How To Kill Your Blog In One Easy Step

The only thing more fun than disagreeing with your enemies is disagreeing with your friends. It happens from time to time, and when handled well, it almost always leads to a great conversation and a better friendship1.

Yesterday my buddy Danny Brown offered up a quick and easy list of ways to kill your blog… ten of them in fact! There’s lots of good stuff there and I suggest you go read it, but here’s the thing… There is only one true way to kill your blog and that is not to be true to yourself.

Maybe I’m crap rationalizing because I’m guilty of 5 out of 10 things on his list2. Maybe I’m sticking my tongue out at the whole thing because if there is a “right way” to do it3, then I’m probably not interested in doing it at all. But if I’m really being honest, I’d just rather get it wrong being me than getting it right while playing by the rules.

Danny makes some excellent points and he gives you some solid things to think about, but none of them are going to make or break your blog4. The hard truth is that best practices don’t always5 lead to best results. Be you, unrelentingly so, and see what happens. Even if that happens to go against every tried and true tactic there is.

At the end of the day, you don’t want to forget about the audience and you want to make sure that your site is readable, usable and sharable. Just don’t ever let the rules make you lose site of why you really started writing and what you are really trying to say. Once that happens, then it really doesn’t matter how easy you can make it to share and read the garbage you are putting out there. Because it’s only a matter of time until your site is dead.

  1. Or no friendship, but really, what kind of friendship was that in the first place?  

  2. For those keeping score, I’m guilty of 1,2,5,6 (although I disagree on pictures) and 7.  

  3. And don’t give me that, “There’s no right way, there’s only a wrong way” nonsense. If you think there is a wrong way, you probably think there is a right way too.  

  4. Except for the copying your own crap bit, that’s just plain lazy.  

  5. Or even often.  

16 Responses to How To Kill Your Blog In One Easy Step

  1. Do I even know you? :)

    I see your point – the thing is, though, there are many bloggers who say they’re true to themselves, and are anything but (hell, we’ve banged heads with them a few times, mate). Yet they’re still enjoying success and large readerships.

    Perhaps the “true to yourself” mantra only works when you can still see your feet past the ass kissers…

    • No, but I read a post that told me you are supposed to find a c-list blogger and talk crap about them. You seemed to fit the bill.

      And if you read what I wrote, you’ll notice I said, “lose site of why you really started writing”. To a certain extent it will (or should) always be about what you set out to do rather than what you’re doing The tactics, the content, even the ass kissers will change, but if you lose site of that core reason for putting yourself out there, you really are lost.

      • I’ve heard of that dude, @dannybrown:disqus didn’t he used to have a series on Lifetime TV? I think there was a recent piece on ‘whatever happened to’ but nobody knew…………or cared…………a sad day indeed…….just sayin’…………..

          • Actually – you guys got it all wrong! Danny Brown is the dude who wrote the book on DaVinci’s Code and a bunch of other stuff on Angels and Demons 😉 Hehe.

            As for being true to ourselves – you’d think it was an easy thing to do. After all – it’s so much easier to be yourself than to try and be someone else. Just think of all the hard work and head aches in trying to mimic or pretend to sound like someone you’re not and say crap that you don’t believe in.

            But hey…what do I know?! 😉

            Great read Micheal and needless to say – your point is spot on!

            Have a great weekend. Cheers

          • No, no, no you’re thinking of Angels In America with Al Pacino, you know… The guy from analyze that with Billy Joel! I dont know, I think many get scared to death at the idea of being themselves. It’s a lot of pressure. Way easier to be someone else and see how it goes! P.S. I think you might know a thing or two about a thing or two, just sayin’

  2. Hey Michael, a man after my own heart. I haven’t played by a single rule; that’s not to say some of the stuff I’m doing is outside the lines, but so far all I have done is engage. Up to this point I couldn’t tell you what keyword is better than another, however my tits and ass post seemed pretty popular, albeit a little sketchier crowd than I was used to.

    Could I be smarter and more strategic; absolutely. Does all of a sudden being ‘smart’ about all this make me lose sight of who I really am? If so, at what cost? Arm, leg, soul? You tell me………..

    Thanks for sharing. Yes, you can evolve but I personally know some fellow bloggers in my opinion have lost sight of who they really are. If it’s a success model for them, then more power to them. It just made me wonder how genuine they were in the first place. You don’t think Danny will read this do you?

    Just kidding DB, you da man; I know, I know, just ask you right? 

    The both of you, have a great weekend.

    • Oh, I’m sure most of my coloring is outside of the lines, but I can’t help but enjoy the way the picture is turning out thus far. I just can’t help but feel that the “smarter” you are about it the father you get away from what you are trying to say. Don’t get me wrong, I think guys like Danny handle this balancing act well (and don’t worry, he doesn’t know how to read… none the less read this).

      That’s an interesting thought… did some lose their way or was that what they were looking to find…

      Have a great one!

    • It’s very true. Although sometime’s it’s fun to do it without class :) Conviction and even moreso, intention on the other hand, are necessary ingredients. That’s one of the things I love about John Gruber’s Daring Fireball site, he has this great philosophy of it being his one place on the web to control every pixel the reader sees.

  3. Have I commented here before? Consider yourself blessed with my awesomeness. :) I have to be myself. I can’t be anyone else. I may want to be like Danny, or Gini or Seth…but I am Nancy.

    On the flipside they might want to be me, but they can’t. We have to be who we are because if we are not, we lose everyone. Most of all we lose ourselves.

    My boyfriend is still mad at you – I still need a good jewelry gift for my birthday :) Help him out Michael.

    • I think you have, but either way I certainly consider myself blessed. I’d love to be Gini or Seth or even Nancy too (not Danny, I wouldn’t even wish that on Danny). 

      Nothing to say to that middle bit but amen! 

      As always apologize to the boy and send him my way! Thanks for the awesomeness!

  4. ‘There is not right way to do it’ love this Mr Schechter. Best practices always made me smiled. What works well for one doesn’t work for another. You don’t use pictures, so what? Another cool guy name Godin doesn’t either, guess what he is still using a site, image? Read any blogging site and they will tell you to self host. ‘Ah but it’s Seth Godin’ I can hear you say. Exactly his right way might not be mine.

    The part about being true to ourself is hot air. We are all ‘authentic’ and true to ourselves, we can’t hide it online. Our actions speak a lot louder than our words. That means that if we speak about community, then we need to show how we care about our community on our blog. If we don’t then we have indeed be true to ourselves. We are all authentic. 

    • Better yet, I think he is still on TypePad! One of my favorite podcasts is Merlin Mann and Dan Benjamin’s Back to Work. In the first bunch of episodes they always ended up saying, “That’s fine for Merlin” when others would excuse why the unconventional wouldn’t work for them… As long as it is thought through and intentional, I’m a pretty big believer that there is no wrong.

      As for the being true to ourselves, I’m not sure that’s what I’m saying here (in fact, we very well may be saying the same thing two different ways). I agree that it’s pretty damn hard to hide here on the web, but still think that many try. That there is a way you are supposed to act or supposed to write. I think it’s much more a matter of being honest with yourself than it is your audience. Note, I didn’t say authentic, I said be you. There is a big difference between those two things (even though they sound a lot a like). 

      There are a hell of a lot of unhappy people out there who are so busy being “authentic” that they’ve even managed to fool themselves…

    • Saying what it took me in a paragraph NOT to say in sentence: I agree that it is hard to hide who you really are online, but it’s even harder to actually be who you really are.

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