On Blogging

Just write – your way

Following up from Blogging from insecurity into authenticity, where the gist is to be authentic and simply write for yourself:

Greg Morris:

While you are worrying about everyone else’s opinions on the correct way to do things, you’re not writing.

Just write and publish however you want to. Sit in the chair and do it.

Chris Hannah:

. . . the most important part about writing isn’t where you’re doing it, the tools [you’re] using, or the look of your blog, it’s the process of writing itself.

Greg and Chris are excellent bloggers, both whom I have been following for quite some time via their RSS feeds. They know what they’re talking about and their advice is sound.

I recommend you follow them, too.

Forgive thyself, blogger

That tweet you blasted out with a massively embarrassing typo in it? Or the email newsletter that went out with a gaffe of epidemic proportions? Too bad. It’s like that late night fling you can’t take back and your wife leaves you.

You’re utterly unforgiven.

But that blog post? You can correct it anytime. Your constant refinements can mushroom it into a finely tuned piece of literature. You can even rewind time to edit out the aforementioned fling.

You are forever forgiven.

Long time blogger artist Austin Kleon writes on blogging as a forgiving medium compared to others:

The ability to “move it around for a long time” is what I’m looking for in a writing medium — I want words and images to be movable, I want to switch them out, copy and cut and paste them, let them mutate.

But most importantly, I want to be able to be wrong. I want to change my mind! I want to evolve.

. . .blogging feels to me like a world of endless drafting, endless revisioning.

It’s a beautiful thing to be able to re-create over and over again.

(Now if yer twisting the truth after-the-fact for nefarious purposes, that’s a whole different matter that will bite you in the arse.)

He also makes a excellent point when he says readers need to be forgiving towards bloggers too. After all they’re expending their blood, sweat, and tears without asking for much of anything in return.

To do the exploration that growth and change requires, one needs a forgiving medium… but what one really needs forgiving readers.

While you’re over there, bookmark him and sign up for his newsletter. It’s good sheet.

Blogging from insecurity into authenticity

There’s times we tangle with bouts of insecurity when we do that delicate dance of laying words out for the world to read (and we know it can be harsh sometimes).

It happens to all of us, bloggers new and old. 

The best way out of that uncomfortable tango? Get out of other people’s heads by remembering you are writing for yourself.

Be authentic.

Shahrin at Small Moments of Wonder waxes eloquently on this:

The thing with blogging is . . . it’s the authenticity that matters. . . . I like the person they have created with their words. I connect with those stories. It’s all because of the personal touch they add – it’s their uniqueness that makes me visit their page again and again.

…do not compare yourself with other bloggers. Something I am learning each day that you got to do your own thing. Remember blogging is something you do for yourself.

More where her words sing:  “Blogging Insecurities” →

How about you? Reply with your thoughts below.

Be comment friendly

Comments, comments, comments… Some bloggers hate ’em. Some love ’em. It’s a personal choice; there’s no right or wrong to it.

In my experience, enabling comments accelerates your blog’s growth organically because you’re planting the seeds for a community to sprout around you.

But if you’re gonna do comments, you gotta go all in and do ’em right.

Think of the comment area as your very own town square where folks make the effort to come from the far reaches of the web to write to you. They choose your blog out of millions out there! It’s a honor.

But with town squares come great responsibilities. 

Your people are like any other — they want to be heard. Acknowledge their comments — at the least thank them for chiming in (whether you agree with ’em nor not). Check your spam/approval queues religiously to free legitimate comments so they’re not lost in limbo. 

Set the tone by making your comment area a warm and friendly place. And if someone acts like a jerk, kick ’em out. It’s your place, your rules. 

Keep the square clean – fumigate spam as soon as you get a whiff of it (be smart and save time by leveraging available anti-spam tools).

That’s the basics… There’s more.

Ally at The Spectacled Bean went on a roundabout and hit up a bunch of new blogger’s comment areas. Her varying experiences were eye-opening and sobering.

Her insights shine light on what might not be so obvious to us how we can make our blogs more “comment friendly” to readers. 

Take a gander at The Perks and Pitfalls of Reaching Out to Newfound Bloggers.

Be sure to check her comment area out while you’re there — with over 300 replies from fellow bloggers and readers, it’s a resounding refrain of her experiences.

(Also take note of how she’s responded to every comment!)

What are blogrolls?

Blogrolls are a retro and radically simple concept:

They’re a list of links on a blog to other blogs. 

Most bloggers use them to refer readers to their favorite blogs. Some use blogrolls to promote one another, i.e. “You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours.”

Many link to other blogs that write about the same things they do. Or to those that have absolutely nuttin’ to do with ‘em.

They could be just a few links or a billion of ’em.

There’s no rule or one right way to use blogrolls.

You don’t need any special software or tools. Really, it’s just a list of links. Simple and easy to maintain.

Why keep a blogroll?

They’re a great way to cross-promote each other and to alert your readers to other cool blogs like yours out there. Often blogrolls are the only way folks find blogs because search engines today are not friendly to small blogs (by shoving ’em where the sun don’t shine).

Personally I love looking over blogrolls — I’m often delighted with what I come across on my browsing adventures thanks to friendly bloggers pointing the way.

List your favorite blogs however you like and post them in your sidebar or on your about page or set up a page just for your blogroll (like I did on my personal blog). You can put it anywhere and in whatever format you like. There’s no particular rule on placement. Just make sure it’s visible for your readers.

Tend to that list like a garden — check on it every couple months by clicking through the links to make sure those blogs are still kickin’. You don’t wanna send your readers to defunct blogs, do you? Plant new seeds by adding new blogs you’ve come to like recently.

Don’t worry about sending readers away. It’s the very nature of the internet for folks roam and explore the wild electric yonder. If they like your blog, they’ll be back (and if not, it wasn’t meant to be in the first place 😜).

Need inspiration for some blogs to link to? Browse our own blogroll!

Get blogrolling, fellow blogger!