The Art of Blogging
Having a successful blog is a great way to boost your fundraising efforts and promote the cause you are running for, here are our top tips for making your blog a good one...
You've decided to run for charity and have set up an online donations page to help promote your cause. You don't have to stop there though. Many fundraisers are now using online blogs to share their efforts with others.
Choosing The Right Site
There are numerous free-to-use blogging platforms available on the internet. Here are three of the most commonly used ones:
The most popular of the three, WordPress gives you the option of setting up a blog on your own server or creating a WordPress-hosted blog. There are various plug-ins, themes and gadgets for you to use, and customising your blog is relatively straightfoward. The only downside to WordPress is it takes a bit longer to set up than some other blogging sites.
A more straightforward site to set up is Google's www.blogger.com. Within 15 minutes you can go from being blogless to publishing your first post. There are only 16 different templates to choose from, but for those looking for a user-friendly
website, Blogger does the job.
Posterous has the simplest of sign-up processes - you just send an email. By emailing firstname.lastname@example.org from any email account, you will create a YourName.Posterous.com blog. There is no character limit, so you can make your entries as long as you wish. You can use the site's rich text editor to create or edit posts, but most users update via email.
The most common piece of advice you'll hear on how to blog successfully is 'tell a good story'. It seems simple enough, but it's often overlooked by many bloggers. Instead of focusing solely on your training schedule or the charity you're raising money for, try and give people an insight into why you're doing this and what you're like as a person.
Promoting Your Blog
With blogging it's not a case of 'if you build it, they will come'. That is to say your blog may be rich in content, but if you haven't made the effort to promote it properly it most likely won't receive many hits. Sharing links to your blog via social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Google+ will help raise its profile and also make it easier to find on Google.
It's important to update often so that people don't lose interest in your blog or view it as stale web space. Regular updates also mean it will be listed higher in Google searches.
Including links to external sites will give your posts credibility. If you're entering a race, link to the event website. Another common feature on blogs is a 'blogroll' - a list of blogs that a blogger recommends and links to those blogs (usually in a sidebar list). By providing links to other people's blogs, you'll increase traffic to your own.
Including Images And Video
Breaking up text with images and videos will make it easier for people to read and helps add variety to your blog. You should aim to include at least one image every 250/300 words and a video every three or four posts.
Keeping It Succinct
Remember, you're not writing a Jack Kerouac novel so try and keep your sentences and paragraphs short and to the point. Ideally your posts should be no more than 500 words.
And on that note, I'd best take my own advice and finish this piece. Hopefully these tips will help you blog more effectively, and ultimately help you be a more successful fundraiser. Best of luck!