So you wanna blog?

I’ve had several folks ask me about blogging…as if I was some sort of authority on blogging! Ha. Admittedly, I have done a ton of reading on blogging, what makes them popular, successful, etc. So, I’ll take some time today and share what I’ve learned. I wish I could acknowledge the places I learned this stuff and provide you links…but I didn’t take notes and therefore can’t give proper attribution. I apologize to anyone who thinks I may have learned this stuff from you and don’t give you credits. Claim it in the comments below if you must.

First thing you have to decide is exactly what is the point of your blog? Doesn’t matter what it is, that’s up to you. IF your goal is to get millions of readers, you should decide what it is and stay on task (and don’t pick a small niche subject that doesn’t have millions of fans!). One of the first things you might say is, “but Roland, your blog is all over the board.” You are correct. Mostly because my own personal goal of blogging is to help keep me writing. I’m not blogging with the goal of getting lots of hits. Obviously, as with any writer, I want to be read, but mostly I want people to go buy my books and read that stuff! J I blog in an effort to keep exercising my writing muscles. You should blog about something you care about and something you know a little something about—so that you can share that knowledge with others (they gotta have a reason to want to read, right?). You can even blog about you process of learning about something.

So now you have your subject, you want to decide frequency. There are many opinions out there, but I feel (and having had a couple years worth of experimenting to look at the numbers) you absolutely do not want to blog too often…nor too infrequently. Ultimately, it’s up to you, but two-three times a week is probably optimal. Part of it is you don’t want to overwhelm your potential readers. If they feel like they are missing too much, they’ll simply stop visiting. And that is not what you want.

One of the most important things is to keep it short! Optimally, you want a maximum of 500 words. People just don’t have the patience—for the most part—to read long blogs. There are blogs that I visit written by friends that I feel obligated to visit. I mean, I want to visit it because they are my friends. I would assume there are folks like that who visit and read my blog. But sometimes I got there and read a paragraph or two and find it is a topic I care nothing about and then I see how long it is…if it isn’t much longer, I’ll finish. If it’s too long, I move on.

There are exceptions, but generally those are written by famous people/personalities and readers hang on their every word. I don’t read a lot of blogs as a rule, but I read Jim Shooter’s blog regardless of how long it is because it is loaded with information that I’m interested in. In fact, I often find his blog too short.

For those paying attention, you’ll see I’ve already broken that rule (I try hard not to every time) as my current word count is 580!

So, those are the basics: now, get blogging!

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6 Comments

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6 responses to “So you wanna blog?

  1. Great insight. As a newbie to blogging, I appreciate your comments and have been doing a lot of reading on the subject myself. I’m finding that keeping 2 separate blogs (one is a patient blog, other is fun just to write) that I am spending more time on the 1st and neglecting the 2nd. So true about writing frequency–not too often or too infrequent. Got to work on that. Future food for thought…my main struggle is dealing with the perfectionism aspect. Would love to have you address that area in a future post pertaining to blogging or even perfectionism in writing generally. That seems to hinder me. Blogging is fast-paced writing and doesn’t have to be “perfect”. However, that is difficult for me and I sometimes put off writing an entry because I lack the time to “do it right”. Same goes with writing exercises of any type. I try to say I’m going to write SOMETHING daily, but perfectionism holds me back sometimes.

  2. I was just thinking about returning to my blogging life and these points have helped so much. Thank you!

  3. Pitty Patter.blogspot.com/ pittypatter.blogspot.com

    I don’t see The Interns on your list of books out. Have I missed something? See you soon at HP. pat laster

  4. Pitty Patter.blogspot.com/ pittypatter.blogspot.com

    Oh, me! I didn’t scroll down far enough. There it is. But where is it in the “business side” of writing a book? pl

  5. I enjoyed reading your insights on the basic how and why of blogging. Maybe i will start soon. Still trying to decide the first part: what’s the point of my blog. I need focus. I linked to WLW FB. There may be others like me who need the basics to jump into the water. Thanks again, Professor Mann.

  6. I’m blogging every day because I know myself. If I skip a day, it will morph into 3, 5, then 50 days. Then, I won’t be able to start again. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it!

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