“Sam Ruby”:http://www.intertwingly.net/blog/1472.html and “Mark Pilgrim”:http://diveintomark.org/archives/2003/06/16/the_ws_of_weblogging.html share their thoughts on what makes a weblog, and there is also a “Wiki page”:http://www.intertwingly.net/wiki/pie/ on the subject. I’ll try to share my thoughts on what makes me actually _read_ a blog regularily.
A weblog without RSS is for me hardly a weblog at all. If you want me to read your writings, I need to be notified when you have written.
h3. Individual entry archiving
For me, permalinks aren’t enough: If I want to read one of your entries, I want to read _one_. I do not want to download 47 entries that I’m not interested in, or have already read.
h3. Minimize idle talk
Yes, a blog is personal, and one is entitled to write whatever one wants there, but writing when you really have nothing to say increases the chance of people missing the interesting entries because they simply disappear in the noise.
It’s better to write something sensible once a week than posting daily about your rat’s droppings.
h3. Dumb down & clean up
Not everyone can be a designer or a programmer, and if you suspect you’re neither, the best way to get attention is not to pretend to be one. Keep the design and programming effort minimal, and concentrate on the writing instead.
h3. Participate I
If you read other weblogs that have comment systems, do not be afraid to leave comments in these blogs. Of the last 10 RSS feeds I subscribed to, I discovered 7 of them via comments on other blogs. However, beware: Only add a comment if you actually feel you add to the original blog entry by posting: It’s the same as with your own blog: Minimize idle talk.
h3. Participate II
When you link to other people’s blog entries, send them a TrackBack if they can receive one. If your blogging tool does not support sending trackbacks, “Simpletracks”:http://kalsey.com/tools/trackback/ from “Adam Kalsey”:http://kalsey.com/2003/06/simpletracks/ will do the job nicely.
h3. Let others participate
If your publishing tool allows for it, let readers leave comments and TrackBacks. If they are allowed to participate, they will _feel_ more at home, and read you more often.
Even if your weblog system doesn’t support comments by default, like “Blogger”:http://www.blogger.com/ you can probably add some remotely hosted comment service, like the ones “listed here”:http://archives.blogspot.com/#7185775.
h3. Ping baby, ping!
At the very least, let your blog ping “weblogs.com”:http://www.weblogs.com/ and “blo.gs”:http://blo.gs/ as many aggregate services discover your blog by using these services. If you have written your own blogging tool, “add support”:http://newhome.weblogs.com/directory/11.
There are probably more ways of being read and noticed, but this is generally what I notice with a blog, and these are the main elements I consider, conciously or inconciously before I become a regular reader of a blog. And yes, the list is in a somewhat prioritized order.