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It was an interesting, well written book that would be very useful for those, like the authors, who tend to blog about products, especially IT products, but less so for someone like myself who intends to blog about ideas and doesn't have to be so time sensitive. I still had unanswered questions that I hope 'Wordpress' will answer since I'm a new account holder. It was an interesting read but I would rather have spent the money on a book that was more relevant to me. It's just hard to know until you've tried it - or read a review that gives you a better idea of the contents of a book!
John Biggs and Charlie White do an excellent job covering not only *how* to blog, but *why* to blog. There is so much in this book about the theory of blogging and how it really is new journalism, which I found very interesting. They also provide a very realistic step-by-step view on how to create a successful blog, but they don't paint an unrealistic picture of success by saying blogging is a quick and easy road to riches.
The book covers all areas of blogging, from setup to workflow to social networking to ads to ethics to even hiring other writers once your blog is seeing some success. I especially liked how they didn't shy away from being specific with services and tools, such as even mentioning which desk chair they'd recommend. They also didn't shy away from giving specific numerical estimates, like how many words per day to write, how many pageviews per day to reach before you take your next step, and current industry norms on paying other writers. These discussions took the book from the theoretical to the practical, which I always appreciate.
The one drawback the book had for me personally (there were actually two if you count the price of the e-book) was that it seemed to be describing a detailed pattern for a frequently updated, news-type blog. Other extremely niche-specific examples were thrown out from time to time (like when speaking of introducing yourself on your blog be able to answer the question, "What makes you special enough to write about Hello Kitty all day?"). However, the authors were very specific about the need to post several times a day, and that only posting once a day was dangerous for a blog. I kept coming back to the question, "But what if you are writing about something that won't be getting a lot of news?" What if you are starting a blog on the history of something (which has an end), or the theory of something (like a self-help blog)? I would have loved to have heard a bit more about running those kind of blogs.
All in all the book was very good, and very useful. It's already changed the way I look at managing my personal blog, and it's given me dreams about creating other blogs in the future. If you are interested in starting a blog people read, get this book.
3.0 out of 5 starsPotential to be a true "general manual" for novice bloggers - but it's not there *yet*.
Reviewed in the United States on 16 May 2012
Early on in "Bloggers Boot Camp", there's some expansion on the notion that you have to be genuinely passionate about the subject of a blog if you expect to make a success of it. Of course, the same goes for books. I'd say after reading that Charlie White and John Biggs, as authors here, are passionate about their work and about sharing their knowledge with aspiring bloggers, but also that this is not entirely enough to make a success of a book that is being marketed to a far more general blogger audience than "technophiles who have moved from traditional journalism venues to blogging".
I found a lot worth reading in this book, even though my interest at present runs more toward hobbyist blogging, where hints on how to handle a press junket or how to protect a confidential source are a bit less likely to be germane. Where the authors did command my attention was the "nuts and bolts" department. "Bloggers Boot Camp" offers one of the most concise and newbie accessible --but useful! -- overviews of the business side of blogging, that I've ever seen . I'd recommend the chapter entitled "Building Traffic, Making Money, and Measuring Success" to anyone with even the haziest notion of one day turning a blogging avocation into a profitable business.
There are other parts of this book where coverage seems skimpy or even incorrect. A chapter on ethics covers "Cease and Desist" letters - the bane of bloggers everywhere - in such a way as might leave the blogging novice under the impression that such letters are generated mainly in cases where libel or slander is at issue, when in truth the reasons (pretence?) cited often for issuance of a C&D are varied, and include "unauthorized use of copyrighted materials", or alleged misuse of another's trademark, such as in recent years when one prominent knitting author and a number of knitting blogs and guilds came afoul of a small New York retailer who claimed copyright on the phrase "Stitch 'N Bitch". (That fight started around 2006, and I believe it is still in the courts!)
"As a rule of thumb," the authors share, "do not remove anything you have written, unless it has been proven false and potentially damaging by an impartial third party, usually a court." That advice may be all well and good for larger/professional blogging ventures or for hearty souls willing to bear some risk, possibly even defend such matters "in pro se", but as directed toward hobbyist and "one man show" blogs, C&D's work for one reason: it's costly to defend against an entity that is willing to go to some expense to "persuade" you remove your content. Even if you win, you can lose.
I also question the blithe recommendation of GoDaddy.com as a DNS server choice. This advice coming from tech bloggers, no less! The authors indirectly acknowledge GoDaddy's infamous support of the controversial online piracy bill known as SOPA, and the boycott that resulted this last December. Still, there's no hint here that an aspiring blogger with, for example, a politically attuned target readership - let's say similar to the readership of slashdot.org -- just might want to know a bit more specifically *why* GoDaddy is on the outs with much of the blogosphere, and glean some perspective on how an affiliation with GoDaddy might be viewed by prospective readers. This is extraneous/meta /"inside baseball" stuff by some reckonings, perhaps, but also potentially critical context for someone new to the world of blogging.
