Three years ago today: 20 Truths About Blogging.

Still as true today as they were three years ago!

 Originally posted on May 21, 2015

number_20

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.

naked

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.

piece_of_fluff

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.

waste_of_money

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.

unfollowers

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.

kitten

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.

haters_bitches

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.
 

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Blogging is not for pussies.

Originally posted on April 1, 2015

scaredy_cat
Don’t be a pussy.

Anyone who blogs about a sensitive topic, especially one that focuses on mental health issues (religion and politics would be up there too), is bound to run into haters and detractors at some point. If you blog about a controversial topic, such as narcissism and narcissistic abuse (which is my #1 topic), religion, politics, or the ethical ramifications of breeding pit bulls, by default you make yourself vulnerable to online narcissists, trolls, bullies, and psychopaths. You are going to attract people who do not wish you well. It’s a built-in hazard of the trade.

Even if your blog isn’t particularly controversial or doesn’t focus on a sensitive issue, you are going to have haters and maybe even bullies. OM (Opinionated Man) is a perfect example of this (he insists he has a LOT of haters), and his blog is one of the most popular on WordPress. He doesn’t let the haters get him down, and neither should I and neither should you.

I’ve wasted a lot of time beating myself up for things beyond my control. Over people who do not wish me or my blog well. Way too often I allow other people’s negative opinions of me, my blog, or my articles to get me down and even make me want to change my blog’s focus or remove posts that I thought might have offended them.

You cannot please everyone. It’s not possible. If by some fluke you somehow do please everyone, then you probably have the most boring blog in the universe, one that’s all sweetness and light 24/7, and never approaches anything the slightest bit triggering or controversial.

courage_mandela

Someone is going to be offended.

Even if you blog about something as benign as cake decorating or flower arranging, you are probably going to offend someone. Maybe someone doesn’t like the fact you write recipes using cream cheese icing instead of buttercream, or vice versa. Maybe they are diabetics who take offense to the fact you don’t include sugarless cake decorations in your recipes. They might even assume you are prejudiced against people with diabetes. Maybe someone doesn’t like the color yellow in your floral arrangements because they have bad associations with that color. Maybe they are angry at you because the flowers are dead and they are are morally opposed to killing plant life for ornamental purposes. They could be offended by your fonts or your layout. Maybe they hate your avatar because your picture reminds them of their rude neighbor who lets their dog bark all night and revs their engine every morning at 5 AM.  You have no control over these things.  My point is that no matter what you blog about, someone is going to take offense.

If you can’t stand having bullies and haters, you probably shouldn’t be blogging at all. If you blog about a sensitive or controversial issue, as I do, you are going to attract even more of them than you would if you only blogged about cake decorating or flower arranging or baby koalas.

The Green-Eyed Monster.

Some people are also going to be jealous of you. If your blog becomes successful, expect to have haters. That’s probably why OM has so many haters. His blog is one of the most popular and well-known on the Internet. I’m not tooting my own horn here, but I’ve noticed as my blog has grown, I also have acquired more haters and critics. As a self-identified HSP (highly sensitive person), this realization has been hard for me to accept. I need to grow a thicker skin and just write about what I want and not worry about what the haters think.

haters2

On Political Correctness.

I don’t like political correctness. I don’t like feeling like I have to censor my own thoughts and feelings, because openness and honesty has made my blog what it is. If my words offend someone, they just need to deal with it. If they hate me or my blog, sucks for them.  There are other blogs they can read instead. No one is holding a gun to their head telling them they have to read this blog. I even have an Escape button that will take them to the Huffington Post (it’s not lost on me that some may be offended by THAT). It’s not like I’m the only voice on the Internet that addresses the issues I write the most about. There are hundreds of others.

cowardlylion2

I’m a natural pessimist. If I enter a room and everyone is friendly and welcoming except for one person who scowls at me, I’m the type who will fret and ruminate about that one grumpy person rather than feel blessed and grateful that everyone else is happy to see me. Focusing on that one negative person keeps me from enjoying the party.

It’s the same thing with blogging. I have a lot of supporters and friends in the blogging community. There are lots of people who enjoy my blog posts and visit every day. I shouldn’t worry about the few people who are critical of me or my blog, because they don’t matter. They are probably not the sort of people I would want to have as friends anyway.

