6 Blogging Tips For Dummies…By A Dummy

Blogging Tips for new bloggers

I’m a blogging dummy. And I’m glad to be one. You see, when it comes to blogging, ignorance can be bliss.

Sometimes, we listen to too many “experts” tell us how we should blog that we forget that blogging (writing) is an art form; and art has no rules. Right?

I never went to film school, or worked at a film or video production company. Perhaps, if I had, I would have thought that one person couldn’t possibly direct, produce, shoot, or edit their own film.

My very first film (which I directed, shot, and edited), won an award at its very first film festival.

My second film (which I produced, directed, shot and edited) won ‘Best Florida Film’ at the 2010 Sunscreen Film Festival, beating out films helmed by film school graduates with a full crew.

Bragging? No (OK, maybe just a little). But had I listened to a bunch of filmmaking pros tell me what I needed to make a film I might not have even tried. I’ve read many articles since then that would have totally discouraged me.

Or maybe I would never had realized my own budding abilities. I was a dummy. And Orson Welles was a dummy when he directed “Citizen Kane”. So, you’re in good company.

Blogging (writing) is no different.

Now, let me preface the following points by excluding those people who are paid to blog (people that have to produce content on a regular schedule for their company or employer) and those people whose income is dependent on traffic generated by their blog posts (regardless of how original they are).

You all get a pass because when you have to do something, it ceases from being an art form and becomes a job. For the rest of us dummies, here’s my take:

Les Goodman Photography

1. Forget Your “Audience”

You’ll often hear, “Write for your audience!” proclaimed from the social media pulpits. One thing I hardly ever consider when writing a post is my “audience”.

This will eventually create a dilemma: “I really wanna write about (X) but is that what my audience wants?” My answer: Who cares? Your readers may appreciate a fresh perspective, another side of you they didn’t know existed, something totally different.

Do you think the people that visit your blog regularly are gonna stop coming because you published a blog post that’s different from your usual posts?

The only thing that will make people stop coming are consistently crappy blog posts.

If you’re not writing for YOU first, you’re just a pretender (and we’ve got way too many of those already, yes?)

2. Don’t Be An Ass-kisser

Oftentimes, I’ll come across a blog post that appears to have no other objective than kissing major ass.

“50 Amazing Bloggers That Will Make You Feel All Tingly” or “117 Awesome People On Twitter That You Should Be Following”.

Upon further review of these posts, you’ll find nothing less than the who’s who of the A-List social media community (many of which, in my opinion, produce some of the stalest content on the web).

I guess if you kiss the ass of 50 people on your blog, you should expect nothing less than 30/40 “Thank you!” comments and when you throw in your own 30/40 “You’re welcome!” replies, you’ve got 60/80 SEO boosting comments on your blog. Lame.

If you’re gonna shout out some bloggers, why not highlight a few flying under the social radar? You just might find a few new loyal readers of your blog instead of taking a number and hopping on the A-Lister ass-kissing line so many bloggers are already on.

3. Don’t Blog Every Day

Again, unless it is your job to do so or your income is somehow dependent on it, there is absolutely no need for you to blog every single day.

Some of the blogging “experts” will tell you differently but pay them no mind. Most of the really good blogs I read post every 3-4 days, some even weekly.

Not surprisingly, the content is always fresh and original. Moreover, many of these blogs generate 40-60 comments on average.

Who can possibly post something fresh and original every day? Whilst working a day job, running a business, taking care of a family, spending time with friends, and watching “American Idol”?

Like a great painter, songwriter, or composer, great works come through inspiration; and inspiration doesn’t always make a daily visit.

Don’t cheat your readers from your best work by rushing up a post because some blogging genius said you have to blog every day.

Moreover, don’t emulate the über-lame bloggers who stick up an insipid double-spaced, single paragraph (with a generic stock image) disguised as a blog post just to keep their self-imposed daily blog quota intact OR the other desperate bloggers who are at least smart enough to realize that they most certainly cannot come up with a fresh blog post every day so they allow any Tom, Dick, and Harry to guest post on their blog just to keep google happy.

Quantity over quality will ultimately lead to readers looking for something else to read.

Les Goodman Photography

4. Share Your Stuff

If you spend any amount of time on the social space, you’ve heard that “content is king” when it comes to blogging. Good, fresh content, of course.

But how do you know if your blog posts are worthy of a thumbs up or a thumbs down?

You gotta get your posts in front of readers, no? Otherwise, your great post is just a giant redwood tree falling down somewhere in the deep forests of the Interwebs and there’s nobody around to hear it.

