Keeping a Blog in the Museum and Heritage World - is it worth it?

I have been writing a blog since November 2005, and using a blog for organising links since 2004. My main aim was curiosity - as someone who has been involved with Information Technology since 1975 I wanted to explore its potential.

I also attended a seminar which suggested it was a good way of marketing a business and was advised to try it out by my business mentor, Chris Walsh.

Perhaps it is time to consider whether it is worth it or whether it is just monumental egotism! Firstly, I want to consider some of my experiences and then to make a list of what I think I should be doing to make more of a success of it.

There are several possible answers to the question.

The Blog as a Reflective Tool - from a personal point of view I have found it interesting to keep the blog. The act of blogging helps keep ideas in the mind and, to an extent, helps mentally process them. It helps remember what you did and where you did it.

The Blog as a Place Marker - keeping the blog helps keep in mind interesting web sites you have visited and keeps sites with technical tips - although I also use to achieve similar ends. But it is somehow more memorable and easier to access - if I want to revisit Google API map making I know I'll find it here on the web.

The Blog as a provider of work - The Blog certainly led to a request to give a lecture on Web2 and museums and this lecture lead to a probable offer of a term of lecturing on the subject at a London University as a consequence. I have also been contacted by the BBC and other journalists as a result of either the blog or the web site.

The Blog as a builder of networks - I went to a lecture, wrote it up on my blog - had a question about the technology described, and low and behold, the very next day the lecturer answered my enquiry! So I can prove that my Blog has had some minor success and maybe some career changing success (in a minor sort of way) but I can't claim it has lifted off in any major sense - since monitoring my blog I have grown visitor numbers from 20 or 30 a month to about 500 visits a month. But even so, not that many stay very long or return very often - it almost seems to be people randomly appearing on it by using google - what a blogger yearns for is a regular readership. This I cannot find any evidence for - there are few comments posted and those that are are mostly annoying. So often one seems to be talking to a void.

The Blog as source of content for the web site - this was a real success until Blogger upgraded and only the latest few posts got broadcast - I set up my web site to take variable feeds from the blog into each section of my web site - this gave fresh content to each web page but this stopped working well when the new version of blogger was rolled out and have not found out how to fix it yet. Feed digest was very useful for feeding stuff to the web site.

The Blog as a waste of time - since keeping the blog I have certainly put less effort into keeping the web page up to date - and this means it is slipping down the ratings - I seem to get fewer offers of guided walks as a consequence.

The Blog is not a good diary - as it is public I am very careful what I put in - as it is a business blog I am doubly careful - this to some extent seems to make a blog pointless.

The Blog and my creative journal - Since December 2006 I have turned my notebook into a creative journal and I must admit I now put more effort into this - this is a much better method of recording my life and doings but unfortunately is not public. Better for reflection and for memories but no good as a marketing tool. To put it bluntly I have not found a decent balance between web site, blog, journal and work.

The Blog is daily and the good bits sink out of sight - this is a major problem - I had some very good stuff on archaeology and genetics which should be there for all to read but as it was before Christmas, its dead and buried.

What makes a good blog and what am I doing wrong?

Rule 1 - Write for a defined community to which you can become the main reporter.

A good blog has to be focussed - if you write the best blog on collecting airline sick bags - your blog could become the essential tool for your community.My blog like my job is too defuse - it is archaeology, london, museums, medicine, the old operating theatre museum - not many people share the same range of interests - so maybe my blog has a potential readership of 1 - me!

Rule 2 - say something worthwhile - not just a short comment but have an opinion and say it. 2. What you say has to be worth saying - people have to have a reason for reading it and it has to have an angle or they will not come back.

Rule 3 - devout a substantial part of your life to it -

Unless you put a lot of effort into it it will not be visable.

Rule 4 - Revise the blog frequently and coordinate with the web site

Find the best pages and get the information into the web site or set up the blog with a best bits link?
keywords = archaeolog museums london


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