Write Better Weblog

When I started writing my blog in late 2002, I read the Mark Bernstein‘s 10 Tips on Writing the Living Web from A List Apart. At that time, not many people run bloggers, especially in China – actually, people say 911 event is the push power for the popularity of blog since people began to stop the work on their hand and to start thinking and recording about their own lives. It is the same as Muzimei’s role in the Chinese blog world – the one of the important tipping points of the popularity in Chinese blogging world.

Mark’s article was the guideline for my blog writing. In his article, there are some important rules I’d like to recommend to everyone to follow.

Write for a Reason

“If you don’t really care, don’t write.”

“Show us the details, teach us why they matter. ”

“Write for yourself; you are, in the end, your most important reader.”

“Write honestly. Don’t hide, and don’t stop short. ”

Write Open

“If you don’t write for a few days, you are unfaithful to the readers who come to visit. Missing an update is a small thing ?rudeness, not betrayal ?and readers will excuse the occasional lapse.”

“If you cannot write for a time, and the reason for your absence is interesting, write about it.”

Write Tight

“Omit unnecessary words.”

Make good friends

“Read widely and well, on the web and off, and in your web writing take special care to acknowledge the good work and good ideas of other writers. ”

“Weblog writers and other participants in the Living Web gain readers by exchanging links and ideas.”

Find good enemies

I didn’t under this rule at the very beginning, but later, I found an enemy is good to better clarify the nature of the idea. The anti-spam effort and SARS events report are good samples.

“Disagreement is exciting. Everyone loves a fight, and by witnessing the contest of competing ideas we can better understand what they imply.”


“Don’t take yourself too seriously.”

“Don’t worry about the size of your audience.”

“Do let your work on the Living Web flow from your passion and your play, your work life and your life at home. ”

Note: All sentences in quotes are cited from Mark’s original article 10 Tips on Writing the Living Web.

My Practices

Owen from T i M E aNd T i D E (Chinese site and blocked in China. Why?) posted an article: Be True. He quoted Scobleizer‘s quote of my post Living Cost in Shanghai (Ops. What a wired sentence). Owen suggested to focus on small things. I was flattered by his article. Actually, focusing on details is a great way to amuse the writer him/herself, and the readers as well. I often check my previous posts and only those with great details about the day – the weather, the grass or some details attract my own eyes. These posts act as a training to bring me back to the old days via a time tunnel….

I do have a lot of friends. I feel guilty that I didn’t put link to their articles as often as I should. This is the problem to have an English weblog – I am aware more than half my reader cannot read Chinese and putting a link to Chinese site may be difficult for them to continue reading. I do want to share the good ideas generated by them. :-D BTW, Billy Qiu started English blog site: HitHat. He shares something similar with my blog: focusing on the small things in the city of Shanghai. He just posted an article 24-Hour Self-service Banks: Can We Really Count On Them?. Worth reading…

More Blogs

The largest list of blogs in China is Sinosplice’s China Blog List. According to Sinosplice’s description, “Many of them are written by foreigners in China, although a few are written by non-Chinese elsewhere or by Chinese people.”

14 thoughts on “Write Better Weblog

  1. I wouldn’t worry about putting links to Chinese language content. A little warning before or after that the linked page is going to be in Chinese and, if the reader can read it they will continue and if they can’t they won’t. Perhaps when the content of the link is important in understanding what you are writing you could provide a short summary of the important points in English on your page, but I don’t think that your audience’s inability to read Chinese should stop you from linking to things of interest that you find.

  2. John, good point. As you are a native English speaker (according to your website), your opinion about putting links to Chinese language content is very valuable for me. So I may change my practices and share more links – I did felt difficult when I read English blog by people in Japan but linked to Japanese websites that I cannot read. :-D

  3. Although I am (regrettably) one of your readers who can’t read Chinese, it would not bother me at all to have a link now and then to a Chinese-only site. I very much wish I could read Wendy’s, though. Might be the impetus I need to consider learning your beautiful-looking language :-)

  4. i understand where you are coming from. sometimes if the content is important, you can summarize it in english. either way it shouldn’t stop you from linking chinese sites :)

  5. Writing better weblog is very easy and its similar like an article but looks like blog. Some knowledge in English, grammar and confident is enough to write pr make a weblog and blog oriented articles. You can share and make it in Bloggingnews.net. Thanks for the post!!!

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