Successful Blogging (If You’re Lucky) – Some Tips To Get You Started

A while back FHM asked me to write an article containing some blogging tips (as a part of Project Alpha), I’ve never really blogged about blogging (how to make money, blogging tips, SEO etc) so it was an interesting departure for me. I have written a bunch of technical stuff here, but never something like this. So now the next issue of FHM is coming up I thought I’d publish it here, I actually meant to publish it earlier but I completely forgot about it..I have to thank Tian Chad for remind me about it on Twitter.

Now I’m not claiming to be any kind of blogging expert or guru, but I hope I’ve learned a thing or two in the past 6 years of blogging and from reading all the fantastic blogs that are out there. This is the version I submitted, it was edited slightly for publication but the gist of the thing is the same. I’ve been in FHM before, but it’s not usually for writing – more often for taking pictures. Anyway, here it is.

The Beginning

Well here we are on the hallowed pages of FHM, one of the corner-stones of traditional media. And what are we talking about you may ask? Well today we are talking about a disruptive new media platform known as blogging. I’ll skip the overly simplistic explanation of what a blog is and the rather clichéd quote from Wikipedia — if you want that I suggest you head over to Google.

What I’ll be sharing with you today is some of the things I’ve learned over the past 6 years of blogging and countless years online before that. It’ll mostly be in relevance to your own blog (if you have one) or the hope that I may cultivate enough interest in you to start one and give you some tips to get you going.

Tips

Well here we go, 10 tips for your blogging future in an easy to digest bullet-point format.

1. DO NOT start blogging for money.

The biggest and most important thing I can tell you is please don’t start a blog for money, don’t dream that you’re going to be the next ‘pro-blogger’ or Internet mogul by running a blog about collecting carrots or whatever it is you’re interested in. Frankly, it’s not going to happen.

2. Blog about YOUR passion

This is related to the first point, but don’t start a blog because you think it’s filling a niche and it’s needed. No one cares, really. Write about what you are truly interested in and passionate about and people will come AND read AND care. Plus it’s much easier to keep it updated if you are truly interested in what you’re writing about.

3. Don’t write for an audience, write for yourself

Again linked to the first two points, write for YOU and not for an audience. By writing what you want to write you will cultivate true fans and the kind of readers who will appreciate your content. By writing for your audience you are effectively diluting your opinions to please the masses.

4. Use a decent platform

The platform is basically the software tools you use to publish your content, if you are fairly serious and can remain committed to blogging just buy a domain straight away and install WordPress. If you’re not sure start on a free platform like Blogger or WordPress.com — avoid hard to use sites like Livejournal, Myspace and Xanga.

5. KISS — Keep It Simple Stupid

Don’t overload your blog with widgets, scrolling things, flashing pictures and any other nonsense you can find online. Make sure it loads fast, is easy to navigate and people can find your archives and other posts of interest. Whatever you do, NEVER EVER EVER put auto-playing music on your blog which is impossible to turn off.

6. Layout is important but not everything

Don’t spend too much time worrying about your theme, your colour scheme and your blog template. They can easily be changed as your blog evolves, content is still king so work on developing that more than anything else. You aren’t developing a corporate branding strategy, so just get moving.

7. Be patient

Don’t expect to be an over-night success, or even within the first few months. Building traffic for any web property takes time and a lot of effort, it takes a lot of time and don’t be surprised if your traffic stays below 50 visitors a day for quite a long time. Set yourself targets, for example within 3 months I want to average 100 visitors a day and work towards that.

8. Be consistent

The most important thing about a blog is obvious enough, updating it. It may sound simple but it’s not, try and keep consistent with your posts. So if you think you can post every day, do it! If you can only manage 3 times a week that’s fine too — just make sure whatever you decide on you stick to it. Blogs live or die by frequency and consistency of updates.

9. Be interactive

Reply to people that comment on your blog, comment on other blogs you find interesting, get on Twitter and converse with other bloggers, share your blog on relevant platforms and forums. Being social and interactive is the best way to build a solid readership that will stick with you.

10. The Tipping Point

Having a successful blog combines a lot of factors, some which can be equated to The Tipping Point theory. You have to publish the right post, at the right time, to the right audience, in the right climate, on the right platform and have the right people read it. If you can accomplish all of these you will have a successful blog.

That’s all folks

Blogging can be fun, it can be stressful, it can be boring — it all depends what you make it. And well when your blog starts to gain momentum, what it makes you. Either way, don’t take it too seriously and don’t take yourself too seriously. If you have fun writing and publishing, your readers will have fun reading it and it will be reflected by their return visits. There are some hugely popular blogs out there which use a default template on Blogger and they have insane traffic and have landed book deals. Don’t over-think what you plan to do, just get out there on the net and start writing. If what you are writing is compelling, people will find you and they will tell others.

And that’ll be the end of that; you can then proudly call yourself a blogger.

Some recommended reading

1. http://www.kimberlycun.com/
2. http://eyeris.blogspot.com/
3. http://www.fourhourworkweek.com/blog
4. http://kyspeaks.com/
5. http://maddox.xmission.com/
6. http://quaintly.net/
7. http://www.suanie.net/
8. http://www.sixthseal.com/
9. http://thirstyblogger.my/
10. http://waiterrant.net/

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20 Responses to Successful Blogging (If You’re Lucky) – Some Tips To Get You Started

  1. KY August 30, 2010 at 1:27 pm #

    I made the reading list, *proud* 😀

  2. Mark August 30, 2010 at 2:03 pm #

    I wonder how long it will take for me to reach the reading list 😛

  3. eyeris August 30, 2010 at 2:20 pm #

    Yay I’m on the reading list! Look ma, my blog was in FHM!

