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March 23, 2010

Some Blogging Tips

Having agreed to be a "mentor" for the Authentic Blogger group on Facebook (you really should join that if you're a blogger...great people and a great way to publicize your stuff!), and also having recently encouraged a few people to get into the act of blogging, I decided that it might be a good time to post some tips to enhance your blogging experience.

Not that I'm an expert or anything, which is why I'm not posting tips on how to create a successful blog.  These are tips for making your own blogging experience a rewarding one.  These are tips that I follow, and so may not apply to everyone.  But I happen to think they're pretty universal.

I will also attempt (perhaps in a futile manner) to curb my sarcastic streak a bit.

Yeah, like that's going to happen.
1) Know what you want to achieve with your blog

This may sound like common sense, but sometimes it's easy to lose sight of what you want to get out of your blog.  Is it just going to be a journal of your life, mainly read by your friends and family so you don't have to tell the same stories over and over again.  ("Why are you bleeding so profusely from that head wound?" "Just check my blog!")  Or is it going to be all about one specific topic, like social media, or soap operas, or video games?

Or you could be like me and just have it be a general interest blog where you post your thoughts on pretty much anything that occurs to you.  Let it be said right now, though, that this probably will not result in a successful blog, if by "successful" you mean tons of readers.  You'll get a fair few, even more if you join a blogging group or two (see below), but you won't hit it big with a general blog.  To do so, you'd have to post a lot, because there are some subjects that some people won't want to read about, and other subjects that other people won't want to read about.  If your blog doesn't offer enough of what people are interested in, then it won't be successful.

But that's popular success.  Which brings me to...

2) Determine what "successful" means to you.

Again, this depends on what you want to achieve with your blog, so there are varying definitions of "successful."  Are you just wanting to get your thoughts out there, sharing them with your friends? Then low readership won't be a bad thing for you, as long as somebody's reading it.  If you're fine with that, then that's great!  You're successful, because you define what that is.

If your definition of "success" is to become "popular," then you will definitely want to focus your blog a bit more, and maybe read up on some articles that talk about making your blog popular.  Get the word out about your blog somehow.  Since my definition of "successful" falls somewhere in the middle (I get 45-60 visitors a day usually, and a few of those are returning ones), I'm not really the one to talk to about making your blog popular.

Though I would say that if you can break the news of Sandra Bullock's marriage being in the dumps before anybody else, that would greatly help your popularity, at least in the short term.

I'm just saying...

3) Join a blogging group

Authentic Blogger is a great blogging group and has really enhanced my readership.  There are many groups out there, though, and joining multiple groups can be a good thing, if you've got time to keep up with them.  You should interact with the group some, which will include reading some of their blogs too.  That's one reason that Authentic Blogger is the only group I've joined, because I barely have time to keep up with them sometimes!  I am thinking about spreading my wings a bit, though, so we'll see what happens.

Groups are good not just to get exposure, but also to talk about blogging issues and get tips and other things like that.

Of course, going back to Tip #1, if your goal is very personal, then maybe blogging groups aren't for you.  You have to decide what's best for you.

4) Talk about what other people are talking about

Is there a hot topic going around that you've got an opinion about?  Blog about it!  You might draw in readers who are also interested in that topic.  Maybe some of them will explore your blog and decide they like the way you've put it together and they will continue to follow you.  Just don't make random mentions of names or things when you're not talking about them just to get traffic, or at least don't do it intentionally.

One funny story regarding my blog is the "Clay Aiken Rush" that happened when I mentioned him in an off-hand (and totally unintentional!) manner on one of my "one-hit wonder" posts (I think one of the one-hit wonders is now a song-writer and has written songs for him).  For one day, I was swarmed with people doing Clay Aiken searches.

Of course, since I wasn't actually talking about Clay Aiken, none of those readers stayed (or at least I don't think they did) and the traffic waned.  But if you're interested in Clay Aiken, and blog about him, those people might stick around.

Just don't make a Clay Aiken blog.  I'm sure the man's head is already bigger than it needs to be.  Does he really need another fan site?

5) Do it because you want to

Finally, don't blog for any reason other than that it's something you want to do.  If it's not something you enjoy, then get out of the business because it will quickly become a chore for you.  If it's not fun, why do it?

I blog because I like the thought of other people reading my thoughts on various topics (though since I don't like to get controversial, those topics will never get blogged about).  I am also a lazy sot.  Thus, while I enjoy blogging, I do try and force myself to do at least one a day, because I know that if I go off pace, I will quickly become lazy and the blog will fall by the wayside.  It's already happened a few times with previous blogs (that, and I think I didn't do Tip #1 very well, as I really didn't know what I wanted to do with the blog).  Thus, while I do force myself on occasion, the act of blogging itself is fun for me.

That's fine.  But there should be some aspect that's fun for you.  If there isn't, then stop.  You have better things to do than do something that you don't enjoy.

That's called "work" and you're most likely already doing that for someone else.  Why do that to yourself as well?

I hope some of these have helped and are valuable to any potential bloggers out there.  Those of you who avoid blogging because "I have nothing to say," that's hogwash.  Everybody has something to say.  It's just a matter of wanting to say it.

Have some fun with it!  It may be more rewarding than you even realized.


  1. I guess that the most important part in blogging is defining what you want with this and why you want it. Only when you decide on that one you will see the way to go.

    To be honest sometimes I lose focus, and The Colors Magazine is now not really what I planned it to be initially. It does not mean it is bad, it only means my perspective changed and it even now keeps changing.

    What I want is only that people can benefit from visiting the magazine. Sometimes I get a feel that it is not possible, but then I get some appreciation and feel that I am going the right way.

    Good article, Dave :)

  2. Thanks, Lena!

    Thanks for mentioning that the purpose can actually change, too. You don't have to maintain the *same* focus, as long as you maintain *a* focus for the blog.

    Maybe you'll start out writing a personal blog, but somebody finds one of your posts and it hits the big time! Then maybe you'll start doing more and more posts on that topic, and it will morph into a different subject matter than you started with altogether.

    Thanks for the great comment!


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