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North. Korea threatened US with Nuclear War, what should we do?

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Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Advice for Bloggers

You might be wondering, “Who is this Wild Bill guy and why does he think he is qualified to give advice on blogging?” This is a good question. If you take a look at my current site traffic you could make the assumption that I am a tadpole in an ocean of blogs. Although I am currently experiencing a lack of readership, in the past some people might have considered me a professional Blogger. I might not be the best Blogger to give advice on how to be a successful Blogger, but I am defiantly an expert on what not to do if you want to be a successful Blogger. Here is a brief history of my rise and fall in the blogosphere.

At one time I was a rising star in the blog world. On an average day Passionate America had about 2000 visitors. Now this is not an extremely impressive number when compared to some of the big names in blogging like Instapundit or Michelle Malkin, but for a stay-at-home Dad from a one bedroom apartment in Oklahoma this was a huge achievement. Blogging for me was exciting. Each day I meet new friends through the comments left on Passionate America. Many of my visitors went on to start their own blogs. Each day my site traffic increased, peaking on December 2, 2004. That was the day I attracted the largest number of visitors in the history of the Passionate America blog (7000 without an Instalanche.) My post “Legalize Marijuana: Are you crazy?” received a first place ranking in most of the major search engines. Suddenly people from all over the world found their way to my blog. The good news, I attracted a lot of fans; the bad news, I also made a lot of enemies.

The comment section of that post exploded into an all out war between the legalize marijuana hippies and the readers that agreed with my point of view. One commenter turned out to be a professional leftist blog troll. He made it his mission to piss me off in any way he could. Each time I responded to his personal attacks he tried harder and harder to instigate a fight. On December 8, 2004 he crossed the line by posting personal information about me and my family. It would be an understatement to say, “I lost my cool.” This is a perfect example of how not to deal with a blog troll, “PA first, Commenter Banned.”

It took me a month before I felt like blogging again. On January 17, 2005 I announced my return, “Wild Bill making a come back!” However, something inside of me had changed. I took a one week break and attended the first Okie-Blogger Bash. After the Okie-Blogger Bash, I stopped blogging altogether. Blogging had lost it’s fun; I had lost my passion.

On February 1, 2006 (almost one year after I called it quits) the Blogging bug bite me again, “Wild Bill is back!” I’ve been blogging regularly ever since. Most of my old readers have moved on or written me off as dead, but a few of my best Blogger buddies have rediscovered Passionate America. Here are some of the blogging rules I have learned the hard way:

Blogging Rules I Learned The Hard Way

  1. Do not let negative comments get to you. They just want to piss you off. Don’t give them what they want and they will go away.

  2. Post Daily. If you want to see your visitors disappear like Krispy Kream doughnuts at a Weight Watchers meeting, then by all means stop blogging for a year like I did. It took me a long time to get my readers, but only a short time for them to disappear.

  3. Use your spell checker. I cannot spell to save my life, but I do know how to use a spell checker and you should too.

  4. Don’t write only long posts. (like this one, haha) You have only a short time to get the attention of new visitors, once they become repeat visitors they will give you a little more time to get your point across. Break up long posts with shorter posts.

  5. Make your post titles search friendly. If you want your posts to show up at the top of search pages make sure the post title quickly explains what your post is about. Let’s say your post is about your award winning chili recipe. Bad post title example, “You have to try this.” Good post title example, “Wild Bill's Award Winning Chili.”

  6. Link, links, and more links. Give the love. If you read something interesting at another blog link to it. Let your readers know where you found your great post idea. Search engines like links. Chances are search engines and readers found your blog by clicking on a link, so spread the link love.

  7. Add some pictures to your posts. I know pictures can slow the loading time of a blog, but readers love them. I love them. I do not spend much time at blogs that have no pictures. Maybe it’s because I am a visual kind of guy, but nothing breaks up a long post better that a good picture. See what I mean.

    Wild Bill at the Okie-Blogger Bash

  8. Put a picture of yourself and a page about who you are at the top of your blog. Blogs are all about people. If you want to gain a loyal readership (besides your mom and your significant other) your readers will want to know more about the person that has caught their attention. Let them know who you are.

  9. Remember your mom might read your blog. Don’t post anything that you do not want your mom to read. I have picked up the phone before and heard my mother ask, “What were you thinking putting that on your website?” I won’t tell you what it was that my mother objected too, you’ll have to find it for yourself.

  10. Above all be PASSIONATE! I can not stress this enough. If you don’t care about what you are writing then how in the hell do you expect someone else to give a crap about what you write? Find what fires you up and write about it. Readers will be able to tell if you are passionate about your writing and they will reward you with return visits.

Next week I’ll have more advice about blogging. Let me know if you have any great blogging advice.


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