James Governor's Monkchips

21 Things You’ll Learn From Blogging for 10 Years

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I was hanging out on the web this morning, looking at beard styles, as you do, when I came across a guy called John Dyers, who owns “types of beard” as a Google image search. He is a beard blogger, arguably the beard blogger. When TV news is looking for beard commentary, he is the guy. He turned the beard into what Hugh MacLeod calls a social object. He went on a quest for every beard type. Any good protagonist of course needs a quest.

Now- I am a relative neophyte when it comes to blogging, only having 8 years under my belt, but I certainly recognise most of this excellent list.

A Few Things I’ve Learned In A Decade Of Blogging

  • The web loves lists.
  • If Mother Theresa had a blog, someone out there would send her hate mail. You’re not Mother Theresa. You’ll get worse.=
  • You can say 2+2=4 and someone is going to call you a conspiracy theorist who has been bought by the mainstream media.
  • Most of what you hope will do well won’t, and you will shake your head at what succeeds.
  • Proper tagging and promotion can more than make up for bad writing and lack of content.
  • Over time, blogging will turn you into a writer with no time to actually write.
  • Beware of bloggers who blog about blogging. There is a good chance that they are salesmen selling sales seminars.
  • Deadlines are more important than perfection because writing is never done perfect.
  • Write short, scannable text.
  • The web is fickle.
  • Give before you ask.
  • There are secret cabals of savvy folks out there who cross promote articles for each other to drive traffic. They sometimes work.
  • Blogging means that you will never be able to tell a story without someone cutting you off and saying that they read it already.
  • People you’ve never met will feel like they know you, but most of the time you’ll wonder if anyone’s really out there.
  • Stats can be exciting, but they really don’t matter.
  • You need to promote your posts, but promoting your own posts rarely works.
  • Your blog can get you in the paper and on TV. But, then what?
  • You can have your face circle the web for years and no one will recognize you on the street.
  • Whatever you publish in anger will be embarrassing in a couple of years.
  • You can be a big beard freak at the top of Google stats and there will be people will still want to hire you.
  • If your blog is not a labor of love, your going to have a hard time defining its success.

It was lovely to read the post, which felt like a message from an old friend- the old friend in question being blogging itself. I was reminded what it used to be like, before 140 character status updates on other people’s networks. John clearly became a really good writer in his ten years. What long time blogger won’t recognise the valedictory notes of pipe and slippers?

Now that the site is in its golden years, it’s sluggish and lazy, sleeping in a recliner covered in Cheetos. It occasionally snores itself awake long enough to drop something funny or facial hair related before drifting off again…

Thanks John!


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