I'm left with the impression that the authors are passionate about what they do, yes, but not quite so much about blogging matters outside of their particular wheelhouse(s). Depth of experience, while invaluable, has places where it cannot entirely compensate for lack of breadth. If there are future editions of "Bloggers Boot Camp", I'd love to see the authors call on top bloggers from outside of their particular areas of expertise to share their insights.
4.0 out of 5 starsYou too can be the next blogging superstar........well almost.
Reviewed in the United States on 10 December 2011
Blog away with Bloggers boot camp.
What Bloggers boot camp excels at is walking the users though initiating a blog setting the parameters like character limits and then maintaining/moderating your blog. The Authors give the reader a good idea set up RSS feeds, advertising your blog, getting search engines to recognize it. The Authors also talk about blog content and reaching your target audience and the keys to doing that depending on your parameters preference being photo blogging, political blogging, local events blogging, book/movie review blogging etc. stream of consciousness blogging etc.
One of the more helpful aspects of the book is that the authors spend a lot of space talking about blogging etiquette, punctuation, writing styles, formatting, common spelling errors, how to write to capture the readers attention The authors approach this with a kind of journalistic prose The authors also talk about weeding out rumors and facts before blogging about them which brings us to our next section in this review:
Slander and the liabilities of running a blog: This section deals with slander and how to protect your self against those charges. When is free speech not so free.
The authors also cover the for profit aspect of running a blog, deciding who you want to appeal too to advertise on your blog, and seeking advertisers that make sense for your blog. Building traffic to you blog to attract advertisers. There is a little bit about clicks for cash setup where you have affiliate links on your site and every time a visitor clicks on that link you are rewarded in either goods or cash.
The book assumes that you will be using something like blogspot or tumblr to build your blog. There a are lot of sites that offer blogging templates that you can configure to a certain extent. If your looking at this book to learn more about building a blog from the ground up you will be disappointed because there isn't much here with regard building templates. Not much in the way of html coding or css help here. Bloggers boot camp does offer some basic information about building rss feeds but not a lot of help
Bloggers boot camp will be helpful to the reader/blogger that wants to get a blog up and running and they are ok with using templates and building off of a foundation that someone else created. From that point on the authors cover almost everything well everything well.
3.0 out of 5 starsSome guidelines for blogging novices, but not everything applies
Reviewed in the United States on 18 April 2012
I'm of the belief that the best individual bloggers (on their own, not on a big site, etc.) do well by virtue of having created content (subject matter and writing style and presentation) that resonates with a particular audience. Many of the most "successful" (and the definitions vary, but we're talking here about sheer numbers of followers/readers) succeed without knowing (or caring about) the nuts-and-bolts stuff (SEO, ads, monetizing, etc.).
They learn by (often painful) trial-and-error and seem to have an aptitude for sharing in a way that resonates with certain people. You can't teach that skill, you can only help someone with real talent hone it and develop it.
So I guess I believe the only thing one could learn in a "bloggers boot camp" book is the nuts-and-bolts of things like analytics, ads, and other "tech" or sales aspects of growing a blog and a brand. But these days, there is plenty of stuff online about all the how-tos in these areas. Stuff that is updated daily and is, perhaps, more accurate and relevant than what the authors present here.
I don't think a bloggers boot camp can teach you to write, how to create content, how to choose subject matter or how to get a writing style. Things that are crucial.
So if you pick up this book, don't expect it to help you with those things.
This book seems aimed at folks who are interested in starting a blog but may have spent little to no time online actually reading blogs (as a consumer) and/or reading about how they are started and maintained.
And if you know nothing about blogs, and blogging, you may make the mistake of taking everything that is written here as "the truth" and the way it MUST be. As anyone working online knows today, everything changes all the time and there really are no set rules (even the idea of posting several times a day isn't accurate, depending on your blog and audience.)for every situation. It's far more fluid (and it really is all about how you want to "converse" with your audience and your deciding what rules apply and being upfront about them. Some of the most independent bloggers, for example, take free products for review. They disclose it and because their readers hold them accountable, give reviews that are clearly NOT based on getting the stuff for free. And many terrific blogs have relevant ads and participate in various manufacturer-sponsored promos and such.
EVERYONE is feeling their way thru it. And growing and changing in the process.
I think the authors were perhaps too ambitious in trying to cover so much in terms of topics. You could write whole books on things like SEO (which people have done), libel issues, ethics, etc. A few paragraphs or pages can't begin to get into the complexities of such topics.
If you're starting out, this book provides an outline of topics to learn a lot more about (and to get the opinions of folks with more diverse experience in contemporary blogging than these authors' have) and an idea of other things to consider when creating and running a blog.
It's a starting point, but by no means a definitive primer or guidebook. The best way to understand what and how blogging works is to read the top blogs in various fields you're interested in. See how the information is presented and how the various blogs are maintained and promoted. In many cases, these bloggers have been interviewed elsewhere and offer great tips on every aspect of blogging.