Dear Blogging Tyke, come and sit on Grandma’s knees and I will tell you the Blogging Secrets of Life.
(What? you gasp. I’m no tyke! And you’re no grandma! And your knees certainly don’t look sturdy enough to sit upon!)
Yes, child, you are a blogging tyke. You are a wee one in the world of on-line blogging depending on how the experts determine your age. There is a complicated formula utilized by the Powers that Be which figures your blogging age. I’m not 100% certain, but mathematically it goes something like this: number of posts published multiplied by commenters multiplied by hits divided by years plus 6% if the search engines love ya.
Have you figured out your blogging age yet? OK, get on my knee and we’ll get started. (You get off my knee. You’re too heavy. We’re taking that elderly gentleman first.)
1. Write from your heart or inclination, have a ball, and never EVER compare yourself to other bloggers! Since you will forget this advice after your first 100 hits, six commenters or three visits to other blogs, let’s go to #2.
2. Since you will compare yourself to other bloggers unless you’re super mature, try to be patient and kind to yourself. Do not fall into the trap of wanting more hits, desperately wanting more comments and wishing you were a better writer/photographer. This is a tricky cul-de-sac where many of us find ourselves totally lost for sometimes years. Since many of you will fervently want all of the above, move on to #3.
3. The Law of Wanting More (hits, comments, readers, search engine statistics) is a painful place to languish. Get over it quickly. Since you may not be able to get over it quickly, you will undoubtedly try to become Famous or at least read by ten subscribers. How do you do this, you ask? Grandma will share her advanced wisdom gleaned from over 1,200 posts (although she could be off by thousands) and five years experience (although if you count LiveJournal she really should be in the grave by now.)
4. Find a blogging subject which is so utterly fascinating that the search engines will discover your blog post and place it in the Top 10 searchable subjects. Write amazing travel posts about the remote location where you live. You are very lucky if you live in, say, Tanzania or Antarctica. If you write one post about your remote location every day for three years the search engines will direct hundreds to your site daily. You will never have to write or photograph again. You can retire after three years and still garner hundreds of hits a day. You’ll be soooo cool you will get visitors while you SLEEP!
5. Since some of you live in more *ordinary* locales, or haven’t stumbled upon your Famous Search Engine luck yet, you may have to discover other ways to find readers. Please study the tips listed below.
a) Write a Lot. Write profusely. Write daily. Write every time a thought pops in your head. (OK, you photographers, I didn’t forget about you. Publish your photos regularly. Never forget your camera. The most wonderful shot on the planet–that will make you blogging famous–will happen when you leave your camera at home. Think of your camera as your child. Never leave her alone.)
b) Write in an entertaining manner, even though certain relatives don’t think you’re funny.
c) Read every other blog on the planet and comment on them all. You don’t have time? Child, this will replace your TV habit! This will replace your love of jigsaw puzzles! Forget Sudoku! Forget playing Spider Solitaire! Forget your job–no, the typing fingers did not mean to say that. Do not forget your job. Blogging will simply replace all your non-essential activities. This is your life now. Plan to devote hours each day (or week) to reading and commenting. They will reciprocate. I promise.
d) Be consistent. Readers come to your site because they like what you’re producing. Don’t be all muddy and confusing and share a bit of everything. (In other words, don’t be like Grandma. She loses readers all the time because they think this is a photography blog or a spiritual blog or a funny blog or a nature blog or an Upper Peninsula blog and then Grandma goes off and just writes personal essays. This is not wise. Be consistent. Or consistently inconsistent.)
e) Speaking of personal blogs, these are the hardest to gain readership, I kid you not. If you’re an exiled Tibetan, or a slow food aficionado, Hollywood insider or inspirational writer you’ll probably have more success. Personal blogs are oftentimes considered boring to your general reading public. (Of course WE know that personal blogs are the most entertaining and interesting of all, but the average reader wants to look at pictures of whales mating or how to find a girlfriend or how to scale the Himalayan mountains during their week off work next summer. They don’t *sniff* want to read about the ordinary loveliness of a human life unless they’re lured into a blog and fall head over heels in love with YOUR life. Just saying, Personal Writer. Don’t expect a lot in the beginning. If ever.)
f) If Grandma wrote a blog strictly about the Upper Peninsula (with pictures) she might have thousands of readers. Grandma’s heart isn’t in it, though. She did a one year nature blog back in her blogging youth and the search engines delighted in her subjects like Why did the porcupine cross the road? and The Gall of that Oak Tree! but she wore herself out being a 100% nature girl. It was too consistent.
6. Write short succinct blogs. Do not write 1,220 word essays like this one. It simply isn’t wise. We modern folks have short attention spans. We’re all ADD. We won’t sit and read a million words. Keep your essays under 200 words! You’ll get more readers. If you’re still pining for more readers. Just sayin’.
7. Write entertaining, spicy, juicy, interesting headlines to lure your overworked attention-deficit readers! Do not cross the line and gleefully type sensationalist headlines. (You will cross the line. Or you won’t go far enough and no one will read your blogs because they’re not lured to bite your titillating hook. Patience, Little One. With practice, you’ll succeed 62.5% of the time.)
7. Repeat. Have patience, Little One. If you blog long enough, you will *mostly* get over your desire to have more readers, more commenters, and more (and better) statistics. When you reach this relaxed and lovely place where you really don’t care–you’re having a blast blogging just because it’s FUN–then you know you’re really a blogging elder. You’ve passed through your childhood and adolescence and middle age into a deep satisfaction with creating from your heart.