30 August, 2011

Blogging 101

I try not to preach. I try really hard.
A little because I don't sound nice when I'm preachy,
But mostly because I know how I react to preachy people and posts.

But since I started blogging I have had certain Great Realizations, some on my own and some from Spiff (which I found to be 200 'parsant' true) and I thought I should share; might be of use to those who are just starting out. Maybe they can steer clear of those mistakes that I thoroughly plodded through like a big, fat buffalo on rampage.

Anyway, coming to the point, there are two three parts to it -

The Writing Part:
1) Be honest in your posts. Readers can detect fakers a mile away. You don't have to over-dramatize everything just to make up a good post. And don't attempt abstract nonsense just to sound intellectual unless abstractness is your forte and you make perfect sense.

2) Write about something of common interest to readers. Even though blogs are a place to express yourself, nobody wants to read about how you brush your teeth in the morning and how many times you yawned in advanced history class. Unless you have a blog and followers which/who are exclusively dedicated to your life and times in which case, it's o.k.

3) Please do a grammar check before you post, you don't want to sound illiterate to the world, do you? And running a spell-check  is pretty simple too, so DO it. N 4 gawd's sak plz don typ lik dis n da blg - annoys the shit out of everyone. It's called text language for a reason.
Also, don't type whole sentences in capitals. It hurts the eye and the page. Use bold html tags.

4) Include pictures in the posts. RELEVANT ones. It helps break up boring text into digestible bits - says almost every blog-advice site. Heed if you want to be read. But this does not give you the license to go crazy and include like ten pictures for every three lines you write (unless you have a photo blog).

5) Reply to comments. DO reply. Readers don't comment because they are entirely jobless and have no lives. They comment because they like your work and want you to know they appreciate it. Acknowledge that. Even if you are the most popular blogger on the planet, reply. For without readers, you'd just be another person talking to himself.
Also, don't comment and leave a link JUST to increase your traffic without even reading the post, you'll only repel the blogger.

6) And for HEAVEN'S SAKE remove word verification on comments. This is a personal request as well. I comment on a lot of blogs and it makes it really painful. I don't see the point either. If you don't want direct comments, enable moderation. But please, NO word verification.

The Technical Part (even if you are a tech-geek, don't ignore this part)

1) Take pains to learn how your blog works. What comes from where, goes where et al. Blogger and WordPress both are very, very customize-able platforms. Learn a wee bit of HTML code, exercise common sense and you can work wonders for your blog. Customize, customize and more customize.

2) I recommend strongly that you pick one address that you are completely happy with, one name for the blog that makes you pat yourself on the back for your exemplary creativity every time you think of it and forget about changing it. EVER. You'll lose readers otherwise. Trust me I speak from experience.

3) I know templates are aplenty and us, writers, are a dissatisfied and easily bored lot but try and stick to one template for at least six months at a time.

4) Don't crowd your homepage with widgets. They might be cool but they take away the attention from the post itself. Keep it simple. Or atleast pick put those which are complimentary.

5) Make sure everything in your blog fits a certain theme, your theme. By everything I mean, color combinations, lettering and such. And please don't ignore alignment issues.

6) If you don't want to experiment on your blog as such, create a tester blog and use it as a lab rat.
Also, try opening your blog in different browsers. They tend to have technical glitches where everything seems fine to you while your readers can't see shizz (remember a very recent time when my blog was black and entirely too difficult to read?)

7) For God's sake, make sure your page loads fast. As an owner of a blog that loads like a snail (and doesn't know what to do about it), I strongly recommend that you do WHATever it takes to load the fastest. There is no bigger put off than a slow webpage.

The General Part:

1) Don't copy. I can't stress that enough. Respect yourself enough not to copy.

2) Don't be egoistical to admit someone else's blog is wayyy more awesome then your's will ever be. But take pride in your own niche as well. The key is to find the balance.

3) Don't be rude. If it's meant to be funny and a lot of people find it funny, it's ok. But telling your readers that you are better than a the whole lot of them put together, might not go down well with them.

4) Don't blog about current issues unless you know what exactly is going on and you are some kind of authority on it. Opinions are o.k but updates and newsy posts are not. Readers get those from far more authoritative sources then you.

And most importantly, be genuine. When you compliment, mean it.
Popularity comes second. Integrity, first. 

Happy blogging, y'all:)
Veteran bloggers, anymore? Let me know.

