Penelope’s Guide to Blogging
A blog is a great way to figure out what you want to do with yourself because writing regularly is a path to self-discovery. And a blog is a great way to build a network of people who respect you for your ideas, so it is the perfect tool for helping you to attain your goals and dreams, when you know what they are.
And, this pretty much covers everyone, right? The super-focused and the super-lost: You should all be blogging.
So here are some tips for helping you to get started, and some tips for helping you to keep going, when blogging seems too hard. (And you know what? Every single day it seems too hard for me. Writing is not easy for anyone, especially the people who do it well.)
Easiest instructions for how to start a blog
1. Ignore buzzwords.
RSS, SEO, AdSense, Technorati, Digg. If you have a buzzword buzzing in your head and you’re not sure if it belongs on the ignore list, assume it does.
2. Pick a topic you can change it when you know what you’re doing.
This is like dating. Pick something that seems good, and if it isn’t, try again. Don’t get hung up on topic. As in dating, you’ll know when you’ve found one that’s the right fit. (…more)
How to use links in your blog
Blogging is a conversation, and it is much more fun if you are part of it, instead of just talking at people. One of the great pleasures of blogging is linking to someone who I don’t think knows that I read their blog. A link to someone is like saying, “I really like what you’re writing and in fact, I want to share it with everyone I know.” (. . .more)
Blogging is essential for a good career
To escape the entry-level grind, you can either pay your dues, working up a ladder forever, or you can establish yourself as an expert in the world by launching a blog. High-level jobs are for people who specialize, and hiring managers look for specialists online. (…more)
Don’t waste your time worrying about typos on your blog. Just post.
Will everyone please shut up about the typos on blogs? Show me someone who is blogging every day and also complains about someone’s typos. Just try. See? You can’t. Because anyone who is trying to come up with fresh ideas, and convey them in an intelligent, organized way, on a daily basis, has way too many things on their plate to complain about other peoples’ typos. (…more)
Reality check: You’re not going to make money from your blog
Almost everyone should forget about making money directly from blogging. It’s so unlikely that it’s a total waste of your time trying. I am actually shocked at how ubiquitous the idea is that blogging is a get-rich-quick scheme. Or even a get-rich-slowly scheme. It’s not. (…more)
Linkbait: Trying to get big bloggers to link to you is stupid. Just write good posts.
The posts I spend weeks and weeks writing, and I put my heart right on the page, and I give advice that I really know is true, those posts do well. They get lots of links and lots of traffic. Which means the real linkbait is an interesting, useful, well-written posts. (…more)
And one more thing. I have found that if I am nervous to post something, if I think I might look bad or reveal too much or give advice that people will hate, these are the posts that people care about, because they further my connection with people and further the conversation we’re having, and connection and conversation are the crux of linking. (…more)
Writing about a co-worker is similar to writing about a sex partner: you know a lot about the person, both good and bad. So you could ruin your relationship by writing about them. So you have to get good at writing about co-workers without pissing them off. (…more)
How to get your blog mentioned in print
Bloggers are generous with advice about how to get mentioned on blogs, but what about the other way around? How do individuals bloggers and nonbloggers get mentioned in print? (…more)
Blog ROI: Consider measuring the success of your blog by if it improves your sex life
I got an email from this guy who told me he thinks I need a friend on a farm. (…more)
Blog under your real name, and ignore the harassment
A lot of people ask me if they should blog under a pseudonym. They ask me because I started writing under a pseudonym eight years ago, and it ended up being such a mess that I turned it into my real name. So I advise everyone to start out using their real name. Here are the reasons why. (…more)