Here are some tips on how NOT to write a blog:

1. Don’t Post for Days in a Row: No one is interested in what you have to say so why say it as often as every day? People don’t like an ongoing relationship so be sure to keep them at a distance with unpredictable posts. There is no better feeling than to read the same thing over and over. Leave it up to whimsy, instead of reliability, to find you.

2. Pick a Boring Blog Name: There’s nothing better for a blog than choosing a name that no one gets or understands. Be obtuse. Make no sense. Don’t use your actual name in any way because that would be too egotistical even though there is no better way to feed an ego and build self-importance than by blogging. Your name is not your brand you have not been building over a lifetime so why use that self-created goodwill in your blog?


3. Don’t Use FeedBurner or BlogExplosion: You don’t need stats. You don’t want visitors. You don’t need to know who is reading you from where and why. You don’t need to know which posts are most popular. There is no need to see in neat table and chart form just how your blog is doing every day.

4. Never Backup: You are infallible. Computers never fail. The internet is always “on.” Servers don’t crash. “99.9% Uptime” guarantees really mean “100% Uptime.” Why back up your database? Why save your config files? What could happen?

5. Use a Parked Domain: Having several URLs pointing to single posts on your blog is not confusing and does not make your domain hard-to-find. Why have a solid, top-level domain name that people can remember, bookmark and celebrate?

6. Regularly Change Your Permalinks: Changing the URL address of your messages is the perfect way to keep your readers, RSS services and Search Bots from ever really pinning down exactly where you are and finding what you have written. Guessing is good. Broken links and 404 errors are appealing to those who are interested in reading your mind.

7. Reveal Nothing: You started your blog to keep your privacy intact. Revealing bits of your heart and ordered thoughts and broken life experiences only causes you public pain. Keep everything bottled up. You are an island. You are your body and not your spirit.

8. Keep Your Opinion to Yourself: Re-state the obvious. Only post links to original content others create. No one cares what you have to say. Remain neutral. Always be fair. Hurt no one’s feelings. Bland has always been a code phrase for “really tasty.”

9. Don’t Provide the Big Picture: Thinking big is boring. Being certain instead of wondering is always the most daring path. Mediocrity knows everything. Talent recognizes nothing.

10. Don’t Talk About Other People: Talk about inanimate objects only. Other people are boring. Only things matter. Things with blood are overrated. Choose dead over alive.

101 Comments

  1. I came in through Blog Explosion. Loved the post. Thought I was trying to do too much on my blog by putting at least one to two posts a day up there, guess not.

  2. Gone — I’m glad you “got” the intent of the post. Some of my close friends were a little curious about what I was trying to say.
    Nina — You made my day, thanks!
    Jo — My rule is post one important thing a day worth reading. If you get inspired to write a second post, great. One good post a day is better than 10 slim posts a day. If you aren’t posting once-a-day I’m not sure if you have a blog or just a dead website. Blogs live only in new information and the death rate for “newness” is a 24 hour cycle.

  3. Hi Jocelyn —
    Thanks for stopping by and posting a comment.
    Your question concerning how to read this site via RSS is excellent and it will be the topic of a new post from me today.
    Watch the main page here for a post entitled “Reading this Blog via RSS.”

  4. Hi Sam —
    I visited your blog. Fun stuff, that!
    I appreciate the link and your taking a moment to post a note.
    Thanks for letting me know how you arrived here. I started a new batch of BlogExplosion banner ads today to test some fine-tuning ideas.

  5. Kind of funny that this article is referenced in a banner on BlogExplosion (I clicked through BE to arrive here), and your point #3 recommends not using them. Do they even realize this? lol.

  6. Loved it! Just starrted my first blog a little over a month ago for a television show I produce and then my own personal one. Still have a lot to learn, but I enjoyed your post. A how to, I mean a how not to blog…excellent! Keep up the great work.

  7. Too bad this is tongue in cheek, I’m guilty of at least half of them.
    On a serious note, I’ll be bold and expose my ignorance. So I started a blog as kind of a personal diary about things important to me. I get the feeling from some blogs that I’m just taking up space in the blogsphere and annoying the real elitist bloggers. So, should I just pull my blog and not publish it anywhere?
    Honestly, I don’t care so much about readership. It’s more for me, so is it protocol to keep it to myself and dissappear from BE?

