August 19, 2005

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Everything you wanted to know about blogging but were afraid to ask

Or what they don't teach you at Havard Blogging School

There are plenty of good guides to blogging and I was going to add my $0.02 to the pile. It's the thing to do once your blog reaches a certain age, and I figure turning one turning two is about the right time. However I'm going to break with blogosphere tradition of jumping on the bandwagon and instead present a collection of various appropriate links at the end of this post. What I am going to share with you is all the things they don't tell you about in blogging school.

1. If you want to start blogging and have huge amounts of traffic instantly I can recommend one of three things: be an established journalist/opinion maker; be Glenn Reynold's brother; or porn. Otherwise face facts: you've got an awfully big hill to climb.

2. Never get your brother to guest blog for you. Trust me.

3. Before you start, read other blogs and get a feel for what they are like. Then completely forget everything you've read and seen so you can establish a new and distinct voice that will get noticed. This also helps a common problem: a really sucky first post. Trust me.

4. Prepare for the reality that the rest of the world may not share your high opinion of yourself and your site.

5. You know that movie where the guy built a baseball field and waited for some dead folks to turn up and play ball? Blogging's like that. Prepare to slog at putting up brilliantly crafted, accurate and to-the-point insights that will proceed to make no difference to anything at all.

6. Blogs live for two things: readers and links (not in order). There is no blogger alive who does not religiously follow Trackbacks - if you don't have trackbacks (that's especially for you Blogger folks) then use Kevin's manual Trackback pinger. Link liberally and eventually someone might notice you. You can even said emails to bloggers telling them about your new site or post. Try and keep it relevant, but unless they are a mega-blogger most will read the email. Here's a handy hint: do NOT title the email "Cheap Viagra".

7. The big bloggers (in terms of readership, not size. I'm sure at least some of them are thin) are big for a reason. They fill a niche, they have interesting opinions, they've been doing it for a long time. Whatever it is, you need to realise that overnight success can take years to create.

8. Buy a lottery ticket. Sometimes luck plays a chance. If a big blogger stumbles across your site and your brilliant entry catches their eye, you could have it made. If the post that catches their eye is a blow-by-blow description of your trip to the corner store, prepare to keep dwelling in oblivion.

9. Join the Bear's Ecosystem and learn about Technorati. They are good ways of learning your place. If you're new, try sending an example of your work to the New Blog Showcase. Send entries to the various Carnivals and link-fests that float around. You'll often get a flow of traffic and some might even like your site enough to come back.

10. Bloggers aren't just lonely nerds typing furiously to no avail. They are people. You can even meet some of them. Just ask. Many turn out to actually be nice people. Plenty of nerds too, if that's your thing.

11. Once you've made it, it's important to give something back. For example, you should liberally link to and recall this blog and this post, which gave you your start and set you on the path to greatness.

12. If you think this blogging caper is a path to fame and fortune, give up now.

13. It's not fair. It never was and never will be. Deal with it.

14. There are some good ways to attract attention to yourself and your blog. These can be broken down into the following:
a) talk about your sexual experiences a lot. This works far better for women than men.
b) have something interesting and new to say. This works far better for those that understand the basics of English grammar.
c) quirky slice-of-life types who are actually quirky. This works far better for those that are interesting people in real life.
d) humour sites. This works far better for those that are funny.
e) niche sites. There may well be a strong readership for those interested in mountain goats. It helps if you talk about stuff you know about.
f) be an iconoclast. If you are controversial you are likely to generate debate and people will come back for another look. The important thing is to be coherent and have a rational body of thought rather than a series of random pronouncements.

15. Learn to spell or how to use a spell-checker.

16. Most blogs have comments, at least until they hit the big time. Respond or get involved in any comments you get. It's rude not to reply to conversations. Most blogs will get few comments on each post, while others will get many. If you want comments, start talking about your sex life a lot. Leave comments at other blogs. It reminds people how witty or smart you are and sometimes it will lead to visits to your own site. It's important to note that many of the comments you get will be spam. These don't count as real comments and it's not worth replying to them, unless you have an unhealthy obsession with online casinos, get-rich-quick schemes and cheap drugs.

