The quintessential indispensable guide to successful blogging (and cheeseballs)

In case you’re wondering what’s up with my publishing speed of late, I am finally off work! Yes, that evil work from hell and I couldn’t be happier about it. I am back open road, my old friend! Just this Monday I got an SMS from my successor and she is telling me that she intends to resign this week (after a mere two weeks in a company I stayed at for 8 months) and that the other new gal (who replaced everyone else of my team who have also resigned with me) already resigned last Friday. Ahahaha! If only I could shed a tear for my former bosses but sometimes karma hits the right people.

Anyway, I noticed that I have been entirely too unserious with my blogging of late, so today I intend to fix this by giving quintessential blogging advice after receiving an email from Sam, a silent longterm reader who approached me about how to best establish a successful blogging venture. Now, back in the days I would’ve felt horribly unqualified to answer such a question and just have redirected him over to Larisa, who always offered the best of counsel mixed with some genuine, motherly peptalk. Truth be told, I still feel rather awkward to share my “wisdom” on something I still consider trivial at its core (not the art of great writing mind) but then again, I have been a steady blogger for 2.5 years now with 300ish posts published – so why the hell not?

Of course, the internet is full of serious blogging advice by very experienced individuals. These days you can hardly get a word out before being confronted with “becoming a great blogger” and all the fatal “do’s and donts” of publishing – and rightly so! After all, this is the new journalism and we need to imitate that crowd. So, I can definitely see why some people are intimidated to start their own blog, no matter how long they’ve toyed with the idea. For those, let me guide you on your road to guaranteed successfullness.

The lofty art of SRS blogging

Dear Sam and everyone else it concerns,
I hate saying it but while blogging ain’t rocket science, you gotta know your stuff these days. You wanna stand out among one billion gazillion bloggers out there, don’t ya? Well, you better follow this guide meticulously. It really isn’t so hard (or scary) if you follow few easy steps!

Rule #1: Be overbearingly present!
If you intend to start your own blog, you better know that it’s not enough to write good articles regularly. Make sure to also get accounts on facebook, myspace, google plus, twitter, tumblr and youtube right away – the more, the better. NETWORKING NETWORKING NETWORKING! If you wanna up your traffic, your presence gotta be inescapable!

Rule #2: Nomen est omen!
Naming your blog is serious business. Further down the line to fame and success, you might hate yourself for not having given this proper thought and then it’s too late! Think hard on something fresh and catchy that represents you and sticks with people, or don’t open a blog at all. Ever. 
Good example: a geeky/techie wordplay on your name and chosen subject.
Bad example: completely unrelated monkey business.

Rule #3: Limit your subject and be real!
The worst you can do to establish a big readership fast and harvest hits, is to write about too wide a field of topics. You want to be known for something, right? Even if you are a really interesting person with many different interests, try to focus and deliver one thing only. Also, avoid niche topics and meta analysis. Nobody wants to read a meta commentary blog on MMORPG design, for example. Trust me.

Rule #4: Guides guides guides!
The best you can do to keep’em hits rollin’ is writing guides. Might sound dry and boring to you, but nothing gets you street cred and longterm visits like a nice and detailed guide with pictures. Great writing and insightful debates are cool and all but….guides dude, guides!


Rule #5: Use catchy post titles!
You probably know how the google search engine works, so you want to make sure when people are looking for something they always end up on your blog! Intention means nothing but every hit counts! Try and make your post titles as search engine catchy as you possibly can. Add meta tags and work broad terminology into the mix! If you manage to weave “cheeseballs” coherently into any given post title, you basically got it down. Ninja!

Rule #6: Sound smarter than you are!
Make any given topic sound like an academic treatise. The art of spicing up the mundane lies in correct placement of a few superfluous but trendy or intellectual sounding catchwords the average reader probably won’t understand. Popular words include: “dichotomy, paradigm (shift), per se, oeuvre, juxtaposition” etc. Jep, any of those will do. Or better even, use them all!

Rule #7: Don’t swear!
You may never ever swear or sink to vulgarity in an article. Even if it’s really witty and in context, or alternatively just damn funny and honest, you do not want to alienate anyone by using bad words on your blog. Only unprofessional and shady people swear. In general, avoid being too extreme with your opinions; you don’t want to polarize – to polarize is to lose half of a potential audience. People only like strong opinions as long as they are theirs.

I will stop here because seven is a beautiful number. Also, these are really the most valuable points I can possibly pass on to rookie bloggers – points I live by myself every day. I hope I’ve managed to show that there’s nothing to worry about whatsoever as long as you heed a few simple, widely approved rules. If not, I’m afraid to say your blog’s gonna crash and burn and sink into oblivion.

Also, for Sam – please check my other answer in your inbox!
Best wishes,

Syl
(who is entirely guilty of using ‘per se’ when others aren’t looking. The Big Yin would not approve.)

