I have received many requests for tips on blogging. I typically respond with a link or two from the likes of great bloggers such as Seth Godin (my personal favorite) and a few others. I rarely share any tips of my own. Today I am going to share my top ten self imposed rules. They are not perfect, but they have served me well.
- Be honest. Blog from the heart and say what you mean to say without trying to guess what people want you to say. If you are trying to say what others want you to say then you are not being honest with yourself and not being honest with your readers.
- Be positive. Negativity will get you a few readers fast and they may become loyal, but this is the most limiting form of reaching out that there is. You will more likely repel the rest of the world and if you ever decide to write for a magazine or newspaper etc. you become high risk and a PR disaster in the waiting. Also, other, wise bloggers will not link to you for risk as being perceived as negative as well.
- Try not to use your blog to attack anyone and never ever attack anyone in comments across the internet. Readers nearly always Google bloggers to get more of their writing (go ahead and Google the name of your favorite blogger now). Therefore, be wise with your comments outside of your blog. When desperate for readers some bloggers decide to go on the attack of others who are attracting attention. Try not to do that, it is counterproductive and puts you in a box. Never ever mention those types of bloggers on your blog, ever, if you can help it.
- Comment on similar blogs that share your interests and share your vision. Comment to build on the article and be polite. Readers are attracted to commenters who build on conversations constructively and will likely want to read more of what they have to say and therefore visit their blog.
- Have meaning. This goes back to rule 1. Stand for something and build others up who are standing for something. The more you build your readers up, the more they will recommend your blog and everyone wants to be built up a little. Haven’t we had enough of being torn down?
- If you can’t blog every day, at least blog when you can. If your blog becomes stagnant for too long then readers may forget about you. That’s natural and nothing against you. Just try to blog at least once a week, if you can’t every day.
- Don’t worry about not receiving comments. There are so many offerings on the web that readers have very short time to comment anymore. That doesn’t mean they are not reading and that they don’t care. If you live for comments and you are just starting out, you may give up too early and not give yourself the chance to build a readership. Contrary to common belief comments are not always an indicator of a blogger’s popularity.
- Write about current issues that relate to your blog. Readers enjoy when you comment on current events. Now, I do break away from my own rule here a little. When someone writes an article on the web saying ADHD is a fad or some such, I do respond with a blog post of my own. Even so, I still try to remain respectful and well-mannered.
- Keep in mind the mood in which you blog. Few bloggers and readers alike realize that bloggers are relating their mood and attitude to their readers. If you blog in a pleasant, positive manner then that is the mood you are relaying to your readers. Likewise, if you blog in an angry, negative manner then that is the mood you are relaying. Which mood do you want to relay? That’s the type of reader then that you want to attract. Test this theory out by identifying a blogger by his / her mood and the mood he / she wants to relate to you.
- Blog about what you know. It’s easy, fun and rewarding. Even better, blog to help other readers learn new things about what you know. Offer tips and suggestions that have helped you first hand. Everyone wants to learn a new thing or two and bloggers who offer helpful advice usually attract the most readers. Therefore, share your experience. Don’t give your experience a rating, because what you believe might not be helpful to anyone could wind up being extremely helpful to others.
One last thing, do not be afraid of deleting comments. It’s your blog. If someone purposely comments to attack or incite other readers I do not hesitate to delete their comments. I have no use for such comments no matter how much the commenter thinks he or she is justified.
Oh, and remember: Have fun! If you enjoy what you are doing, then it is likely others will enjoy it too.