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Important Tips For Bloggers

Photo by Mazzarello Media and Arts via Flickr

I found this article, painstakingly handwritten yet crumpled, in a public trash bin while reaching for a shiny, unidentifiable cast-off. (It turned out to be gum foil.) Although this isn’t exactly my style, I can’t think of anything to post today and I thought it was reasonably interesting, so I thought I’d share it. (I added some photos.) I’d give credit, if only I knew who wrote it…

Important Tips For Bloggers

There’s a secret in the blogging world that every blogger who wants a wide audience has discovered: Bloggers who don’t do it for friends and their own amusement want lots of readers. Many of those want you to comment and tell them how much you agree with what they’ve said. They want you to follow them and read and ReTweet their Tweets. They want to be stars and not have to acknowledge you directly unless absolutely necessary. (Does Johnny Depp answer his fan mail? How could he? No one expects him to.) Bloggers who want a huge audience want to be Johnny Depp and ignore you without losing your love. 

Photo of Johnny Depp by Nicogenin via Flickr

We’re not all the same, it’s true. Some of us have turned to the internet for our chance to survive on our own terms in a world with a shrinking number of  jobs that sustain life, much less spirit. We want to be read widely enough to solicit ad revenue. So even with the best intentions, how do we achieve this? Most of us don’t.

When you started out, I’m sure you googled as much info as possible, maybe bought a book or two, or took a course. Still visitors to your blog have been elusive. You’re delightful and oh so intelligent and special, why aren’t you popular yet? You’ve incorporated tips from experts, but they haven’t yielded results. Why? Well of course, I’m about to tell you. Let’s tackle the issues one by one:

1. Write consistently about a subject you know well, and find your own unique angle. Okay, how hard is that?! Few fit into this niche, and trying to shoehorn yourself in somewhere is the first step to the headache that never ends. (Writing about yourself, in itself, isn’t as unique as you think. Everybody does that.)

2. People don’t read blogs for great writing or literary style, so keep it simple and easy to read. The internet is already full of awful, incomprehensible and redundant writing.(Just google the subject of this post, and you’ll see it’s been covered a million times!) Also, if you want to be known for your stylish writing or hope to publish a book someday, it won’t help to write down to your audience. If that’s your goal, why leave an accessible online record of writing underachievement?

3. Know what your reader wants. Make sure to deliver value in your posts, and they’ll keep coming back. This means if you make them laugh, do it all the time or they’ll stop visiting you. If you can do that sort of thing, more power to you. If you can’t– see debunked tip # 1.

4. Publish quality posts often so they don’t forget you — at least twice a week, on a schedule. Um, this kind of means spending your life looking for inspiration– unless you’re blessed with encyclopedic knowledge of a widely interesting subject with facets that flow in your world like grains of sand at the beach. Like… um… umm… 

5. Keep posts at about 600 words or less, or you’ll lose your readers’ attention. It doesn’t matter how irresistible you are, supposedly somewhere around now they’re getting sick of you and antsy.

I had a few more tips to debunk but Common Blog Wisdom says I have to end now because you’re bored. (Actually it says I did a bad job of focusing and editing this post, but by now I’m sure you know how I feel about Common Blog Wisdom — the #!*@.)

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19 thoughts on “Important Tips For Bloggers

  1. 1. ummm…
    2. oops…
    3. oops…
    4. double oops…
    5. uh oh…

    Sorry, Nameless Person, for the failure, yet I think I’ll continue writing my failing and flailing posts if you don’t mind.

    (Sparks, congratulations on your debunking: it was far more polite and reasonable than mine would have been!)

  2. Great tips! And very well debunked I must say. Really, it all seems so pointless sometimes.
    I’ve decided to give it a break and do something in real life that doesn’t necessarily need to be blogged about.
    Having said that, I love the blogs I’ve subscribed to and look forward to the mail popping up announcing a new post by someone or other 🙂 It feels so….friendly! And I learn so much.
    I think blogging is more about ‘connecting’ than it is about drawing lots of readers and retweeters.

  3. Ha! I’d love to know who actually wrote this, and have him/her comment on all the how-to-blog sites I visited when I first revisited the notion of blogging. All that wisdom went out the window after roughly two weeks–thank goodness!

  4. Wait, I don’t understand – I thought the whole thing (including the debunking) was on the paper in the trash. Was it just the list of tips, and the rest is your writing? I’m so easily confused …

  5. A good idea. I’ve never read any “how to blog” blogs as it seems a bit fallacious but what this person says makes some sense I guess.

    I’m not sure how I feel about blogging becoming a creative discipline though. I think that’s seedy and way, way too serious. Surely its a platform for communal fun. Something for free and a way to offload.

    I’m with you Lady Sparks . . . take what we want from it, bend all up the way we want it and make what comes out the end our own. Ha!

    RR

    • A lot of people think of it as possibly big business, and I’d like to make a living, too, but I like the way you put it, RR. Ultimately, I want this thing I do to be my own. I hope folks, like you, enjoy reading it but I gotta be me!

  6. LOL! Perhaps this is why I didn’t “google” guidelines on the subject! With the exception of 1 and 3, I knew that I would probably have a difficult time “following the rules” (probably written by someone whose writing is incomprehensible outside of his narrow subject about effective blogging), so needless to say, I never subscribed. I’m young enough to not give a crap, but old enough to know what I want to say, and how I want to say it. Tell ’em I said “Tweet That!”, Lady Sparks! LOL! I write from inspiration. It is the only thing that I can be consistent enough about. My readership may be small, but focused and connected they are! Screw the other dimwits if THEY don’t get it! Now tell them I said “Retweet That!” LOL! By now, you probably know that I’ve laughed quite a bit reading the post as well as the comments! Tweet tweet!

  7. I feel like in blogging, as in anything, it’s good to learn the “rules” when you’re a newbie. Not to follow them, but because many of us start new pursuits not really knowing what we want out of them. Rules tell you what other people’s goals are, and learning about those can help you clarify your own goals. Once you know what you want, you can figure out your own ways (or borrow other people’s) to get to that point… and then you can enjoy the sweet thunk of the rulebook hitting the recycling bin. 😉

    This is what happens to me as soon as I start trying to actually follow “rules to success”: (1) I can’t stop comparing myself to other people who are doing it “better” than I am, (2) I lose myself trying to fit my ideas and visions into other people’s mold, (3) I end up not distinguishing myself from everyone else who’s got the same rulebook at their fingertips!

    • Yes! I think you hit the nail right on the head! I do like to know what’s expected and what other people’s goals are, as well as what they want from a thing, before I dive into it myself. It does help me clarify what it is that I’m after, and the way I want to distinguish myself doing it. I’ve been rather enjoying that “sweet thunk of the rulebook.” 🙂

  8. 1. I actually clicked on an e-book link once that was supposed to help build your blog audience, but when I read the 5 blogs that the author recommended and they were either facile, poorly written, or using a font/background color scheme so frustrating I felt like I was taking a color-blind test (and failing) I declined to pay the $1.99 for it.
    2. I’ve found it always helps to have, and tag, pictures of Johnny Depp, (or other celebrities). This disappoints me, but alas, reflects the world we live in.

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