The Bloggers Survival Guide [Book Review]
Any book that purports to be a “How to xxxxx” guide is going to be a tough one for an author to get right.
If they assume some readers have absolutely zero knowledge of the subject then the temptation will be to start with a very basic level of instruction or explanation. But that risks frustrating readers who already know the basics. Progress too quickly beyond the basics in order to satisfy these more advanced readers, and it’s the beginners who end up frustrated.
When the subject is one that’s changing as quickly as blogging, the challenge gets even harder. For by the time you get into print, those social media sites you highlighted may no longer exist or may have changed their features or rules, thus making your carefully crafted tips somewhat redundant. A book like The Bloggers Survival Guide by Lexi Lane and Becky McNeer is consequently going to have a relatively short shelf life.
This book is subtitled Tips & Tricks for Parent Bloggers,Wordsmiths and Enthusiasts. Not only doesn’t this exactly trip off the tongue, it also doesn’t represent the contents very well. There is actually little in here which speaks to people who want to write blogs specifically about parenting or childcare so it’s baffling why the authors elected for such a precise title.
What you get instead is a step by step guide for anyone who wants to set up a blog of any description. The early chapters deal with the basics like choosing a blog platform and a name, organising the content effectively and then progress onto the more advanced techniques of search engine optimisation, using social media to promote your blog and finally into the arena of how to turn your blog into a money-making venture.
The quality of the content is patchy however. You won’t find much discussion on the thorny question of choosing the right topic area upon which to focus the blog, or how to generate quality articles/posts — these topics are dealt with very sketchily as if the authors assume you have already know how to do this. It didn’t give me a lot of confidence to see in chapter one a comment to the effect that the authors wouldn’t cover many of the aspects of setting up a blog using WordPress because the WordPress tutorials themselves were excellent. Rather an own goal I fear.
Fortunately they redeem this defect with some more substantive information and guidance later in the book, plenty of practical suggestions and good references to other sources of information. If you want a flavour of the value this book can bring, I captured 5 top tips to improve a blogsite in a recent post. Bear in mind as you dip into it, that the frame of reference is very much a North American one (the chapter on legal issues, while good, doesn’t mention any European directives for example) and there is no reference to blogging practices in countries where there are more restrictions on social media.
In short this isn’t a perfect instruction manual by any means but if will certainly help people to get up and running and will also help more experienced people who want to learn how to make their blog sparkle.
The Bloggers Survival Guide is published in paperback form by Wayman Publishing (2013). My copy was provided by the publishers via LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
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