Are you a new blogger who has just started blogging and is still figuring out the Do’s and Don’ts of blogging? May be you are a seasoned blogger but still want to know the golden rules for blogging which will make you a better blogger. I get a lot of questions from new bloggers about blogging, some are about WordPress, some about writing ideas and some about tools like SEO, monetization and more.
But in my humble opinion there are 10 blogger commandments that every blogger should follow to be successful in blogging. I was doing some random research for blogging the other day and found this awesome post which inspired me to write about blogging commandments. While the commandments are more or less the same, my take on these comes from my personal experience and opinions.
10 BLOGGER COMMANDMENTS TO FOLLOW
1. Thou Shall Produce Stellar Content
Content is King. And Queen and Jack and everything else.
Nothing else is more important than your content. Your content is what the readers will come for again and again, not for any gimmicks, not for free stuff, not for your beautiful blog design, no nothing else but content. So write well, write as if you are writing for 5 million of your raving fans even though your blog is currently being read by your mom and your best friend.
Be careful about grammar, write in short paragraphs, give useful information, make the readers senses sing, in short every time you open your blog write your best post. Even if it is a review of a pen, even if it is just about your dog and definitely if it is about your life, write.awesome.content.
2. Thou Shall use Social Media for good.
The cloak of anonymity that internet provides and the reach of power that social media has is heady. You have the power to write your deepest, darkest thoughts on any platform and get away with it (sort of). So you might be tempted to tell a fellow blogger that her thoughts on parenting are archaic but don’t. If you have to disagree with someone then try to say it in a way that will help them improve, not in a way that will bring them down. This is the number 1 reason I don’t do negative reviews or negative posts. It is easy to shame, ridicule, judge and point fingers, but what good does that do to anyone? Keep it positive.
If you tend to write about controversial topics and get a barrage of opinions that are disagreeing with you, don’t go all ballistic and ask your posse to hunt these people down. Be fair, be generous and most of all be kind.
3. Thou Shalt not upset by negative comments
If you put something out there, you are bound to receive a range of reactions, some will go gaga over your writing and others will compare it to a fourth graders essay. Don’t take everything personally. I have never gotten a lot of negative comments but the day I do get one I shall answer it as impassively as I can and then delete it.
Don’t indulge in a back and forth slinging match with a hater. No good has ever come out of that. Keep it positive and always remember that your blog is your property and if you don’t want to see that negative comment you have every right to delete it, whatever anyone else says.
4. Thou Shalt not compare your blog to others
Every journey starts from the beginning. If you are a brand new shiny blogger who has a million ideas about what to write and then suddenly you start seeing all these awesome blogs with cool widgets, thousands of followers and who have already written about your ideas, don’t get discouraged.
Every person and therefore every blogger has their own story. I started my journey 2.5 years back and with zero tech knowledge and used to get bogged down by blogs that had already achieved so much, were getting amazing opportunities and basically rocking it while I was still figuring out wordpress. But then I had an epiphany and realized that they must have started somewhere too. All I needed to do was to keep at it.
Even if you are a seasoned blogger and see someone new rise up fast and take over the blogging world, don’t envy. You don’t know their story and what they are doing to achieve their goals. All you should do is to focus on your goals and becoming a better you as a blogger.
5. Thou Shall be YOU. You are awesome.
It is easy to fall into the “Perfect” syndrome. Trying to be the perfect mom, perfect wife, perfect homemaker. You can feel the pressure to live a life or rather project a life, people would aspire to. You can feel like you need to live up to others expectations in your writing, but you don’t!
People will smell a fake from a mile away. So if you are anti-social and don’t like to open up too much to people then be that.Don’t try to project yourself as a gregarious person. If you hate crafts and would rather have yourself poked with needles than do a DIY project, then tell people about that. You will be surprised how many people raise hands and express solidarity.
6. Thou Shalt pay it forward. Help other bloggers.
When I was a newbie, I tried hanging out around other bloggers who were popular and well known but I often felt like mom blogging in India was a clique which was difficult to get into. However, there were some bloggers who went out of their way to help me out. That is why I always believe in helping other bloggers out. I often reach out to new bloggers and will try to connect with them to expand our mom blogging community.
In fact my love for creating a community of women bloggers led me and my partner in crime Pratibha from Pratsmusings to admin a group of the most vibrant and dynamic women bloggers ever. It is such a safe and growing space for bloggers to discuss, learn and share that we keep hanging out there the whole day.
7. Thou Shall not steal. Ever.
Yes imitation is flattery but no one wants to be flattered by getting their work stolen. So don’t take complete posts or parts of them from other bloggers and pass it off as yours, don’t take pictures of other bloggers and slap your logo on it, don’t use a post idea and not credit the inspiration and always try to create original content.
Copyright laws in India and in social media are at best vague and while there are a lot of ways you can get a thief to take down someone’s original work but I think the biggest tool should be our own moral compass. In short don’t do unto others what you don’t want others do unto you.
8. Thou Shall go offline.
It is easy to get tangled in the world-wide web but it is difficult to get out of it. There will always be a blog comment, a Facebook status, a tweet or a LinkedIn request to respond to. But you need to claim your life as your own and switch off often.
Always remember your blog is about you, your life and not the other way around. So unplug and live! Enjoy your days, have fun and make memories.
9. Thou Shall not let your blog become bigger than YOU.
I took a blogging break last year in December. The reason was that it was taking over all parts of my life and I started feeling like I was just an extension of my blog (yes, that can happen!!). You can start feeling that your life will stop without your blog which is of course pure balderdash. Blogging is a part of your life, a big part, but just a part nevertheless. Don’t get fooled into thinking that you can’t exist without blogging.
10. Thou Shall always remain humble.
I have a lot of self-love (different from being selfish). I think I am awesome, made of shiny gold and glittery sparkles and literally walk on clouds. But I don’t want to tell everyone who cares to listen, about how cool I am. I would rather listen to other people, help them out if I can, applaud them for everything they achieve and let THEM find out about my awesome self.
You know what’s better than tooting your own horn, have 10 people who do it for you out of love. So always be humble, be nice and stay rooted.