Book Review: 'Blogging for Dummies, 4th Edition'
Introduction to Blogging for Dummies 4th edition
Once you've decided to start a blog, the next question is how to manage it, maintain it and monetize it. "Blogging for Dummies 4th edition" was written for those who want to know how to blog, how to find (or curate) content, come up with ideas for their own articles and promote a blog. It also includes tips on using the major blogging platforms, vocabulary for those new to blogging and information on how to monetize a blog.
Blogging for Dummies 4th edition was written for a diverse audience, such as those blogging to earn money or developing a workplace blog. Chapter 18 is written for those who want to make money from their blog through ads and affiliate programs, while Chapter 19 is for small business and non-profit blogs. Chapter 10 describes how to blog anonymously, something not covered in the third edition. Other resources in the book are updated from prior editions. Blogging for Dummies 4th edition was published in 2012.
Highlights of Blogging for Dummies 4th edition
The book covers some of the often forgotten risks of blogging. For example, what you blog becomes public record and visible to everyone. Therefore, you do not want to publish anything potentially embarrassing, slanderous or threatening. It brings up the dangers of blogging about work, such as potentially revealing insider information or trade secrets.
It also warns bloggers about the ethical balance in blogging anonymously. For example, writing under a pen name when talking about a sensitive topic like sexual abuse is acceptable. However, bloggers will face a backlash if they are poseurs. This is valuable information given the increasing importance of one's online reputation.
The book has many references to free resources like blogger.com. This book is unusual in its wealth of free legal resources like the Federal Trade Commission's website on the mandatory legal disclaimers bloggers must use if they are being paid by a service provider and a link to a disclosure statement to make it clear that the blog is your own opinion and not that of your employer. It has links to the Electronic Frontier Foundation's guide on blogging and advice on protecting personally identifiable information.
Do you want to know where to blog for free? Blogging for Dummies 4th edition gives readers several online locations where they can blog for free along with advice on how to configure a blog on their own domain.
This book gives you information on how to blog, whether it is a blog written to promote a small business or a mommy blog. While the book is generally written for newcomers to blogging who know nothing about it or even what they want to write, the book does contain information for more advanced bloggers. Chapter 3 discusses the blogging software available and tips on what is right for different types of users. Configuring WordPress is covered in Chapter 5 while Tumblr is the topic of Chapter 7. Appendix B gives tips on writing HTML code. Each Chapter devoted to a major blogging platform has a section on how to customize your blog within that platform.
Part five of the book, chapters 14 through 17, talks about marketing and promoting a blog. This topic isn't covered well in many other "how to blog" books. Chapter 17 gives instructions on how to find out how many visitors you have and where they come from. Chapter 18 talks about how to find out which ads visitors are clicking on. It even provides information on multiple free web statistic trackers you can embed in your page if you do not want to rely on Google Analytics plus a few low cost software applications for this purpose. The book gives you several ways to monetize your blog in addition to Google Adsense.
Susannah Gardener, one of the two authors of the book, is easily accessible. She even put her email address in the "Where to Go from Here" section. The ebook has links to blogs the authors consider good examples of blogging done right. It has examples of everything from candy blogs to blogs about the best websites on the web. It gives suggestions on how to decide what to blog about if you are just starting a blog.
Criticisms of Blogging for Dummies 4th edition
The book has comics for "The Fifth Wave" and others at the start of most chapters to add levity to the work. However, the book is written in a very nonchalant style. Chapter one says it will help you find out what makes a blog "bloggy" and reminders readers they do not have to blog in their pajamas.
It gives the recipe of a good blog in the style of a recipe, stating that you should preheat the blog by setting goals, measure out good content, mix with frequent updates and sprinkle in interaction with readers such as responding to comments or creating a forum for readers. It jokes about the right to use spell check, regardless of what your teenager says. This relaxed, joking writing style can throw off those looking for a serious book on the topic.