  4. suanie August 30, 2010 at 4:11 pm #

    I MADE IT I’M ON THE LIST WOO HOO CRABS FOR EVERYONE*!

    *virtual one only, i’m broke

  5. Huai Bin August 30, 2010 at 4:21 pm #

    w00t! Coincidentally I just got my hands on the latest issue of FHM.

  6. Niki Cheong August 30, 2010 at 4:28 pm #

    Good stuff man. 🙂 And I second your recommended list (even if I didn’t make it! :P)

  7. quaintly August 30, 2010 at 5:02 pm #

    This post is blogging bible material!

    And sniff so bangga I made the list. ST u da best!

  8. kimberlycun August 30, 2010 at 5:03 pm #

    i didn’t force him to put mine on the top.

  9. Lyrical Lemongrass August 30, 2010 at 5:08 pm #

    Hmmm. Must remember to kiss all the time. 😀

  10. Bolehland.net August 30, 2010 at 5:09 pm #

    Nice post there!

  11. xes August 30, 2010 at 5:12 pm #

    When I grow up, I want to be as femes as the bloggers listed above!

  12. Thristhan August 30, 2010 at 6:13 pm #

    Great tips there dude. Thanks for that, very useful for novice bloggers like myself.

  13. Serge Norguard August 30, 2010 at 11:01 pm #

    you sir is awesome *sniff*, i was about to write something about this but since this is out, i’m contented.

    Anyway, this is true and I do believe (imho) that one should always blog about what they truly believe in. I had in one point tried to write to appease others but then that wasn’t me.

    This is a piece that old blogger farts such as me need to look at each day to remind our self; why did we start a blog ?

  14. TianChad August 30, 2010 at 11:01 pm #

    Yeah glad that you share on your blog =D
    It is worth to share not only on Magazine =)

  15. Jayce August 31, 2010 at 9:02 am #

    Totally agree with No 1 tip. Money comes later. Many end up nothing when blogging does not bring much money to them.

  16. ken August 31, 2010 at 1:04 pm #

    true.. agree with the recommendations.. =)

  17. AnthonyKong August 31, 2010 at 9:17 pm #

    Well written bro. Been doing some research on how to blog. In fact i’m Decade late! Just timely that you wrote this in advance .. so i can save my money on buying the MagazinE! Anyway.. thanks again. Great help reading your post.

  18. ShaolinTiger September 1, 2010 at 1:23 pm #

    Mark: Well I was limited to 10, maybe you’d have been in if they let me have 11 😀 And well perhaps if you update more often than once every Wednesday it’d help haha.

    eyeris: Cos your blog rawks yo!

    suanie: What would the list be without the person who got me into blogging in the first place 😀

    Huai Bin: Hahah yah, can keep the clipping!

    Niki Cheong: Heh thanks dude.

    quaintly: Thanks yo! Have to include you loh cos you can actually REALLY write.

    kimberlycun: I’m sure everyone believes that ^_^

    Lyrical Lemongrass: Always, simple is best!

    Bolehland.net: Thanks dude.

    xes: You ady femes la, got newspaper column all 😛

    Thristhan: Thanks, hope you find it useful 🙂

    Serge Norguard: Yup, been through that phase too and well it just doesn’t last because you totally lose inspiration to write anything.

    TianChad: Thanks for the reminder 🙂

    Jayce: Yup, blog because you want to blog – not because you want to make money.

    ken: Thanks 🙂

    AnthonyKong: Better late than never! And good luck with your new blog.

  19. My Kafkaesque Life September 21, 2010 at 6:13 am #

    Great list, but you forget something that’s pretty popular in Southeast Asia: Camwhore!

    Let’s say the Tipping point is no 11 and 10 is Camwhore:

    Post 20 pics of yourself with the kawaii peace sign and puffed up cheeks and big eyes. That will guarantee you instant success. The thing is just, if you decide to write something, nobody will read. They’ll be like: Cyndy, when vil u post pic of you la? 😛

    Ok, I’m kidding here. On a serious note: I do try to make my blog easy to use and I put a lot of effort in pages, especially pages about the countries I have traveled to and my blog’s page views increased a lot in recent month. I’ve even been discovered by a Taiwanese celeb, who linked to my post and I got like 100 ppl on my blog non stop for few days 🙂 I guess that was my tipping point and now I’m part of the Taiwan blogging community. But I’m more than just Taiwan, I’m currently blogging about my home country. Like you said, blog for yourself and blog with passion. That’s what I’m doing recently. I may get less comment, but I get more silent readers and subscribers. Comments are overrated anyway 🙂 So many comment for the sake of commenting without even reading.

    Ok, that was my 2982 cents on the topic. Sorry for being so long 😉

  20. ShaolinTiger September 21, 2010 at 2:30 pm #

    My Kafkaesque Life: IMHO that only works if you’re a nubile young female with ample assets LOL. Good job on your blog, hard work and concerted effort always pays off 🙂 And no worries – I love long comments!