17. You will get trolls. Some ban them; others alter their posts; still others leave their idiotic comments for all to see. It's a fact of life. Another fact of life involves birds and bees. You will also get spam. If you are going to put your email address on your website so people can contact you, spell it out; split it across two lines; include NO SPAM in the address; or anything else that is obvious to a human but not a spambot. Spam is like the French: it is moderately annoying but ignorable in small doses and a huge pain in the backside in big doses.

18. Following 14 (f), the iconoclast can generate good traffic by either policing a mega-blogger or big media (papers, TV, etc.) Be prepared for heated debate and keep plugging away, but if you've found something genuine you'll end up getting the whole blogosphere beating a path to your door. Or not. It helps if you ignore others who argue against you or come up with valid points. It helps even more if you indulge in extreme language and opinions.

19. Do something original. Come up with posts on the good news in Iraq like Arthur Chrenkoff and before you know if you'll be a mega-blogger and published in the Wall St Journal.

20. Follow this handy rule-of-thumb: start a blog using Blogger. If you are still at it after 3 months, get off Blogger immediately. It is not as daunting as you think and there are plenty of hosting companies offering cheap plans and differing software packages like Movable Type or Wordpress. Make the move.

21. The golden rule of computing always applies: back-up. If you are drafting a post, do it in Notepad or in an email that can get saved as a draft. Cut and paste it at the end into your blogging software. Sometimes the software crashes and takes your valuable post with it, and trust me, you won't feel like writing it again. This also lets you do something essential: proof-read. Consider a post like an email: if it's trivial a quick skim might be OK, but if it's a manifesto on all that's wrong with the world you'll want to take care with it. If the world's going to ignore you, you may as well it's ignoring something that makes sense.

22. The great thing about blogging is plagiarising is encouraged. That's why so many academics blog. The only trick is plagiarising needs to be accompanied by links back to the original...because links are the lifeblood of a blogger. So go ahead and steal.

23. Learn blogging etiquette. Blogging is like golf: you can cheat but you need to be polite about it.

24. If you're thinking of blogging from work, read this first.

25. It's your site so you can do whatever the hell you like.

26. Like all esoteric fields, blogging has plenty of terminology. I've used a lot of it here in this post. Trackbacks, pings, permalinks, blogrolls: know what they mean and how they work. Alternatively enjoy having your Mum being your only daily reader.

27. Time in the blogosphere is frighteningly fast. By the time you link something, it has already been done. There's nothing you can say that hasn't already been said, probably better and funnier too. The one time you do hit across a link or idea that hasn't been linked elsewhere, someone else will find it and get all the kudos. It's not fair. Deal with it.

28. The one time you put up a joke post or idea, it will immediately get massive attention and be taken seriously by far too many people. This is called the Overblog phenomena. One blogger's joke is another's insult.

29. Forget what your schoolteachers told you. Form matters more than substance. If your blog is a hideous pink colour the best content in the world won't get people coming back. Invest effort in your design, or get a pro to do it for you. People respond a lot better to good designs. The key is simple: if you think you right good stuff, keep the design simple. If you write cr@p, then use as many distractions as you can.

30. Just like in life, extremism beats moderation and emotion beats logic. If you want reasoned discourse prepare to dwell in oblivion. If you want invective and ill-considered responses, watch the hits come in.

31. A good way to publicise your blog is tell people about it. A good rule here is to ask yourself if you'd be embarrassed if that person could read what you write. If not, tell them about it. Just once, though. No need to turn into a stalker.

32. Many bloggers adopt an alias or nom de plume. There are many reasons why this can be a good or bad decision. Just try and choose a good alias. The blogosphere already has several Tom Paines. As far as I know it doesn't yet have a King Kong.

33. You will visit your own site a lot. Sitting in front of it constantly hitting the refresh key does not count as genuine hits on your site.

