Book Review on The Huffington Post Complete Guide to Blogging

This post is for the bloggers and would-be bloggers out there. Release your inner blogger, I say!

It was with some amusement that I picked up a copy of The Huffington Post Complete Guide to Blogging. Why did I pick it up? It’s written by the staff of the Huffington Post. Why was I amused? It’s written by the staff of the Huffington Post. No matter, how you slice it and dice it, a book about blogging from the Huffington Post is simultaneously the best and the worst of things. They are certainly the most well known and widely read political blog out there. Arianna Huffington herself has been interviewed by the BBC and others. On the flip side, it’s difficult for anyone with 2 brain cells of common sense to read half of the articles on that site without cringing. It doesn’t seem to matter if the writers are more on the liberal or on the conservative side of things (yes, they have some token conservatives, it appears). You just have to scratch your head and wonder how people can believe half of what they write sometimes. Yet, if you are going to read about a subject, it helps to learn from those who are doing it well. Agree or disagree, Huffington Post does it well.

During Passover, we are supposed to take inventory and examine ourselves. After moving a lot of articles onto a new blog site, it is time to take stock and remind myself of why I’m doing this. Perhaps other bloggers can relate (I know there are a couple of you peeking in). Perhaps others who have considered it can relate.

So, Why Blog?

  1. Today, we have instant communication. Yet, it has created a paradox that there is so much information that important information gets overlooked or even ignored by the traditional media.
  2. It is a lot more open than traditional media. It becomes personal, conversational and allows the writer to express their passion.
  3. Writing blogs can be a lot of work, but they can be a lot of fun.
  4. “Why blog? Here’s a better question: Why not blog? As you’ll learn in the upcoming chapters, blogging is easier than smoking, can take less time and money, and isn’t banned in restaurants.” ~ p 18
  5. To know you’re not alone. You can get instant feedback.
  6. To establish yourself as an expert. This is one of the reasons I recently started the Random Acts of IT Project Management blog. I was recently certified by the Project Management Institute, and I have 13 full time years in IT. However, some things a resume just do not do justice to.
  7. To make money. It doesn’t pull any punches about telling you that you won’t make oodles of money right away. Of course, The Huffington Post does make money, and it is one of the few really big ones. Don’t forget that if you own a business, then you can use a blog to drive people to your product if done correctly.
  8. To create a community. To me, this is important thing for the Church of God Perspective blog. I want it to be a place to have discussions and civil debates on topics of doctrine, prophecy and current events. It has become obvious to me that with the COG community scattered everywhere, it would be nice to have a place where real discussions about some of those differences can take place. Furthermore, print media all over is failing, and even The Journal has had difficulty getting its editions out on time. While there are a lot of websites, there didn’t seem to be that many blogs at the time. Print and web sites are fine for static content, but they don’t allow for other points of view.

Getting Traffic

The book goes a little into Google alerts, Technorati and Alexa. In addition, some mention of tools is in the book. I’m not convinced that enough time was spent on these, especially the former. In addition, some sites like MySpace, Facebook and StumbleUpon aren’t even mentioned until the appendix.

One thing the book does do a good job of is explaining Search Engine Optimization. Although it is not listed under it, the book talks about the URL, and states in several places that good content is the main key. It even goes into keywords. It explains it with just enough detail, I think, for the beginning blogger.


Jonah did not take “a dark journey in the belly of the whale for his complacency and relentless triviality.” Someone needs to lay off the wacky weed.

Well, like I said before, it is Huffington Post, and the example blog posts reminded me of why I don’t frequent that site. The language is enough to turn me off towards visiting it regularly, quite frankly. One of the example posts perpetuates the lie that Bush vetoed a bill that would have enabled health care for “poor kids”, when in fact the bill in question tried to raise the bar to somewhere over $100k per year. It even had the audacity to praise Communist medicine. Seems they have forgotten that people in the Soviet Union often had to stand in line just to buy bread, let alone that many waited so long for medical care that they died in the meantime.

If Huffington Post wants to use borderline language or use metaphors and language with graphic sexual imagery, that is their right under the 1st Amendment. However, please don’t call it “journalism”. Furthermore, Arianna & gang, it isn’t a requirement to sell your book!

Wanna Blog?

I hope that a few of you may be considering taking up blogging as a result of this post. I hope that more of you will be encouraged to comment on blogs you follow. If you are a fellow blogger and have an interest in the COG or IT PM, please stop by and leave a comment or two (on the appropriate blog, of course). We are all a virtual community, after all.

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