I’ve discussed why I blog, and now I want to share some conventions, tactics, and general style of how I blog. Consider this a rough blueprint for my approach to blogging.
Recent news and headlines
I prefer to stay away from recent headlines unless it directly affects what I do on a daily basis. Rather than blogging out of impulse (as a result of recent news), I always prefer to take some time to let it all settle in before writing a knee-jerk reaction (although I’ve done this plenty of times).
Type of blog
I don’t think of this as a link blog, but sometimes I just have to share a link with my own commentary, because quite often others say it much better than I ever could, so why re-write what someone said perfectly elsewhere?
I carefully craft my blog posts, meaning I revise multiple times before publishing to check for words that can be removed (saying more with less), as well as grammatical and spelling errors.
I used to try avoiding blog posts that are about the topic of blogging (“blogging about blogging”) as a sort of unwritten rule. I found that when I blogged about blogging most of the time I was ranting than anything else, and I want to promote a positive voice, not a negative vibe. I’ve recently loosened up my stance on this, and I am starting to post more about blogging itself, as is evident by this very post! If you can do it in an informative and insightful way, it’s definitely a good thing, and shouldn’t be avoided.
Linking to external sites
I try to avoid linking to a site unless absolutely necessary. There is certain criteria for this that I follow:
- Is the link the reason or inspiration for the post (IE: “hat tip” or “via”)?
- Is the link something you have never linked to in another (previous) post?
- Is the link something the reader could not possibly find on their own (via Google)?
If any of the above is true, it is okay to link a particular word or phrase, as it only aids the reader.
In general, links stand out in a body of content, and I prefer to keep the reader absorbed in the content instead of noticing links everywhere which can cause distraction.
If I have repeat posts about a particular topic, I’ll usually link to the source in the first post, then avoid linking to the same source in subsequent posts.
Rather, I try linking to my own posts first (those that already referenced the source once before), so as to form a kind of “trail” back to my original thoughts.
I cherish all feedback left on my site, but I don’t let it change my writing or blogging approach. Often times readers feel the need to correct my mistakes (obvious as they often are) or “catch me in my tracks,” as if what I’ve written is the official word on the topic.
I’d elaborate more but this old post says it much better.
I have placed Google ads on my site before, and I am occasionally (meaning about once a year) contacted about a paid link on a particular blog post page, or static page (like my About section). If possible, I try to make the ads as conspicuous as possible, so as to not blend in too much and deceive the reader. I don’t ever intend to trick visitors into clicking links that are ads, so I am careful about how and where I place ads.
I typically determine it by a few factors:
- How old is the post where the ad is desired?
- Is the page part of my main blog section (or a static, external page in another section)?
If the post is really old, I don’t mind placing minimal ads on it. It is only up there as an archive – I probably don’t even believe or adhere to what I wrote in the post anymore, anyway.
But in general, it is important to me that this site remains genuine and real – just like the person behind it is. Therefore the lure of easy money is less important than writing and designing a completely personal blog that is essentially an extension of myself.
Blogging “droughts” (a lack of frequent, new posts) happen to me all the time. Over the years I’ve used different tactics for combating such occurrences, but the most important one I’ve learned is that new blog posts don’t write themselves. Sometimes you (meaning I) have to work at it – being consistent and dedicating the time to write. It’s easy to come up with new blog post ideas in your head, but much harder to actually sit down and think it through, in order to put into words.
Much like a friendship requires attention and cultivating, so does blogging.
Also, don’t be afraid to try something new. Don’t limit your topics to any particular style or format. Have fun with it. All that matters is that you never stop writing.