Thanks to various social media platforms, we have no shortage of outlets to share our stuff.

  • Share a link to your blog post a few times a week on facebook.
  • Post it on Linkedin (and don’t forget to share it on any groups you belong to where the content may be relevant).
  • Share a link to your post on twitter…not just once or twice but 4-5 times a day, several hours apart…for several days.
  • Stumble your own post first and develop a culture of Stumblers in your Tribes

You heard right. Share your own stuff…but let me add this.

if all you do on twitter (or any social media platform) is promote your links, you’re just pissing in the social media wind. Keep your timeline busy with other activity throughout the day: comments, replies, and especially links from all the other cool blog posts you’ve read.

People aren’t online 24/7. They have jobs and families, and a social life outside of social media. They may only check their timelines a few times a day.

You wanna give your post the best chance to get discovered. Oh, and anyone who tells you you’re breaking some social media “rule”, tell them to go fly a kite.

If you stay active on social media platforms, several good things will happen:

  • More people will connect with you (just like in the “real world”, people like people who talk/listen to them),
  • You’ll find birds of a similar feather who will dig your blog content (and you’ll dig theirs, giving you additional good content to share), and,
  • You’ll also be putting the Law of Reciprocity to work by sharing the creative content of others. It’s win-win all the way.

Les Goodman Photography

5. Don’t Listen To 73% Of What You Read

I dig #Blogchat (a twitter chat every Sunday night at 9pm ET). Really. I’ve picked up some good tips there on blog plugins and maintenance.

I’ve also learned to disregard a good percentage of what I read there. Why? Too many rules.

How long your blog post should be, how often you should post, what keywords you should use in your post, what you should write about, yada yada yada.

‘Blog like this, not like that’ makes blogs lame. Blogging ain’t hard…just write.

6. Just Write

Don’t be fooled into thinking your gonna make a six-figure income by blogging.

For the vast majority of bloggers (even many of the so-called “experts”), this just isn’t the reality. So if you’re gonna write, do it for yourself first…and enjoy it.

Make it the best you can before hitting “Publish” (what’s the rush?).

If you’re gonna put several hours (or days) into writing it, make sure you’re proud of it before sharing it with the world.

At the end of the day, whether a few thousand people view/share your post or just one, if you enjoyed writing it; if it helped you relieve an emotional burden you’ve been carrying around; if it served as an outlet for your anger; if it made your wife smile; if it allowed you to express that which only the written word allows us to express…then you’ve done well. You’ve written.

So let the pro bloggers blog as they will. Since writing my first blog post a couple of years ago, I’ve come to enjoy the process of writing. And the fact that I can write about whatever the heck I want to write about makes the process even more enjoyable.

I follow no writing schedule, only opening up a Word document when I get a bug up my ass to write something.

And before I hit “Publish”, I’ve always been pleased with what I’ve written. And guess what? My work has been read and shared by thousands of people.

That’s gravy. So for me, I plan to remain a dummy… Because when it comes to writing, ignorance is indeed bliss.

What’s yours?

[Photography by Les Goodman]

Dan Perez

Dan is an award-winning filmmaker, video producer, blogger, father & husband to rock stars, antagonist, owner of a mischievous pug, and overall nice guy.

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  • http://www.solitarymama.com/ Christina Majaski

    I love you. #2 especially.

    • Anonymous

      Think I love you, too (don’t tell Mrs. Perez). Your blog as well. Gonna be spending some time there. Good stuff :)

  • http://osakabentures.com/english-2/saulfleischman/ Saul Fleischman

    So true – I briefly was jazzed with the Triberr effects on this and that, was blogging daily.  Backed off to 1/week, and I’m quite sure quality has sky-rocketted.

    Then again…

    Stanley Kubrick:  look at the time gaps between his films.  They got longer and longer, and it wasn’t because he was toiling away on his own epic project; it actually wore him out, directing those films.  Sometimes, blogging/writing, too, just exerting creatively, it wears us down.  Okay, Dino Dogan and Dan Perez, you film fans, I’ll finish with a film riddle of sorts: what would be my favorite Kubrick film – the one that no one has heard of?  Hint: my parents were artists.  Every frame, like a painting.  That movie.

    • Anonymous

      I don’t know how some people do it. Really. The blogs I’m subscribed to (over 20 of them) are not daily blogs but when they post, they are usually fresh and funny. That’s why I subscribed. 

      As for the Kubrick film puzzle, not sure what film you speak of (just about every frame of Kubrick’s films look meticulously framed and designed). Give.

