How To Blog In Ten Easy Steps By Going Down The How Not To Blog Route

by Steve

Three people around an old computer. One of them is Princess Anne. It is the eighties.

As I may have alluded to in the past I used to frequent a fair few blogging tips and advice sites. I’m sure I absorbed some useful information. Yet, pretty soon I figured out that at best they were stating the obvious (“Be nice to your readers! Make your site look pretty!”) and at worst were carny schemers looking to part gullible or trusting people with their money (“Subscribe to my newsletter to become a blogging star! Buy my pdf report to find out how you too can become a Full-Time Blogger!”). Beyond all that, these people were sermonising on how to be a better blogger, yet were often terrible, wooden, formulaic writers. I need never see a How Blogging Is Like *insert cultural influence here* article ever again.

However I’m not sure how useful or entertaining my bile toward vague targets really is. So, I thought I’d try playing them at their own game. I’d put together my own top ten list, and being all contrary and stuff, contradict the truisms of the Blogging Advice World, in order to enlighten, entertain and encourage you, my dear readers.

Of course some of this won’t contradict yr standard Good Blogging Thinking. But hopefully I’ll be able to express it without sounding like a salesman.

Full disclosure: I am not a blogging success. Hah. You knew that already. I am, however, mean-spirited and I like inflicting my half-baked views on the world. So, shall we begin?

1. Be ready to inflict your half-baked views on the world

Don’t worry about preparing water-tight arguments, or a balanced worldview or any of that nonsense. That is what journalists and real writers are for. If you cover everything in a reasonable and systematic way, nobody will comment as there will be nothing to argue with and nothing to add, so you’ll get zero comments. And you want comments. Comments from people will make you feel all warm and fuzzy.

2. Don’t settle on one theme/subject

If you are a normal, interesting person then the chances are you enjoy many things. Why restrict yourself? People will come back because of you and your writing, not because of some circumspect area of interest. Well, people might come back because of some circumspect area of interest, but I bet they will be weird. And pretty soon you’ll get bored. Mix it up. Try different things.

3. Your blog is there to serve you. You are not there to serve the blog

So, do what you like with it. Try different subjects and different formats. Play around with how it looks. Blog five times a day. Blog once every three months. Be inconsistent. Do it because it is fun, not because it makes you feel guilty if you don’t do it every day.

4. You will not make money blogging

Accept this and you are on the path to blogging happiness. Monetization is one ugly word. Just look at it. It is ugly. Plus, the idea of monetizing readers is pretty nasty. It is the devil’s work. If your number one goal is to make money from blogging you have no soul and I can tell you now, without even reading it, your blog is shit.

5. Don’t buy professional themes/logos/flashy things for your blog

You don’t need them. If you really want a funky looking blog do it yourself and spend the money you save on beer to dampen your frustrations with HTML and CSS and other strange acronyms. Or make your blog look so terrible people will think it is a clever, ironic design choice.

6. Do not optimise your posts or your titles for search engines

It reads horribly. Write something good. Give it a good title, or at least one that you get a kick out of, or failing that just throw anything up there. Anything SEO-y looks and reads badly. Think of your art!

7. By all means read and comment on other blogs but don’t kid yourself that this is ‘networking’ and don’t be a dick about it, just trying to get a link back to your site

I think this is self-explanatory. Feel free to be a link-whore here though. I want that warm and fuzzy comment feeling.

8. Ramble

The fun stuff often comes out amid all the Proper, Real Writing. That’s where we find out who you are. That is where the interesting and novel connections are made between different subjects. Don’t worry too much about revising, just get it out there. We won’t mind.

9. Don’t write Top Ten Lists

10. Ignore everything I have written

Image from the LSE Library, via Flickr

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