Blog it yourself (well, with a little help)

How to set up your own blog, and one he made earlier. By Tom Rowe


Getting on the B-ladder

Technorati is the internet search engine for blogs. It keeps track of the amount of personal websites in existence, amongst other things. Technorati counts over 71 million blogs at the moment. While some of these may have suffered from “blogfade” and no longer be in use, blogging is now a daily activity for a huge amount of people around the world. While many are be guilty of posting “blogarrhoea”, when there are 71 million, they cannot all be bad.

The ease with which a blog can be set up has undoubtedly contributed to this proliferation. Several blog-creation websites offer step-by-step guides to starting your own blog. One of the most popular is Bought by Google a few years ago, the attractive dark colouring, easy scrolling and functionality of the blogs produced by Blogger has made it ubiquitous. It is very easy to start. It literally takes only five minutes. And when you Google “blogs”, it is one of the first sites you will see. So what is to prevent you from joining everyone else?

Because the world does not need to hear your incoherent, ill-conceived ramblings. In a entry entitled “How to dissuade yourself from becoming a Blogger” it suggests that you “Find five completely random blogs, and read them daily for a month. After 30 days, you will absolutely dread your self-imposed requirement to read all that dreck. Any blog you create will most likely be on par with what you've been reading. Don't put anyone through that.”


Blogs sometimes pay

Luckily, Declan Burke did not take that advice to heart when he was setting up Declan is an Irish crime writer of distinction, having published Eight Ball Boogie in 2003 and recently The Big O. He can also be found reviewing movies for Village. That of course has nothing to do with this review. The superlative quality of his blog is reason enough.

Declan has plumped for the Blogger format, which gives Crime Always Pays a familiar yet professional feel. Unlikely to suffer the same fate as those unimaginative owners of dead blogs, Declan sometimes has four entries per day, considered a large amount in the blogosphere, especially when they are well written and interesting. The theme is usually crime fiction, but he occasionally veers into politics, movies and amusingly blatant insults against fellow writers. These wide-ranging entries are punctuated with many links, including new, low-budget Irish film-noir clips. With his contacts in the seedy world of crime fiction, Declan has access to a number of writers. He regularly conducts short interviews with them, sneaking into his questions a jibe at his bête noir, a well known Irish writer who will only write crime fiction under a pen name. For Burke, the crime fiction canon includes works by Dickens, Shakespeare, Conrad, Dostoevsky, Graham Green, Henry James and Robert L Stevenson. Perhaps the fans of crime fiction who have made the genre the most popular in Ireland could benefit from one more blog in the world.   

Tom Rowe