Mark Frauenfelder: How to Build a Compelling Blog

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How to Create a Compelling Blog or Website

In the year 2012, with an estimated 180 million blogs online (more than the combined populations of France, Italy, and Spain), and 40,000 blogs started daily, you know you have competition. You need to learn how to create a compelling, addictive blog.

The recipe for an excellent blog is to be so deeply obsessed with something that you need to communicate it to others. — Mark Frauenfelder, founder of Boing Boing

Here are Mark’s 10 tips for building an addictive, compelling website — and a big following:

1. Tap into the Zeitgeist. If you can tap into the cultural moment, you’ll have a lot of fans. Examples: Playboy and Rolling Stone magazines.

2. Be original. Make the blog that doesn’t exist yet, but that you’d want to read.

3. Make the connection. Instead of obsessing on digital marketing, the mission of the blog should be to share information with like-minded people.

4. Get an attitude. At Boing Boing, we’re not afraid to post items that may get people upset, because that’s a good way to stimulate discussion and promote counterarguments.

5. Don’t waste people’s time. If you’ve developed a trust with your readers that they’ll get good value for the time they invest in visiting your site, they’ll be back.

6. Mix it up. We’re as likely to have a post about a chilling political development as something on the frothiest bit of pop culture.

7. Appeal to the novelty gene. The stuff you blog about has to be unexpected or people will lose interest. 99% of what’s out there is crap. Our job is to find that 1% that’s fascinating.

8. Let feedback change you. The community feedback has made me more aware of my insensitivities and the blog has evolved because of it.

9. Think of a friend. When I post something I’ll often have a friend in mind who has the same sense of humor as me.

10. Keep it real. We try to limit the echo chamber of the blogosphere. We come across interesting people, strange finds, all kinds of surprising things in the world of nature and humanity.

Excerpted from The Art of Doing: How Superachievers Do What They Do and How They Do It So Well by Camille Sweeney and Josh Gosfield

Charity Showcase

In celebration of American Heart Month (February) . . .

The American Heart Association works to teach people how to identify heart attacks and strokes as well as funds research and treatment for heart disease. Donate via, or by calling 800-242-8721.

Stroke Warning Signs

Stroke is a medical emergency. Every second counts, because time lost is brain lost. Know these stroke warning signings and teach them to others:

Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body.

Sudden confusion and trouble understanding

Sudden trouble speaking.

Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes.

Sudden trouble walking.

Dizziness or loss of balance and coordination

Sudden severe headache with no known cause.

If you or someone you’re with exhibits one or more of these signs, call 911 immediately. Get an ambulance with advanced life support sent to you immediately.

If a clot-busting drug is given within three hours of the start of symptoms, it can reduce long-term disability for the most common strokes.


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