      • http://osakabentures.com/english-2/saulfleischman/ Saul Fleischman

        Barry Lyndon. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0072684/ The desolate mountain-drive opening of The Shining and the scary scenes, visually special as well.

  • http://www.thejackb.com/ The JackB

    Comments aren’t currency. I don’t pay any attention to whether a post has one response or a thousand. If you are going turn comments into a measurable metric than you need to see if the comments add value and advance the conversation.

    Besides a post with 40 comments really doesn’t have 40 comments because half are from the writer responding to the commenter.

    People should be writing for themselves first and everyone else later. If you do that it is not hard to blog daily. You certainly don’t have to do it but it is not hard. There are a million different things to blog about.

    • Anonymous

      Comments let you know that you’ve connected with someone and felt compelled to let you know it. Unfortunately, you’ve also got “Professional Commenters” who do it just for SEO. Lame.
      Not hard to blog daily – I just think it’s hard to blog creatively daily. Just my opinion…
      Thanks for the comment.

  • Anonymous

    Very beautifully written! Dan, I think you have covered some really important points. I’m not a blogger, but I have seen plenty of bad posts! I’ve tweeted this in the hope some people will learn from this!

    • Anonymous

      8 out of every 10 posts suck eggs…except for mine and Dino’s (and even some of his are just so-so). Stick with mine ;)
      Thanks for sharing – much appreciated.

  • http://twitter.com/MorganBarnhart Morgan Barnhart

    Love this! There really are too many rules. I thought blogging was supposed to be fun but it’s like, every time I turn around someone is telling me I’m doing it wrong. :/ Great, fresh insight here! Thanks for sharing!

    • Anonymous

      If you ain’t gonna make any real money doing it AND you still choose to write – why not make it fun? 
      Thanks for your comment :)

  • http://www.allisondevelopmentgroup.com Erica Allison

    Damn, I was just about to include you and Dino in my “13 Bloggers that Make me Smile” post. Looks like that’s out.
    I REALLY like your list, Dan. I fell victim to listening to the ‘rules’ when I first started blogging, especially the one about blogging 3-4 times per week ( who can do everyday, my goodness that’s insane). I now blog once weekly and my content is much fresher than when I force it to happen. I’ve even been chastised by some of the A-list followers for my lower frequency. You know why? It’s because it makes them uncomfortable that I’m not playing by ‘the rules’. That means I must be doing something right. :)

    • Anonymous

      3-4 times a week is tough, yes? Tell the “experts” to go fly a kite – to each his own. Oh, and it’s OK to include me and Dino on your “Bloggers that Make me Smile” post…as long as it’s just me and Dino ;)

  • http://twitter.com/sbhsbh Steve Hughes

    How many competitors were there in the 2010 Sunscreen Film Festival? While (or is it Whilst) forgetting about your audience is romantic, if your goal is to attract an audience and comments then there are guidelines and best practices to follow.  If you don’t care about that, go crazy.  Most bloggers care about traffic and comments.  I like #2, the name names theory.  While I’ll mention others in a post, I haven’t done Top 500 people on Twitter. Like or not, it does generate traffic and comments.  Plus you’ll get 20-30 people bitching (commenting) why weren’t they on the list.  The law of averages dictates one is bound to publish crap if they blog daily or multiple times per day.  Just doing the math.
    #4, #5, #6 check…
    One last thing.  If there are no rules for blogging, does that mean we should or shouldn’t follow the 6 you laid out? I’m confused. :)

    • Anonymous

      Steve,
      I write about whatever I feel like writing. If you look at my blog, you’ll see no resonating theme in my writing. And my posts do a lot better in shares and comments than many more established bloggers. Just an observation – not that I really care once I hit “Publish”.
      I guess whatever or whoever my audience is – they appreciate my style, regardless of subject.
      Don’t think I was laying out rules but suggestions for those people that listen to too many blogging experts…
      Thanks for commenting.

  • http://socialmediarevolver.com/ KrisOlin

    Thanks for a kick ass article, Dan!

    It’s a great feeling when you have finished with a blog post that you actually enjoy yourself. I guess it has something to do with the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs or some other psych bull.

    Keep on keeping on, dude!

    Cheers,
    Kris

    • Anonymous

      Please thyself first. That’s how I’m living :)

  • http://www.LaRaeQuy.com/ LaRae Quy

    A great article – it gave me a kick in the butt to get re-connected with LinkedIn. I got tired of all the self-promotion but it may be time to give it another try. #4 “Share Your Stuff” was a timely reminder for me.

