You’ll love it and hate it.
It’s rewarding and frustrating.
You’ll see it as a good investment of your time and a gigantic waste of time. All in the same week.
You’ll want to give it up and think you can’t live without it.
Welcome to the world of blogging. Can we sign you up?
I started this blog back in 2010 with my very first post. Since then, I’ve posted hundreds of articles and had thousands of comments and conversations. I’ve experienced every single one of the things mentioned in the first paragraph of this post!
If you are reading this, you’re either new to blogging or you want to get better at it. In this post, I’m sharing my top 5 Tips to becoming a better member of the blogging community. I’m not talking about writing better posts. I want to help YOU become a better blogging person! The tips I’m sharing will make your blogging experience more rewarding. Interested? Here’s is my advice:
1. Follow and Read Other Blogs!
I have a basic commandment I live by: If you follow my blog, I’ll follow yours! It is a courtesy that makes blogging fun. If someone likes your writing enough to actually follow your blog, they must have some redeeming qualities! Follow them back. You don’t have to agree with their point of view or be interested in the topics they write on. This does two things. It guarantees that you will get some very interesting posts in your feed! Some of those posts will even get you to engage in a discussion with the writer. It will also encourage another blogger. We all feel better when we discover that someone values our writing enough to follow it.
2. Like Other People’s Posts
You spend a lot of time pounding out your thoughts on a keyboard and then sharing them with the world. That is the nature of blogging. Write it out, hit send, wait and see what happens. We all have something to say. That’s why we write. One of the MOST frustrating things about blogging is that sometimes, nobody notices. I’ve spent hours on posts I felt were life changing ideas. Posts I thought would crash the Comcast servers because of all the comments. Then you only hear crickets. That’s frustrating.
When you read an article by some one else, drop down to the end of the post and at least like it. You can pretty much “like” anything. I “Like” articles I disagree with if I think the writer did a good job presenting his ideas. By doing this, you are making the blogging experience better for another blogger, and becoming a better blogger in the process!
3. Comment On Other People’s Posts
We all have something to say and you don’t necessarily have to say it on your blog! Believe it or not, the comment section is there for a reason. Use it. I think I speak for all bloggers here: We LOVE comments. They give us an opportunity to interact with other people and hone our own thoughts. I especially like comments from people who want to challenge my conclusions. It fosters healthy debate and makes everyone enjoy this whole blogging thing a bit more.
Commenting on other blogs does at least three things. First, it encourages another blogger. That is more important than you might think. A lot of great writers quit because they think nobody is listening! Comments can change their outlook.
Commenting on other posts often leads to other people finding and following your blog. That is a second benefit. To be clear, I don’t comment on other people’s blogs to make this happen. But I have found that it absolutely does happen! If you want more traffic to your blog, start commenting on other people’s posts. Period!
The third thing that happens when you comment on other blog posts is that you end up making friends and having some great conversations. THAT’S what makes blogging a lot of fun.
One of my favorite blogs is called Restless Pilgrim. It challenges my world view! He’s Catholic, I’m a Protestant who has wandered far, far, far from home! Who am I kidding, I’m a heretic. We have great conversations about theology and early church history, which is the kind of stuff I like and write about. He does too. David comments on my blog and I on his. I am not sure who interacted with who first, but whoever did, made blogging a lot more interesting. I have lots of stories like that and you will too if you “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
4. Respond To Those Who Comment On Your Posts
If someone is engaged enough with your writing to comment on it, it is a good idea to at least acknowledge it. Thank them for their comments, interact with what they said, especially if they are challenging your conclusion. Think about it this way:
Your post started a conversation.
His/her comment keeps the conversation alive.
If you say nothing, the conversation is over and who wants that?
When others comment on the comments I leave on their site, it makes me want to follow their blog. It encourages me to see what else they’ve been talking about. When my comments are not even acknowledged, I typically don’t come back to their site. I am not alone on this one. Ideally, blogging is a conversation and many of us won’t waste our time with those who don’t want to converse. Don’t be that person!
5. Strive for Clarity Not Agreement
This won’t be a big deal if you write a cooking blog or something along those lines (if you do check out my world-famous On the Border salsa recipe. Yes, it is all over Pintrest but it truly started here). However, if you write an opinion blog this is a MUST!
The fact of the matter is that people will disagree with you! Don’t beat those people down trying to get them to agree with you or beat then up for simply disagreeing. Instead, seek to understand where the disagreement lies, consider the opposing point (it is at least theoretically possible that you hold the wrong view. Unless you’re not a Calvinist, but I digress :)) and discuss it cordially! Some of the BEST discussions on this site have been with those I disagree with. At the end of the day we simply say “I understand your point, and I simply disagree with it” or “You’ve given me a lot to think about!” What could be better?
Blogging is a lot of hard work and it can be a lonely endeavor at times. But it doesn’t have to be. Put some of this friendly advice into practice and watch what happens. May this year be the year you become a better blogger. See you in the comment section!