So, if you blog, don’t be a wuss. Grow a tougher skin and accept the fact you are going to have haters. You don’t have to approve their comments. You don’t have to search Google to see what your detractors may be saying about you. You don’t have to let their vitriol ruin your day. They don’t matter.

Don’t censor yourself. Most people will be able to tell if you are trying to hard to be “politically correct,” and your blog will become boring and insincere and no one will want to read it.   People aren’t stupid and can tell if you’re not being honest or are censoring yourself because of your fear of criticism or offending someone.

Blog from your heart and soul. Be courageous. Write about what you want, no matter how controversial. Don’t be afraid to stir the pot and stand by your heartfelt opinions, even if they are unpopular ones.

Tell the haters to take a hike. You are going to have them. They don’t matter.

15 ways to write an unforgettable blog post.

Originally posted on 6/8/15

In my two plus years of blogging, I think I’ve learned a few things about how to write interesting (and sometimes controversial) posts people want to read. Sure, I’ve posted weak articles no one seems to want to read–we’re entitled to have those days sometimes–but I think my track record on the whole has been pretty good. I don’t consider myself any sort of blogging guru or anything, and there’s still a lot I’m learning, but I think I have learned enough to be able to share what I know with other bloggers and people who want to start a blog.

1. The title is everything.

sex_toys
Never mind the subject matter, this is a great title. Did it grab your attention? That’s the only important thing.

Keep your titles “grabby.” Make them stand out. Make them a little controversial (“Don’t Judge Me Because I’m Poor”), a little true-confessional (“People Think I’m Stupid” or “All My Narcissistic Lovers”), a little cheeky (“Why Are Some Things So Annoying?”), or even pose a challenge to the reader (“My Son is Furry–Have a problem with that?”) Don’t try to make them too “nice”–because that will make them boring.

When all else fails, just keep them short and to the point. “I Have Issues” is a better title than “I Don’t Know Why I’m So Depressed, Nervous, Bitter and Angry all the Time.”

Keep your titles as short as possible. Never, ever write a title that sounds like a Ph.D thesis, such as: “Preternaturally narcissistic and sociopathic actions within the social media milieu: a paradigm of the interglobal loss of interpersonal altruism.” WUT?

Never, EVER use the word “paradigm” in a title. If you do that, I will personally come to your house and splash water all over your keyboard. That’s a promise. The same goes for “milieu.” Don’t use that word. Ever. No one knows how to spell it anyway.

paradigm

2. Keep your subject matter on topic as much as you can.

Blogging (1)

It’s alright to veer off topic to tell an anecdote or provide an example to flesh out your article and add human interest to it–in fact doing this can make your post seem more personal and that’s almost always a good thing. But try not to veer off the topic too much. It’s hard to do sometimes, but if you do, always somehow bring the article back to your original topic, and it will look like you intended for it to veer off topic a little to make a point.

3. Break up your text!

wall_o__text-blog-full

Even if you write like Shakespeare or Hemingway, readers will bypass your well-written post if it’s just a long wall of text. While a photo, graphic, drawing or cartoon isn’t required for a very short post, it can make your post stand out more and look more appealing. Walls of text for long posts hurt people’s eyes.

If your post is very long, break it up. Use photos or pictures or quotes at appropriate intervals that illustrate the point of your story or article. It’s easy to Google images you want to use–just type the subject matter into the browser and click on Google Images, and I can guarantee you’ll fine the perfect image to illustrate your article. Your own photos or pictures are fine to use too, when appropriate.

But be careful with this too. If you use too many pictures and graphics (as I tend to do), your post could wind up looking like the cover of a supermarket tabloid, and that will turn off readers too. Make sure your post looks clean and uncluttered, especially if you also run ads on your site.

Quotes and block quotes also work well at breaking up walls of text, and never be afraid to use humorous quotes or captions, even in a serious post (as long as it’s still in context). You can also use subheadings within the article and that will make it easier to digest too.

Beyond that, break up your paragraphs into smaller, easier to chew pieces. Readers are not cavemen gnawing an entire flank of beef all at once. They are civilized humans who like their steak cut into small pieces that can be picked up and savored one at a time. The same advice goes for paragraphs. Keep them bite size and they will be much more readable and taste better too.

