Last night I attended the first seminar given by Tim Ireland of the Political Weblog Project. These seminars aim to convince MPs and their staff of the benefit of producing a weblog.
MPs should have a weblog for the following reasons:
- Protect their online presence. A weblog can ensure top search results for an MP. Without one a proxy blog or a newspaper might feature more highly in search rankings.
- Issue control. Because a weblog boosts your search rankings any posts on your key topics will appear highly in Google when people search for those topics allowing your viewpoint to come first.
When setting up a weblog MPs should:
- Use the right technology – such as Movable Type – and set it up correctly so that their weblogs can be as effective as possible.
- Use their own domain name, such as www.johnsmith.com, so it can be used even when the MP is not an MP (such as during an election) and so that you retain the flexibility to change your technology
- Be prepared to engage – not allowing comments and using the weblog as a one way broadcast will not endear you to other bloggers who are crucial to get your site high in the search rankings
More seminars are planned for the new year. I’m hoping to get to work with us on producing something similar for Councillors along with a practical workshop on getting started. Let me know if you’re interested.