Monday, March 08, 2010
Are you ignoring one of the most important rules of blogging?
The most agonizing and frustrating blog post I ever wrote, was my first one.
It took me FOUR days to write that post. Actually it only took about an hour to write, but it took me four days to have the courage to hit 'Publish Post'.
And it wasn't because I was insecure about the post itself, it was because according to what I had read on other blogs, it was a 'bad' post. In preparing for the start of my blog-writing, I read a LOT of blogs in an effort to discover the 'tips' for writing a great blog. And one of the 'rules' for blogging I read over and over again was 'Make sure the post is only a couple of paragraphs long, otherwise it will be too long and readers will lose interest.'
My post was at least two pages long. So I stared intently at the screen trying to figure out a way to shorten the post to 2 paragraphs, and still tell the story I wanted to tell. After 4 days I realized that it couldn't be done, and hit 'Publish Post'.
Just like that, my blogging 'career' began by breaking the blogging rules. And I have to admit, it felt damn good!
I've been thinking about this recently because I'm really struggling to find 'new' blogs that get and maintain my interest. And I wonder if part of the reason why is because so many new bloggers are following the 'rules' of blogging. In 2005 and 2006, we didn't have Copy Blogger and ProBlogger to tell us the what the 'best' way to blog was. We all had to make our own rules, to a great extent.
But now, there's a zillion blogs giving you 'Ten Steps to Creating the Perfect Blog". Hell I've written those posts myself. And on the one hand these do definitely improve your blogging, but at the same time if everyone is following the same format, then it becomes MUCH harder for a blog to stand out.
Another example of purposely not following the blogging rules was the Z-List. This was the thing that first got me on a lot of people's radars. The premise was absurd to some; Take a list of blogs you think are under-appreciated, then invite everyone else to add their own favorite blogs and share the list. With one BIG caveat; You can't add your OWN blog to the list. Even though my blog wasn't on the original Z-List, I ended up gaining a few hundred links from the Z-list, and a few other blogs got several hundred.
So while you are following the 'rules' for better blogging, don't forget that you can always make and ADD your own rules. That might be the most important blogging rule of all.
Pic via Flickr user atibens