Thursday, August 25, 2005


Milestone reached - 1,000th post

Blogger tells me that this is officially my 1,000th post. I can't believe I've made this many. I've really devoted alot of time and energy to this place. I hope that you found some of my 1,000 posts interesting! I'm sure I wrote a few good ones. Maybe 4 or so. Anyway, rather than simply detail this information, I thought I would take the time to write about some things that I have learned. I think writing 1,000 posts gives me license to discuss blogging in a bit of detail so with that being said, allow me to impart some blogging wisdom! So without further ado:

1) Blog for you. Blog for enjoyment. Sometimes I see bloggers worrying whether or not their visitors like their output or not. Don't worry about that. If you blog about what you enjoy, the chances are your posts will be enjoyable to read too.

2) What is it you're trying to say through your blog? It's probably a good idea to figure that out as it can help prevent those days when you can't think of anything good to write.

3) Encourage debate. This is one of the great things about blogging. Don't be afraid to argue either. Arguing can be great as long as it's done in a respectful fashion.

4) Don't take any BS. Unfortunately, like in real life, you will come across people who can be downright nasty. Don't be afraid to ban people. If you have Haloscan installed, you can do this. I believe I have banned three people since I started the blog. One person who repeatedly called me a 'twat' when I asked him not to, another for extremely vulgar language, and another who was, well, just a total troll basically. Don't put up with trolls!

5) I've heard that you shouldn't blog angry. Nonsense! Blog angry. People like it when you show a range of emotions, especially anger. Just keep your anger to your posts though!

6) Get Sitemeter. It's great and it's free. You can find out how many visitors you have and where they are coming from. I've had people visit from all over the world and it's my favourite part about blogging.

7) Link to other sites. It will get you noticed. You don't have to link to everyone though.

8) Comment on your blog. I don't know if there are bloggers who simply post and never answer comments. I try to reply to people though. My philosophy has been that if people have taken the time to comment, you should give them a response. You don't always have to do this of course but you should respond some of the time.

9) Comment on other blogs. Bloggers appreciate it when people leave comments so be nice and leave a comment on other sites, especially the newer ones who sometimes need encouragement.

10) Don't become obsessed with getting hits. In my first few months I ended up trying really hard to get as many hits as I could and ended up getting fed up with blogging and taking a break from it. I came back and just blogged for enjoyment purposes again. Don't fixate on hits.

11) Don't get cocky. If things are going well don't get a big head. You could be getting hundreds of hits one minute and the next minute they'll all disappear! You're only as good as your last post.

12) Celebrate your accomplishments. Don't be cocky but feel free to give yourself a pat on the back if you do well. Highlights for me have included my two mentions in the Sunday Tribune and getting mentioned on BBC's magazine with some other Irish bloggers. Appreciate when you have been acknowledged.

13) Fiddle with the template. I hated the template at first and didn't go near it. I feared I'd do something wrong and destroy my blog. Did you know this blog was the standard orange for months? It's true. Ask the ones who have been here since the start. I learned though I could fiddle as much as I wanted and as long as I didn't press 'Save changes' on Blogger, that I could get away with anything and not have to worry.

14) Upload images. Blogger introduced this a short time ago. I think it's great as it livens up the place. I don't place images on all my posts but it's good to add images for one or two at least.

15) Don't get disheartened if you spend alot of time on a post and find that no one has left a comment. That doesn't make your post bad. People more than likely read it even though they didn't comment. I don't always comment on other blogs but I do try to read what's being said.

16) Be original. Try and set yourself apart from other blogs. Going back to the template, you can arrange a colour scheme that sets you apart from other blogs. Look at mine. It's greener than the inside of a Leprechaun's house. At least it sets me apart from the majority of other blogs though.

17) Ignore your detractors. As Oscar Wilde once said, "The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about". Look on the bright side. You've been noticed!

18) Try and be humorous. Posts that contain a bit of humour are often the ones people remember the most. It was the humour in my posts that caught the eye of the Sunday Tribune and the BBC. Hmm. Maybe I should give up writing on politics and go into stand-up comedy...

19) Don't blog about your job. It will more than likely get you into trouble.

20) Get a partner if you can. Solo blogging is tough. Believe me. A partner lightens the load and gives the blog an extra flavour. Also, if you need to take some time off, your associate can cover for you. I think it's too late to get a partner for me as this blog is too synonymous with my own political beliefs.

21) Don't worry about the weekends. You'll lose most of your visitors. People have better things to do on weekends than sit at a computer screen. You probably do too. I don't spend that much time blogging at the weekend usually.

22) Don't cry if you lose a post you've been working on. I know it's tempting to and I've come close myself. Just be thankful that the 'Recover post' function is there and hope that it does the trick if you lose a post. That feature wasn't always there you know. I can still recall the anger and hurt as my post vanished off into cyberspace...

23) Try and write effectively but don't stress too much on grammar. I often worry if I'm using commas in the right place. Most of your visitors are unlikely to be English teachers and probably don't notice your grammar. I don't focus on the grammar of other bloggers, only my own. In short, it's not worth fretting about.

24) Understand what blogging is about. Blogging is many things to many people. To me, the greatest thing about blogging is the communication aspect. Talking to people across oceans and continents. Having hits from far off places like Australia, Chile, Kazakhstan, Japan etc. Also the ability to communicate with people from all walks of life. Unionists, nationalists, liberals, conservatives and so on.

25) Finally, and most importantly, stand up for what you believe in and never sell out. Accept help, acknowledge when you have been at fault, but always stand by your principles and your convictions. That way even if you're not liked, you'll still be respected.

So there you have it. I hope somebody out there has been helped by this advice.


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