4. Use the share buttons!

sharing

Even if you hate social media, make sure each blog post contains all the social media share buttons available, which can be found in the dashboard. Even if YOU don’t want to link your post to them, OTHER people will use them. If they’re not there under your post, people probably won’t bother sharing your post. Share buttons are a lazy way of getting your post seen by many people, only you’re letting your readers do the dirty work for you. That’s nothing to feel guilty about.

5. Use links in your posts.

chain_links

Linking to other blogs within your post creates a pingback: the writer of that blog will see that you quoted them, and more than likely will come and check out your blog. They might even follow you back. Creating a blogroll (in Widgets) or somewhere in your header will help too. It shows you read other blogs as well as your own, and the other bloggers will appreciate your support, and may even recommend your blog to others.

And of course, if you quote someone else’s material, make sure you link to their post or at least credit them.

Link to your own articles too. Doing this not only adds depth and background to your article, but it also encourages readers to not stop with the article they’re reading–they might click on your links and read your other articles too!

6. Don’t ignore your comments!

comments

If you ignore your comments, people will lose interest in your blog. People like it when their thoughts are acknowledged and validated. No one wants to feel ignored. Replying to comments may seem like a time consuming chore, but if you fail to do this, it’s insulting to the reader who wrote the comment or asked the question, and it will seem like you don’t care. If you don’t want comments on your blog, you can always disable them. Personally, outside of writing for yourself only, I never understood why anyone would do that. All popular blogs are dynamic, interactive blogs, where people can comment and lively conversations and debates can get started. It’s helpful to comment on other people’s blogs as well.

Replying to comments keeps your readers around and makes it seem like you care about them. It also creates a sense of community that keeps people coming back for more.

You do not have to reply to every comment, but at least “like” it if you don’t have time to reply. If your blog is very active, it may be hard to reply to every single comment or give long well-thought out replies, but a “like” or a few words such as “thank you for your kind remarks” should be sufficient.

If you have the time (unfortunately I don’t much anymore), comment on or at least “like” posts by other bloggers. Follow as many other bloggers as you can, too. Most people are polite so most likely they’ll follow you back.

7. Write frequently.

read_and_write

You should challenge yourself and try to write at least one new post a day. If you can think of nothing to write about (we all have those days), post a funny, cute or attractive photo or a quote you like. Cartoons work well too (I use them all the time). And don’t forget about cats. Cats online are like sex in the movies–they will “sell” your blog post. You can also reblog someone else’s article, but make sure you give credit. If it’s a WordPress blogger, that is automatically done for you.

If you don’t post frequently, people will stop visiting your blog. Sometimes I write 3-5 posts a day. You don’t have to go that crazy, but at least one post a day will keep your blog from stagnating like unmoving pond water. There’s nothing that will kill a blog faster than abandoning it. If you don’t appear to care, your readers won’t either and will go somewhere else.

8. Write as if you’re speaking.

writeasyouspeak

You don’t have to be a Shakespeare or a Poe or have great writing ability to write a good blog post. If you know how to string together a few sentences and have halfway decent grammar (grammar and spell check will help), you can still write a post people want to read. The key is to make it conversational and personal. Don’t overload the reader with too many facts or overly pedantic language. And always, ALWAYS be honest. People can tell when you’re lying or leaving out pertinent information. They will finish reading your article feeling like you’re hiding something. They will feel cheated and may never return.\

If possible, write your post in a conversational, personal tone. If it’s a scholarly article, of course you cannot do this, but for most blog posts, writing in simple, casual language and using personal examples to illustrate a point makes your article seem more personal, as if you are talking to the reader. Be a story teller.

9. Surprise your readers.

lucy_ricardo

If your blog focuses on one or two subjects as this one does, it’s okay to add in an occasional article or post about something unrelated or even totally random. In fact, I think doing this (as long as you don’t overdo it) makes your blog fresher and more interesting. Another benefit of posting off-topic material is that you will attract readers who may not otherwise be reading your blog. I have had a number of foodies and furries reading this blog (and even following it) because of articles I wrote about those subjects. It helps to be versatile, but be careful not to lose your original focus or you will just look like you aren’t that interested in your theme topic.