34. Checking your sitemeter every hour will not increase the number of visitors to your site.

35. Learn to insult creatively.

36. Logic and reason are for the weak. Knee-jerk and off-the-cuff reactions are for the blogger.

37. Blogs are the perfect diversion. They send you on more tangents than a calculus class. Just remember that when reading blogs time seems to go much faster than normal.

38. There is no great diversion than your own blog. You will spend hours getting the coding right, the format right, the content right, fixing links, trying to get readers, reading other blogs. You don't get paid for it. In fact blogging is the one game where the more successful you are the more it costs you (e.g. in bandwidth charges). It really is a sucker's game.

39. Blog is an ugly word but we're stuck with it.

40. If you crave hits then try this simple technique: think about important upcoming or potential events, and write a blog entry with an appropriate title. That way the search engines like Google will give your entry prominent billing when people start searching for that information. For example: if you title a post "John Kerry's love child", should it turn out he has one (and I'm not saying he does, it's just an example) then Google will deliver you more hits than a crack addict in a crack-house.

41. Just like real writing, sometimes bloggers are hit with blog block. There are three ways to deal with this. Firstly, talk about your blog block. Everyone else has, you may as well tell everyone why your creativity sucks so badly too. Secondly, just post nothing. Sure you'll lose the 3 readers you had, but it's best not to make them sick by posting crap. Thirdly, fight your way through it by posting crap. This could involve recycling old stuff you wrote in a desperate "best of" kind of thing or just keep linking to others until you get inspired again and can write stuff on your own.

42. The stupidest, most off-the-cuff posts tend to get the most comments.

43. A good way to get people to visit your site is to visit theirs. Blog owners check their referrer logs religiously and when they see a new URL in the logs, they go check it.

44. You will encounter plenty of ignorance in this blogging caper. Much of it will come from other blogs. However even more of it will come from your friends and family. Blogging is like renovating: you find it endlessly fascinating, but no-one else gives a sh!t. They are unlikely to have even heard of blogs. It is your job to talk their ears off about it. Bamboozle them, tell them how great it is, print business cards with the URL on it. They all think your mad already.

45. Once you've started a blog, encourage others to do the same. The purpose is two-fold: it will get you links from these newly established blogs AND if you're going to be rabbiting on about blogging to all and sundry, you may as well have other people to talk to once your friends and family disown you.

46. You need to face reality: p0rn works. If it's a meteoric rise you're after, starting including images and/or stories about that age-old vote winner: sex. It helps if you have a new angle (so to speak), for example sex and politics (the Wonkette/Washingtonienne route).

47. A good way to get traffic and links is to have a major life event such as a birth or marriage. Of course this will mean you get traffic just when you ease off posting because real life has intervened. That's the thing about blogging - it's got a solid sense of irony.

48. If you're looking for material, a nice long list doesn't hurt. Especially if you include lots of gratuitous links to others. Many people do "101 things about me" lists and provide a link to them. The toughest part about this is most people don't have even 11 interesting things to say about themselves, let alone 101.

49. So sometimes list need padding to make it to a nice round number.

50. Ignore all the conflicting advice you get, including this.

Now go and enjoy, because if you're not enjoying it then why the hell are you going to bother?

Listed here is a selection of some of the better hints and tips on blogging from around the blogosphere. If there's one thing bloggers like to talk about it's themselves, so this is by no means a comprehensive list. But like many things in the blogosphere the same points tend to get repeated ad naseum so this should cover most of the basics:

  • Jim's golden Rules of Blogging

  • Dean talks about both Blogging Etiquette and Blogging Tips. He also has an interesting way of thinking about blogrolls and traffic (both your own and others).

  • Kate on blogging and with more here.

  • John Hawkins has 11 tips for newcomers here, 3 cardinal sins here, how to create a blog and how to promote it. It's all good advice from an experienced blogger and webmaster.

  • Daniel Drezner's tips, more here, here and even more advice.

  • For a more humorous look, try Paul's Blogging 101, 102, 103, and 104. There's more than a little truth in each of these.

  • The Commissar's entire Blogging Category is a treasure chest of gems, for example his unified theory of blogging.

