Traits of the trade

For many years, I have given out basically the same advice to blogging newbies: read carefully everything I do, and then do the exact opposite.

I would, of course, be remiss if I didn’t mention some of the other advice out there, especially when Stacy McCain picks up on it and finds those passages most pertinent to his operation. And since McCain gets way more traffic than I do these days, I’m betting that (1) I can find something useful in that advice and (2) I don’t necessarily have to repeat what he says.

So, then, to Diana Adams’ “22 Traits of Successful and Happy Bloggers.” She’ll tell you up front that the list is not meant to be all-inclusive, which is a good thing from my point of view, since most of my traits are barely printable, let alone linkable.

This one I probably should keep around as a reminder:

I read my articles at least ten times before publishing them. It’s important to follow the accepted spelling and grammar rules. Successful bloggers are also meticulous editors.

From my point of view, one distinct advantage of rereading the piece before it goes live is that I never have to read it again. Regrettably, I don’t always catch every last error, though I’m generally quick to issue a fix.

There will be ups and downs in your blogging. You will have good days and bad days. You will have days when you just want to quit it all. Your commitment will carry you on those “off” days.

It also helps that I usually have a couple of pieces in the can, so if the words simply won’t flow, I’ll just change the date on one of those, and no one will be the wiser, except for that one time when I made reference to the trick-or-treaters last night in an item that was published in January.

It’s critical that your thoughts and what you are trying to communicate actually get to your reader in the way you intended. Communication can be tough because sometimes humor and little sayings that might make sense to you only confuse your reader. This is an important skill to develop.

Not to worry. I developed the skill to confuse the readers many years ago, and I get plenty of practice.





9 comments

  1. Dominic Small »

    7 August 2010 · 7:33 am

    I’ve recently got into the habit of pre-writing and editing my blog posts for MySpace – it means they can be less rushed, better researched, and I can include/exclude material prior to the post going live.
    However, it’s also had the unpopular effect of allowing me to be massively more verbose, pumping out epic rants upwards of eighteen paragraphs at times. I really need to be more balanced – as anyone who’s had the misfortune to actually chew their way through one or more of my posts would agree!

  2. Tatyana »

    7 August 2010 · 8:30 am

    She describes a job, not a pleasure.
    She must be an English major, with no other money-making occupation except regularly chiseling out “articles”. Is she in marketing?

    Actually, I don’t wanna know.

  3. CGHill »

    7 August 2010 · 9:15 am

    My rants seldom rise to the level of epic, but if they acquire enough length, they’re spun off to the Vent area, where 4k of late is about the minimum.

  4. Teresa »

    7 August 2010 · 11:41 am

    I always enjoy reading these articles on “how to blog” – I love a good laugh.

    It comes down to having a talent for communication. Some have it big time. I don’t.

    I figured out long ago that while I like to blog I will never be someone who attracts a large audience of readers. Don’t really care. If someone reads my stuff and likes it – that’s good. If they don’t, they go away and that’s good too. If I had to take lessons on “how to blog” I would never have started. (some might say that would have been a very good thing LOL.)

  5. CGHill »

    7 August 2010 · 11:58 am

    There are communications skills of the nonverbal type. Photography is one that lends itself particularly well to this format, even if the equivalence doesn’t necessarily work out to number of pictures = number of words/1000. I am a fairly average lensman at best.

  6. Lisa Paul »

    7 August 2010 · 12:10 pm

    Unfortunately, what separates a good blog from a great blog can’t be taught. Your wit, ability with a turn of phrase and inexhaustible store of references — literary, pop culture and/or obscure — are amazing. That’s what makes you a great blogger.

    (And, no, it’s not sucking up if I’m not asking for anything in return!)

  7. CGHill »

    7 August 2010 · 12:17 pm

    To take a stab at Tatyana’s point: Rather a lot of people do hope to turn a buck from this activity — far more than actually ever will, of course — and to the extent that this becomes work, it helps if that work is as pleasant and as efficient as possible.

    That said, the number of people worldwide who survive solely on blog revenue would probably fit in a conference room at a Comfort Inn. And they’re probably there right now, discussing ways to monetize their social-media activities.

  8. Tatyana »

    7 August 2010 · 1:06 pm

    One of main attractions of reading blogs to me is their distancing from commercialization. Pure enthusiasm.
    Once I detect a whiff of ulterior motive (making money on my coming there and reading the author’s material…often it’s not even HIS material) – poof, and I’m gone.

    I have one exception, but that’s a design blog with multiple collaborators, some of them – professional designers. I read them, out of professional solidarity (and sometimes curiosity); some commenters are in fact, bring a lot of useful info to the topics discussed, and that’s my reasons for browsing couple of back pages there, every once in a blue moon.

    But generally – I detest being used on false pretenses.

  9. Andrea Harris »

    7 August 2010 · 3:37 pm

    So I go to Inkrebels.com and the first thing to hit me in the eye is a big headline saying: “the biggest mistakes in Blog Marketing and how to avoid it.”

    “Marketing.” Uh huh. Not interested. I back-clicked without reading the article, despite the fact that I agree with Teresa that these “how to blog” things are generally good for a laugh. But I have my limits.

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