The best way to run your Babel blog
When cafebabel.com embarked in the blogosphere adventure in 2007, and developed its own babelblog platform, none of us had really blogged before. We were mere spectators, at best punctual commentators of other blogs. 56 blogs later and lots of entries posted, the mysteries of blogging are gradually dissolving. In addition, communicating with each other is now easy.
But communicating with the outside world- non Babel World - will be the 2008 challenge. Each single blog on cafebabel.com has the means and opportunity to become a world class reporter or opinion-maker. Blogs are voices. Your babelblog is YOUR voice. Each voice has a different tone, a different accent and, most importantly, a different opinion. So make it your own.
Personalize your blog
Let's focus on the tone of your "voice". The minute we click on your blog, our eyes take a quick glance at the general design and the pictures that make it unique. If you keep the same cafebabel.com frame- which many of you still do (Barcelona, Football Province, les politiques linguistiques, just to name a few...)- you give the impression that your voice conforms to a single tune. Take a minute to choose a banner that fits your voice. Berlin, Bruxelles, Bucharest Linéa or Mêlée ouverte, are great examples of creativity.
Nothing better than the real thing
Show yourself! Posting your profile on the blog, allows the reader to see who you are. You can also grab your video camera, your mp3 recorder, and show us where you live and what's going on in your area. If you don't have a camera, post videos from youtube that complement your editorial content. Conventional pictures will also do the trick- so use and abuse (see post on "Post pictures on Blogs!").
Organise your thoughts
Well-tagged posts enable your blog to be easily identified by our readership when using the search engine. Otherwise your blog will be forever lost in the babelblogosphere. It is also important that you customize your sections: "Who I am"/ "Who we are", "Best of My blog". You name it. This frame will give the reader easy access to your stream of thoughts or to your valuable information. By ticking the "selected entry" box, the entry you select will be posted in a sidebar section called "last entries". The reader can then easily identify your favourite entries. See the Budapest blog for instance, that has, in addition to the latest entries, the "calendar tool". The date where you published entries appear in red with a link to the posted item.
Reach to the outside world
Links, links and links. 2008, will be the year of the links! Publish links of other blogs or websites that appeal to you or are related to your blog's editorial content. Your blog has to become a gold mine of information to your readership. Create partnerships with other organisations who are inclined to support your blog. You can then have a special section for partner logos. Take a look at the Paris, Vilnius or Istanbul blog. Vilnius posted all the links of cafebabel.com city blogs as well as 3 partner logos. Reaching to the outside world will enable you to recruit new contributors or translators if your blog is run in several languages. This is how Nabeelah became a special guest on Lumière and the Darkness or how Eurogeneration, Poetry and Eurotik manage to be translated in several languages. Surfing on non-babelblogs will open new doors of opportunities in terms of readership and even inspiration. This being said, commenting on other babelblogs is also very welcomed. It allows you to get to know other Babelians, at least virtually for now, bringing a sense of community to babelbloggers. See for instance, the Athens blog, that attracts, on average, more than 20 comments per post. Or Blog-Europe-des-villages which has posted a reaction responding to a eumiro entry. If you want to entice us it's very simple: send an email to all the bloggers at email@example.com.
Mark this page in your "favourites"! You can find and rediscover the tips mentioned in this post on this wiki page, regularly updated by all of you. Share your knowledge with the community by contributing to its content. For those who understand French, take a look at the dotclear information.
If you don't blog, go offline
I know this might sound cruel, but think about the rest of the babelbloggers! Readers who click on inactive blogs will be less inclined to come back. If you're too busy, if you have exams, or if you just don't feel like blogging, you can deactivate your blog temporarily. The same is true for the linguistic versions that still have no posts.
Best wishes for 2008, and may the babelforce be with you!