  • Living Room's How to blog is worthwhile.

  • Harvey has good tips for getting traffic plus his 12 step blogging program and Kevin talks about how to get an Instalanche (with Glenn's response here). Laurence explains how not to be seen.

  • Bill, who has the lessons he learnt the hard way, also explains how and how not to go about getting links via comments.

  • Keith Robinson's guide to good blogging is short and accurate.

  • A List Apart's writing guide is essential. If you're really keen read the Economist Style Guide - it has the added benefit of improving all your writing, not just blogging.

  • Gaping Void has a guide on how to be creative, although I'm not sure it's something you can teach.

  • If it's some heavy thinking on blogging that you're after, try Dan Gilmour's book We the Media.

  • Rusty has the Seven Deadly Sins of Blogging.

  • You can even get an ISSN for your blog.

  • UPDATE: I will continue to add links here as I come across them that add to this bibliography.
  • Amy has a comprehensive Blogging Basics guide.

  • Somehow I missed Kate's fantastic look at Schizoblogophrenia.
  • Says Uncle has advice here about blogging on blogging, here on blogotics. This also pointed me to Silflay Hraka's take on blog fishing.

  • Via American Mind Rebecca Blood has tips via a Q&A format (she wrote the book, literally).
  • James Joyner has alternative way to create a popular blog.

  • John Hawkins also has the pros & cons and the running of a comments section.

  • Phil Windley also has some good tips on starting a blog (via McGee).

  • Stephen Taylor adds some useful extra tips to this list (although I recommend rereading my point 28 too). He also has posts on Blogging Etiquette, building traffic and the 5 technical things he wished he done before starting his blog.

  • Zombyboy offers the rules he follows in his blogging.

  • Technorati's Blogging Basics covers terminology, definitions and elementary blogging.

  • Ted has compiled a great guide for reading blogs on your PDA and he explains how anyone can create a PDA version of their blog.

  • Laurence neatly explains how to not get traffic.

  • Dave Pollard looks at overcoming the Power Law and the keys to becoming a break-out blog. He also has 5 tips for improving your blog and another 5 to draw traffic. You can check his Table of Contents for a complete list of postings on blogging.

  • Evangelical Outpost has a great series on How to Start a Blog, the building blocks, how to become an A-List blogger and how to market your blog. Basically everything I've said here: not as funny but far more accurate.

  • Three pointers for those aiming to be a blogging rock-star.
  • Iowahawk has the product and guide on how to blog good.

  • Cowboy Caleb discusses how to build an audience for your blog.

  • 31 days to building a better blog.

  • NOTE: due to comment spam comments are closed. If you have something to say, please email to simon-at-simonworld-dot-mu-dot-nu Comment spam is the bane of a blogger's life.

    posted by Simon on 08.19.05 at 04:22 PM in the Blogging category.


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    Weblog: Albrecht Family Journal
    Tracked: September 7, 2004 11:59 AM

    Excerpt: If you don't already have a blog but are thinking of it, or even if you do have a blog but are interested in the whys and wherefores of blogging, have a quick read of "Everything you wanted to know about blogging but were afraid to ask". It's fairl...
    Weblog: pfish
    Tracked: September 7, 2004 04:50 PM

    Everything you wanted to know about blogging but were afraid to ask
    Excerpt: Everything you wanted to know about blogging but were afraid to ask is an irreverent look at blogging (mostly with the intent of promoting your blog and increasing readership and comments - not really a top concern with most edubloggers...
    Weblog: elearnspace
    Tracked: September 9, 2004 12:06 AM

    Truer words were never spoken
    Excerpt: Thanks for the reality check, Simon! As a new blogger, I plan on reading this post very carefully. In fact, this is something not just to be read, but to be mined.
    Weblog: Odd-lot Thoughts
    Tracked: September 9, 2004 09:37 AM

    The Blog U Syllabus
    Excerpt: Here's a neat idea - a single post with "everything" you wanted to know about blogging but were afraid to ask.
    Weblog: Micro Persuasion
    Tracked: September 10, 2004 07:32 AM

