How to Blog

Writing a blog is like being stranded on a desert island, writing a message, putting it in a bottle, and throwing it out to sea, except the island is the entire earth filled with people, the message is electronic so it technically doesn't physically exist, the bottle is one of trillions already in the sea, and the sea is a black hole.

But it doesn't have to be that way.
I haven't been blogging long, but I'm learning, and I'll share what I know with you.

Blogging takes time. Lots of time. They say you should post at least once a day to get noticed. That's an admirable goal, and here are two ways to achieve it:
1. Install an app for Blogger on your phone. Whenever you have a brilliant idea, write it down and post it. You can always go back to edit it later.
2. Stuck at work, the boss is watching, and you are craving to blog? Remember, this isn't Twitter. No one needs to write it right away. Do this: write the post in the body of an email (it looks like you're working) and send it to yourself. Done!
Blogs don't have to be long, so, as Nike says, just do it!

A few tips on retaining an audience.
1. Be nice! Snarky and sarcastic is only funny for so long. Positively toned blogs do really well. People find them uplifting. Remember, people turn to blogs when they are bored/distracted/alone. Make them glad they came!
2. Get personal. Make the blog about you, even if it isn't. If your readers get a sense of who you are, they'll come back to learn more about your unique personality. You're writing a blog about something that obviously interests you, so show your audience why you, personally, find it so fascinating that you had to tell the world. Even if you are blogging about your peanut butter sandwich, we want to know!
3. Cross-platform. Don't blog in isolation. Your blog should be complemented by your Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google, and other accounts. For example, I try to put events on my Facebook page, long descriptions on Blogger, and linked photos on Pinterest. Not only does this drive traffic your way, but it also gives readers a way to navigate your life, your mind, your world. (Full disclosure: I haven't figured out the value of Twitter yet, but it's on my to-do list).
4. Use photos. This one seems so easy, but how many blogs have bored you with long text? Throw in a few pictures of your peanut butter sandwich, with closeups of that shiny jelly. Mmmm...
5. Teach something. People love to learn new things. If you write a "How to" blog, chances are someone out there will want to know how you did it. Google searches often start with "How to..." so it's a good way to get found. (Notice my complete lack of statistical backup. Yeah, I'll research it later.)
6. Do it for Fun. If writing a blog is slog, maybe you're doing it for the wrong reasons. Pick something you care about, something you would talk about freely when under the influence, something you would think about if you were trekking across a desert with no food or water, or something you think people should know about. I've seen videos on YouTube of people in Japan painting seats inside tiny model airplanes. There something for everyone out there. Make it yours.
7. Don't be discouraged. As I write this I have one follower and I'm damn glad to have it. It could be a year before anyone finds you. Look on the bright side: that gives you plenty of time to build content. The nice thing about a blog is that they get better with age. Not only is there more content, there are more chances to show up in searches, more followers to collect, and even a higher chance that you find your stride. So keep writing.

Blogging is like shooting for a recording contract by singing for strangers on a dark train. Keep singing and someone will find you.

What have I forgotten?

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