It’s okay to have a general interest blog though. Many blogs aren’t about any topic in particular, just whatever the writer wants to write about that day, and that’s fine too. In fact, some of the most interesting blogs out there are general interest blogs without a focus.

10. Don’t dwell in negativity.

fucking_negativity

If your blog is about a serious or dark subject (as mine is), watch your pessimism and negativity. People won’t feel inspired or come away feeling like they’ve learned something of value if all you do is bitch and moan and talk about how the glass is always half empty. While emotional honesty in a post is great, people also want to feel like you’re giving them some hope for their hopeless situation too. That’s why I include inspirational memes and quotes, happy or cute photographs, cartoons, jokes, and lots of music. (Music has been an important factor in my recovery, second only to writing). Sometimes I find that if I post something positive even when I’m feeling like I want to jump out a 16th floor window (it happens more often than you think!), it actually improves my mood. Don’t lie in your posts and pretend to be happy when you’re not (which can come off as insincere and obnoxious), but don’t suck people into your vortex of darkness with you either.

11. Don’t require people to sign in.

red-brick-wall

Unless you are in a situation where you have a potentially dangerous stalker or group of people harassing or stalking you online, never, EVER require people to sign in to read your blog. I know if I see a blog that requires me to sign in or use a password to read posts, I’ll bypass that blog, even if it’s about a topic I’m jumping out of my skin to read about. I just don’t have the patience or time to fill out all that garbage if I want to read your blog.

12. Don’t write about something because you think it’s cool.

almost_famous

Never write about something just because it’s popular or trendy, if it doesn’t interest you. People will be able to tell your heart isn’t in what you’re writing about, and you’ll come off as a wannabe or a hack, and certainly less than honest. Nothing will drive a reader away faster than if they sense a lack of passion or honesty in a blog post. It’s okay to be uncool and embracing your uncoolness in fact makes you cool.

13. Run naked in public sometimes.

naked

If you have been keeping an article set to “private” because you think it’s too personal and feel shy about sharing it with the world, take a deep breath and make it public! In my experience, whenever I’ve been afraid to post something due to its personal nature, I have NEVER regretted taking the plunge. It will set you free.

14. Controversial articles get more views.

jackass-whisperer

It’s a fact. I’ve posted several articles that proved to be extremely polarizing. People either loved them or wanted me to die a prolonged and painful death. Yes, posting something controversial or “un-PC’ WILL get you more haters, trolls and you may even have to face bullies, but guess what? My stats SOARED! That article TRIPLED my usual number of views for that week. Sure, most of them were probably clicking it on to see what all the fuss was about, but along the way, I got a ton of new followers too, and while my views have gone back down, my overall visibility has increased. And the trolls and bullies have moved onto other things. (To handle trolls and bullies, please check my articles under the “Handling Online Trolls and Bullies” tab.) I find it’s best to ignore them, but sometimes even a hater post can make great fodder for a new article, but be careful about identifying anyone by name because that could get you in trouble.

15. Check your grammar and spelling.

abckat3

This should be a no-brainer, but it’s surprising how many blog posts I see that are full of unecessary spelling and grammar errors. If you can’t write a proper English sentence, you probably should take up another hobby besides blogging. Theirs nothing mor disstractng & anoying than a sentenzes who no can read becuase your writting in bad grammer & falty speling.

A few other things to remember.

If you’re a new blogger, don’t panic if things go slowly at first. Don’t get discouraged, frustrated or give up because at first it will seem like no one is reading your blog. It takes time. Becoming visible and getting lots of views and follows takes some people longer than others. Dedication, patience and honesty will reap great rewards in time. Of course, if you write about a “hot” topic, like I do, that will help your growth too. But it isn’t necessary to write about something trendy. I don’t think the growth of this blog is because it’s “better” than any other–but because I’ve put so much time and effort into creating it.

Finally, you can’t “make” a post go viral. Unfortunately there’s no way to tell ahead of time which of your posts will grow legs and spread all over the web like wildfire. It could be a post you think is “boring” but somehow resonates with many people, or one you posted a long time ago. Maybe the “right” person sees it and helps get it out there for you. But when it happens to you, it’s an amazing feeling and makes you feel validated as a writer.