    Niche blogging (my journey into oblivion)
    Excerpt: "Apparently according to Simon (or maybe I should hope he's being facetious), being reasonable isn't a great way to get noticed in the blogosphere, nor is being polite. Among his list of blogging tips are..."
    Weblog: the smedley log
    Tracked: September 10, 2004 04:05 PM

    FAQ about blogging, PR and journalism
    Excerpt: A link from Steve Rubel got me into a wonderfully tongue-in-cheek description of Everything you wanted to know about blogging but were afraid to ask by Simon World. Tongue in cheek or not, it's a must-read. Got me thinking about
    Weblog: NevOn
    Tracked: September 10, 2004 11:47 PM

    Everything you wanted to know about blogging but were afraid to ask
    Excerpt: This is pretty funny, and accurate....
    Weblog: Cynical-C Blog
    Tracked: September 11, 2004 12:20 AM

    Unitiated bloggers ? This is for you !
    Excerpt: I've had the chance once to find Neville Hobson, a great Hollandish PR Pro who is always aware of the last great information ! And so, once again, thanks to Neville I've been discovering an article about blogging and the
    Weblog: Guillaume du Gardier
    Tracked: September 11, 2004 06:18 AM

    The Peril and Agony of Free Speech
    Excerpt: [Simon's] Guide to Blogging includes rules that almost seem tailor-made for this affair: ...extremism beats moderation and emotion beats logic ... Logic and reason are for the weak. Knee-jerk and off-the-cuff reactions are for the blogger.
    Weblog: Uriel Wittenberg
    Tracked: September 11, 2004 06:29 AM

    Excerpt: Ik had al een maand last van een kleine blogdip of blogblock. Ik kon me amper er toe zetten andere weblogs te lezen laat staan erover te bloggen. Al dat geneuzel dat er niet toe doet en de tijd die...
    Weblog: Ab logger
    Tracked: September 13, 2004 06:56 AM

    Everything you wanted to know about blogging but were afraid to ask
    Excerpt: This is a great little post I found just surfing from blog to blog. Honestly, I’m not sure how I even ended up there! I give you “Everything you wanted to know about blogging but were afraid to ask" at Simon World. Here are my five...
    Weblog: AlanBarber.Org
    Tracked: September 14, 2004 06:52 AM

    Everything you wanted to know...
    Excerpt: ...about blogging but were afraid to ask:
    Weblog: i-node one
    Tracked: September 20, 2004 04:48 PM

    Everything you wanted to know but were afraid to ask about Blogging
    Excerpt: Simon World has a good post titled Everything you wanted to know but were afraid to ask. Its got some great advice on blogging for anyone starting out....or continuing in blogging. Here is a couple of his tips: 4. Prepare...
    Weblog: ProBlogger
    Tracked: September 23, 2004 06:58 PM

    More on blogging
    Excerpt: Yet another person has offered his tips and expertise on the art of blogging. Simon World talks about how to get a great start with your blog. Most of this stuff really 'hit home' for me. It should more appropriatly be titled "The things Branille found...
    Weblog: Sit Down and Relax Weblog
    Tracked: October 20, 2004 01:48 PM

    At the Traktor Factory
    Excerpt: Some rules that the Commissar has observed from his day job. 1. Europe never has resources. 2. Any "one-time" event must be repeated monthly. 3. No source system can ever be changed. 4. No two reports of the same data ever match. 5. 'Account Open Date'...
    Weblog: The Politburo Diktat
    Tracked: October 22, 2004 07:54 PM

    Excerpt: The Revolution at Politburo Diktat is one year old this Oktober. Long Live Oktober Revolution! Inspiration The Commissar is greatly indebted to comrades at The Agonist and to the deity Allah for first inspiring him to blog. Strict Party Line adherents ...
    Weblog: The Politburo Diktat
    Tracked: October 23, 2004 09:38 AM

