This week I gathered some of the conflated and oft conflicting advice for would-be bloggers in my inaptly titled post, Ur Doin’ It Wrong!. To my surprise and delight, Teresa Nielsen Hayden dropped by to dispense some good advice. To wit:
As far as I can tell, the weblog rules that matter are:
1. Have good content. If you’re good when you stick to a specialized subject, then write about that. If you’re good at a broader range of subjects, that’s fine too.
2. Update frequently. Monday morning is the most important time to have a new entry up.
3. Don’t publish lackluster articles just to have something new. Frequent posting makes people who are already reading you more likely to come back, but dull, slack, hackneyed, or error-ridden articles make readers go away and not come back at all. Bad writing can do a lot of damage fast.
4. Use clear, simple, declarative titles on your articles. That’s all your RSS subscribers will see. If they can’t tell what the article is about, they’re much less likely to click through and read the whole thing.
5. Make yourself easy to find and link to. A name and an email address are good too. You don’t have to use your full legal name, but you should give people a way to get in touch with you.
6. Go ahead and optimize your site for search engines, but please understand that there’s only so much it can do. Good content is far more important.
7. Cherish your good commenters. When one of them says something smart, promote it to the front page. Everyone wins.
8. Kick out the jerks and trolls. They cost you far more traffic than they represent or bring in. While you’re at it, always clean out comment spam as soon as you spot it.
9. If you want people to link to you, link to them first, and say why you’re doing it. This is far likelier to convince the blogger you’ve linked to that you are a person of superior taste and perception. Also, never fail to credit a link you pick up from someone else.
10. Don’t blog to make money. Blog because you love it. If you keep loving it, and your readers love it too, start thinking about selling ads.
Good advice, all of it, and I’ll be passing it along to my new school of blogging folk, even as I endeavor to follow it myself.
Have *you* got any great advice for newly hatched bloggers? By all means, join the conversation!