What to do the next time you can’t think of what to blog about.

sleepy_snoopy

Take a nap. It works for me about 90% of the time. Usually I wake up with at least one great idea for a blog post.

When I got home from work tonight, I had no idea what to write about. I was tired so I took a nap and now I have two ideas–this post and the one I’m about to write, which will be a lot longer.

Your brain is like a computer. While you sleep, your brain performs maintenance tasks–the biological equivalents of defragmenting and disc clean-up. More space is allotted in your conscious mind for ideas to bubble up from your unconscious mind that were trapped there before and you couldn’t access.

It always surprises me how often I’ll wake up from a nap with some idea I’m just itching to write about, but before I went to sleep it just wasn’t there.

So next time you can’t think of any ideas to write about, try taking a nap. I bet it will work for you too.

15 tips for writing blog posts that get noticed.

In my nine months of blogging (shouldn’t I have given birth to something by now?), I think I’ve learned a few things about how to write interesting (and sometimes controversial) posts people want to read. Sure, I’ve posted weak articles no one seems to want to read–we’re entitled to have those days sometimes–but I think my track record on the whole has been pretty good. I don’t consider myself any sort of blogging guru or anything, and there’s still a lot I’m learning, but I think I have learned enough to be able to share what I know with other bloggers and people who want to start a blog.

1. The title is everything.

sex_toys
Never mind the subject matter, this is a great title. Did it grab your attention? That’s the only important thing.

Keep your titles “grabby.” Make them stand out. Make them a little controversial (“Don’t Judge Me Because I’m Poor”), a little true-confessional (“People Think I’m Stupid” or “All My Narcissistic Lovers”), a little cheeky (“Why Are Some Things So Annoying?”), or even pose a challenge to the reader (“My Son is Furry–Have a problem with that?”) Don’t try to make them too “nice”–because that will make them boring.

When all else fails, just keep them short and to the point. “I Have Issues” is a better title than “I Don’t Know Why I’m So Depressed, Nervous, Bitter and Angry all the Time.”

Keep your titles as short as possible. Never, ever write a title that sounds like a Ph.D thesis, such as: “Preternaturally narcissistic and sociopathic actions within the social media milieu: a paradigm of the interglobal loss of interpersonal altruism.” WUT?

Never, EVER use the word “paradigm” in a title. If you do that, I will personally come to your house and splash water all over your keyboard. That’s a promise. The same goes for “milieu.” Don’t use that word. Ever. No one knows how to spell it anyway.

paradigm

2. Keep your subject matter on topic as much as you can.

Blogging (1)

It’s alright to veer off topic to tell an anecdote or provide an example to flesh out your article and add human interest to it–in fact doing this can make your post seem more personal and that’s almost always a good thing. But try not to veer off the topic too much. It’s hard to do sometimes, but if you do, always somehow bring the article back to your original topic, and it will look like you intended for it to veer off topic a little to make a point.

3. Break up your text!

wall_o__text-blog-full

Even if you write like Shakespeare or Hemingway, readers will bypass your well-written post if it’s just a long wall of text. While a photo, graphic, drawing or cartoon isn’t required for a very short post, it can make your post stand out more and look more appealing. Walls of text for long posts hurt people’s eyes.

If your post is very long, break it up. Use photos or pictures or quotes at appropriate intervals that illustrate the point of your story or article. It’s easy to Google images you want to use–just type the subject matter into the browser and click on Google Images, and I can guarantee you’ll fine the perfect image to illustrate your article. Your own photos or pictures are fine to use too, when appropriate.

But be careful with this too. If you use too many pictures and graphics (as I tend to do), your post could wind up looking like the cover of a supermarket tabloid, and that will turn off readers too. Make sure your post looks clean and uncluttered, especially if you also run ads on your site.

Quotes and block quotes also work well at breaking up walls of text, and never be afraid to use humorous quotes or captions, even in a serious post (as long as it’s still in context). You can also use subheadings within the article and that will make it easier to digest too.

Beyond that, break up your paragraphs into smaller, easier to chew pieces. Readers are not cavemen gnawing an entire flank of beef all at once. They are civilized humans who like their steak cut into small pieces that can be picked up and savored one at a time. The same advice goes for paragraphs. Keep them bite size and they will be much more readable and taste better too.

