In my 8 months of blogging I’ve learned a few things. Here are 20 of them.
1. Nothing is too personal to write publicly about. There will always be someone who will be grateful you shared it. As for the rest, they don’t care as much as you think they do. That soul-baring post is probably only embarrassing to you.
2. If you have a post you’re afraid to make public, make it public anyway (see #1). It’s okay to run naked in public sometimes. You’ll feel freed.
3. You are going to have haters. It’s unavoidable. If you can’t handle people hating you or your blog, you have no business blogging.
4. If your blog starts getting popular, your haters will be more numerous and more vocal. It’s okay to have haters. Love your haters. They’re obviously obsessed enough with you to visit your blog and that increases your views.
5. Some people you thought were your friends or supporters are not. Be careful who you trust.
6. If you write about a serious or dark topic, break it up with a little fluff sometimes. Or write about something else. But don’t lose your focus.
7. Trolls are easily controlled. Just don’t approve their comments or send them to Spam/Trash.
8. Be agreeable. Don’t attack commenters who disagree with you. Most people are reasonable and disagreements can lead to some interesting debates where both of you may learn something.
9. If you decide to run ads, you’re not selling out. If you’re serious about blogging or writing, it’s a good idea if you have enough traffic.
10. You do not need to pay for SEO. All you need is patience. If you post often enough and your blog starts getting enough hits (USE THE SHARE BUTTONS–or at least have them available under your posts so others can do your dirty work for you), those hits will eventually lead to more hits, and this keeps feeding on itself. Eventually you’ll find some of your posts appearing at the top of the search engines, and once that happens, the sky’s the limit.
11. You can’t “make” a post go viral. There is absolutely no way to tell what article of yours may go viral or when. It could be one you never expected to, or it could happen months after you first posted it. When it happens, it’s a complete surprise and a completely amazing feeling.
12. Don’t write something just because you think it’s popular if it isn’t something of interest to you. Don’t try to be cool–people can always tell if you’re trying too hard. You’re either cool or you’re not, but you don’t have to be cool to have a great blog. (I’m definitely not cool).
13. You are going to lose followers. It’s inevitable. As long as you are gaining more followers than you’re losing, then there’s no problem. The people who are unfollowing you are probably not people you want to have sticking around anyway.
14. You will change in ways you never expected. Blogging is an adventure.
15. Don’t beat yourself up if you miss a day and don’t post. We all have those days we need to take a break or just can’t think of a good idea. If it really bothers you, reblog someone else’s article or post a funny picture or inspirational saying. People always love those.
16. When all else fails, post a picture of a cat or a cat meme. Cats on the Internet are like sex in the movies. They attract viewers. Kittens are even better. Everyone loves kittens, even people who hate cats.
17. Use pictures and graphics, especially in long posts (but don’t use so many your post looks like the cover of a supermarket tabloid). No one wants to read a wall of text, even if you’re the best writer ever. But they want a clean look too, so be careful how many graphics you use, especially if you are running ads too. No one likes a cluttered, messy looking blog that makes their eyes hurt or gives them flashbacks to the MySpace era.
18. You don’t have to be a great writer. You just have to be original and willing to take a few risks.
19. Always be honest even if your opinion might be controversial or unpopular. Controversial posts may get you more haters, but they’ll also make your views soar.
20. Haters can make good fodder for new posts. Sometimes those posts will be your most interesting. But be careful about calling out specific people by name; you could get in trouble for that.