    The D'Oh of Blogging
    Excerpt: The D'Oh of Blogging being Various and Sundry Hints and Alarums For Those New to the Diversion of Blogging by Ghost of a flea, Esq. Some time ago I was asked to offer advice to new bloggers. Here are some...
    Weblog: Ghost of a flea
    Tracked: November 7, 2004 02:08 AM

    2004: The Year of the Blog
    Excerpt: And not just the year of my blog, either. I've been wanting to do a post like this for some time, and I guess the time has come. When I started this blog in November of 2004, I didn't have any real goals in was just a little experiment.
    Weblog: TexasBug
    Tracked: December 29, 2004 01:59 AM

    Another post on how to startup a blog
    Excerpt: It also covers trackbacks in small detail. (link here) A trackback is a link on someone else's blog that shows that you referenced them. Basically it's saying 'hey, I made some comments/analysis of this post, on my blog, and the post is here. I'm g...
    Weblog: Gibbie's Bioscience World
    Tracked: January 6, 2005 02:20 AM
    Excerpt: In this article, I found everything I wish I'd known back in 2001 when I was a fledgling blogger. :) There are probably a hundred links to other blog writers' articles as well.
    Weblog: Avalon Landing
    Tracked: January 14, 2005 02:10 AM

    Blog Block
    Excerpt: Who knew? I'm afflicted. From Simon World's excellent blog primer, Everything you wanted to know about blogging but were afraid to ask: #41. Just like real writing, sometimes bloggers are hit with blog block. There are three ways to deal...
    Tracked: February 1, 2005 12:34 PM

    Sidebars, blogrolls & why I blog
    Excerpt: This site is a work in progress; I'm pleased with the progress. Most recently I've been working on sidebars. On the left is my "Blogroll," powered by Blogrolling. It could use some arranging and sorting, but each and every one...
    Weblog: aTypical Joe: A gay New Yorker living in the rural south.
    Tracked: February 20, 2005 03:40 AM

    Great Articles about Blogging
    Weblog: Jan's Weblog
    Tracked: March 4, 2005 02:14 AM

    No Baby Yet. Thinking About Blogging.
    Excerpt: No baby yet. Went to the doctor today, and pretty much nothing had changed from last week's appointment--still mostly closed up but "looking promising". I was sort of hoping that the doctor's poking around down there might have jump started...
    Weblog: Parentheticals
    Tracked: March 11, 2005 02:09 PM

    Blogging Hints

    I find most beginning blogging guides useful in some way, even if only to remind me of best practices I already follow. Four blog entries about blogging are already on this site, yet new and i

    Weblog: Software Managers Resource
    Tracked: April 14, 2005 06:54 PM

    Blogging on blogging
    Excerpt: I only just started this blogging caper a week or two ago, and already I've discovered something incredible yet not-too-surprisingly post-modern: if there's one thing bloggers like to blog about, it's blogging. There are your ordinary blogs, sure, ...
    Weblog: From the Desk of Dion C. Detterer
    Tracked: May 3, 2005 05:45 PM

    Tips For New Bloggers
    Excerpt: I've only been at this new hobby for about two months and have recently stumbled across several blog sites full of helpful hints.
    Weblog: The Burr in the Burgh
    Tracked: June 3, 2005 01:00 PM

    The blogger and the journalist -- III
    Excerpt: Blogging is not a free for all, as some seem to think. It is still governed by libel laws. I'm not entirely sure how the little matter of jurisdiction is worked out but I promise to ask one IT law guru I know and post a short piece about it here. I wou...
    Weblog: Lost in Thought
    Tracked: June 7, 2005 06:52 AM

    Simon says
    Excerpt: Simon World, which has been called "Asia's Instapundit" is turning two years old on August 27. In preparation for his second blogiversary, Simon has re-posted...
    Weblog: Riding Sun
    Tracked: August 19, 2005 05:59 PM

    A Change is as Good as a Rest
    Excerpt: ... re-posted on Simon World, and point no. 38 strikes home with particular poignancy.
    Weblog: dreamsplinter
    Tracked: August 21, 2005 11:55 PM