P.S: I don't claim to be an expert. This is from one learner to another.


  1. I finally found a nice name for my blog. Bazinga! was okayish, but this is better. It'll be the final name, what say? :)

  2. I agree with the word verification part. :D for the 'opening your blog in different browsers. And copying is such a disrespect for oneself, and an insult to the person from whom you are copying as well.

  3. Great advice! I think a lot of new bloggers will benefit from this :)

  4. wow useful tips!! Now I know whom to make an admin at our blog :)

  5. Hello Priyanka :P

    I am sure these tips will come in handy for amateur bloggers like me ;) :D Please keep them coming. And reply to my comment, WITHOUT fail :D

  6. hmmmmmmm....
    this makes sense, but still, I feel blogging is something very personal, can not be defined in rules.. I would rather like my blog to be the way I am, not like the way I should be :)
    but yeah, this again is my opinion on the subject.


  7. I so agree with the 3rd point in the writing part.. Sadly i'm so used to the texting language and end up using so much of it and i'm trying my level best to improve upon that...
    And i couldn't agree with you more on the word verification part! its soooo annoying and sometimes the words they use for verification are so hilarious! :P
    Its just imposssibblle for me to stick to one template! I get bored so easily! :|

  8. I agree with every single point! I hate it when people don't bother replying to comments.. I mean its ok the first or second time, but every single time?!?! And word verification.. seriously i dont understand the need for it.. like you said moderation is a better option!
    Am going to link this post in my blog!

  9. @ Sushmit, Blogwati = awesomness :) No, seriously:)

    @ Vinati, :)

    @ Deepthi, and not with the rest?:P

    @ Hazel, hopefully:)

    @ maithili, :D wow, no don't go by this alone. Blogging experience also counts, but thanks:)

    @ Ashwin, ehg, you were blogging since before I was even aware of blogs:| So stop pulling my legs, yeah?:P

    @ aakash, these make it easier for our readers, that's all:)

    @ Viya, so nice of you:) I know, right?! I swear I got 'penile' once:D:P
    I understand completely. I changed almost fifteen times before deciding on this one and even now I've to sit on my hands to make myself not change:| But too much change too soon fails to give your blog a homey feeling na, that's why:(
    Try a monthly template, you could even make a post out of it:)

    @ Chandana, :)) coming from a veteran like you, it makes my day:) <3

  10. I love visiting yous blog. :) I suck at putting pictures. MUST learn *makes note to self* :) :)

    Informative post. :)

  11. Okay word verification removed from my blog :)

  12. An informative post with useful tips....in fact these are the small errors which we don't look at.

    about word verification i have the same opinion its really of no use as far as i understand, so its better to avoid...

  13. Hey, thanks for the pointers, makes a world of sense to rookies like me. Will surely try to incorporate some of the pointers into my space asap. After all advice from veterans doesnt come very often now, does it.

    Cheers :)

  14. This was a great post... Must read for all bloggers... BTW I just realised I do blabber away a lot about my day to day activities on my blog... But maybe that's coz I don't write anywhere else.. :/ ...

    Ohh and even I hate the word verification on comments... pretty annoying... humph! .. I don't understand why people have a tendency to adopt someone else's style of writing or for that matter copying... It's like they don't have their own identity.. Ufff!!

    All in all you've given some great advice... Keep going.. :)

  15. yeah I totally agree with you.. blogging should not be commercialize in a sense where the writer writes just to attract more readers. It must have some substance.

    Weakest LINK

  16. never thgt abt making a tester blog.. hmm gud idea!!

  17. That's really so informative. I kept cross-checking on each point regarding my own blog. Thanks a lot. :-)

    By the way, I checked my blog settings whether I had the word-verification on. Thankully, I hadn't. :P :D

  18. Oh my gosh this is so so so true!!!!
    "I comment on a lot of blogs and it makes it really painful. I don't see the point either. If you don't want direct comments, enable moderation. But please, NO word verification."
    Love this bit of advice, ESPECIALLY when the comment box doesn't open on a new page :)

  19. Exactly, but I think that word verification is a necessary evil to avoid spam. But added approval/moderation even after verification, that lets me down, a little bit :)

    Blasphemous Aesthete

  20. Agreed. =D

    Especially about the word verification thing.

