How do you define a quality blog post?

This often quoted advice concerning the ‘quality’ of your content is interpreted differently by many people, this is because the idea of quality will vary between individuals, the concept of ‘quality’ itself is an elusive one.

The famous writer, Robert Pirsig based his entire career on seeking to define just what ‘quality’ means. You might remember this writer more easily from the title of his most well known novel: Zen And The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance

zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance

Back in the latter part of the 1970’s every self respecting household of young people had a copy of this book in the bookshelves, it caused a lot of discussion and late night deep and meaningful talking; the hippies adopted this book as being a manual for the age!

But as is so often the case, much of what this book described and spoke about was misunderstood, and only superficially perceived by too many people. I think this writer is one of the most insightful, and genuine voices of our times, he was the real deal, I say ‘was’ because Mr Pirsig has passed on to the land of the dead, he is no more but his ideas and his work is still with us to inspire and illuminate.

For anyone who is genuinely curious, who is seeking an authentic body of information concerning this concept of ‘quality’, who is not simply an opportunistic profiteer and dilettante reading this book, and his next novel ‘Lila’ will be a valuable experience!

Among the core ideas Robert Pirsig deals with in his work is this idea of being afraid of technology, of dismissing the practical arts and skills of mechanics, technology in favor of what is believed to be more ‘artistic’ traits, he suggests that too many people believe they are seen as being more ‘spiritual’ if they ignore the mechanics of society, if they refuse to learn how devices and the items they use ‘work’; he suggests that having an appreciation for the practical dimension of life can only enhance and enrich us, not to mention being exceedingly useful to us!

If we are able to perform some basic maintenance on our technical devices, we can save a lot of money, we are more able to effectively use them as a result.

A good example of this is in the field of ‘Technical Support’, a large number of support calls for support engineers are for very basic, rudimentary issues which can be resolved with a minimal effort of learning on the part of the user; some people it seems are more comfortable paying exorbitant fees to support organisations than learning some basic ‘IT’.

It is here we encounter the idea of ‘value’, what is valuable, what is redundant, what is useful and what is deceptive waste?

We can gain a lot of value from Robert Pirsig’s analysis, he offers us a review, the opportunity to step back from our daily life to see a bigger perspective; we can take much greater control of our outcomes if we simply put in some effort to learn a few basic skills, we can gain a much more enriched appreciation of the opportunities we are given by the tools and crafts that are open to us!

People make themselves far more vulnerable to confidence tricksters, and scammers because they are unwilling to find out for themselves how their devices work, how their car runs, how their houses are built, how their local government operates under the cover of ‘councils’ and state government parliaments, just what ideas they being governed by.

By focusing on some of the details of everyday life, people can learn a great deal more, rather than allowing life to simply unfold about them and taking for granted everything that is given to them.

This is the core nature of ‘value’, and ‘quality’; if you know that Windows 10 is fraught with development problems and inner political struggles among the Microsoft product teams, you will choose an alternative operating system and thereby save yourself a great deal of money, angst and time! As one example. (Yes, I am being a little flippant there).

Through not understanding the ‘mechanics’ of politics entire communities are condemned to years of abuse, and corruption, exploitation all because the candidates they choose are based on trivial matters of personality, and undeveloped ideas concerning ideology, and pragmatic principles; they will select a candidate simply because they are told this person is sympathetic to their cause or has a certain background, regardless of the track record and actions of said candidate, or simply because they happen to be a member of their favoured party.

There are countless examples, but the point is, what constitutes a ‘quality’ post if you are producing a Blog?

Blogging is yet another example of where people often don’t really know just what they are doing, we refer to all of these independent publications by this generic title, but what is a ‘Blog’ to you?

The opportunity of publishing independently is another area that is taken for granted very often by countless people; it has become almost a reflex activity, something that is produced with the intention of making money ‘online’.

Consider what was possible to achieve only 30 years ago, prior to the WWW being open and available to us: publishing was an exclusive and highly restricted and regulated market! Only the very wealthy and powerful were able to publish, only those people who were seen as being a ‘sure bet’ to earn the publisher money. The means to publish was well out of the reach of you and I.

Today the printing press is on our desks, in our bags, in our hands.

We have been given the enormous opportunity of publishing independently, but we have to make people know we are there!

The marketplace of publishing has expanded, to include every internet user, this market decides if your blog is any good; it does not matter if you consider your posts are high value, high quality, what you think is irrelevant!

What we need to do is focus on the subject we have chosen to work with and do our level best to provide value; you are competing with many other producers who are also striving to gain the attention of people who seek information, entertainment, learning, insight for the subject you operate in, it is these people who tell you if you have done a good job, no other metric or analysis has any greater bearing.

You will quickly discover if you are providing value, because the people who give you their time and attention in reading your work will let you know in the form of readership, response, sharing across the web.

If you have no respect, or thought for your readers you will not succeed.

Many bloggers have started out with the idea of becoming famous, of making money but have quickly been consigned to the recycle bin of obscurity for their arrogance!

Likewise there are writers who might not have even a tenth of your qualifications and experience, but have won massive audiences and made their fortune; this is the judgement of the marketplace, these writers had something people loved, they were able to build a bridge between their fingers tapping on the keys and the hearts and minds of their readers, this is what you have to do!

Don’t be cynical, don’t be clever for the sake of being clever, don’t be an A$$hole, respect your audience, do the best job you can, put some time and effort into your work and believe in what you are doing, just maybe you will produce valuable content.

 

Published by Mike Gorman

Mike has been working with information technology, and the World Wide Web since the mid-90's, he offers insights and practical skills for people who seek to publish online.