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 â€“ one day youâ€™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. Itâ€™s easy to follow the crowd (i.e. write about whatâ€™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 â€“ 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. Youâ€™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. Itâ€™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.