4. Use the share buttons!

sharing

Even if you hate social media, make sure each blog post contains all the social media share buttons available, which can be found in the dashboard. Even if YOU don’t want to link your post to them, OTHER people will use them. If they’re not there under your post, people probably won’t bother sharing your post. Share buttons are a lazy way of getting your post seen by many people, only you’re letting your readers do the dirty work for you. That’s nothing to feel guilty about.

5. Use links in your posts.

chain_links

Linking to other blogs within your post creates a pingback: the writer of that blog will see that you quoted them, and more than likely will come and check out your blog. They might even follow you back. Creating a blogroll (in Widgets) or somewhere in your header will help too. It shows you read other blogs as well as your own, and the other bloggers will appreciate your support, and may even recommend your blog to others.

And of course, if you quote someone else’s material, make sure you link to their post or at least credit them.

Link to your own articles too. Doing this not only adds depth and background to your article, but it also encourages readers to not stop with the article they’re reading–they might click on your links and read your other articles too!

6. Don’t ignore your comments!

comments

If you ignore your comments, people will lose interest in your blog. People like it when their thoughts are acknowledged and validated. No one wants to feel ignored. Replying to comments may seem like a time consuming chore, but if you fail to do this, it’s insulting to the reader who wrote the comment or asked the question, and it will seem like you don’t care. If you don’t want comments on your blog, you can always disable them. Personally, outside of writing for yourself only, I never understood why anyone would do that. All popular blogs are dynamic, interactive blogs, where people can comment and lively conversations and debates can get started. It’s helpful to comment on other people’s blogs as well.

Replying to comments keeps your readers around and makes it seem like you care about them. It also creates a sense of community that keeps people coming back for more.

You do not have to reply to every comment, but at least “like” it if you don’t have time to reply. If your blog is very active, it may be hard to reply to every single comment or give long well-thought out replies, but a “like” or a few words such as “thank you for your kind remarks” should be sufficient.

If you have the time (unfortunately I don’t much anymore), comment on or at least “like” posts by other bloggers. Follow as many other bloggers as you can, too. Most people are polite so most likely they’ll follow you back.

7. Write frequently.

read_and_write

You should challenge yourself and try to write at least one new post a day. If you can think of nothing to write about (we all have those days), post a funny, cute or attractive photo or a quote you like. Cartoons work well too (I use them all the time). And don’t forget about cats. Cats online are like sex in the movies–they will “sell” your blog post. You can also reblog someone else’s article, but make sure you give credit. If it’s a WordPress blogger, that is automatically done for you.

If you don’t post frequently, people will stop visiting your blog. Sometimes I write 3-5 posts a day. You don’t have to go that crazy, but at least one post a day will keep your blog from stagnating like unmoving pond water. There’s nothing that will kill a blog faster than abandoning it. If you don’t appear to care, your readers won’t either and will go somewhere else.

8. Write as if you’re speaking.

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You don’t have to be a Shakespeare or a Poe or have great writing ability to write a good blog post. If you know how to string together a few sentences and have halfway decent grammar (grammar and spell check will help), you can still write a post people want to read. The key is to make it conversational and personal. Don’t overload the reader with too many facts or overly pedantic language. And always, ALWAYS be honest. People can tell when you’re lying or leaving out pertinent information. They will finish reading your article feeling like you’re hiding something. They will feel cheated and may never return.\

If possible, write your post in a conversational, personal tone. If it’s a scholarly article, of course you cannot do this, but for most blog posts, writing in simple, casual language and using personal examples to illustrate a point makes your article seem more personal, as if you are talking to the reader. Be a story teller.

9. Surprise your readers.

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If your blog focuses on one or two subjects as this one does, it’s okay to add in an occasional article or post about something unrelated or even totally random. In fact, I think doing this (as long as you don’t overdo it) makes your blog fresher and more interesting. Another benefit of posting off-topic material is that you will attract readers who may not otherwise be reading your blog. I have had a number of foodies and furries reading this blog (and even following it) because of articles I wrote about those subjects. It helps to be versatile, but be careful not to lose your original focus or you will just look like you aren’t that interested in your theme topic.

