The katdish ultimate guide to successful blogging

image courtesy of photobucket.com

I was going to begin this post by saying something like “I’m certainly no expert”, or “I’m not an authority on what constitutes a great blog”, but let’s just put all that nauseating false modesty aside, shall we?

I am an Internet tornado.

Don’t believe me? Google “katdish”. You will find multiple pages of links to this blog and others. Compare that to just three short years ago when googling “katdish” would prompt Google to ask, “Did you mean kaddish?

With this in mind, I provide the following hard and fast rules of successful blogging with all the confidence and authority my status of Internet tornado affords me. You’re welcome:

  1. Decide on a posting schedule and stick to it. Whether that means daily, weekly or somewhere in between. Consistent posting retains your audience because they know when and how often to expect a new post from you.
  2. Only post when you have something to say. Forcing yourself to write a post just for the sake of posting something–anything–is a waste of your time and energy. You also run the risk of wasting your reader’s time with a substandard post.
  3. Reply to every comment on your blog. If someone takes the time to read and comment on your site, it’s common courtesy to acknowledge them and thank them for visiting.
  4. Don’t reply to every comment. You started the conversation, allow your readers to input their thoughts without you jumping in and interrupting the flow of conversation.
  5. Write about current events and hot topics on the interwebs. Inject your unique perspective and opinions about controversial subjects. Be sure to use tags and categories on your post so people can find your blog post via search engines. Controversy = more hits to your site.
  6. Write what’s on your heart and/or mind. Writing a post about a current event just because everyone else is writing about it may come off looking like a desperate attempt to attract a bigger audience to your blog. Especially if you don’t have anything significant or valuable to add to the conversation.
  7. If you’re a writer seeking to expand your platform, write helpful posts about your journey into publishing. Share helpful tips and strategies you’ve learned along the way with fellow writers. The mere fact that you’ve landed an agent and secured a contract for your upcoming book is proof enough that you have valuable insights to share. Other writers will flock to your blog and will appreciate you generously sharing all that you have learned.
  8. If you’re a writer seeking to expand your platform, write helpful posts about your journey into publishing occasionally, but not all the time. All writers are readers, but not all readers are writers. By only writing about writing, you greatly limit your audience. Give your audience a sample of the type of writing they can expect to see in your upcoming books. You’ll build brand loyalty that way–from both writers and readers.
  9. Determine who your audience is and write for that particular niche. If you’re a mommy blogger, write for other mommy bloggers. If you’re a big fan of LOL Cats, write for other LOL Cat enthusiasts, and so on.
  10. Write about an array of topics. Some posts may get more traffic than others, but good, consistent writing will bring people back to your site.

Follow these rules and rest assured, your blog will attract a vast audience and you will become a rock star of the interwebs.

“But katdish, that’s ridiculous! These rules contradict themselves. You can’t follow all of them!”

Well, of course not, Silly. That’s because I have no idea what the hard and fast rules of successful blogging are, and neither does anyone else. I can only tell you why I read certain blogs on a regular basis.

Some inform, some challenge, some make me laugh and/or cry.
Some do all of the above.

But the one trait they all share is this:

A unique, honest voice all their own.

So, how do you write the best possible blog you can write?

Do you remember that scene from the movie “The Breakfast Club” where Anthony Michael Hall’s character writes a collective essay for the members of The Breakfast Club? The detention teacher, Mr. Vernon instructed each of them to write about who they thought they were. After he’s finished writing, he smiles, sets down his pen and gives himself a “Way to go” slug in the arm. He didn’t seem to care if Mr. Vernon (or anyone else, for that matter) thought it would be a great essay. He knew that it expressed concisely and exactly what he wanted to say.

image courtesy of photobucket.com

Write more posts like that.


(Oh, grumble…”embedding disabled”. Oh, well, you can watch it on Youtube.)

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28 Responses to “The katdish ultimate guide to successful blogging”

  1. Michelle DeRusha March 30, 2011 at 7:47 pm #

    Love this, Kathy — and it only took me to #4 to realize each bullet point contradicted the prior one!

    Seriously, though…I still need to read this, even though I’d like to think I’ve got a better handle on the blogging scene these days…but if I believed that I’d be totally kidding myself. It’s hard to keep true to your own voice and not succumb to the doubts and should I’s and what ifs…and it’s still hard not to compare myself to others. I’m still very much learning I guess!

  2. A Simple Country Girl March 30, 2011 at 8:31 pm #

    An internet tornado is certainly better than a rotten potato, aye?

  3. Amy Sorrells March 30, 2011 at 8:52 pm #

    You had me at Mr. Vernon. (((snort!!!))) I’ve reduced myself to weekly blogs due to the schedule and demands of my “paying” job of late, but in large part, it’s also been because I agree with everything you say here. I was forcing myslf to blog, and feeling resentful and empty. So I pulled back for a time/season, to allow myself the privilege of focusing my energy on my novel and what I know I can do well. You’re a wise one, katdish. A wise one, indeed. And I thank you for pushing writers to do more. And do better.

  4. Jason March 31, 2011 at 12:02 am #

    I love this Kat. Seriously love it. 🙂

  5. Tony Alicea March 31, 2011 at 6:33 am #

    And THIS is why you are an Internet tornado. I’ve found all these rules to work and suck at the same time. You can’t make these all fit for everyone. Just be you (or the best version of you that you can muster up in words).

