June 3, 2005

Start Your Own Atheist Blog: A Guide for Beginners

We need more atheist blogs. I estimate that there are only about 30 regularly active atheist blogs. I have found countless others that got off to great starts but haven't posted anything for a year or more. The following is a collection of tips I wish I had when I was starting Atheist Revolution. I hope someone finds it helpful.

Initial Development

1. Before starting your blog, become familiar with the active atheist blogs. Visit several of these blogs and check out some of the links on their blogrolls.

2. If you are completely new to blogging, I recommend Blogger. In setting up your blog, (a) use a descriptive blog title (I'm tired of blogs with "atheist" in the title filled with posts that have nothing to do with atheism); (b) enable comments and trackback (if you use Blogger, try Haloscan for trackback); (c) activate an RSS feed and make sure readers can find it.

3. Use a hit counter. I suggest Site Meter, but any will do.

Posting

1. Once your blog has been created, post at least 1-2x/week. Nobody is going to link to your blog if there is rarely anything of value there. Mix reaction posts (responding to a news story or another blog post) and original posts.

2. To stay informed about all things related to atheism and easily find material to comment on in your posts, use an RSS aggregator (see my prior post on this).

3. When relevant (and only when relevant), use Technorati tags in your posts.

4. Immediately after each post, visit Ping-o-Matic and ping all the sites.

Attracting Readers

1. Visit every search engine you can think of and make add your blog to their listings. Start with the general ones (e.g., Google, Yahoo, etc.) and move to the blog specific ones (e.g., QuackTrack). You might also want to consider getting involved with BlogShares.

2. Visit other atheist blogs regularly and post comments. This is probably the best way to get your name out, and many readers will check out your blog and link to you as a result.

3. Set up a blogroll. This is another way to build reciprocal links and make your site easier to find.

4. Visit as many atheist websites as you can find. Many sites will let you add information about your blog because they try to compile lists of all information likely to be relevant to atheists (e.g., Atheist Web, Atheist Alliance, etc.). Others will help you find webrings.

5. Get your RSS feed listed in all the RSS indices (e.g., Syndic8).

6. Contribute to atheist forums (e.g., Secular Web, Atheists Anonymous, etc.). This lets others get to know you and may provide you with the opportunity to plug your blog.

7. Finally, be patient. Building a reader base takes time, quality posts, and considerable marketing/PR effort.

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