It’s okay to have a general interest blog though. Many blogs aren’t about any topic in particular, just whatever the writer wants to write about that day, and that’s fine too. In fact, some of the most interesting blogs out there are general interest blogs without a focus.

10. Don’t dwell in negativity.

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If your blog is about a serious or dark subject (as mine is), watch your pessimism and negativity. People won’t feel inspired or come away feeling like they’ve learned something of value if all you do is bitch and moan and talk about how the glass is always half empty. While emotional honesty in a post is great, people also want to feel like you’re giving them some hope for their hopeless situation too. That’s why I include inspirational memes and quotes, happy or cute photographs, cartoons, jokes, and lots of music. (Music has been an important factor in my recovery, second only to writing). Sometimes I find that if I post something positive even when I’m feeling like I want to jump out a 16th floor window (it happens more often than you think!), it actually improves my mood. Don’t lie in your posts and pretend to be happy when you’re not (which can come off as insincere and obnoxious), but don’t suck people into your vortex of darkness with you either.

11. Don’t require people to sign in.

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Unless you are in a situation where you have a potentially dangerous stalker or group of people harassing or stalking you online, never, EVER require people to sign in to read your blog. I know if I see a blog that requires me to sign in or use a password to read posts, I’ll bypass that blog, even if it’s about a topic I’m jumping out of my skin to read about. I just don’t have the patience or time to fill out all that garbage if I want to read your blog.

12. Don’t write about something because you think it’s cool.

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Never write about something just because it’s popular or trendy, if it doesn’t interest you. People will be able to tell your heart isn’t in what you’re writing about, and you’ll come off as a wannabe or a hack, and certainly less than honest. Nothing will drive a reader away faster than if they sense a lack of passion or honesty in a blog post. It’s okay to be uncool and embracing your uncoolness in fact makes you cool.

13. Run naked in public sometimes.

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If you have been keeping an article set to “private” because you think it’s too personal and feel shy about sharing it with the world, take a deep breath and make it public! In my experience, whenever I’ve been afraid to post something due to its personal nature, I have NEVER regretted taking the plunge. It will set you free.

14. Controversial articles get more views.

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It’s a fact. A few weeks ago I posted an article that proved to be extremely polarizing. People either loved it or wanted me to die a prolonged and painful death. Yes, posting something controversial or “un-PC’ WILL get you more haters, trolls and you may even have to face bullies (as I did), but guess what? My stats SOARED! That article TRIPLED my usual number of views for that week. Sure, most of them were probably clicking it on to see what all the fuss was about, but along the way, I got a ton of new followers too, and while my views have gone back down, my overall visibility has increased. And the trolls and bullies have moved onto other things. (To handle trolls and bullies, please check my articles under the “Handling Online Trolls and Bullies” tab.) I find it’s best to ignore them, but sometimes even a hater post can make great fodder for a new article, but be careful about identifying anyone by name because that could get you in trouble.

15. Check your grammar and spelling.

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This should be a no-brainer, but it’s surprising how many blog posts I see that are full of unecessary spelling and grammar errors. If you can’t write a proper English sentence, you probably should take up another hobby besides blogging. Theirs nothing mor disstractng & anoying than a sentenzes who no can read becuase your writting in bad grammer & falty speling.

A few other things to remember.

If you’re a new blogger, don’t panic if things go slowly at first. Don’t get discouraged, frustrated or give up because at first it will seem like no one is reading your blog. It takes time. Becoming visible and getting lots of views and follows takes some people longer than others. Dedication, patience and honesty will reap great rewards in time. Of course, if you write about a “hot” topic, like I do, that will help your growth too. But it isn’t necessary to write about something trendy. I don’t think the growth of this blog is because it’s “better” than any other–but because I’ve put so much time and effort into creating it.

Finally, you can’t “make” a post go viral. Unfortunately there’s no way to tell ahead of time which of your posts will grow legs and spread all over the web like wildfire. It could be a post you think is “boring” but somehow resonates with many people, or one you posted a long time ago. Maybe the “right” person sees it and helps get it out there for you. But when it happens to you, it’s an amazing feeling and makes you feel validated as a writer.

20 truths of blogging.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.