  6. kelybreez March 31, 2011 at 6:33 am #

    I am glad that I learned not to do exactly what I should be doing in writing blog posts, while also learning to do what I shouldn’t be doing. It’s all so clear to me now, I don’t know why I didn’t think of not thinking of this before now.

  7. Alise March 31, 2011 at 6:44 am #

    This post = my favorite rules for blogging EVER. I have seen every single one of those rules from different popular bloggers and it cracks me up.

    Seriously, this is gold.

  8. Cassandra Frear March 31, 2011 at 6:51 am #

    yes. I’ve written something similar in the past — blogging advice is contradictory. We see success and try to create a formula for it. But success is complicated. People are complicated.

    Here’s my deal: the blog has to have value on it’s own. It has to be worth my effort, just by itself. If it is, there will be others who enjoy visiting. Readers come for value and community. End of story.

    But I have written some mediocre posts. Oh boy.

  9. Bridgette Booth March 31, 2011 at 6:52 am #

    Excellent list! Everything I wanted to hear was there. (Just ignoring what I didn’t want to hear.)

    Now, if you will write a similar list on how to obtain a unique, honest voice, I think I’ll be set. 🙂

    Enjoying your blog (or should I say voice?). Am off to explore more of it.

  10. Candy March 31, 2011 at 7:14 am #

    Ok, this is nothing if not inspiring. I think there needs to be a resurrection and I think I will call it “candydish.” Awesome.

  11. Joanne March 31, 2011 at 7:17 am #

    Great post. To be honest, I would rather blog than write articles, essays and even a nonfiction book.

    If only I could narrow down my passions. My blog is all over the place. Says a lot about the inside of my head!

    So glad Amy introduced me to you. (Via twitter!)

  12. Michael March 31, 2011 at 8:34 am #

    To be honest when I started blogging. I read your blog to help me figure out how to do it. True story.

    • katdish March 31, 2011 at 8:48 am #

      And you have a successful blog despite that fact. Good job.

  13. DS March 31, 2011 at 8:37 am #

    Kathy,

    This was an exceptional post for bloggers. I see a few of inconsistencies in my blogging efforts…

    I especially love the part about not writing because you feel it as a duty. There are a few blogs I quit following because they do this and although they really CAN write, they are few and far between because of all the substandard content.

    Heck, I would unfollow my own blog because I know I’m guilty.

    Question: I don’t know how to use tags. Is that a widget or seo package widget I need to install on wordpress?

    Thanks in advance!

    • katdish March 31, 2011 at 8:50 am #

      When writing a post in Word Press, look at the right column. You will see a section for “Categories” and “Post Tags”. That’s what I’m talking about.

  14. Heather Sunseri March 31, 2011 at 8:52 am #

    This is great advice, Katdish! I love how your contradictions lead to one final piece of sound advice – write with a uniquue, honest voice. The blogs I return to the most are the ones that I know I’m going to get good content – the ones that make me think, laugh or cry, and sometimes all at the same time.

    Hope you’re doing well!

  15. Sonia M. March 31, 2011 at 9:23 am #

    I’ve been blogging a couple of months now and am (sorta maybe kinda) gettiong the hange of it. Usually, I have to work through something before I can read the directions. I think it’s alright to fumble around a little before you find your groove. Writing is like that for me.

    • katdish March 31, 2011 at 9:33 am #

      Oh, absolutely, Sonia. It took me some time to find my blogging groove. It’s part of the process and part of the fun.

  16. Helen March 31, 2011 at 9:51 am #

    The only rule I ever followed at Random Musings was to be as honest as I could bear (and to stretch myself to bear a little more than I think I can sometimes). It has made me more open in my corporal life as well. Thanks for the encouragement. My blog doesn’t have many followers, but I consider it successful because without it I would never have met my cyber friends.

  17. Jeanne Damoff March 31, 2011 at 12:23 pm #

    Internet Tornado. Oh, how I love you. xo

  18. Hazel Moon March 31, 2011 at 1:39 pm #

    Thank you for some excellent suggestions! Your reverse rules also work for some, since we are all write differently. When I run out of ideas, I read other blogs and many times I am inspired to write about past stories in life. I try to stay with stories that my children may read (or may not read.) Today I write about my Grandparents and how they met at a Box Lunch Social at their church.

  19. jasonS March 31, 2011 at 1:45 pm #

    Great post. Lots of people chasing their tails trying to build a better blog (& I’ve been one of them before). Ultimately, you have to enjoy it and love what you’re doing and who you’re doing it for. That’s the only reason I’m still doing it. Thanks Kat. Also, glad that Google now recognizes your Internet tornado status.

  20. Monica Sharman March 31, 2011 at 3:34 pm #

    Oh yes, I sure do remember The Breakfast Club. Takes me back.

  21. Larry Hehn March 31, 2011 at 8:23 pm #

    Well, call me an internet trailer park, ’cause that post just blew me away!

  22. Peter P April 1, 2011 at 1:28 am #

    Apart from the fact that this post rocks….

    I have a secret that I feel I must share at this point.

    It may make you hate me forever.

    ….

    I’ve never seen The Breakfast Club.

    No, really, I’ve never seen it.

    🙁

  23. Jeremy Myers April 3, 2011 at 6:56 am #

    I recognize some Saddington in you. I guess that really does make you an internet torpedo. Great post! Thanks.

  24. Len April 20, 2011 at 9:46 am #

    Ahhhh. I feel more like I do now than I did before I came here. If you think you crack you up, you should try being me before you don’t do that again.
    Good one, Kat. You may Katdish it out, but you sure Kat take it….
    Weeeeeee….
    Len

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