It is a truth universally acknowledged that there are rules about blogging. It is less universally acknowledged what they actually are. Whenever I read rules of how to blog, I realise that I don’t follow them. So here, to celebrate my 301st blog post, is my take on How to Blog.
1. Be focussed. They all tell you this. Focus on doing one thing really well. This blog is very focussed….on….erm….well, there’s the Christian bits, and the being a priest bits, and the devotional bits, and the walking bits, and the sewing and the knitting and the
brambles gardening and the pondering and the rants and the …… as blogs go, this one is focussed on the world of Rev’d Claire. Does that count?
2. Build your follower numbers. Get them hooked, keep them coming back regularly. The ones who wrote this rule don’t realise that anyone sticking with this blog is far too intelligent to be hooked by a gimmick, whether that takes the form of flattery or special offers. It does make me wonder what special offers I could make – join me for a walk, puddle jumping, bramble hacking? Read one post, read another one? The mind boggles.
3. Post regularly, schedule your posts. I tried this once. Didn’t like it. I write my blog posts as they occur to me. I might occasionally leave one for a few hours, but mostly I write, check spelling and grammar, publish, then correct the remaining mistakes. If I know I won’t blog for ages I try to say so. But when I publish a blog, it gets tweeted and put on Facebook – what more do you want? You, lovely reader, enjoy a bit of spontaneity now and again. And if you don’t, you visit here according to your own schedule, not my random one, or that of the perfect blogger.
4. Link to other people’s blogs, so that they’ll link to yours. No way. I link to stuff that I enjoy, is useful, challenges me, teaches me something, or that I might want to refer to again. Same for my blog roll – it’s blogs I enjoy reading. If people want to link to me, that’s great, and I can think of a couple of “blog conversations” that have been both pleasurable and productive. But I’m not going to scratch your back so you’ll scratch mine.
5. Interact with those who comment. Ah, yes, here’s one I approve of. I often don’t do it on the blog, it happens regularly via twitter and Facebook, more seldom by phone and face to face. But I don’t interact because I want you to keep reading, I interact because you are human and have been kind enough to acknowledge that I am too.
6. Circulate links. Yes, I do that (although I’m trying not to tweet too many Janathon links because that’s a more specialist thing, and most of you aren’t that interested that I’ve walked about a mile in about 20 minutes, knowing that the only variable is the number of puddles I’ve fallen in by mistake). But these days, it’s no more than 2 shouts. Unless I really really think it’s worth reading, in which case I’ll do a third the next day. Maybe.
So instead, how about Rev’d Claire’s Rule of Blogging
1. Write about what you want, whatever interests you.
2. Write when the mood takes you. Conversely, if you can’t think of anything to post about, don’t post.
3. Please yourself, not other people. This isn’t a book you are trying to sell, it’s a corner of the internet.
4. Feel free to tweet a link to what you have written.
5. Enjoy it – if you don’t, no-one else will!
And finally don’t try to write “Thank you” posts to coincide with those special numbers unless you always remember birthdays. Thank you very much for dropping by, it’s a pleasure to blog with you.