I find it incredibly odd that anyone asks me for blogging tips. Certainly I’ve been blogging a long time, that much is not debatable, but my first blog was a sarcastic anti-blog used primarily to elicit as much horror out of the readers (who were our friends) as we possibly could. If you think I’m profane now, you should’ve seen me back then.
(this is me, in front of a fucking tree, assholes)
(this is me with CATS with frickin’ LASER BEAMS under a tree, assholes)
Anyway, here’s my yearly list of ways to be a better blogger. (see also: Blogging for Dummies)(Blogging For Dummies Deux) and (Blogging For Dummies Part Number C)
Feel free to ignore them all.
1) Forget about the numbers. I know how tempting it is to obsess over your stats, painstakingly calculating your unique visitors every day, closely following your subscriber count and The Twitter followers. I’m not a numbers person (just like I’m not a geography person) so to me, ignoring them is Easy-Peasy, but I know others are. Every other Tweet in my stream seems to be begging for more followers.
But here’s the down-low on blog statistics: they’re only a guess. And? They change dramatically depending upon which blog statistics tracking program you use.
I happen to use some geeky program The Daver installed which allows me to occasionally track the odd search terms that bring people here (sweater kittens and boring things always at the top of the list). For awhile, I hosted my blog with some crappy company that ALSO gave me blog statistics. And? The two were COMPLETELY different numbers. It’s likely that if I started looking at blog stats with ALL the programs I could find, I could average them out and MAYBE THEN get a better picture.
But that sounds like a shit-ton of work. Work = bullshit.
2) Don’t get all hot and bothered if you get lumped into a group of people. If you have a vagina and a blog, you’re probably going to be called a “Mommy Blogger” whether or NOT you have crotch parasites gnawing on your legs.
When I first started Mommy Wants Vodka, I was infuriated that I’d been called a “Mommy Blogger!” How DARE they! I thought furiously to myself as I blogged, occasionally telling stories about my kids, occasionally not. Fuck that, I thought as I clacked out a post about my vagina, how DARE they insinuate I am nothing without my children! I am more than my children! I am a PERSON!
It took awhile, but I realized that people will always slap a label on you – sometimes good, sometimes bad – and my anger was unfounded and, quite frankly, kinda dumb. I can let my blog, not the label, speak for itself.
Which brought me to Number Three:
3) Don’t take everything so fucking seriously. Take your blogging seriously and write the shit out of whatever it is you’re going to write about, but stop making every little thing into an outrageously Big Fucking Deal.
It adds stress and will eventually alienate readers. It’s one thing to be mad some of the time; but outrage! at! everything! gets old.
Life’s not always such serious business. Relax and enjoy it.
4) Blogging is important. It’s really easy to minimize what you do with your blog. Hell, I’ve done it time and again. But at the end of the day, your words all matter. Maybe not today or tomorrow, but someday, people will stumble across your words and find whatever it is they are looking for in them.
In the past two years, I’ve met at least four families who have received the diagnosis of “encephalocele” (generally, prenatally) and have stumbled here to read about my daughter. Those words I hastily pecked out while writing Amelia’s Grace have provided a light in the darkness for them.
I can’t place a value on that.
So even if you’re writing a blog about knitting or cooking; know that what you do matters. All of it.
5) Blog because you enjoy it, not because you think it’s going to make you rich and famous. It doesn’t matter if you’re writing for an audience of 5 or 5,000, enjoy the time you spend blogging. I spend many, many, many hours every day writing, blogging, and working on my sites, and I couldn’t be happier.
Do I make a lot of money? Absolutely not. Thanks to my profane (whore) mouth, I scare off potential advertisers. But you know what? I’d rather write as Your Aunt Motherfucking Becky than as Aunt Becky Trying To Be A Famous Money-Making Blogger. I do a little freelancing, sell shirts and and ads on this blog in order to pay for servers and other boring things on my other blogs, one of which, Band Back Together, I intend to turn Non-Profit. Mostly, I run them at a loss. Which is fine with me.
Bloggers who do make it “big” are an unusual flash in the pan, not something that happens to everyone who gets a kicky URL and a great idea.
6) Be careful who you get into bed with. Your name, your blog, your unique voice and your audience all mean a lot. Be wary of those who want to take advantage of it.
You don’t have to be all distrustful or anything, just make sure to read the fine print.
What are your suggestions for being a better blogger, Pranksters?