Wednesday May 04

Blogs: Syndicated or original content has an interesting post about the differences between an original content blog and a syndicated blog. I spent a long time with the question about whether to go with more syndicated content (entries that talk about content on other sites) or original content. When I first started over four years ago, this blog was skewed more toward original content. Now it's more like 80-90% syndicated. Here's what Darren Rowse of Problogger has to say.

Time - it takes more time to write original content than to syndicate others content. I'm not saying syndication is ‘easy' - it does take time to find quality articles to link to - but I find once you're in a rhythm you can do it reasonably quickly.

Inbound Links - if you want to get a lot of people linking to your blog you might want to consider some original content. You might get a few links by doing syndication but they'll usually be scattered ‘hat tip' type links of people acknowledging you as a source of their own syndication rather than a link that will bring you traffic.

Quantity - if you're wanting to get a lot of content up quickly then syndication is probably your best option as its easier to post larger numbers of posts if you're not having to come up with all the ideas yourself and then write them up.

Community - content sites tend to build more community than syndication sites. This is the case in most of my blogs - however there are always exceptions. For example the Michael Jackson Trial Blog gets a lot more comments than most of my other blogs - yet the content is largely syndicated.

Writing and Creative Skills - are you able to write well? Some of us are better at writing than others and may be more suited to a content blog. Whilst writing skills are still important with syndication sites however when you're translating original thought into content the they especially come into play.

In my experience, there are three factors that outweigh Darren's five points in determining whether to go for syndicated content, original content or some mixture of both. First, what's the best fit with your current habits. Two, what sort of audience do you want to attract. Three, do you live in a stimulating environment.

I don't think life ever revolves around blogging. More like blogging is subject to your habits and lifestyle. I read broadly about internet technology and social effects of the internet, both out of professional and personal interest. I look out for new things that might interest me to investigate further and generate an opinion article about. And I never intended for this blog to be any more than a public notebook about things I found on the internet. So writing a blog with more syndicated content fits better with my habits. It's also the best way to take advantage of my key point of differentiation -- my knowledge about the internet.

I suppose I could write more original content about things happening in Asia. A lot of Asian bloggers do that successfully. But that would attract mainly Asian readership and I wanted to attract readers who like me like the internet a lot which tends to be more of a western audience. Internet development and new internet ideas progress at a much slower pace here and tends to cover ground already run through by American and European centres. So syndicated content about those developments goes without saying.

But if you live in a stimulating environment, surrounded by stimulating people with an interesting job or have things happen around you, it's impossible not to generate original content. I found it much easier when I was in England where I was fed by the truckloads by things I read about in the library, in the vast selection of newspapers and things I saw on TV. So if I were to get a job as a waiter at Club Med or become a journalist in Colombia, I'd have to steer this blog back to original content.

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