The Art of the Blog (or I How I Learned to Get People to Read My Stuff)

POSTING BY JB MADDAWG

Blogging.  It’s a pastime for those who are completely self-indulgent assholes, that they dare to go online to the world in general, and not only make their opinions known, but shove them down the throats of an unsuspecting public.  The blogosphere, God I hate that word, is a shitstorm of a wasp’s nest that is in serious need of a hosing by anything with the Raid label on the side of the can.

Ha, of course, I’m joking.  Got your attention though, didn’t I?  It’s not easy to blog.  Well, it is, but whether it’s a readable post is another matter, entirely.  When I originally sat down to do a post on blogging, I started with a different feel, altogether.  I started on a tirade about things I see in unreadable blogs, you know the ones, what I call the “what I had for breakfast” blogs.  A minute by minute account of the blogger in question’s life.  Or, the ones that prattle on for six pages of recap of the recent installment of a popular reality show.  Yes, these folks need to stop, but I needed to recall that I too, once posted things that weren’t exactly barn-burning classics.  So instead of acting like a jackass with a keyboard, I’ve decided to do something constructive with this post.  I’ll offer up some kernels of knowledge, and whether used or dismissed, at least I’ve contributed some input, like the scant few that helped me.

Blogging, as it turns out, is a great hobby.  That’s where it should start.  Like anything, there are high-profile bloggers that make a good living at it, but it’s extremely difficult.  Trying to crash course online to figure out how to make money at a blog usually ends with terms like SEO, Google-Adsense and lots and lots of frustration.  Delving into that world is pretty emotionless and devoid of creativity.  The blog ends up looking like something Skynet would have written.  Use emotion, use experience, use anything that sets you apart as a person to blog.  People can tell when you have seriously invested yourself in your blog.

No, my entry-level blogging friend, you need to take another path.  The one to blogging bliss, and it’s clearly marked with some tried and true road signs.  First and foremost, content is, indeed, king.  As I said, really only a small crowd is going to want the rundown on “The Bachelor”, and recapping really isn’t blogging, is it?  More of court reporting, I’d say.  Review, use your opinions and be on point, but do not regurgitate material.  The very most important thing, in my opinion, a blog can have is a voice.  My posts are always going to have my “tone”, and so are Big Angry’s articles.  It is inconsequential to me if what I’ve written is agreed with.  People will always be around to disagree, and that’s more than fine.  But they can go do it on their own blog.  Just don’t let someone take that voice, once you’ve found it.

Which leads me to my second point.  As far as I’m concerned, there’s only three places a blog should be, WordPress.com, WordPress.org or your own website.  Screw all the social blogging bullshit.  Yes, you can do some of that here on WordPress, and there are benefits to working with other bloggers, such as blog carnivals and getting links over to your own site, but social?  Look, I blogged on a site called Xanga for a while.  It was awful.  The site was basically like high school, encouraging cliques and drama.  The top posters were all part of an organized little circle and more importantly, extremely lacking in ability.  The day I realized it was time to get serious was when I saw a Xanga poster bragging, in an article, about how the “community” found a blogger was plagiarizing, and how proud the person was that “they ran him off the site so fast”.  Laughing to myself about how this third string imbecile viewed plagiarizing as a criminal offense, but had no qualms about cyber-bullying, I decided to find the place where grown-ups blogged.  You should, also.  Leave the socializing for Facebook, people will take your blog much more seriously as it stands on its own.

As far as promoting your blog goes, by all means, do so.  I’m a whore at self-promotion.  If I find a free way to promote The Throwdown, I’m doing it, and without remorse.  There are many ways to promote your blog, and a Google search will certainly get results, but I’ll tell you, again be wary of all the warnings.  I actively “ping” our blog, although many critics will say it’s not right, a bad thing…blah blah blah.  Now, a site like WordPress will automatically send pings, or update servers that your posts have been updated, but I overdo it.  No, I mean, to the point that I constantly get the “Whoa! Slow down, Cowboy! You’re doing that way too much!” warning.  If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you should, and will if you’re really looking to make some hay with your blog.  Proofs in the pudding, I see marked results from pinging, and will continue to do so.  Feel free to argue it on Nobodyreadsmyblog.com.

The most important thing I can say is, as idiotic as it sounds, is have fun.  Finishing off an article and watching folks drink it up in droves is fantastic stuff.  Here at The Throwdown, Johnny Rantavius puts his heart and soul when he’s editing video or adding a new dimension to the blog.  Big Angry and I text each other several times over our own posts, trying to push each other to put out good, original content.  We do it because we love to, and have yet to ever make a single dime off this venture.  We hope our love of the blog shows through to you.   We hope it not only inspires, but helps negotiate some landmines, as well.

Remember, don’t give in to frustration, writer’s block or internet trolls.  This is the last place you truly have to let your voice be heard.  Let no one take away your voice.

The Throwdown Gang

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4 Comments

Filed under Mishmosh Ranting

4 responses to “The Art of the Blog (or I How I Learned to Get People to Read My Stuff)

  1. Thanks a lot! I recently just started blogging, and I find this to be pretty insightful. I was supposed to blog it for an art class, but I said fuck it and didn’t do it. Well, now I’m doing it for fun, what the hell right? Anyways, pretty good post, hopefully I can take what you just said and translate it into my own thing.

  2. You know I love your blog and for all the reasons you posted. I started my blog because I published a book and everyone said I couldn’t market it without being involved in some kind of social media. While I agree with them to a point, I found that even I got sick of the sound of my own keyboard rambling on and on about my book. That’s when I instituted some “karma.” I went out into the blog world and instead of soliciting people to listen to me I listened and commented on them instead. It’s worked out so well in fact that I’ve started what I’m calling “SPaM.” (Shameless Promotion Mondays) which is basically for anyone who wants to come on an tell the world (from my blog) about themselves. I like helping others and I think it’s a great way to connect people.

    • Well, it’s great to have the support of an actual writer, and thank you. If your book is as good as your blog, it’s a win. Good to hear you’re helping out too. Never hurts to give back once in awhile.

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