Running Your Own Blog
And lo, Delegator.com journeyed into the wilderness of the 156 million public blogs on the Internet, and returned to the people with commandments; and these commandments numbered 10.
I. Post early, post often, and keep posting.
The most important thing any blogger can do is to keep blogging. At first, you might get very little reader response. You might even (gasp) get none at all. But that’s no reason to panic! The only way you can create an engaged and communicative readership is by regularly updating your blog. People don’t congregate at or return to blogs that are infrequently or indifferently updated. It may be the last thing on your to do list, but it’s absolutely essential that you get it done. You might be talking to yourself at first, but if you keep talking and you actually have something to say, people will start to listen. Trust us.
II. Post early, post often, and keep posting.
This is by far the most important commandment. Brand it upon your brain.
III. Post early, post often, and keep posting.
We are willing to alienate and annoy you to ensure that you do not forget this commandment.
IV. Write what you know.
This is one of those true cliches about professional writing. As important as it is to novelists, journalists and script writers, it’s doubly important for bloggers. Bloggers don’t have to be single issue, but if they seek to gain a larger readership they need to be focused and expert. If you don’t understand a concept, link to it – don’t write about it. Your readers are coming to you for answers and/or entertainment, so write about things you know inside and out. Otherwise you risk losing credibility, respect for you or your companies ability, and worst of all, readers.
V. When readers have a strong response to a post, keep mining that vein of interest – hold their attention.
It’s in the best interest of a blog writer to be responsive to his or her readers. If you get a big response from a post of yours (even if you didn’t think it was that big a deal) listen to your readers. Keep posting about that same subject or in that same style (not exclusively, just regularly). The goal of a blog is to build readerships, transmit information, and connect with potential clients. When you touch a nerve, don’t be shy about pressing it.
VI. Create an editorial voice, and maintain it.
Even if your blog posts are being written by several different people and cover a few different areas of interest, keeping a clear editorial voice is important. It helps readers to feel they have a personal connection to the blog, and it makes your site distinctive and personal. Those are good things because they invite visits, correspondence, and a welcome sense of familiarity.
VII. Every once in a while, go off the cuff.
Having an editorial voice doesn’t mean you should speak in monotone. It’s good to give readers a few breaks from the serious work of digesting your thoughts and evaluating your advice. One of the most popular blogs on the internet, Andrew Sullivan’s The Daily Dish, posts more than 300 times a week. But many of those posts are funny or moving pictures, silly videos, and palate cleansers like a daily “Mental Health Break.” You should think about fun ways to engage with your audience that don’t always include teaching them something. Apropos of nothing, here is a video of laughing penguin (ht Daily Dish).
Your blog doesn’t need to look like it was designed by Martha Stewart, but it is important to give it a professional, cared-for appearance. If it’s sloppy, ugly, or too plain, savvy readers pick up on it and take their jaded eyeballs elsewhere.
IX. Spellcheck is your best friend.
Try not to get caught making mistakes in the realm of spelling, fact-checking, and grammar. It takes away credibility, and makes you look small-time.
X. Link to sources, and make sure to be up front about where you got information.
Nothing gets you worse press in the blogosphere than not attributing your sources of information on your blog. Do right by them and they’ll do right by you. Do otherwise, and you could get in real trouble (of the punitive kind, if not the legal).