Advice for Writing a Successful Blog (That I Generally Ignore)

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Tuesday, January 26, 2010 | Published in

Believe it or don't, but I've actually been doing this blogging thing for over a year now. I completely missed the anniversary too. For some strange reason I thought that I had started at the end of January and not the beginning. I think blogging was supposed to be my "unofficial so I'll actually stick to it" New Year's Resolution last year. At any case, that means that this post was the closest you'll get to an anniversary celebration I'm going to have. Hooray.

At any rate, since I've been at this blogging thing for over a year that makes me somewhat of a success story. Blogging, much like the restaurant industry, is a failure more times than not. If you can make it past a year then you are certifiably insane. To help others out there in their own blogging endeavors I have decided to offer you, free of charge, several pieces of advice that I have all but ignored on my way to mediocrity:

1) Find a good reputable site to host your blog. Blogger is good. WordPress isn't bad but I never liked the feel of it. LiveJournal should be your last resort. Squarespace is best if you have an iPhone and money to throw around. If you can register your own domain, then by all means.

Ways I have ignored this: I'm at Blogger. Enough said.

2) Learn some HTML. You don't have to get fancy with it. Know how to do bold, italics, links, blockquote, how to post pictures. The basics, in other words. You don't have to be an expert, but it helps to know your way around and how to fix things if you royally fuck up.

Ways I have ignored this: I typically cheat and use the toolbars that Blogspot provides you. I know absolutely nothing about layouts and design. And I couldn't code my way out of a paper bag.

3) Write write write. Write as much as you can. Write everyday if you can. Experiment with style and content. Figure out what works for you and do it. Don't be afraid to put yourself out there. Find inspiration where you can.

Ways I have ignored this: If you haven't noticed I have a lazy habit of just posting entertaining videos rather than writing. Or I'll post about writing other people have done. Personally I think my writing is rubbish, but is slightly better than it was a year ago. At the very least I am writing longer entries now.

4) Be your own proof-reader. Once you write something, go back over it to looks for errors. See if misspelled any words, accidentally left out any words, and just see if the flow is right. Make sure you check your facts and add links where necessary.

Ways that I have ignored this: I have a nasty habit of dropping the word "not" from sentences. I believe I did it twice this summer and others corrected me. I was horrible about not reading my stuff at the beginning. Hopefully I've learned my lesson.

5) Promote, but don't spam. Once you've got that writing thing down, go out there and let others know you exist. Share links with your friends. Use social media to get your name out there. Connect with other bloggers that share your interests. At the same time, don't over-expose yourself. No one likes spammers or attention whores.

Ways I have ignored this: I'd like to think that I haven't done too bad with this. I participated in Skeptic's Circle several times. I got several link backs thanks to my two-parter on Russ Pulliam and the Indy Star. I use Twitter all of the time to update people on when I've posted something. I used Yahoo Answers to spam my post on Lady Gaga, but I have no regrets on that! But, at the same time, almost no one that I know in real life knows about this blog. I've never used Facebook to promote myself. I could find more ways to promote myself but it sorta embarrasses me.

6) Interact with your readers. The main reason to write things online is so others can read it and talk back to you. That's what the comment section is for. Get to know your readers and what they expect from you.

Ways that I have ignored this: According to Google I currently have roughly 22 followers. Statcounter says that I have around 40 regular visitors. And yet, I get almost no comments. The few times I have had commenter it was either a spammer or someone correcting me about my grammar. This means that either my readers think that I am far superior to them and are afraid to talk. Or (more likely) I haven't said anything interesting enough to warrant comments.

[Confidential to Garden City, Michigan: Your haircut is stupid.]

[Confidential to Madison, Wisconsin: Keep being awesome.]

So there you have it. Follow all of this advice and you will be as successful as me. You'll have women (or men, as the case may be) hanging all over you. Millions will hang on your every word. You'll get your book/movie deal in no time.

Or you'll end up internet famous. That and $2.50 will get you a cup of coffee.

(5) Comments

  1. BeamStalk said...

    Hey, I comment at times...

    I ignore a lot of these also. I usually proof read after I have posted.

    January 26, 2010 at 11:14 AM
  2. Rev. Ouabache said...

    I haven't gone back to look, but you probably have the most comments on this blog. Thanks for that. Sorry if I don't always respond. I need to work on that too.

    January 26, 2010 at 12:03 PM
  3. BeamStalk said...

    No worries, I get trolls that make a comment on my blog and then never come back, except for Mr. Freethinker but he is a completely different kind of troll.

    January 26, 2010 at 2:08 PM
  4. BeamStalk said...

    Hey if it makes you feel better, I post more on your blog than PZ's (only because I usually get there too late)

    January 26, 2010 at 2:09 PM
  5. Maybe said...

    There, there. It's okay. I share a lot of your stuff with my friends, actually. Necronomicon video? Goats on fire? Big hits.

    January 26, 2010 at 7:58 PM

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