How we blog

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Writing and keeping a blog has proven to be a very valuable tool for us. Even though most people first think of the marketing value, we find that it has many other beneficial byproducts that can be even more important. It helps build a community, and provides a great source of ideas.

Our goal with this tutorial is to get people familiar with how we write and maintain our blog. The basic rules are rather simple, just use your common sense and basic human decency and it will pay off.

Source material

To write a blog you need something to write about. Since we are an Electronics oriented company with its roots in open source and DIY, that is what we write about.

Most of our regular post material comes from our community, be it through new project logs in the forum, comments on our posts, or from people writing to us via the contact form.

Another source we regularly use are other blogs, sites, and forums with original content. We found that the best source of material that is not part of our community comes from other peoples project blogs. Search the net for people writing their original work on the subject your blog deals with. This is mutually beneficial. The writer will get more hits from people visiting your site, and you'll have original material for a blog post of your own. Always make sure it is clear that the material is not your own original work, but just an awesome project you found on the net.

Build a source database

We use an open source application called FeedReader which keeps track of our forum posts, Blog comments, and other external sources through RSS feeds. Each morning we go through all the latest feeds that came in during the previous day and select which one we'd use for today.

Avoid copying others

If you write a news type oriented blog, try to avoid using other news oriented blogs for your material. If there is something really cool you wanna write about, do it, but avoid doing it on a regular basis. There is nothing wrong with using the sources they use for your future posts dough.

Always link to the original article

If the post or a post's subject are not about your original work, always include a link to the source. This way your readers will have an opportunity to read more about the subject from its source and you avoid getting a bad reputation.

Appreciate and involve your readers

Try to answer all comments on your blog. If a reader drops you a link to an interesting article, or even a gives you a cool idea for another post, be sure to thank them. If you build up a regular reader base, try to connect with them through a forum, IRC channel or whatever. If you are a blogger, your readers are everything, so take care, and listen to them.

Search for duplicate posts

We don't really have a system of keeping track of duplicate posts. But it's usually a good idea to search your own blog for keywords if a new material sounds familiar to you. But even so, duplicates will happen, especially if you have a few writers. General rule of thumb is that if it sounds familiar, you wrote about it already.

Keep your style consistent

Keep your writing style consistent. We use this style guide on our blog. It makes the blog look professional. An added benefit is that readers like it when they have a consistent format to follow. Its easier to read, and skim through a post whose format is familiar to you.

Feature Posts

Most of our post are related to news in Electronics, be it new projects, new ICs. To supplement the news we do feature posts every week. These posts are our own original material.

Keep a consistent schedule

If you have original material you like to share over your blog, then split it into categories and schedule it over a time period you are conferrable with. We found that making weekly features works best for us, and our readers. By keeping your schedule consistent, the readers will know what to expect, and will most likely make it a part of their routine. Here is a schedule of our featured posts.

Weekly Blog Schedule
FeaturesIdea, new 3D modelWorkshop VideoProject preview, partlist postWorkshop video, new projectsWeek in previewTwo app notesTwo app notes
Free PCBsFree PCB over TwitterFree PCB over FacebookFree PCB Sunday
GiveawaysGiveaway announceGiveaway reminder Giveaway remind, winner announcement