I never thought I’d write a post like this. The internet is already packed full of entire blogs devoted to blogging about how to be a good blogger. But increasingly I find myself repeating the same little tidbits of advice (usually in a grumpy, ranting tone) to all my friends that start new blogs.

I’m not even going to look at all the other great advice out there, let alone try and steal from it. The list below– whether helpful, useless, fresh, or seemingly-unoriginal, is just from my own little experience.

#1- Business or personal. Take your pick. Can’t decide? Create two blogs. It’s not hard. I’m cringing at the thought of approaching another election season here in the U.S., because it means I’ll have to wade through all the politically charged garbage from blogs that I usually look to for helpful Actionscript snippets. That doesn’t mean you can’t incorporate your personality and personal experiences into your site- that’s part of what makes for interesting reading! Just save the completely off-topic stuff for Twitter or Facebook.

#2- Draft and wait. This post was like a lot of others- it sat in my WordPress database as a bullet-point draft for a couple weeks. Then I came back and filled in the blanks, and let it sit for a few more days. It’s not that I’m trying to be a perfectionist. It’s just that the internet has made people forget the value of rough drafts and iterations. Thanks to search engines and archives like the internet way-back machine, retracting your words is almost impossible online. As I look back through the posts in this site, it’s obvious to me (and perhaps to you!) which posts were flung out to the world 10 minutes after they first sparked in my brain.

#3- Pace yourself. We don’t need any more short-lived blogs. Most of them go like this:

  • First post: “hey, my friends convinced me to start a blog.”
  • Second post: “here’s what I did today. soon I’ll upload some photos.
  • Third post: “sorry it’s been so long since I’ve posted. But I just made a resolution to start posting more regularly!”

In keeping with my #2 advice, I actually jotted down ideas for this site for almost a month. I had about 20 rough drafts before I even bought the domain name. I didn’t end up posting all those drafts, but it helped me determine that this would be more than just a two week novelty.

#4- Don’t apologize. It’s okay if you haven’t posted for a while (especially if your blog is more of a personal one). You have more important things to feel guilty about. Other than your mother, your readers are not sitting there bored at their computers, just waiting for you to post something. If they are, I hope you’re making a killing off your Google Ads!

#5- Learn to link. It’s not just about saving your users from 5 seconds of Google searching. Linking to sites and books (instead of just mentioning them) is proper web etiquette. You’ll help that site get better Google rankings. They’ll be able to see where their traffic is coming from. And it’s not uncommon that you’ll end up hearing back from that site owner and making some interesting connections.

If you know of a “top # tips for blogging” post that’s especially useful, feel free to drop it in the comments.