Thursday, April 22, 2010

Guidelines for Bloggers

    I am occasionally asked for advice from would-be bloggers. For whatever these are worth, here are a few guidelines that I've tried to follow:

  1. Recognize that some of your best blog posts will never be published. Why? Because the morning after you draft them you'll find that an elf has turned your brilliance into incoherent mush. Don't rush to post.
  2. Always give credit to other bloggers for their thoughts and be generous in linking to other blogs. There's no particular business reason for this. It's just the right thing to do.
  3. Choose a tone for your blog and stick with it. Readers want a certain level of predictability and you don't want to come across as a multiple personality.
  4. If you have a niche, know your subject. Even when you know your subject, remember that the limited size of a blog post can leave a lot of unanswered questions. Your readers may notice gaps.
  5. Don't feed the trolls is an old rule. It's also a good one. Not every statement deserves a response.
  6. Beware of spammers in your comments section. In fact, be sure to moderate the comments or else you may be surprised to discover that people are attaching weird or offensive comments to posts that you wrote long ago.
  7. If you are ever tempted to drop a blog from your blog roll because of a disagreement with its author, you should immediately do penance by adding three more bloggers who disagree with you. Blogging should expand your perspective, not restrict it.
  8. Post frequently. Make your readers want to come back often. If you are indifferent, they'll be indifferent.
  9. Consider how you picture your blog. Is it a magazine? A kiosk? A telegram? A soap box? A party? A dinner table? A classroom? The picture you have will determine the appropriate content and tone.
  10. Finally, try to add some style and grace to the world. Be kind to your readers and to other bloggers. You have no idea of the burdens many carry and you may, in a few lines, help to lighten their load.


fran melmed said...

i really appreciate 4, 9, and 10. i think expecting that it's a slow build is another good guideline -- and to know why you're doing it, because that can see you through.


Michael Wade said...

Thanks, Fran!

You're right about the slow build. Every day, we add some more.