Sunday, November 17, 2013

"How to write a successful blog" or "Another open letter to my friend Colleen"

"For a great many of us, I suspect the urge to be read is inherent in the urge to write."
- Lawrence Block, Telling Lies for Fun and Profit

I was recently corresponding with my friend, Colleen, and we discussed her importance to me as a reader.   I receive a small amount of traffic to this blog (about thirty hits in one day, when I post a link to twitter), and Colleen is always a part of that.  At times, I'll have only one hit, and I know it was her.  I greatly appreciate this, but it does put a bit of pressure on her as a reader.  What if she woke up one day and decided she was tired of my bullshit, like a number of men I've known*.  Maybe it was time to take things a little more seriously.
Once I had started looking, I realized I'd been down this path before.  Most blogs have a goal or theme that brings in a particular set of readers.  Many articles on writing a good blog lists having a niche topic as one of the cornerstones to good blogging.  Too vague a topic, like "technology" and you wouldn't draw people in.  "Technology for black lesbians", on the other hand might be just the angle you need. "Technology for black lesbians between the ages of of 17 and 23" might be getting a little confusing and narrow, and quite frankly, I do not have my finger on the pulse of what they would want anyway**. 


There were times when I would wander around the internet trying to figure out what lovely specialty I could write about.  I have a tendency to binge on my interests for months at a time, and then I lose interest in them for the next 18 months before picking them up again.
My Mondo Film Blog would last about 5 minutes before I got disgusted with myself for having such an interest, no matter how thoughtful I am about it.
There are a lot of popular blogs out there surrounding clothing, cooking***, crafts, and reorganizing your home that I'm not going to wander into that territory.  My knowledge of those topics is so limited, I should probably give up my vagina permit****.  
An example of organizational skills.
Well, that settled it.  My blog will continue to be about my navel*****.  Having decided to ignore finding a niche market, I'll move past that and move forward with one of the next popular tip.
 
Tip number 2: keep writing great content.  Oh, is that all? All we need to do is keep writing great content?!  THAT'S SUPER FUCKING EASY!  Clearly, my goal here is to write crummy content.  Upon further reflection, I suppose the article is telling us to try and change things up a bit, and not make the same post several times over (eg. my bitching about how lazy I am here and here).

I like my blog, and I enjoy writing. I also keep a paper journal, which helps.  There's a strange restlessness I get when I haven't written in either.  I think I turn into a bit of an irritable asshole, as other people have commented on it (usually my parents).  Sometimes, it's just better to have written it than it is to actually write it******. 

A number of tips I stumbled across were mired in tips on how to handle blogging technology, with words like 'analytics' and 'search engine optimization (SEO)' thrown around.  I'm not prepared to really start venturing into that world just yet.
I get enough of that junk at work.
Almost every post offering tips mentions getting involved in the blogging community.  Honestly, I don't know where to start on this one, and I'm a little worry I'll infringe on some etiquette that I didn't even know existed.  If you've found this post, and have a blog of your own, please post a link in the comments below.

Thanks for reading.  (Hi, Colleen*******!)

*Actually, it's often been me who waves the white flag in areas of romance.
**I don't have my fingers anywhere near them, actually.
***One very popular cooking blog will post pictures of every single step in a recipe.  This seemed helpful until she went back to apologize and edit a post to include a photo of 6 eggs in a mixing bowl that she'd originally left out.  WE KNOW WHAT EGGS LOOK LIKE IN A BOWL, WOMAN.  I haven't rolled my eyes that hard since I was in high school.
****If you don't have one, get one.  You'll need it after the upcoming election.
*****Stargazing has never been a big hobby of mine. 
******Like expressing a dog's anal glands.  
*******Colleen's blog can be found here.

I should really learn how to do proper footnoting, this is getting out of hand.

(This is probably the post on blogging I enjoyed the most - http://www.theminimalists.com/blog/ - it's thoughtfully written, and it seems to cover all the angles.)

1 comment:

  1. Hello! Hello, I'm here!!

    P.S. I'll be your blogging community.

    ReplyDelete