I don't claim to be any Master Blogger. That title should be held by mega-blogs such as Instapundit or Althouse. I have, however, noticed a few things over the years and, for whatever they are worth, pass them along to anyone who is interested in starting a blog. The key thing is whether a particular approach works for you. After all, it's your blog.
Here are my ground rules:
- Determine your theme. I can pretty much post anything that interests me on my blog. Other bloggers are less eccentric and far more focused. That works fine for them and it helps them get on specific lists of specialty bloggers. Whichever way you choose, aim for consistency.
- Pick a blog platform that suits you. I use Blogger because it is so easy. Other sites are flashier but I don't know of any that are easier. Find one that you can easily use without stress.
- Try to post every day. Don't waste the time of people by luring them to a blog that is seldom updated.
- Don't post anything that bores you. If you are frequently tempted to do that, go back to item #1.
- Ignore the trolls. They really don't want to argue or talk. Let them go back to Twitter.
- Proof-read before posting. [I need to get better at that.]
- Control your sarcasm. It is too easy to zap people with some quick and cute remark. As an old minister once said, treat people as if they are hurting.
- Study other bloggers. As this list demonstrates, there are plenty of good ones out there.
- Take breaks. The world is not hanging on your every word.
- Be generous to other bloggers. Refer your readers to their blogs. Don't worry about keeping them on your page. If your content is good, they will return.
- Don't "borrow" work from other bloggers. I hesitate even bringing that up, but years ago a blogger used to flat-out copy stuff from my blog and post it as his own. He's no longer around. Give people the appropriate credit and acknowledgement.
- If you permit comments, screen them. If you don't, you'll risk being swamped with spam comments.
- If someone criticizes a specific person via the comments, don't print the comment if the critic is anonymous. If they want to criticize, they should give their name. Also, delete any comments that may be defamatory.
- Beware of hot news stories. The initial reports have a bad habit of being wrong.
- Don't blog when you are tired or angry.
- If you think some post is especially brilliant, delay posting it until the next day when you have a chance to review it with fresh eyes. You may find that elves hacked your computer during the night and sabotaged the once-brilliant post.
- Put together your own ground rules and periodically update them. That is important because all of this is a learning process. [And I've saved one of the most important rules for the end.]
- Have fun. This shouldn't be a chore. If you're not having fun, you're not doing it right.