So You Want to Start a Blog?

I've maintained some semblance of a blog for about eight years. Blogging is one of my only favorite hobbies and I've learned a few things in the blogosphere that I think are helpful to anyone just launching her own blog. I tore a page out of P-Dub's playbook in formatting this, and while I agree with many of the things that she writes, I'll share a few from my desk, as well. 1.) Keep a wide scope. In other words, you are going to get bored of writing only about food. Or shoes. Or polyurethane finishes. When you get bored with the topic, imagine how your readers felt about thirty posts ago. While having a foodblog or a blog dedicated to Zumba class gossip seemed brilliant when you launched it, variety really is the spice of life and the same goes for the internets. Take a break from your main subject matter and diverge onto a new path every so often. Bloggers cannot live on Zumba alone.

2.) Brevity is the soul of wit. The internet reader has a very short attention span. I have done a fair amount of work in writing for the internet, and there is very little room for "clearing one's throat" in this industry. You need to get to the point a lot sooner than, say, Tolstoy might.

3.) Don't be so lofty in your aims. Aim to update your blog twice a week. If you can't do it twice, then at least do it once. Bloggers always seem to set out to update daily, but then they get behind on their content and intimidate themselves and then go months without updating and then just pop in to say hi and ask if anyone still reads this blog, ok, well then, I guess I'll just let the spambots eat it....

4.) Please observe proper object pronouns. I constantly see people writing "It was important to him and I" or "My husband and I's wedding day." Something was important to I? Really? And you couldn't have said "my husband and my wedding day"? It all boils down to subject versus object. Use "I" when you are the subject. Use "me" when you are not performing an action. Good grammar is wildly appealing.

5.) Please don't post pictures of yourself in a bikini. It makes me feel inferior, sad, and it makes it hard for others to not feel guilty using billable cubicle time to read your blog.

6.) Generally, though, pictures make blogs zippy and interesting and worth reading. It doesn't matter if you think your photos are blase, I love a good shot of an acorn or a model Viking ship with a Chia pet aboard. Mostly I just post pictures of my kids because, ya know. I miss them. I like to look at their pictures. When they go to bed and stuff.

7.) Privacy restrictions carry their own tension. What I mean by that is, if you feel a certain tension in sharing something, you probably are well-advised to think on that before hitting POST. I am not a very private person, but my children and my husband don't have much of a say in what I post here about our lives. I try to honor them, though. I never post pictures of my children when they are clothesless (or anyone for that matter, besides Gumby), and you will not see pictures of my front door or back door or the name of my workplaces to protect the innocent and try to sidestep any creepsters out there.

8.) Bear in mind that people are going to think your blog is IT. People constantly seem to think that my blog is the sum total of all of my experiences and that there couldn't possibly be anything that I don't share with the internets. I have oftentimes had friends say that they *feel* as though they have spoken with me, or sent condolences or congratulations to me, because they read about something on my blog!! I don't know how one could hallucinate a conversation from simply reading some blather I wrote on the www, but it happens. Constantly. So while you may want to start a blog to feel more connected with family or friends in distant places, I can attest that you may end up feeling more disconnected...which leads me to point #9.

9.) Readers be lazy. This blog receives somewhere between 500-800 hits per week. I receive somewhere between 0-8 comments per week. I don't expect my readers to comment. It would be nice, but I blog because it makes me happy. Period.

10.) People don't become famous too often by way of their blog. You may want to keep mastering that slam dunk so you can make it to the NBA instead. Or at least blog because it makes you happy, not because you need a show and tell forum, n'ah mean?