    Thanks!

    • Anonymous

      A great artist isn’t gonna stick his paintings in a closet, yes? A filmmaker wants to get his film distributed to as wide an audience as possible, yes? A writer should be no different. Share your stuff and share other people’s stuff and they’ll start sharing your stuff. Capiche? :)

  • http://www.taylorstudios.com/ Betty Brennan

    Great tips.  I feel a bit relieved.  I often wonder if I’m offering my audience enough value in my blogs.  Now I feel better about posting whatever is top of mind at the moment.  I still hope it offers value or inspiration to others, yet I feel more free to write about whatever.  Thanks!

    • Anonymous

      No reason to limit yourself unless you have to (and what fun would that be?). Just write.

  • http://twitter.com/zabooey Bruce Welton

    Thanks, Dan.  Simple it up, write when you can, follow your hear, but do it off and on.  Sometimes there are so many directions blurring by we forget the basics.  Plan to do it; do it; post it; share it.  As a fellow blogging dummy, simple is sweet.

    • Anonymous

      You ain’t gonna get rich blogging – might as well enjoy it.

  • http://www.iyampam.com/ Pammy Pam

    ass kissing is fun. as long as youre on the receiving end. which i’m not. ergo…i’m a dummy

    • Anonymous

      Better to be the kissed than the kisser, yes? :)

  • http://www.sisterhoodofthesensiblemoms.com/ SisterhoodOfTheSensibleMoms

    That’s for the encouragement to take a deep breath. Reality check acknowledged. -Ellen

    • Anonymous

      It’s just my stupid opinion but glad it helped :)

  • http://erikadolnackova.com/ Erika Dolnackova

    Great Blogpost! Anything that becomes too much of a routine and predictable, will stop being fun to do. People are so interesting and we always evolve and change so I do agree there is very few rules to follow. Be you, be authentic and contribute while having fun with it. Those are my rules. 

    • Anonymous

      I like your rules :)

  • Anonymous

    such a refreshing read. My blog has finally allowed me to no longer censor myself and truly write in a way that reflects my true personality. I feel empowered to not worry about image when it comes to potential employees. Of course I keep it pg13 for the most part, but I like knowing that if someone wants to hire me, they will know exactly who I am, not the mask I put on in the interview.

    • Anonymous

      “Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.” ~Aristotle
      Now go…and sin no more :)

  • http://matejtomic.com/ Matej Tomic

    Hi Dan, this is a great article and – seriously – it eliminated my remaining doubts about launching my own blog. As a recent graduate, I am leaving my country in exactly two weeks in order to gain some international work experience. The destination is New York City, where I will stay for an unspecified period of time. It’s a leap in the dark and I thought writing a blog might be useful. I am still working on my first post, but I have definitely made the decision to publish it by next week. I have been very skeptical about blogging. It’s just a personal perception, but the obnoxious category of people which I like to call self-absorbed blowhards seems to be growing disproportionally in the world of weblogs. Why would I want to become part of it? I think you made this very clear in your guest post. Thanks again for sharing your opinion!

    • Anonymous

      It’s just my philosophy – there are no rules. But it’s just better my way (if I may say so myself). Think about all the cool different things you could blog about in NYC – good luck :)

      • http://matejtomic.com/ Matej Tomic

        Thanks Dan. You eliminated the major part of my skepticism with #1. #2 has never really been a risk, but I understand that people do that. #3 fits perfectly to my busy NYC-job-seeker-life. Some very helpful and – what I appreciate – specific advice at #4. #5 could’ve become a risk because they often sound REALLY intelligent. And #6 is the ultimate motivation. Yes, moving to NYC and starting many things from scratch will be exciting. I thought the timing to start a new blog might be perfect. By the way, with regards to Facebook (in #4), how do you do it? Within your personal profile or have you created a FB page for this purpose?

        • Anonymous

          Over the course of a week, I’ll usually share my post 3-4 times (on my personal page). I’ll vary the times (morning, afternoon, & evening). Of course, I also post lots of other stuff.
          Keep on keeping it real in NYC (I lived the first 28 years of my life in the Boogie Down Bronx – still have all my fam over there!)