  8. My feeling about Blogging is this: You blog to influence people in public.
    If that isn’t your goal — and it is by default if you write a blog — then you should instead turn your self-expression private and place your thoughts and feelings in a journal or diary.
    Many blogs are personal expressions of intimate thoughts and there is nothing wrong with that, I feel, as long as you are trying to be interesting to people who don’t know you.
    If you are only Blogging for yourself or for friends and family, why do it in public?
    You Blog in public because you want to be read by strangers and if you want to be read that means you must inspire your readers by providing them something they cannot find elsewhere.
    You start by answering the following question:
    What do you know no one else knows?
    You Blog to share that secret. ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. I must confess I’m guilty of more than a few of those things. I do write my blog as a personal expression of things, but also to highlight things of interest to me, my opinions on things etc.
    I began blogging a while back in the midst of depression hoping like-minded people might find it and offer ME interesting information and help. Through this experience I discovered people liked my writing style. I stopped posting on my old blog for personal reasons, but after some new friends came by it and commented on it, I decided to start a new one (my current one).
    I always look for feedback from anyone and everyone. So if you fancy taking a look, I’d welcome yours. I’m looking to make something that’s good for everyone; an outlet for me to express myself creatively and an interesting reading experience for the readers.
    If anything my focus is more on the latter than the former. I’ve had friends comment that “You blog for yourself, why do you care what other people think?” but I think that’s the wrong attitude. I blog as much for people reading it as I do for myself, I hope to spark a discussion or dialogue.
    Anyway, I loved reading that, made me laugh, even if I cringed knowing full well I do a lot of that!
    Loving your work mate!

  10. Hi Jesus —
    Your ask some really interesting questions about the core of us and what we are all doing here in the world of the blog.
    I understand writing can heal and I fully support that point-of-view. The trick is to take your personal experience and tell it in such a way that others can benefit beyond the you. That ability comes with time and experimentation and it looks like you are on that fast track to success.
    My first brief comment about your site — and I will generally revisit this next week in “Mr. Grumpy Returns” post — is that dark sites are difficult to read. We are trained, as readers, to faster comprehend black text on a light background and when that is reversed for aesthetic purposes (it isn’t done for a better reading experience) it causes trouble.
    The trouble comes in the vast variety of monitors out in the world. Dark sites have a terrible history of “being seen” — or not — from monitor to monitor and that is something you, as a BlogMaster, must take into consideration.
    If people cannot see your site they will not read your site.
    Black is a hard color for monitors to “hold” and one monitor’s black is another monitor’s grey and when you add the variety of รขโ‚ฌล“white textรขโ‚ฌย that can mush into รขโ‚ฌล“grey textรขโ‚ฌย based on how well the monitor holds black, you are falling into a design abyss that is completely unnecessary. ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. Ahh. Actually, I set up black with white rather than vice-versa out of a mixture of reasons, one being that I had heard from some people that they find white on black easier!
    I shall investigate sensei. Thanks for the advice. I didn’t realise different monitors struggled to display back. Interesting indeed.
    Thanks ๐Ÿ˜€

  12. Hi Jesus —
    I know dark sites are popular on the web — but if you think of the big sites that run on words and not design — CNN, The New York Times, The Washington Post, etc., they are all white with black text.
    If you write a blog to be read take the leap and ask yourself how many books or magazines you have purchased with white text on a black background. Cost isn’t the only reason you don’t seem mainstream dark books, magazines and newspapers — readability is the main reason.

  13. That’s true. Right, well, once I’ve eaten dinner and get down to the serious blogging for the night I think I shall begin the necessary changes.
    I wasn’t being sarcastic, incidentally. My blog needs serious work, I believe it shows promise, but I need to work on both look and feel and the tone of the content.
    I had intended to provide less of a personal commentary and more of a useful resource, a mixture of views, advice for people who’re going through things I went through and general points of interest.
    However before I work on the content the first step should be to make sure people read it. In addition to the idea that if people can’t see it, they won’t read it, if they don’t read it, they won’t come back. Since that’s the goal of putting it up (otherwise, as you said, why not just write a private journal?) I need to work on presentation.
    Thank you for your continued help on this, it’s much appreciated. I’ve been looking for feedback since I began the new project and so far haven’t received much. I thank you once again.

  14. Jesus!
    I saw your link to this article on your site and I added a link back to you from my main page. ๐Ÿ™‚
    I think the current content of your site is an interesting mix of information and opinion and I like how you lambasted those guys on your site yesterday with a careful comment that didn’t lower yourself to their radical level.
    Remember people generally like to surf and read stuff that is inviting and positive and friendly. Beyond the darkรขโ‚ฌยฆ some of the images and language used on your site are tough and Gothic and scary and while that can be fun it for a certain age group or mindset it can mislead the mainstream into thinking you’re more cruel and rough than you really are. ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. I’ve done the shift to white, it looks oddly clinically clean. Not sure yet how much that’s a good thing. I might soften it to an off-white very light grey. Also I think when I shift the sidebar content to white too it won’t look so sharp. Also removed the gothic images.
    Care to offer any feedback on the current design? There are definitely still flaws, I can sense it just by looking at it…it feels slightly odd compared to other blogs out there. I just can’t figure out why. Sorry to turn you into my “web design guru”. If you’re getting sick of helping me you can just tell me to stop bothering you and I shall :-p

  16. Jesus!
    I love your re-design. It is immediately easier to read.
    Your site is clean and you can find stuff much better. You have added charm and wit and a sense of fun and inspiration just by changing the way it looks.
    We can now enjoy your writing instead of being overwhelmed with subliminal messages!
    Live with it for awhile and if you still feel odd, play around with it some as you suggest. ๐Ÿ™‚

  17. I find your blog very usefule. However, I do not agree with some of the things you say. For instance, why not use blogexplosion, because isn’t it imperative that you want people to see your site? I mean thats the whole point. otherwise your website will just be a sitting peace of leftover scrap in a pile of junk just dusting away.