16 comments

  1. Funny, when I read this post I found myself thinking: “Is it Friday? This sounds like something Syl would write on a Friday.” :P

    Your list of sarcastic blogging tips would be funnier if some of it wasn’t true! For example I’m not a big fan of guides myself, but they sure do bring in the hits.

    And I never realised using “per se” a lot made me sound pseudo-intellectual. I guess six years of school Latin skew a person’s perspective on these things. :P

    1. AW I was actually thinking that too – this is SO a friday post! but then, I live by the code of not “saving stuff for later” right now, so!

      the guides thing is something I never expected until it happened to me too. alas, it didn’t make me want to write more guides; I’d rather get comments on posts I spend hours of brainjuice on, but…obviously guides are USEFUL and have return value.

      and am not sure if any of these points are true. I actually wrote all of them in a highly critical and ironic tone. you don’t “need to” do any of them in order to be a successful blogger. much depends on what you want out of blogging and how you measure success. some of the most popular people on the internet swear like lumberjacks and avoid twitter like the plague. as for the manipulative post tiles…/eyeroll
      but then I am still of the belief that hits mean absolutely nothing (unless you monetize of course – and then they still don’t mean much), so call me old fashioned. I’m completely okay with most of these practices if that’s what somebody wants (I do some myself after all) but I dislike the guides out there telling you what the do’s and donts are.

      7 years here, omg – you too? grosses latinum? :D I love the excuse actually, am gonna copy you!

  2. Oh well, I guess I violate #7 when I provide conversation clips. ;-)

    Now that I think about it, however, I deliberately avoided a certain word in my last post because I didn’t want to be suddenly inundated with that sort of spam. You know, the work that begins with “p” and ends in “n”. (No, not ‘peon’.)

    1. I actively and consciously violate #7 regularly on this blog just to weed out unwanted guests and keep a most select audience. ^^

      and…now I must forever wonder if it was peen or porn, you meanie!

    2. The latter.

      I’ve discovered that the one time I make a reference to the Retardin, I still see search results for “retardin desensitizing cream” in our blog data.

      (And now I just gifted that to you.)

    3. Lmao..THANKS!

      I have “are u fucking kidding me troll leotards” among my greatest search terms – and I know where you live (your blog anyway!)

  3. I commented from my Android tablet at work and I thought I saw it was here but it’s not now so for what it’s worth (not much) I repeat it:

    “I think you just broke my irony meter”

    There. That sure was worth typing twice…

  4. Whilst playing a game of the video kind I became filled with trepidation and ennui. What if my loquaciousness inspired sturm und drang in the blogosphere?

    … yeah okay. I like using fancy words, but it can be real silly. =D

    1. lol @ sturm and drang!
      obviously as an ex-literature student and lover of all things language, I’m a big fan of great rhetoric. I go all weak knees when somebody delivers a particularly eloquent speech (even if it’s by womanizer Russel Brand – http://www.russellbrand.tv/2013/03/give-it-up/ )! :D

      but it definitely has a time and place or it gets distastefully pretentious rather quickly (especially when used in oh-so serious manner on the most trivial of stuff). big, complicated words are like very intense spices – you wanna use them with care or they ruin the entire dish.

  5. Syl,
    As usual, you’ve encapsulated this topic with grace and wisdom. I’m happy to note, too, that I do most of what you suggest, though #1 in particular has always eluded me. I’ve avoided social media in my private life, and as a result, and woefully behind in being able to navigate it in my “public” life. Perhaps a guide solely on how to use various social media to promote your blog could follow? I, for one, would be eternally grateful. (;

    Also, I’m surprised to learn that you’re not much older in blog years than I am. I have always considered you a long-term fixture (which of course you are, now) who was much older and wiser than I. Of course, the wiser is still true…

    Sincerely,
    Stubborn

    1. Stubborn!
      Ever is thy sight a joy – such a rare guest you have become on my blog. :)
      and indeed, our blogging ‘age’ is very similar I believe (maybe also the other one, who knows!).

      I am really not a specialist when it comes to marketing your blog and networking; I only joined twitter after 2 years and I don’t have facebook or google plus. I recently started my own channel on youtube because I enjoy capturing some game videos, and that’s really my personal recommendation to anyone: do what you enjoy. so, am not particularly professional with the networking myself, hehe. would love to see you on twitter sometime though! :)

  6. I have a history of being bad at detecting irony (hence my online alias Ironyca Lee) plus being a little naive, so I probably read further than most people thinking you were being a little obsessed with hits, derp derp.

    I am, by the way, so very guilty of rule nr 6. I don’t think I’ve used “paradigm”, but I have used “discourse” and “dichotomy” a few times.

    1. Don’t worry, it’s okay! ^^
      I offend almost all the points listed above – so yeah, this is fairly ironical hehe….that said, hits do become important when seriously attempting to monetize a site, which can be an interesting challenge. I certainly understand it from that point of view. I’m just not personally there (yet) with any of my own pages.

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