own page of useful links culled from the book.)