  21. @ Srinidhi, pictures brighten up the whole thing, that's why:) And thanks milady:)

    @ SUB, glad it does:)

    @ Soumya, THANK YOU:) *hugs* You have NO clue how much difference it'll make to me atleast:D

    @ IRFANUDDIN, thank you, hopefully they'll help.

    @ Atrocious Scribblings, most welcome, I mostly wish some'd told ME before I tripped all over them:)
    And don't call me a veteran:D I'm hardly close...
    But thanks:)

    @ confused soul, day-to-day is just fine if you have interesting tidbits:) Really. It's only the monotonous 'i woke up and fought with my bf and am upset and my bff is a bitch' routine that should be avoided:)

    I know. Lameasses, I tell you.
    Thank you!

    @ Rachit, exactly my point. The whole point of the blog is lost when you start losing track of your priorities for writing.

    @ Ginger, it is:) I have a very abused tester :P

    @ Shobhit, most welcome, glad I could be of use:)

    @ cricketfreak, wv's getting to everybody I guess:D

    @ BA, AH, so THAT's what word verification is for, sorry for being so dense:|

  22. I seriously learnt a lot from this one post. Like, I might have done some idiocies myself, but this post will really be helpful. Another reason, why I like your blog :D

  23. I like this post Peevee...totally agree with you on the grammar and more so the text language. I refuse to read blogs with text talk! Agree on word verification too. And as for having a template for 6 months...no way do I do that. I get bored and change in a couple of months.

  24. i feel guilty...my laptop is not wimme and i am faaar away from it...and havent been commenting on the comments i receive...so guilty i feel! :(
    Loved the pointers! I hope i have been adhering to them!

  25. Really liked this one. I had no idea that you could change word verification and yes I will follow some of your advice on my own blog and I didn't know people liked to see reply to comments. I thought It was just idiotic me who went back to all the blogs to see if repies had come.. :) Thanks for all the info..

  26. pretty freaking good. :)

    Maybe they can steer clear of those mistakes that I thoroughly plodded through like a big, fat buffalo on rampage. ha. why did i actually visualize a bullfight? :P

  27. It's true...i do ignore certain things, like I don't remember whether I have word verification activated on my blog or not.. but soon i ll update that...

  28. Priyanka, you are so so so correct, I can't tel you how much. I hate Captchas too, I mean seriously, if you don't a little verification, enable moderation, what is this thing with word verification, and copying is such an untouchable, You've put some serious work into this :)

    Nice, nice, nice :)

  29. Alright ma'm, word verification removed. :) I actually hadn't realised that I have it on.

    And you know, I've actually un-followed some bloggers who don't bother to reply to comments. Once or twice is fine, but after a while, the indifference is quite annoying.

    Pictures.. hmm.. will put in more of an effort towards that. :)

  30. @ MSM, thank you so much milady. And now that I have discovered your pretty name, I don't feel like calling you MSM anymore:|

    @ Psych Babbler™, thank you:)
    In the end, it's to each her own, I suppose:)

    @ Red, don't, you reply almost always na. not replying once or twice is ok, I suppose.

    @ Sunitha, glad it helped milady, and yes, we LOVE to see replies to our comments, esp people like me, who check back religiously:)

    @ Raj, thank you:)

    LOL, only one buffalo involved *pointing at self*

    @ Chetan, most welcome:)

    @ Serendipity, and it's appreciated, making it all the more worth it:) thank you!

    @ Spiff, madame, DOES NOT apply to veteran bloggers. There's a reason why your blogs are popular:)) But thanks anyway for taking the darned thing off:D

    Me too actually:D I didn't quite want to say that:P
    Please do:)

  31. the buffalo has become a bull you see after crossing all the obstacles. now one gore of its horns and the obstacles plummet beneart its feet. :)

  32. You mean, "Don't be egoistical to NOT admit someone else's blog is wayyy more awesome then your's will ever be." Sorry, couldn't resist. Just 'from one learner to another' :)

    'Make sure your page loads fast'. Something to think about for me.

  33. @ Raj, not there just quite yet:) But getting there, one day.

    @ Kirklops, :D touche.
    And me as well, just that I don't know what exactly I can do about it..

  34. Wow P, very useful stuff.. cudnt help agreein with u on a lotta counts..extremely useful post :)

  35. Hey informative post for newbies like me :-)
    Thank you.
    I hardly have ever used a picture/image on my blog for the poems or quotes. I should start off on that :-)

  36. a post worth every line... good advices for the newbies... superbb work.


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