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My 11 Blog Lessons

In light of Marc Andreessen’s post on the 11 lessons he’s learned about blogging in the past month, here’s my 11 lessons about about life within the blogosphere.

1. Blogging is Addictive: You start with one blog because you’re passionate about something and it gives you a voice to share your insights/ideas. Before you know it, an idea for another great blog pops up and, voila, you’ve a pair within your online empire. This explains why I now have four blogs. :)

2. Blog for Fun, Not Profit: Sure, you can make money from blogging. If you’re really lucky, it’ll be more than $1/day that AdSense generously awards. But blogging shouldn’t be about the money unless you’re devoting yourself to it full time like Mike Arrington or Om Malik. It should be about doing something that excites you. Once in a blue moon, this excitement will lead to bigger things – maybe even a full-time blogging gig (Richard MacManus).

3. To blog well, it takes time and effort: Some people can riff off amazing, insightful blog posts in minutes but, for the most part and most people, it takes time to have a good blog because there’s so much more involved than just writing. To really “get it”, you’ve got to read other blog and Web sites, try new services and applications, and comment on other peoples’ blogs.

4. Blogging may be a conversation but comments can be difficult to get: Unless you’re controversial or generate an awful lot of traffic, comments can be a challenge – probably because many people are reading a lot of posts quickly or doing it through an RSS reader. So, don’t get down if your blog tends to be comment-lite.

5. The more times you blog a day, the better (apparently!): Not sure if this is urban myth but apparently content is king, and the more posts the better, which leads back to point #3.

6. Blogging is volatile – one day you’re Digg-ed and an emerging star; the next day everyone forgets about you: There’s lot of competition – 15 million active blogs, according to Technorati – which means it’s difficult to grab and hold the spotlight unless you’re someone with a high profile such as Marc Andreessen. So, enjoy the highs and celebrate the victories (popular posts, mentions by high-profile bloggers, etc.)

7. It’s easy to follow the crowd (i.e. write about what’s hot on Techmeme) but more rewarding and challenging to follow your own path: Blog about what you want to write about; not what everyone else is writing. Sometimes, you’ll want/need to jump on the bandwagon but original thoughts/ideas are always embraced by readers even if they don’t generate scores of headline-seeking traffic in the short-term

8. Blog how you talk – and check your spelling!: By and large, people tend to write in a far too formal manner as opposed to writing like they are talking to someone, which is more conversational, narrative and easier to understand.

9. Pick a time for blogging and stick to it like an exercise routine: Whether you’re an early-morning/two cups of coffee writer or a night owl who needs/likes peace and quiet, find a time when your creative juices are flowing.

10. You’ll be surprised the people you meet and the places you’ll go with blogging: new friends, new ideas, new job, new opportunities, travel, etc.

11. It’s easy to start a blog but difficult to sustain it: The Web is teeming with abandoned blogs that were probably started for all the right reasons. The fact is starting a blog is a snap, which explains why a new blog is created every 1.4 seconds. The challenge is keeping it alive and maintaining its energy/life/raison d’etre once the novelty of having a blog wears off.

Update: Performancing.com has a list of five things you should know before you start blogging. After “tagging” them, Aidan Henry posted his own 11 blog lessons, while Tris Hussey provides his thoughts here.

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  • http://www.reputrack.com Joseph

    Great list Mark!

    #11 is still one of my own constant challenges.

    And as you’ve hit on in the past, one thing you [b]shouldn’t[b] do to fastrack the time aspect or to sustain a blog is plagiarize – it has a tendency to go against #10 on your list and the whole community building aspect of blogging.

  • http://www.flowfieldunity.transplantcomics.com Adam_Y

    Just to redress point 4.

    I agree totally with this list, especially the last point. Longevity seems to be the greatest hurdle to bloggers. I read somewhere that 60% of new blogs die out within a couple of months.

  • http://www.one-penny-project.blogspot.com BeachBum

    Great tips on blogging.

    I often blog how I talk and I think that makes writing the content much easier.

    As for how many times a day to post. I would say that there is a limit. If a blogger posts 10 times a day I will unsubscribe from their RSS. It is like getting too much email. I say 1 or 2 good posts a day.

    BeachBum

  • http://www.propr.ca Joseph Thornley

    “Blog about what you want to write about; not what everyone else is writing.”

    Bang on.

    As my feedreader becomes ever fuller of blogs and I have to cut some simply to ensure I have adequate time to read the remaining feeds, the ones I keep are those that offer a unique perspective. Unless their names are Scoble or Israel, those that follow the meme are the first casualties when I pare my list.

