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I’m putting together some notes to give out at my blogging workshops and presentations. This one’s a list of things to avoid doing (assuming your goal is to develop a broad readership).

As always, these are just my opinions, other folks might feel differently, which is fine.

1. Don’t be boring.
Better no post at all than a string of dull entries. Of course, one person’s idea of ‘dull as dishwater’ is another’s interesting read, so deciding what counts as boring is a subjective thing. I’d say a good way to decide is to ask yourself if you think other folks will find your entry useful/interesting or if you’re posting because you feel you ought to. 

2. Don’t tell people what to do.
It’s a good idea to avoid phrases like ‘Go read’ or ‘Discuss.’ It makes you seem bossy.

[Yes, I recognize the irony of telling folks not to tell folks what to do ]

3. Don’t ignore your readers.
If you get loads of comments on your blog entries, people will understand if you don’t respond to every single one of them, but until then, ignoring people who comment on your blog is the equivalent of walking away without a word after someone’s come over to talk to you. It’s your choice, but I’d advise against it. 

4. Don’t make ranting/hateful/insulting posts or comments.
The occasional vent is fine, if it’s about a personal situation, but ranting makes you look like a hater, and nobody needs more haters in their life.

But it’s part of who I am. I have to be true to myself, don’t I?

Being ‘true to ourselves’ is all well and good, but sometimes our ‘self’ can be a real jerk  (I know mine can). Some ‘selves’ should be kept offline, and the hater is one of them.

5. Don’t talk about yourself in third person, unless it’s your bio or you’re doing it to get a laugh.  

6. Don't promote yourself or your work on someone else’s blog (unless you’ve been invited to do so).
Aside from the rudeness factor, pimping yourself or your work on someone else’s blog just doesn’t work. In fact, I’d say it has a negative effect. It makes you look desperate and annoys that blog’s owner and just about anybody who sees your post. If you don’t think that matters, see the note on being ‘true to ourselves.’ Remember, you want people to recognize your name in a favorable way.

7. Never post anything you wouldn’t want the people you most admire to see.
If you’ve any doubts about whether you should put something online, ask yourself how you’d feel if the people you most respect were to see it.

8. Don’t be a potty mouth.
Some people don’t like swearing. If you use a lot of foul language in your posts, those folks will stop reading.

9. Don’t get involved in finger-pointing, group mockery or flame wars.
Every now and then, somebody will say or do something which invites the ridicule/wrath of the online community. However tempted you feel, I’d suggest you avoid jumping on the bandwagon. Leave the righteous indignation to other folks. If you really feel you have to post something about the matter, do it in a way which adds something useful to the debate, and keep in mind suggestion #4.

 10. _________________________

I left #10 blank, what would you put on a ‘Blogging tactics - Don’t do this’ list?


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( 55 comments — Leave a comment )
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(Deleted comment)
Oct. 11th, 2010 04:02 pm (UTC)
Thanks for sharing, Karin. I think an overall theme makes a huge difference to a blog, in a good way :)
Oct. 11th, 2010 01:24 pm (UTC)
I would say that making the blog a "closed" blog is likely to win you no friends. By closed, I mean thosse blogs that offer an opinion with no chance for readers to chime in.
Oct. 11th, 2010 04:01 pm (UTC)
Yeah, it's hard to have a conversation with someone who doesn't want to talk.
Oct. 11th, 2010 04:08 pm (UTC)
Nothing to add, just wanted to say I enjoy and agree with your blog etiquette list.
Oct. 11th, 2010 04:14 pm (UTC)
Thanks, Erica :)
Oct. 14th, 2010 10:49 pm (UTC)
I am sorry Jon. I followed a link to this great blog post from ysabetwordsmith and thought that it was very well thought out and interesting until I read the comments. I am going to have to stop reading the comments and step away from the keyboard now before I say more than I should. Also I have deleted the comments that I did make (although you and the relevant commenters will no doubt get LJMail or email about them). I apologise for letting myself get upset about this. It is so hard for me to not leap to my own defense when I perceive a triggering threat or slight and ths is not your fault and should not have inconvenienced you as I probably have. Again, my apologies.

Edited at 2010-10-14 11:15 pm (UTC)
Oct. 15th, 2010 09:09 am (UTC)
Hi Natalie,

I'm sorry if anything said in the comments upset you. I'm sure it was unintentional.

This post is based on one of the handouts I'll be using in my blogging presentation/workshops next month. The advice is for folks looking to develop a broad readership for their blogs and not in any way aimed at bloggers in general.

I invited people to offer their own suggestions, but like the main post, those comments were for people who want to use their journal to create a broad reader platform.

That doesn't change the fact that you felt upset, and again, I apologize for that, but I hope you're reassured that no malice/offence was intended.
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