  • Angela

    Thank you so much for the information! From now on, I will be myself and not spend so much time trying to figure out “what others want to hear!”

     http://www.facebook.com/?sk=welcome#!/profile.php?id=100003569952041&sk=wall

    Thanks again for the tips!!
    Angela

  • Anonymous

    Thank you for a great post. I really needed to read this as I was nearly sinking to keep up with a schedule and was on a role for a mini anxiety attack today! Oooer…

    What you point out is sound advice and you are right that readers do notice good content from ones that have been rushed. From now on I’m throwing the fixed schedule out of the window and posting when I feel I’m good and ready. :)

  • http://www.theuniuni.com/ Payton_vege

    Amazing write-up! This could aid plenty of people find out more about this particular issue. Are you keen to integrate video clips coupled with these? It would absolutely help out. Your conclusion was spot on and thanks to you; I probably won’t have to describe everything to my pals. I can simply direct them here!

  • http://sacellularnet.co.za/ Siya Mava

    All I can say is i LMAO while I was reading this, most of them are direct opposites of what them “expect” say but you managed to make your “dummy” views make sense to other dummies (including me). I gotta agree with everything u said man. I just started blogging 3 months ago and reading this is so inspiring. Thanx man I’ll also share this on FB. 
    Dope!

    • Anonymous

      Dope. I like that :)

  • http://twitter.com/LauriRottmayer Lauri Rottmayer

    Oh my goodness. I so LOVE this! You have pretty much described how I roll except I’ve never made a movie. Excellent! :-)

    • Anonymous

      Keep on rolling, sister.

  • http://pegfitzpatrick.com/ Peg Fitzpatrick

    Love this part ”
    I guess if you kiss the ass of 50 people on your blog, you should expect nothing less than 30/40 “Thank you!” comments and when you throw in your own 30/40 “You’re welcome!” replies, you’ve got 60/80 SEO boosting comments on your blog.” Tres funny. Totally agree on the no ass kissing – that is Rule #1 in the Fitzpatrick handbook. 
    People who try to impose their rules on others really need to spend more time doing other things in my opinion. Great read Dan. You always like to poke a stick in the bee’s nest.

    • Anonymous

      There are enough rules in this world, no? Write. Write for yourself. Write about whatever you want to. Write whenever you want to. Enjoy it. Nuff said?

  • http://www.techpupil.com Jeevan Jacob John

    Loved the Post, Dan!

    Agree with you all the way. Who said that you have to go by the rules?

    When I was with my old blog, I used to be so obsessed about following the blogging rules – Having a schedule, making my posts long/short/medium (these used to change back and forth) and I used to be worried about a lot of things. And that might explain why I didn’t succeed with my old blog.

    Anyways, I did start a new blog (last month) and I am not confirming anymore (I believe I am not). Just blogging as I like – no schedules, no nothing – I like to do things a bit more creative (I believe they are creative :D) like taking challenges, do things in an unusual manner, experimenting with all sorts of things.

    I especially love the phrase, “Just write” because I have used it too, in my guest posts ;)

    I also every part of this post, including the images ;) Thanks for sharing the awesome post!

    Jeevan Jacob John

    • Anonymous

      I mean, if you’re not gonna get rich blogging and you just want to write, why not write for yourself and enjoy it? The “experts” have to blog, we choose to blog. yes?
      Glad you enjoyed it :)

  • http://dadinprayer.com/ RJ Silva

    Thanks for this most inspiring post, Dan! Loved it, loved, loved it! I’ll certainly try to keep in mind each and everyone of your tips whenever I’m putting together (writing) a blog post. Seriously; reading this has made fall in love with blogging all over again. 

    • Anonymous

      Glad my “non-professional” opinion resonated with you. Blog away :)

  • Sonia Donnelly

    Loved this post – thanks!

  • http://www.central-e-commerce.com/bag-borrow-or-steal-say-25-of-their-traffic-comes-from-mobile-shoppers/ Michelle

    I totally love this post. I think that no one is the ultimate blogger, or knows everything there is to know about blogging. I think that blogging dummies can learn from experienced bloggers, and vice versa.

  • http://www.cyberlinkmedia.com/ Emily

    Awesome! I love it. Especially the No ass kissing part. Finally someone said it!

  • Glenn

    Can I get an ‘amen to that’ please !! => “Moreover, don’t emulate the über-lame bloggers who stick up an insipid double-spaced, single paragraph (with a generic stock image) disguised as a blog post just to keep their self-imposed daily blog quota intact”. I actually bookmark posts like that because I use them as examples of Internet content that really pisses me off.

    You’re my new blogging guru. Hope you’re OK with that you dummy.

  • Shital Bhalani

    Along with the above, that’s a really helpful suggestion! I am going to implement it

    http://proresult.in/