  18. All your points are good, though I’d be interested to hear your thoughts about your last point on those of us who want to keep a ‘fourth wall’ between readers and writer.
    I have personal rules about blogging that include never writing about work, family, relationships and never mentioning friends, as I think if you do that in a public arena you’re very likely to get into trouble.
    ‘Reveal nothing’ and ‘Don’t write about people’ are things that I try to do, and I’m sure my readers aren’t that interested in personal accounts of what my girlfriend had for breakfast.
    There are plenty of sites around for those who crave personal details. Just mine isn’t one of them.

  19. Hi Quin —
    You ask some really good questions. I understand your point about not revealing the personal. I concur with you. I don’t write about my wife or my cat or others in my life who are not “into” being exposed on the web.
    That said, the fact that we are here having this conversation in the open for the world to read reveals something about us.
    We have reveal what we believe and our blogs are filled with our thoughts on people.
    My point is we don’t have to violate secrets or break a personal fourth wall to touch the world, but breaking the fourth wall standing between you alone and your readers is important and, I believe, you are already doing that well.

  20. Hi Cary!
    Thanks for the great comment. I appreciate the time of your eye.
    Yes, blogging is like life. Some days rule while others you want to wish away. ๐Ÿ™‚
    I am grateful for your kind comments on this blog.

  21. I both revere and fear your mastery in the guise of ignorance. It’s no easy task to write a how-NOT-to but this is by far the best I’ve ever read.
    Most come off as, I don’t know, converted how-to’s but yours is beautiful in grinding the mental gears from 5th gear into reverse.
    It made me think.
    I like that…a lot.
    Thanks for the fresh air.
    respectfully,
    Robert

  22. Very helpful David!
    I started my blog in the hopes of getting involved in the conversations I had been lurking in for months. But I did not promote so I had no audience. It helps to hear you promoting promotion. Even celebrating self-promotion! A difficult concept to grasp for one raised on Puritan values.
    I also have hopes of someday supporting myself via my writing and it was the witnessing of several (over half a dozen in half a year’s time) of my favorite blog writer’s get some kind of monetary payback–from a new job writing for a great online organization, to a book contract, to freelance writing assignments, to syndicated columns… my question is: Is this hope reality based? I know that it did not happen overnight for any of them. They had all been blogging steadily and competently for one to two years. So I guess I’m really asking for your take on the quality of my content–do I have what it takes to write for a living?
    I am fast approaching my first anniversary as a blogger and have just recently started serious promoting. But I have found that the promoting eats into content creation time. How do you balance these needs when you have a limited time slot available for being on the computer and even more limited for being online? What is the best mix and which promotion techniques give the best return on time?
    When is it appropriate or worthwhile to have advertisements, bookstore affiliations etc. And how many is too many? What size does your audience need to be to make these options actually pay–say at the minimum the monthly ISP charges for a broadband connection?
    What is your take on PayPal buttons requesting donations? I’m ambivalent as it was hard enough to start saying ‘Look at me.’ Yet I have been on a number of sites which I would have been more than happy to help support. If, that is, I had an income of my own.
    Some of these questions you may prefer to answer via blog posts. Or possibly you already have. I only just discovered your site via BE and will be delving into the archives over the next weeks. If you delve into mine you will discover why I am so eager to find a way to support myself via some kind of work-at-home gig. And my writing combined with my facility with computers and the internet seemed the most likely combo to give results. My post, Doubt Relief, in June gives a fairly comprehensive explanation of the challenges I face but it isn’t an example of my finest writing. Though it did garner for me the very first email from a reader saying they had been moved by my writing. One of the highest accolades a writer receives–in my opinion anyway. At any rate this word of encouragement out of the blue when I believed I had no audience pushed me into starting to promote for one and also into reaching out with words of encouragement for others where before I had been content to lurk.
    By the way, I found your blog last week while surfing for credits on BE and had book marked it in my browser for later perusal. It was the word ‘semiotic’ in your title that grabbed me. I wanted to see if you had an affinity for Umberto Eco as I do, and if not, then look for clues as to what the word meant to you or at least how you meant it in the title. But I hadn’t got back to it yet when I clicked onto this post via a banner on BE. The banner sporting the title of this post. After I read your post, I read every comment that followed. I saw how generous and gracious you were with your pointers. And now I’m afraid I have taken dreadful advantage of that. Thanx in advance for whatever answers or directions toward answers you are able to provide.
    love joy peace

