Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Advice for Prospective Bloggers - Part Two

This is Part Two of a list of advice for starting your own blog. If you missed it last time, read Part One.

4.       Show Thyself
                Show us your face. Even though blogging exists in the realm of ones and zeroes it still is a method of personal communication. If you don’t have a picture of yourself on your sidebar, make sure you regularly include yourself in pictures. People like to see people. Make it personal. Come to think of it, I think you should even create an “About Me” page.

5.       Understand the Format: Brevity and Beauty
                Blogs are not books. They aren’t even lengthy articles. It is tempting to write long posts either because you think readers will enjoy it or because you aren’t good at editing your writing. I’ve made this mistake before. I put a bunch of time in one long post only to find it feeling inordinately protracted. Think about the format here: it’s a blog. It’s more like a coffee table book than an essay. In the blogosphere, concise writing coupled with clear and attractive photographs is much more readable than a wordy tome. I better stop here or I will be violating my own rule.

6.       Be Honest – Not full disclosure but transparent
                It’s tacky to try to impress people with how talented you are. Just be yourself and people will enjoy it. I have found that my readers actually enjoy periodic posts that include my wife or kids. I never would have imagined but I get more comments about Eden than hand planes. It was then that I realized I valued learning about the lives of other bloggers.  Imagine if Peter Follansbee never shared about his wife and twins? It would be a different blog for sure. One caveat: There is a fine line between being transparent and being narcissistic. Tread carefully.

7.       Be Regular
                The beauty of short posts is that you can afford to write frequently. Think of blog reading like grazing rather than gorging. Frequent, brief posts providing a glimpse or thought from your day or elaboration on previous writing is much more digestible and leaves readers room for another course. Besides, frequency helps you hone your writing skills.

This is the end of Part Two. Part Three soon...


  1. I constantly struggle with #5. One of the hardest lessons for a writer is figuring out how to say what you want to say in as few words possible. It is one of the reasons why I submit articles for the End Grain section of PopWood; it forces me to write something under 400 words. For my blog, I currently shot for between 600-700 words. After a while, I'll try and drop it down to about 500. Small steps.

    One blogger I really enjoy is Geremy Coy. He says more in 10 words than I can say in 200. He was on a blogging hiatus for a while, but it appears he has picked up again... http://www.geremycoy.com/blog/ Might want to check him out.

    While I have a low number of people who comment, I try to respond to every one of them when possible. If they felt they had something important enough to say that they posted a comment, then they deserve a response. At some point (maybe?) that might be too much. I don't know... I write as much for me as I do for readers, so I don't do too much to actively expand my readership.

    I enjoy the blog, Joshua. Very motivational. Congrats on the little one, by the way.

    1. I agree with Ethan about responding to comments.

      I have to say that I comment on other blogs a lot more now that I am a blogger.

    2. Geremy's blog seems nice. Talk about minimalism! Nice photos for sure. Interaction is key... You're right, Ethan. I (like Brian) have begun commenting on other blogs a lot more since doing it myself!

  2. I'll agree with the commenting comments. Also really appreciate #4. I know a lot about some bloggers even what their kids and house look like (that sounds creepy) but would be hard pressed to find them in a lineup (or a conference) I like this series, even if I'm getting to it late.