There are hundreds of blogs out there that are writing entries solely on how to be a better blogger. Many of these authors aspire to become rich and successful simply because they are writing about how to become rich and successful, which has always been a cart-and-horse problem to me. When your blog is just starting and you barely have triple-digit RSS subscribers, who are you to tell anyone else how to blog and how to market a blog?
This is the problem I’ve always had with articles about “how to blog”, “how to get more traffic”, and “how to boost your RSS subscribers” — so many of these articles are written by blogs that have no business writing about these topics. Heck, even when I’ve had a blog with thousands of RSS subscribers I didn’t quite feel qualified to write on these topics because I knew I was still low on the totem pole. Of course you don’t have to be qualified to talk about a specific topic on your blog — you can talk about whatever you want — but I never wanted to do a potential disservice to my readers.
Opinions are like a**holes, everyone’s got one. Some people like to spam forums with links to their blog to gain traffic, and others like to write cohesive and witty comments. Obviously in that scenario you can figure out which is the better method, so why is the spammy tactic the one that so many people write about as an effective method for promoting your blog? One reason is that bombing forums with links is a common talking point on lists that give you “Top 100 Ways To Promote Your Blog” which are taken to heart by newer bloggers. Just because people include it in an article doesn’t mean it’s a good idea, so don’t take these lists at face value since many of them are created just to get traffic to their blog.
Blogs about blogging, articles about writing articles on your blog, when does the meta craziness end? Well just because information on blogging is abundant doesn’t mean that you should read one blog, one article, one author, and then call it the gospel. You need to fact-check your information, read a dozen lists and articles, create your own best practices, and then create strategies that work best for who you are, what your blog is about, and who you’re trying to reach. The same moral rules that apply in the real world also apply online, so whenever you come across a “tip” that seems a little shady, just ask yourself, “would doing this technique/method make me annoying to someone else?” and you’ll figure out what’s a bad idea and what’s not. It’s actually pretty simple, but sometimes the goal of having a check get mailed to you once a month is more alluring.
Don’t take tips from just anybody, in fact, don’t take tips from me at face value either. Read many things, decide for yourself, and then create strategies that still uphold your moral values. Doing everything that someone puts on a Top 100 list is a fast-track to nowhere. Doing a few things really well (like leaving smart comments, emailing authors that you appreciate, writing accurate & interesting entries) will get you well on your way and you didn’t even have to sacrifice your morals during the process.