25 Tips For Blogging

My dad started a blog a couple of days ago which got me to thinking about what I’ve learned in these 20 months of blogging. And so, like many before me, I thought I’d give my tips on blogging and building an audience. If I were Brian I’d be blogging about blogging about blogging (gauntlet thrown).

Maybe later.

In the meantime here are some insights in no particular order:

1) Blog 3-4 times a week. More is clutter. Less is too long a wait.

2) The best posts are 300 – 600 words long. Much longer and readers give up. Shorter and you haven’t really said anything.

3) Blog for at least two months without stopping. Consistency reassures readers you’ll be around.

4) Post at about the same time each day. Mornings give people the most time to notice and read your post.

5) Write whenever you want. That’s what scheduling a post is for.

6) Skip Fridays.

7) Always post on Monday.

8) Make it easy to follow your blog. Use the widget.

9) Use 5 tags for each post.

10) Like books, the title and first sentence are what grab readers.

11) List posts look easy but take longer than you think.

12) It’s a blog, not a diary.

13) Follow and comment on other blogs to find your audience.

14) Keep your blogroll short and selective. It should reflect the blogs you think are worth reading, but should not be a list of everywhere you’ve been on the web.

15) Write for 40 minutes, then stop.

16) Don’t go back and change old posts unless there is a glaring error.

17) Don’t obsess over stats. They are often random, and only give a clear picture after a long time.

18) Reblog sparingly.

19) Tweek the site periodically as you learn new tools.

20) Reply to comments whenever you can.

21) Don’t moderate comments unless you start seeing abuse.

22) Many of your followers are bots. Don’t worry about it.

23) Take breaks when you need them but let your readers know. Try not to take more than a week off.

24) Keep an ideas notebook for slower days.

25) Don’t be afraid to break from theme, but remember your audience.

Hope this helps. Any other tips you guys have?

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11 Comments

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11 responses to “25 Tips For Blogging

  1. Good advice! Pleased to see I appear to be following most of it already, but the bit about not posting on Fridays is something I hadn’t considered yet seems obvious. Although it’s a rule I nearly always break, I’d probably add something about not being too forceful with your opinions, as it risks alienating readers who happen to disagree with your point.

    • Opinion pieces are tricky. My feeling is strong opinion is okay, being preachy is not, and that’s a tough needle to thread. Some issues are toxic and not liable to stir reasonable debate unless you have a truly original thought, but passion about an issue people don’t know as much about can stir them up or make them think.

      The Friday “rule” is traffic and habit based. I typically see no discernible difference in page views whether I post or not on Friday. I think that may be because people largely read blogs earlier in the week. If I do a Friday post it’s a “bonus post” which is intended to be more bite sized and fun (for a while I was doing Fractal Fridays to showcase some artwork). My friend Brian does a links post to funny webcomics that I think is good for a Friday format as well. But if you’ve got a real thought or story, save it til Monday.

      Thanks Matthew 🙂

  2. #3 and #17 are crucial for new bloggers, IMO. In my experience, there are always long periods where you feel like no one’s reading you. Successful blogs are the ones that keep going consistently anyway. With patience, the readers will come.

    By the way, you said “I typically see no discernible difference in page views whether I post or not on Friday.” Personally, I see no difference in page views whether I post or not on any day. Curious how much difference you see.

    • When I miss a day that I usually post I see maybe a 20 view drop, but you’re right that a lot of days it doesn’t always seem to matter, especially if a lot of the actual views are to posts besides the one I wrote that particular day. It’s been more than a year since “Fractals You Can Draw” and those are still my most trafficked posts. I also wonder about the “silent majority” who get my e-mails but never head on over to the site. I’ve been guilty of that with your blog for sure, and I bet there are many more like me.

  3. Number 11! I see so many of those “suggestions for blog posts” that say it’s so easy to make a list post. It takes For. Ever.

    • It’s funny because I always seem to forget that fact until I’m midway through my list post and am nearly out of time. This one was one of the few exceptions.

  4. Доброго времени.
    Все конечно это замечательно, правила, как вести личный блог безусловно нужны, но …
    Ведь не стоит забывать о том, что через свои блоги мы несем, что то, от себя, личное, что то, что с чем мы хотели бы поделится с другими.
    Не стоит забывать, что наши блоги пишутся чаще по наитию или как иначе, по вдохновению, мы же не конвейер, а живые души, следовательно писать должны, тогда, когда этого требует наша душа и сердце.

    PS. Текст читаю с помощью автоматического переводчика в браузере, вам, видимо, придется прочитать мой текст так же с помощью электронного переводчика. 😉

    • First of all, this is so awesome to get a comment in another language. Google tried its best, and I cleaned the phrasing up a bit, but this seems to be the gist of the comment:

      “Good post.

      All of this is of course great, the rules for keeping a personal blog are certainly needed, but …

      Do not forget about the fact that through our blogs, [we sometimes choose very personal details to share with others].

      Do not forget that our blogs are written often on a whim, or otherwise, by the Spirit. We are not an assembly line, and the living soul must write, if required by our soul and heart.

      PS. The text read by an automatic translator in your browser, you will probably need to read my text the same way with an electronic translator. ;)”

      I personally have found the most creativity working in a disciplined format, but I also understand that there are times when inspiration strikes you and you have to take advantage of that. None of these tips are hard and fast “rules”, but what I think helps build an audience and make a blog sustainable. It’s a lot of work to write every week, and there are targeted ways to do it that make the best use of energy.

      As for personal details I don’t tend to share my day to day thoughts, as they are not fully formed, but I have had occasion in posts like “Brush with Cancer” to share my experiences and feelings of the moment. I try to think of ways to not just list my experiences, but reflect on the meaning they have in my life, and the ways I can relate to others. In that way personal stories are probably some of the best posts I will write.

      Thanks so much for stopping by, and for taking the trouble to put up with bad translation software on both ends 🙂

      • Спасибо, взаимно. Благодарю Вас,что взялись перевести мой комментарий и прочитать его, трудности перевода.
        Но, все же, для общения и такой перевод может помочь, главное уловить суть.
        Прошу просить за банальность, но хочется добавить крылатую фразу (перефразирую) “доброе слово и камень растопит” ❤ 🙂

        Google Translation (with edits):

        Thank you very much as well. Thank you, that took [the time] to translate my comment and read it, [even with] the difficulties of translation.
        But still, for dialogue and the translation can help catch the main point.
        Please [excuse] the banality, but I want to add a catch phrase (paraphrasing) “a kind word and a stone melt” ❤ 🙂

  5. Awesome tips..thanks. Love the idea notebook, I keep several “journals”, one of them for blog/article ideas.. Keep up the great work, I’m gonna check out your Dad’s blog. If my dad blogged, it would be called “Ole Fashion Ideas from an Italian”…LOL

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