Lots of bloggers produce those lists of "things you should do to build a better blog," and they usually boil down to consistently writing high-quality content that people will not only want to read, but will also feel compelled to share. While that's good to know, that's easier said than done, isn't it? Blogging is hard work. And it can be hard to build a new blog from the ground up--I think some new bloggers get totally discouraged because they think if they were already well-known before they started blogging, they would have had 594, 657 page views by now! But a lot of us have no choice but to blog anonymously (for me, it's because right now I've decided my writing needs to be kept separate from my law career), and so we have to have our writing speak for itself since most people don't know the person behind the keyboard.
That said, sometimes it's easier to know what NOT to do than to have a checklist to follow when starting up a new blog. So without further ado, here's my list of what not to do to make your blog fantastic:
- Make your writing as whiny and full of complaints and negativity as possible. Don't just make it an occasional post--constantly write about your pet peeves and how frustrated you are with life and how everything makes you grumpy. (I know some people whose blogs really are like this--not too fun to read!)
- Make sure that your blog is not user-friendly at all. Have it be completely cluttered with gadgets and ads, and make sure people aren't going to have a clue how to post comments, or where to find the archives.
- Disable all comments so that no one can respond to your posts (exception: sometimes doing this once in awhile for particular posts is necessary). But the point of a blog is conversation and interaction with your community of readers. A blog should be the Internet version of a coffee shop, not a lecture hall. People want to be able, metaphorically, to get their caramel macchiato and be invited to stay and chat for awhile.
- Be sure to write only once every few weeks or months. (Most people take unproductive blogs off their Google Reader subscriptions pretty fast, unless the content is so good that it makes it worth a long wait.)
- Give up when it's been 6 months and your stats indicate that you still only have 6.7 readers. For one, many, if not most, readers use RSS feeds or follow blogs by email, so the times they are reading may not be included in your statistics. What's more, Google Analytics shouldn't destroy your self-esteem. Write if it brings you joy, no matter who reads or who doesn't.
- Never write about anything remotely controversial. While you don't need to feel compelled to dive into political, social, and moral debates all the time, contributing to big debates is one thing that will make people want to read your work.
- Only pull material from others (like quotes and links) without ever producing any of your own.
- Never edit your posts.
- Never comment on other people's blogs or websites.
- Lose sight of why you're keeping a blog in the first place. Why this is something you should NOT do: you've got to remember your ultimate goals with blogging so you'll stay motivated to keep doing it even when it's difficult. I write to inspire other people, to glorify God, and because it's something I love to do.