(This blog post was last revised on May 16, 2011)
Here are answers to some of our most frequently asked questions…
How do I sign up for a blog?
Easy. Just go to www.areavoices.com and start creating your profile. That profile will enable you to build a social network, leave comments on other’s blogs and create your own blog.
Who can blog? Anybody and everybody.
What if I already have a blog somewhere else? That’s okay. We’re not asking you to take it down. You’re welcome to have blogs outside of your blog at Areavoices. However, it can be time consuming and unnecessarily work intensive to maintain more than one blog. Some bloggers who started off trying to maintain two blogs end up primarily posting just to their Areavoices blog.
How long does my blog need to be?
It’s totally up to you. You are the author and editor. You can decide to tap out a few quick paragraphs one day then the next day post your version of “War and Peace.” Just remember, people are busy and sometimes you’ll get your message across more effectively if you keep your blog post on the shorter side.
How often do I need to post?
Again, that is up to you. If you just blog for fun, as an outlet for your writing, just post whenever the mood strikes. But if you’re blogging for promotional reasons the more often you blog the more often your message is read. In the blogging world, fresh is everything. Bloggers are constantly updating their posts. To keep in the race, your blog should be updated frequently.
How many people write blogs on areavoices?
The number is constantly changing. But as of the date of this post nearly 3,000 people are writing blogs on Areavoices.
Who owns Areavoices and what relationship does that have with the local newspaper?
Areavoices is owned by Forum Communications Company which also owns 36 newspapers, television and radio stations across North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin.
How can I get my blog on my local newspaper’s website?
Each newspaper, television and radio station within Forum Communications selects blogs that they would like to feature on their website. They find them by frequently searching for blogs they think their readers would like. If you think your blog would appeal to newspaper readers just let your local paper know that you would like to be a featured blogger. They’ll take it from there.
How can I get my blog to show up on other parts of the newspaper’s website?
The key is tags. Those are the keywords that help describe the contents of your blog topic. For example if I write a blog about my favorite casseroles, I would make sure I use the tag word “FOOD.” By doing that, not only will my blog appear on the home page, but also on the Life/Food section of the website.
What does it mean to be a featured blogger?
Each newspaper, television and radio station within Forum Communications Company selects blogs from areavoices that they would like to feature on their websites. As of this date about 500 blogs are featured blogs on the newspaper, television and radio websites. As a featured blogger, your blog will be seen on the paper’s home page and within inner sections of the webpage as well, depending upon the topic of your blog post (food, travel, sports, etc.)
How does a blog get chosen to be featured?
In a variety of ways. It’s my job to go into the community and recruit potential bloggers. I’m also constantly perusing our blog roll to see who is blogging and what they’re blogging about. If I see something I like, I send an email to the FCC properties to recommend them as featured bloggers. Sometimes, the newspapers themselves come across bloggers they like and they choose to feature them. I’m always open to suggestions. If you write a blog or read a blog you think should be featured, just send me an email: email@example.com. Remember, some of the most popular web search topics are particularly appealing as featured blogs. They include blogs on the following topics: family, food, health, money and travel. But again, don’t just write a blog on these topics because you think it’s more likely to be featured. Write about what you love. If you love to write about music or cross stitching or clog dancing – do it. Your passion for the topic will shine through and it will be a better blog than if you write a blog about health just because you think that’s what people want to read.
Once my blog is featured where will it be seen?
It depends what FCC properties feature you. But on any given FCC website, your blog post will be seen on the home page soon after you make that post. Five blogs are seen on the home page at any given time. As soon as other featured bloggers make posts it rotates out and your blog will fall off the home page. However, if you put appropriate tags on your blog post, you’ll also be seen on the inner section of the website. For example: If I write a blog about food at 10:34am I’ll see my food blog appear on the home page a few moments later. By the afternoon, my blog will probably have been replaced on the home page by other featured bloggers who posted more recently. However, if I put a tag on post with the word “Food” my blog will still be seen under the Life section, under the Food ab. Blogs will stay in these inner sections far longer than they will on the home page.
How many people will read my blog?
It depends on whether you’re a featured blogger and where your blog is featured. In all, FCC newspaper, television and radio websites reach approximately 1.6 million people a month. You’ll get concentrated readership in the 4-state region (ND, SD, MN and WI) but it can also be read around the world. It is possible for you to track the number of people reading your blog from day to day.
Does Forum Communications Company edit or censor my blog?
No. You are the author and editor. However, we will keep an eye out for inappropriate or obscene material and can choose to remove a blog if it is deemed necessary.
I’m a little worried about inappropriate comments people will make about my blog. How can I manage them?
Easily. As you set up your account, you determine how you will manage your comments. You can choose to allow unmoderated comments, moderated comments, or no comments at all.
Can I add pictures and video to my blog?
Absolutely! We encourage it. To see how, go to http://support.areavoices.com
What if something goes wrong with my blog on the technical side?
What if I don’t get my registration email?
First give it a few moments. If you still don’t get the registration email, check your spam filter. If you still don’t see it, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, go to our blog at http://support.areavoices.com or call Lindsey at 701-451-5632.