Tag Archives: tips for blogging

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Top five rules for blogging: #3 write lists

Here are all five tips, and here’s my post on the first one, and here’s the second one.

I think this post is perhaps best expressed in list form… here’s a list I wrote some time ago about why I write lists, and another almost identical post that in turn is almost identical to this one.

And here’s why you should write them if you want your blog to keep going.

  1. Lists are quick and easy. They’re good for keeping momentum. If in doubt write a list.
  2. Lists kill writer’s block.
  3. Lists encourage discussion – nobody ever agrees with what you’ve included or the order in which you include it.
  4. Lists are linkbait – they get shared. My most amazing day of traffic ever came from a list.
  5. Lists allow you to share unfinished ideas in batches.
  6. Lists force you to structure your thoughts in a succinct manner. They’re good for the reader as well. I’ll read lists that come through my RSS feeds every time. They offer a good return on reader investment.
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Top five rules for blogging: #2 don’t blog for comments

Here are all five tips, and here’s my post on the first one.

Comments are great. All bloggers love comments. They make us feel special. Almost as special as a link. Depending on your blog love language (which Simone posted about back in January).

Comments indicate reader engagement. Comments – even negative ones – show that someone cares enough about your ideas to respond.

But if you hang your blogging hat on the number of comments you get – and make a decision to continue, or not to continue, on that basis – then you’re bound for disappointment. People don’t like to comment. I read about 300 blogs, I comment on a handful. I should comment on more – knowing as I do that people like getting comments.

Comments are not a measure of quality. They’re not a measure of how much your post is appreciated. They’re not really a measure of anything except how good you are at annoying people or how cleverly you hook your readers.

Because I like awesome scientific analysis I’ll repost this graph I made a while back.

And further analysis – I mentioned how bad my blog was when I first started the other day (prompting some people to head back to the archives). It was really bad. Terrible. And yet I scored more comments per post in those days by a long shot.

If you’re going to blog for any measurable outcome regular visitors and subscribers. Or blog for google keywords so that you can attract random visitors who might subscribe.

Blogging for comments is a thankless exercise.

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Top Five Rules for blogging: #1 Keep it regular

Yesterday I posted a list of my top five rules for blogging.

Mikey posted a response on Christian Reflections – and a comment – reminding me of the cardinal rule of blogging (that I missed). Link to other people. Regularly.  I like that rule. There will now be six posts in this series. Starting with this one…

Rule One – Blog Regularly

If you want your blog to last past the first week you need to have a plan to go past the first week.

Figure out a scope of topics you want to talk about. Come up with a regular feature. Do whatever it takes to have a steady stream of content – but in my experience most would be bloggers start up with big dreams and fall over after the second post.

The best way not to do this is to just post for the sake of posting until you develop a rhythm. Blogging is all about momentum. Momentum doesn’t build itself. The physical definition of the concept is that momentum is mass multiplied by velocity. You can’t generate blogging momentum without content posted regularly.

Readers won’t stick around if you don’t post often. Your friends might. But unless they subscribe straight away they’ll probably forget about you.

You need to be prepared to publish half polished thoughts and let your commenters do some work – if you can get commenters (but that’s rule two). That’s the beauty of the medium. Don’t see blogging as a place to share essays. It can be. But the pressure will kill you and keep you from posting.

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My top five rules for blogging

I have been meaning to post this since reading Ben’s reflections on blogging. I’ve noticed that a lot of people I know start blogs (and I get really excited). And then the blog dies. After about a week. Mine didn’t. So here are my tips.

  1. Blog regularly
  2. Don’t blog for comments
  3. If you want hits, write lists
  4. If you need to write about stupid stuff in order to keep writing, then write about stupid stuff.
  5. If you want regular readers comment regularly elsewhere.

I’m going to turn this into a little series and expand on each idea during the week. In the meantime, share your tips in the comments.