Introducing The How To Be A Crappy Blogger Series

They say to write what you know, to take your experience and do your best to help others with it. Well, if there is one thing I know, it’s how to suck at blogging. While things are picking up, it’s taken three years for things to start heading in the right direction. In truth, my illustrious blogging career is littered with missteps and outright mistakes and considering the goal of this site is to help people get better, it’s time I come clean about everything I’ve done wrong along the way.

As we enter a new year, I’m betting that several of you are just getting started on your own blog or possibly rededicating yourself to your writing. I wanted to start this series with the hope of helping you by sharing as many of my own mistakes as possible. I will also be looking to drag a few friends over to the site to share some of their own challenges as they got their own blogs off the ground.

Starting a blog is just about the easiest thing you can do; setting up your own self-hosted site is now easier than ever. So easy, in fact, that we are almost always stacking the deck against ourselves when we jump in. Blogging is easy, blogging well is hard, and succeeding with a blog is improbable at best. It’s going to take time. It’s going to take you in directions you never expected. It will force you to learn new skills and new things about yourself. Worst of all, you’re going to have to accept the fact that no matter how many posts like this you read, you’re going to make plenty of your own mistakes and you’re going to make them publicly.

So tune in tomorrow as I jump into my first mistake… just jumping in. And if you’re feeling generous, give a guy some courage and tell me some of your missteps as you started on your own attempts at blogging in the comments below.

14 Responses to Introducing The How To Be A Crappy Blogger Series

  1. I started my blog three years ago to chronicle my experience writing my novel. What I discovered was that no one really cared whether I was writing a novel or not. But when I started in late 2010 to show how Windows Scrivener worked in the beta version that’s when traffic picked. So the lesson I learned is to offer something special that will keep readers interested and informed. 

    • It’s funny how the thing you tend to start out writing about rarely sticks. How we start too small and too personal. How in your case it wasn’t the novel but the process and in my case it wasn’t the work I was doing, but the overall improving that was needed to create the work.

      Finding that balance of what I want to write about and you’ll (both you specifically and the royal you) be interested in is really the name of the game…

  2. If you set your goals low enough you will never be disappointed. 

    Reality – I had zero expectation when I decided I would be a ‘blogger’. Everybody said how hard it was to get traffic so that is what I expected. Here I am 9 months into this thing and I have been in the bonus round for quite some time. I could be much smarter, but I don’t do SEO, keywords, linkbait or anything; all I do is engage and write. Just showing up is something I do real well. 

    I’ve seen it all (well, not all) but I can just about predict who will get traffic or not most of the time; the writing is important but really only one leg of the three legged stool. 

    People have different measures of success; but for what I’m doing I feel I have been very successful. Others might think I’m just wasting my time and it’s all just ‘fools gold’. All I know is I found what is sustainable for me and one thing I’m not doing is out there chasing…….

    I will be interesting to see what you considered missteps. 

    That’s my story today and I’m sticking with it. 

    • I was actually debating this a bit with Derek Halpern over on Marcus’ site the other day. I actually think one of the biggest mistakes is starting with goals (no matter how low). It’s one thing to have intentions and hopes, but to set goals before you’ve ever really done this for a while has always seemed crazy to me. Don’t get me wrong, I did it. I had soft goals, but I had no idea what I was talking about or what to aim for and they only ended up setting me back rather than pushing me forward. 

      I’m finally getting to a point where it is interesting to set some goals, but like you (even though I got there later), things really fell into place when I stopped writing for goals and just let myself write. I also feel like I’ve gotten comfortable enough that whatever goals I set won’t get in the way of what I’m looking to say. Then again this could all be fodder for my future I’m Still A Crappy Blogger series :)

      Out of curiosity (and no pressure if they are personal) what are your measures of success? Have they changed over time?

      As for the fools gold thing, I’m sure others see my writing as that as well (especially when you consider that it isn’t tied to a business model), but the personal rewards and the naïve hope that I might help someone else with similar challenges have always been the basis of what makes this worthwhile for me. Then again, that’s the good fortune of this not being my lively hood…

      • Like you, my blog is not tied to my business model. However, I am sensitive to the fact my business community could actually read this blog, so you will probably never see me get too far out there with what I post; but it will be me.

        My primary measurement of success is when somebody other than my mother stops by and comments. When someone tells me it made them laugh, smile or think then that is icing on the cake. I am more than willing to share with others what has worked for me. 

        Social I can do, and I thought that was what we were supposed to be doing in here. Little did I realize more people than not are using this solely as a business platform and therefore their social tendencies might be different. 

        At the end of the day, it is still about people so if I treat others like I would want to be treated, this seems to be a good guide for me. 

        • Very true, but like you. I’m still willing to say a few things I probably shouldn’t. Surprisingly, it’s brought me closer to my professional network. Sounds like our benchmarks are similar (although I won’t like, I definitely look at the numbers as well).

          And for the record, that sounds like it’s a very good guide. I’m always torn on the social vs. business side of it. Probably hard to truly know what I’d do if it were my business platform. All I know is that finding that balance can’t be easy.

  3. Write, write, write and write some more. You can build your community around you as you go. Not kidding around with this one. That method works. It is slower than others but you will find greater loyalty among your readers.

    • That definitely got me to a certain point (and a damn important one where I could write and deliver with consistency), but at a certain point I needed to hone that in a bit and write, write, write and write some more about something. Once I kept up the pace, but focused the topics things improved significantly for me.

  4. “Succeeding with a blog is improbable at best. It’s going to take time. It’s going to take you in directions you never expected. It will force you to learn new skills and new things about yourself. Worst of all, you’re going to have to accept the fact that no matter how many posts like this you read, you’re going to make plenty of your own mistakes and you’re going to make them publicly.”

    Amen to that brother.

    Looking forward to the series man. :)

    Marcus

    • Thanks! Been looking forward to throwing myself under this bus for a while now :) I’m actually going to pull a lot of that conversation between Derek and myself into the post on goals… Thankfully that means it’s already likely more than half written :)

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