    The awful truth about blogging
    Excerpt: Every so often someone writes a post giving tips on how to create a successful blog. Simon World has such a post and, for the most part, his advice is good. But the post itself is noteworthy and you should bookmark it because of Simon’s excell...
    Weblog: The Glittering Eye
    Tracked: August 22, 2005 03:18 AM

    Blogging and Power Laws
    Excerpt: The proprietor of Simon World compliled a huge list of blogging tips from his own experiences and those of other bloggers entitled, “Everything you wanted to know about blogging but were afraid to ask.” This caused Glittering Eye to tak...
    Weblog: Outside The Beltway
    Tracked: August 26, 2005 08:23 PM

    Blogging Advice
    Excerpt: Via James Joyner, I see Simon World has some excellent tips on blogging. I know it's been done a lot, but some of these bear repeating...and expanding upon:
    Weblog: QandO
    Tracked: August 26, 2005 10:36 PM

    Blogging tips
    Excerpt: Frequently, I get questions from other bloggers who are just starting out who want tips for how to get their blog name out there and noticed in the blogosphere, and also ask for general blogging advice.  I appreciate people asking,...
    Weblog: Sister Toldjah
    Tracked: September 18, 2005 02:26 AM


    50 points, but you said it all half way:

    25. It's your site so you can do whatever the hell you like.

    Oh, how the irony gushes..

    Inspired comment re: Spam and our Gallic friends!

    posted by: Wanbro on 08.27.04 at 04:31 PM [permalink]

    The best one there? Number 39. I absolutely loathe the word "blog" but weblog is so pansy sounding.

    Oh, and I usually don't get involved in conversations in my own blog's comments, mostly because I am not around my blog then. But now I feel I've been rude. So I must reply more. Right?

    posted by: Helen on 08.27.04 at 05:43 PM [permalink]

    Sweetness. First a site upgrade, and then this? See what happens when you have a kid....brilliance just ooozes.

    posted by: RS on 08.27.04 at 10:05 PM [permalink]

    Thanks for putting it all out there - the good, the bad and the ugly of blogging. I agree that the word "blog" is indeed ugly. "Glob" isn't any better. :-)

    Greetings from New York City... I found you via Oz @ G'day Mate.

    posted by: Cindy on 08.28.04 at 10:02 AM [permalink]

    This was funny and even funny. Good job!

    posted by: Mark on 08.28.04 at 01:43 PM [permalink]

    I meant to say, "This was good and even funny." Let this underscore your point about proofreading.

    posted by: Mark on 08.28.04 at 01:45 PM [permalink]

    Those are great suggestions, I found some links that I never seen before too. :)

    posted by: Mr. Dew on 08.28.04 at 11:58 PM [permalink]

    Excellent. Happy anniversary!
    And whenever you link to me, my ratings soar! Cheers!
    - Mark

    posted by: Mark on 08.29.04 at 08:25 PM [permalink]

    22. The great thing about blogging is plagiarising is encouraged.

    So I will. Many thanks for saying everything I think I would have said about blogging if I could have thought of it first. Excellent stuff.

    Expect a link some time this week.

    Cheers, Simon.

    posted by: Jakartass on 08.29.04 at 11:43 PM [permalink]

    35. Learn to insult creatively.

    Absolutely! If you're going to let someone have it, do it with style. Or, as Don Imus said in one of stand-up routines in the '70s, Swear with Flair. If I could do it half as well as Emperor Misha I'd be ha-a-a-ppy! :)

    posted by: Tuning Spork on 08.30.04 at 01:53 AM [permalink]

    Have only recently discovered your site, and enjoy it very much. However, I'm so glad I was too naive to consider any of these things when I started my own blog earlier this year; had they crossed my mind, I never would have started.

    I suppose there should be a whole other word for bloggers like me, who are really nothing more than diarists, or journal-ists (not the newsy sort), and nothing more. Would serve to make me feel less pompous than calling myself a 'blogger' and what I do 'blogging'.

    posted by: Jennifer on 08.30.04 at 06:33 AM [permalink]

    You forgot a blog basic. Have a family who read your blog daily (he never phones!) and comment. Great for the hitmeter and for scrounging up votes in ridiculous poles.

