Don’t start a billion blogs and then neglect them and hope that people will still be interested when you announce “I’m starting a new blog!”

They won’t. Except maybe your mom. Hi, mom! This is, maybe, the 59th blog I’ve started.

Don’t start a blog until you’ve mastered all the skills your blog requires, or can at least pay someone else to do them for you.

I always thought I’d be good at blogging. I’m moderately-decent-to-exceptional at all the skills required for blogging:

Writing: I have an English degree and I’m published in FastCompany, so I must not be half bad.
Making graphics: I can use Sketch.
Brainstorming: I can sit on Pinterest for hours.
Basic coding: I do quite a bit more advanced coding for a job and am paid money. I must be fairly good.
Photography: Well I have a nice camera, but I don’t see this blog requiring much photography. I’ll take screenshots and grab images from Unsplash. I think we can cross that one off.
Social media: We’ll put this in the “moderately decent” and “not really necessary” category.
Networking: Eh, okay, most of the skills.

Don’t insist you have to do everything yourself, just because you can.

I’m starting a blog and I feel super guilty because I don’t want to develop the WordPress theme from scratch by myself. I’m a programmer. I’ve used WordPress as long as its been around. Building my own theme should be a slice of peach pie.

But it would be a very time consuming slice of peach pie. Instead I can download a theme and tweak it until it’s perfect. It’s like buying the peach pie at a bakery. It might not be as lovingly crafted as if I made my own and I might have used some different ingredients, but it’s still delicious peach pie.

Don’t Use Comic Sans or Papyrus.

They are terrible fonts and should be avoided at all costs.

Don’t buy into all the “find your niche” advice.

This blog is about parenting, video games, and other nerdy stuff, and probably some feminism thrown in. Who knows what might end up in it. Instead of starting a blog in some super focused niche (because who is going to want to keep writing stain remover reviews or about fishing in video games after three weeks?) start a blog with a wide focus and then write different posts and see how much you enjoy writing about them.

Note that I didn’t say: see how well different post topics do on social media or see what gets more hits on search engines. Because if we all wrote for social media and search engines we’d all be writing the same stuff. (This is why so many blogs these days look and feel exactly the same.) Way back when, blogging was just a thing people did for fun. Let’s make blogging fun again!

Don’t get bummed out by the other blogs.

The internet is full of gorgeous, polished blogs completely free of grammar mistakes. It’s easy to feel inadequate. I think there’s some value in just starting something and figuring out what it is as you go along. Maybe you think you’re going to write about puppy training but end up getting really into making your own dog treats, and then suddenly you have a homemade, organic dog treat empire. You might start out on a WordPress dot com blog with a free theme and maybe that’s 100% perfect for you and you’ll never leave. Or maybe you’ll want to get your own domain and you’ll learn how to code your own theme. Just make sure you’re not using Comic Sans or Papyrus.

Don’t follow all the advice here.

Don’t follow all the rules. The best thing about rules is knowing when to break them.

Except the one about Comic Sans and Papyrus. That one’s really important.

Photo by John Schnobrich on Unsplash

 

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