  23. Hi Joy Renee —
    You ask a lot of interesting questions and I will do my best to give you succinct answers. ๐Ÿ™‚
    1. Most of the writers I know who blog were established writers before they started blogging. They use their blog as an extension of their other writing.
    2. Writing for a living is a tricky thing. You must dedicate yourself to it completely. You are either a writer or you do something else and write on the side. I am currently working on three books and I get up at 5am and go to bed at 1am and all day I’m online and writing and it can be a treacherous and lonely experience. If I were only doing one book it might not be so intense but, as a writer, you don’t choose your projects. Your projects choose you.
    3. I am not big on advertising or PayPal buttons on my blog. I think they’re a waste of time and can quickly become obnoxious. Use your blog to support your other main writing veins.
    4. Writing gets better the more you do it. Stay the course. Keep working on topics that interest you. An audience will find you.
    5. Above all, continue to keep the faith in your own talent! ๐Ÿ™‚

  24. Hilarious and informative too.
    I find it hard to post something worthwhile every day but I certainly try. I’m thinking of making it more interactive – soliciting topics, etc. We’ll see.

  25. Hi Eric!
    Nice to have you here.
    It is tough to get something new online every day and some days will have better stuff than other days just like real life. ๐Ÿ™‚
    The key is to keep getting stuff online because the web spiders love to crawl over new material and index it and that, in the end, is fantastic for you.

  26. Just landed here from BE, I have read your rules and I think I have broken all but two of them.
    When I started my latest blog I made sure I had got the permilinks set up the way I wanted them before I started posting on it, thanks to a lesson I to learned the hard way.
    I don’t blog everyday but I try to keep to a patern so my readers know that there will never be a new post on any of my blogs on one day (the same day) each week.

  27. I admit to having a regular irregularity to my posting LOL
    I can rarely write more than three posts per week, but I tend to ramble on, so they’re long LOL
    I enjoyed the list though, and will blogmark your site.
    Best wishes to you!

  28. at first i thought you were serious with some of these lists and i was like “well, then i have it made!”
    but as what’s left of my brain slowly caught up to the article i realized “oh, it’s tongue-in-cheek…damn.”
    great article. way to be sarcastic.

  29. Beyond choosing a good/memorable name for my blog, I am also guilty of most of these. I also found your post through the BE banner ad, though I’ve enjoyed your blog several times when surfing BE. Great stuff!

  30. Hi Amy!
    Thanks for taking the time to post such a warm comment! I appreciate it more than you know!
    ๐Ÿ˜€
    I’m thrilled your found us via a BE Banner — good to know those things still work — and I’m glad you previously enjoyed us as well.

  31. Great one Dave!
    Let me ask you a question. You seem to be a great fan of sites like blogexplosion. Does it bring real traffic? 99% of the traffic will be just people clicking and waiting for 30 sec for them to click on the next blog.
    Please correct me if I am wrong?

  32. Hi Brijesh —
    When you advertise or join an exchange you are bringing new eyes to your site that may or may not read you. If you provide interesting content people will stay or come back later and leave a comment.

  33. How Not To Blog…

    It looks like I have failed almost instantly in my first experience in blogging. I have disregarded tips about blogging that have been set down for years and not to my surprise, found that only 4 people visited this site yesterday. If you are reading t…

  34. Someone’s probably already covered this, but always have a backup plan in case your blog provider goes under or cease to exist.
    Think about hosting your own blog so that you have control over its destiny.
    If you are using someone else’s service — and it isn’t one of the major players — check to see when their domain name is going to expire.
    Someone might forget to register it.
    I free blog host I was using went under because it failed to renew it’s domain name.

    Domain Name: DOPETYPE.NET
    Created on: 14-Aug-05
    Expires on: 14-Aug-06
    Last Updated on: 14-Aug-05

    I’m tempted to backorder the domain name, but it will go to an auction before it ever becomes available via the back ordering service.
    Since there was traffic going to the site, I bet some porn provider will snag it as they seem to do with any domain name that isn’t renewed. A website built by a city’s businesses fell prey to this when they didn’t renew their registration.
    While I didn’t really want to think about something happening to my free host, I always had the thought that something could happen since it was a one person outfit.
    Register your own domain name and pay for hosting if you want to have total control over what happens to your blog.
    Also, set up auto-renewal and register your domain name for a longer period of time, since I’ve read that Google likes domain names that aren’t going to be here today and gone next week. (I’m registered through 2010, so I won’t have to worry for a while).