    Why not write a book Blogginging for Idiots. Photos and history of the family will be the first third. Your piece above should take up the middle third. The bibliography of your links should the rest.

    Donate the profits to the Save the Parents Fund. Address supplied.

    posted by: DA on 08.30.04 at 09:57 AM [permalink]

    Inspired! I thoroughly enjoyed this, Simon. Thank you for your words of wisdom -- the tongue as planted firmly in one's cheek while posting is my favorite!



    posted by: Emma on 08.30.04 at 11:37 AM [permalink]


    Great advice, but for me it's about a year too late.

    BTW, I fathered John Kerry's love child....

    posted by: Mad Mikey on 08.30.04 at 10:40 PM [permalink]

    You should have written this last year when I forst started blogging - don't think Iwould have ever started. But I guess because I didn't know "the rules" it was easy to play the game. Thanks for the info, I'll make sure to pass this on to newbies.

    The Mad Dater
    "Because there's a Bastard in all of us"

    posted by: The Mad Dater on 09.01.04 at 03:53 AM [permalink]

    what a great post! It's bookmarked and getting a thorough reading. I just started blogging about a month ago and still unsure where I want to go with mine. I've been frustrated with the inability to do trackback pings with blogger - now I have an option.

    posted by: squeak on 09.02.04 at 04:15 PM [permalink]

    I've been blogging for a year in China and Hong Kong and don't know from a trackback, much less a ping. I post few links, run no pics and have no comment access or counter.
    It's about as primitive as one can get. My one rule is to write as well as I can about what ever it is and let the words do the work. I don't compete, I don't argue with other bloggers, just go it alone and hope that someone enjoys it.
    As such I've had nice strokes from strangers as far away as Hungary, England and Antarctica as well as the usual suspects in friends and family.
    I kind of like it that way.

    posted by: Justin on 09.02.04 at 09:30 PM [permalink]

    another tool for those bloggers without much of a ping function:

    posted by: casa on 09.03.04 at 06:07 PM [permalink]

    One thing about blogging that you forgot is that to be a true blogger you have to have a cat. If you don't beleive it just check out the O'Reilly book on Essential Blogging

    or check out my old entry on Blogging and

    Note that everytime I mention the word cat, I have a new blog which features the cat of the owner.

    posted by: Terry on 09.04.04 at 05:38 AM [permalink]

    Great advice, and very funny at times.

    posted by: Graham Stanley on 09.06.04 at 06:20 AM [permalink]

    Laughed my head off, reading this!

    "Blog" is not even recognised by the standard spell checkers built in within blog software. About it being an ugly word, what the heck, I chose my blogosphere nickname as an anagram. Nothing beats "Gob - The Gobbing Blogger from the Bog". Pinnacle of ugly phonetics!

    posted by: Gob on 09.08.04 at 06:41 AM [permalink]

    Completely missed this over my vacation from the internet. It's perfect in every way and I love it.


    Checking your sitemeter every hour will not increase the number of visitors to your site.

    Why? WHY must that be true? It's so unfair!

    Oh. Hello, rule #13.

    posted by: ilyka on 09.08.04 at 11:08 AM [permalink]

    Ok, one day when I "have made it", I will link this article to my site. Until then...

    posted by: dr.muffin on 09.09.04 at 10:50 AM [permalink]

    Sweet links! and a great list. Following your advice on commenting on others' blogs...

    35. Learn to insult creatively.
    Do you bite your thumb at me, Sir?

    39. Blog is an ugly word but we're stuck with it.
    Never a truer word was spoken...

    posted by: Daryl on 09.21.04 at 04:04 PM [permalink]

    Checking my sitemeter every hour doesn't increase the number of visitors to my site?!?! I could have sworn I saw the number go up...twice...

    Nice post!

    posted by: William Bowers on 11.22.04 at 03:40 PM [permalink]

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