  • http://www.poetic-virtue.com/blog Bowrag

    Great post here. I love the ideas.

    Except #11… I am in the first month of my blog and it is TOUGH to start out!

  • http://sodidi.blogspot.com Ramjee

    Mark…
    Will it not be a nice idea to tag this to some 5 friends of yours and see what there 11 Blog Lessons are!!

    rAm

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  • http://bloggingfingers.com/blogging-tips/top-11-blogging-mistakes-i-made/ Matt Jones

    Nice lessons, it’s like we are on the same wave-lenght… (I wrote a post containing 11 blogging mistakes)

  • http://www.brianheyswrites.com Brian Heys

    Good, strong list, Mark. It’s always nice to read someone else’s lessons learned.

    Regarding point 1, I will agree that blogging is highly addictive, but so far, I’ve managed to hold off from starting another one – I’m concentrating solely on my only blog at the moment, which is kind of my own mixing pot about blogging, social media, startups, internet news, and technology.

    Having said that, my business site is crying out to be turned into a blog, so who knows what the future holds?

    Btw, the importance of lesson 11, cannot be overstressed!

  • http://www.bisnis-net.info samuro

    Good lesson!.
    something new I found here.
    Yes, blogging is Addictive, and no blogging, you get the lack.

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  • http://www.suggestusability.com Rajesh Anandakrishnan

    I like the point #9. No doubt that every blogger has atleast 10 uniques a day. But he is not fixing up the time. Most of the people are trying to write a blog inbetween office deliverables.

  • http://jebers.com Jack (Jeber) Carlson

    Excellent points.
    I encourage bloggers to compose their posts in a word processor and avail themselves of the formatting and spell-checking functions they provide. The post can then be copy/pasted into their favorite blogging application.
    I especially appreciated #1. I may have to link to this list from all my blogs. ;)

  • http://www.seanmcn.com Sean

    Great post! #4 references alot of my blogs! :P

  • http://fit2paddle.com Marek

    Great article!

    I think that #9 is quite important: “Pick a time for blogging and stick to it like an exercise routine”, not only to keep you writing blog posts, but also to be sure that your blogging activity does not interfere too much with other jobs and duties. Well, I have tendency to spend to much time on my blogs …

  • http://fit2paddle.com Marek

    Great article!

    I think that #9 is quite important: “Pick a time for blogging and stick to it like an exercise routine”, not only to keep you writing blog posts, but also to be sure that your blogging activity does not interfere too much with other jobs and duties. Well, I have tendency to spend too much time on my blogs …

  • http://www.writeforblogs.com Glenn — Write for Blogs

    Good post, wish I’d read it before starting. I now write 3 blogs and manage 3 others, quite a load. I tend to put off blogging more than before, but when I start writing then it gets exciting again.

    I would disagree with the (ever-present) advice to write like you talk. Only the truly clear-and-crisp speakers should take this seriously. I, um, tend to wander around in speech, you know, and often go on about things that distract from the point, um, whatever that is.

    Develop an inviting personality to use in your writing. It’s an acting gig to some extent since that person is “always on.”

    Avoid coming across like The Voice of God. The guy who knows everything and preaches from the mountain top. You know.

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  • http://www.mappingtheweb.com Aidan Henry

    Thanks for adding the update Mark :)

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  • http://techwag.com dan

    The interesting part is what is with all the abandoned blogs, and how will they be archived off. At one point they were important to someone, it might be interesting to go back and see what the motivation was for abandoning the blog, or starting it in the first place.

  • http://prairiebluestem.blogspot.com/ Genevieve Netz

    I agree with you about #4 — don’t be discouraged about a lack of comments. Take heart when you look at your hit counter statistics, and be particularly happy when you see your return visitors increasing week after week. Just keep writing.

    Also, if you assure readers that e-mail is welcome, some will send a good, interesting e-mail comment though they’d never write a comment on the blog. Remember — some people (especially older folks or folks who are new to the internet) are very worried about typing something on the internet that everyone can read. (It’s hard for bloggers to imagine such a mindset, but it does exist in a considerable number of internet users.)

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  • http://www.nuovibusiness.com Francesco

    You are right blogging is addictive. I have just started and cannot leave my computer. I hope I will make good friends on this journey.

    Francesco
    Guadagnare online – Nuovibusiness

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  • Michele

    I am a total newbie, just got my laptop a few months ago, cannot understand why all your posts are so old, 2007? What’s up with that?

  • http://www.markevanstech.com Mark Evans

    Michele,

    Not sure what you mean given I write most days at markevanstech.com.

    Mark

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