The Ten Commandments of Blogging
Monday, November 18, 2013
Most people will disagree with me and this is a commandment that I don't even obey. (I run three websites.) But if I could hit a reset button in my blogging life I would and I would only have one blog. I believe that if I could put all my web writing efforts into one site I'd be less stressed and more successful. If you do have more than one blog, you need to decide which one is top priority and focus on it most.
II. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to advertising.
Making money from your blog through advertising and sponsorships is great, but don't let your desire to make money stand in the way of making good content.
III. Thou shalt not blog in vain.
If you're blogging simply because everyone else is doing it, you should stop now. Blogging is tough and most people make little to no money from their sites. So you need to be sure about why you're blogging in the first place. That's what will keep you motivated and push you to write posts even when you're tired and just want to take a nap.
IV. Remember to rest.
Even God agrees with me on this one: "Remember the Sabbath." Yet this is the commandment I break ALL THE TIME. For most of us, blogging is something we do in addition to our full-time jobs, community service, family activities, etc. Thus, it would be easy to spend all of your free time working on your blog. But don't do it. Take a break so you won't begin to resent your website.
V. Honor thy blogging foremothers.
Celebrate and learn from the success of veteran bloggers in your niche. Network with them as much as possible, but not selfishly. Every exchange (and especially your initial interaction) shouldn't be you asking for help, a favor, or advice. Consider ways you can be of value to them. Pass on interesting articles you've read or just thank them for their inspiring words.
VI. Thou shalt not kill thy blog prematurely.
All things must end eventually, but don't abandon your blog simply because it's not generating the traffic you desire. It takes months, sometimes years, to build a loyal following. Just continue to produce good content and be sure you're networking offline and online -- guest blogging, commenting on other blogs, and using social media.
VII. Thou shalt not commit adultery...with thy blog.
There will come a time when you will feel as if you're having an affair with your blog. Seriously. And when that time comes you need to check yourself. Be sure you aren't spending more time working on your blog than you are working on your most important relationships.
VIII. Thou shalt not steal content.
Chances are you're going to get ideas for posts, features or series from other bloggers because there's really nothing new under the sun. But taking another blogger's content, especially an entire blog post, and basically copying and posting it on your site is a cardinal sin in the blogging world. I've had this happen to me and to make matters worse the culprit was a huge website. My blood still boils when I think about it.
IX. Thou shalt not bear false witness about thy life.
Too often lifestyle bloggers publish post after post of beautiful pictures and prose that lead their readers to believe they're living a fairytale. I believe, however, that most readers want to see the good, bad, and the ugly. Now, this is not an invitation to turn your blog into your therapist. Your readers do not want to hear about all your problems, all the time. But a little transparency and vulnerability can go a long way. One way to be honest about your issues without being a Debbie Downer is to write about problems after you've worked your way through them. You can give your readers facing similar struggles quite a bit of hope once they see how you got to the other side.
X. Thou shalt not covet other another blogger's success.
It's hard not to be jealous when other bloggers in your niche seem to have off-the-charts readership and are landing book deals or sponsorship opportunities with big brands. But don't let the success of others distract you from your goals. Determine what success means to you and then sit down and draft a practical plan to make your blogging dreams come true.