Monday, September 03, 2007

Things I've learned about blogging...

In late August of '05, I started typing here. In the intervening time, VFTP has gained a modest audience and seems to be doing okay for a B-list personal blog in the backwaters of Blogger. So, two years and almost 2,000 posts later, this is what I've learned about blogging.

1) Remember who you're doing it for.

SayUncle has a great little line in the top left corner of his blog: "Remember, I do this to entertain me, not you." If you didn't have at least a little bit of the egotistical exhibitionist in you someplace, you wouldn't be schmearing your private musings across the intarw3bz, now would you? So be true to your primary audience: Yourself. It can be a little disheartening to put out something that I consider profound or witty, and watch nobody comment or link, but if it made me chuckle when I wrote it, then it was worth it.

2) Post something every day.

That said, if you didn't want people to read your stuff, you wouldn't be putting it out there for them to read, right? If there's nothing to read, folks won't come read it. Even a "Too busy. Gotta jet to work. More later," will let people know to check back tomorrow.

3) Don't worry about the standard Popularity Contests.

I can't tell you how many times I've seen a blog that is a Large Mammal! in the Ecosystem, with a Technorati score of One Hojillion! and then I open its SiteMeter and it's getting 100 hits a day, all from random Google searches. It turns out that they're on every reciprocal blogroll known to mankind. Feh. That doesn't get you the eyeballs; good writing gets you the eyeballs.

4) Have a schtick and stick with your schtick.

You can't be all things to all people. Folks don't come here for recipes or child-rearing advice or thoughtful philosophical discourse; they come here for smartassery related to current events or history, and a bit of side chatter about guns or books or whathaveyou, but always with the snarky angle. Find what you're good at and do it, and people who want to read about it will find you and keep coming back.

...and now it's back to blogging. Have a swell day! :)


7.62x54r said...

Doesn't #1 kind of negate #2? After all, if I'm doing this for me (actually I'm doing it for other members on gun forums that are tired of my rants) and I don't want to blog on a particular day (or week) then to be true to my audience (me) I shouldn't.

My blog is nothing more than a relief valve so my head won't explode.

Tam said...

Everybody's a critic... ;)

phlegmfatale said...

Great way to sum blogging up in a nutshell. Your blog is a wonderful blend of interesting things, and feels more conversational in nature than most blogs out there. Unlike narrowly personal blogs which navel-gaze and inventory toenail clippings to those which are excruciatingly political, you post a broad mix of stuff that keeps me coming back and wondering what brilliant observation you'll make next. You manage to foil the gravity of the darker aspects of our culture/the world with a heaping helping of pithy snark. Brilliant recipe.

Matt G said...

Sage advice, but it lets down the curtain; you're admitting that you like readership.

You should be all aloof, like ME.

I personally don't care if I get any hits at all.

I really don't even bother to check how popular my site is. [sniff] Not sure I'd really remember how, actually.

[ ;) ]

7.62x54r said...

That's my schtick.

Anonymous said...

I read it for the information, but the snark keeps me coming back. And the bikini pics.


Dr. StrangeGun said...

Post 1 on blog 1 went up on september 13, 2000.

I had a personal web page back in 1997.

I don't really even think about why anymore, I just write.

Anonymous said...

Bikini pics...hmmm.

You have about the best-stuck-to schtick in all blogdom.

And, the difference between the B'o'shpere and a good bar is (apart from being able to smoke in here)that at the bar, when a friend says something interesting about a subject in which you have nothing to add, you can nod, take a pull, and say hmmm. If you don't get responses to some musing or other, don't think we didn't all read it and pay attention. I'll only post back if I have the next punchline. Everyone here reads with interest and approval every one of your half-baked whimsies.

7.62x54r said...

I only read here to see if Matt says anything worth reading. ;-)

Anonymous said...

I think a lesson everyone here has learned is that mouth-breathing Neo-Nazis have no place on the blogosphere.

Anonymous said...

Well, you know the only reason I keep tuning in is because I'm waiting for those fun recipes and excellent child rearing information.

Or those bikini pics I keep reading about.

Matt G said...

I'm only here to get defensive at stuff 7.62X54r sez.

Matt G said...


Anonymous said...

I don't come here often, nothing against you.

However, I would say that often when I don't comment on someone's post here or even elsewhere it is because I have nothing constructive to add. That almost always means the poster did an excellent and complete job. And sometimes it means commenters covered any points I would have made. Therefore, do not feel badly about what you think may be some of your best stuff not garnering a lot of comments. It just could be you did a great job.

7.62x54r said...

I agree, but I've never let not having anything constructive to say stop me.

For example. ^

Reno Sepulveda said...

I just started my blog last Saturday. Thanks for the good advice. I've been reading yours awhile now and I can't tell you how many times I'll yell at my daughter "c'mere you've got to read this".

Rob Lyon said...

Great Stuff. It is important to write for you. Write what you know and care about. Share your thoughts and how to find them. Don't worry so much about what other people think. Good advice for life too.

Anonymous said...

One blog I know of is a "Large Mammal" with 557 inbound links and an average of... 11 visits per day.

I know I could get more links if I linked to more blogs but I don't put someone on my blogroll unless I read their every post and I really enjoy reading them. Hence I stay in the mud and slim of the ecosystem even when I know how to escape.

Attempting to be a purist has its own punishments as well as rewards.


miriam sawyer said...

I still want more links, more visits, more, more, MORE!

The adulation of thousands? That would do it, I think.

Oran Woody said...

I'm too lazy to have my own blog so I just copy and paste Tam's work into my e-mail messages. Since I started doing that, I actually get messages back. Mostly, I just hit the delete without reading them. Who needs friends who just add some inane comment on top of her gold and jewels?