Ten More Blogging Tips From A Novice Blogger

pollen Let's take a break from Web Analytics for a week and talk about something I love. Blogging!

In Oct 2006, after six months of blogging, I felt confident enough to publish Ten Blogging Tips From A Novice Blogger.

But my last post (Blog Analytics: Measuring Blog Success) brought so many emails about what works and what does not, when it comes to blogs and blogging, that I thought now might be a good time to publish a second edition of Blogging Tips.

The purpose of this post is simple: Share my lessons from approximately a year and half of blogging.

What, in my humble experience, works, what does not, and what is completely wrong!

And remember that I am still a novice at this.

Summary

If are trying to create a blog that will create your unique brand, build an audience over time and create a voice for yourself then here are my recommendations:

# 10: Names, URL's, Looks, Your Pictures Don't Matter

# 9: Join BAGoT: Bloggers Against Globs of Text

# 8: Go for 6th grade level

# 7: Length and Frequency: Yours to define and control

# 6: StumbleUpon, Twitter, Google (SEO) matter, Digg matters less

# 5: Read spectacular blogs, find inspiration

# 4: Become very good (top 25% in the world) at two things

# 3: Don't be a jerk / jerkess

# 2: Cultivate your audience: Create a dialog, respect their intelligence

# 1: Be remarkable

Want more? Let's get into the nitty gritty…..

# 10: Names, URL's, looks, your pictures don't matter

I have to admit I obsessed about the right theme (look and feel) to pick, agonized about whether to have a picture or not and what the URL should be etc.

In hindsight nothing mattered.

The URL of this blog is the hardest thing to remember, that does not seem to matter.

It is not the prettiest blog in the world, that does not seem to matter.

I am a introvert, I don't like my pictures any where (sadly I can't control this!). But everyone says pictures are a must on blog. This blog does not have one, and won't. That does not seem to have mattered.

Have a clean blog with least distractions and focus on providing value. You'll be huge.

# 9: Join BAGoT : Bloggers Against Globs of Text

Readability matters.

readability

From day one I have tried not to write long globs of text because I never read them. I just assumed you would not either.

I write short paragraphs (and if you notice over time the paragraphs are getting shorter!).

I use pictures, lots, to make points, or to represent key thoughts / ideas. It takes and additional two to three times the effort to find the perfect picture than to actually write the post itself.

It seems to work.

Break the monotony of your posts, give a burst of color, pictures, tables, graphs, powerpoint, slides, whatever else you can think of. Use bullets, blockquotes, font styles, indentations and whatever else it takes.

It takes effort to do all that, but trust me if you do then it shows that you care, that you'll go the extra mile for your readers.

Remember: If they read then they will understand, if they understand it then they will talk about it, if they talk about it then others will find it.

# 8: Go for 6th grade level

I write about a complex topic. Most people would rather get a painful tattoo than read about metrics or statistical significance or multivariate anything or correlations or advanced segmentation or…. you catch my drift.

Yet over time this blog's audience keeps increasing, and only approximately 30% of it is "analysts" (I am including anyone who touches numbers as a part of their day).

My secret?

I try hard to write about very complex topics in and extremely easy to understand language, and target the broadest possible audience.

I target sixth grade level. A very famous author gave me that advice, and I have stuck to it.

readability level

My hope is that anyone can come to the blog with even the most basic education (higher than sixth grade of course!) and get large chunks of what I am trying to say. Hopefully they learn something.

I think it is working.

Recently I started letting Website Grader have a go at the site, it scan's your website and tells you what grade level you write at. It will give your a decent read of what level you write at, if you don't trust it, use your mom. :)

The picture above is my report today (Nov 24th).

This tip is not for everyone, you can write at any grade level about Paris Hilton and people will understand it. For all other topics go for sixth grade level.

Remember: I am not suggesting you talk down to your readers or at them. Just that you present your wonderful thoughts in a way the broadest possible audience can understand.

# 7: Length and Frequency: Yours to define and control

There is a myth that you have to write every day. And you must write short posts else your fickle busy-with-better-things-to-do audience will abandon you by the side of the road.

Both not true.

I have always written long posts. Unfortunately they have tended to get longer over time. (I blame short paragraphs and the pictures!!!). Yet wonderful souls who read and subscribe to this blog continue to amuse me by reading it and they keep coming back. Yes, yes I track all that! :)

I also don't write every day. Over time the posts per month have actually gone down. It used to be 8 to 9 a month and now it is 5-6 a month.

frequency and length

So ignore the "best practice" of frequent short posts. Create your own rhythm.

Focus on telling a tight story, don't ramble (I have not totally come to grips with this one), focus on providing value. Don't worry about length waaay too much. Certainly avoid a PhD thesis. :)

I do want to pass on one tip: Pattern your audience.

If possible write at regular intervals. Almost always I'll post on Sunday night (Monday AM in Europe), and if I write two then Wednesday night (Thursday in EU).

If you pattern your Visitors then they'll know when to check in for new posts (if they are not Feed Subscribers). It is disappointing for them to come & see nothing new.

I am not sure who gave me this tip but I am thankful to them and I am positive it works.

# 6: StumbleUpon, Twitter, Google (SEO) matter, Digg matters less

Everyone is obsessed with getting on the home page of Digg or Techmeme. It can be a good thing. But in my humble experience the rewards are not worth the obsession. [Both Digg and Techmeme are great websites and my comment here is specific their application in terms of building audience.]

You can get ten thousand people visit your website in 24 hours (especially with Digg, less with Techmeme). But it is unlikely that you'll miraculously have ten thousand more visitors going forward.

Growing your visitor base is hard, short cuts will get you visitors but they are unlikely to stick around. You'll have to build your base one visitor at a time.

While those two are at best a nice to have, my lesson has been that these three are quite golden: StumbleUpon, Google and Twitter .

digg techmeme google twitter stumbleupon

I still have no idea how to get StumbleUpon'ed, but it has been in the top three referrers for this blog for some time. The nice thing about StumbleUpon is that you can count on it to provide a gradual lift in your traffic over a few days, and if you write good stuff then you get StumbleUpon'ed often which means there is a nice lift in your overall numbers over time.

[Let me take this chance to thank everyone who submits my posts to StumbleUpon! I am deeply appreciative.]

Google SEO accounts for the highest amount of traffic I get. Approximately 34% of the site traffic. These are people looking for something specific and then finding you. If you are ranked well for the keywords in your area of expertise then you can't ask for anything else.

I don't do hard core crazy SEO (to my detriment sometimes).

But I find it a tad bit irritating when every third word on many blogs is Bolded or H1 or links (even where links are not necessary) or the same keywords are repeated over and over again. You'll lose me, and I am sure others can see through all that.

Do standard SEO for your blog: write nice content, have a blog that is indexable and you'll be fine. I sound like Matt Cutts!

I have recently discovered Twitter is a great referrer. People who read this blog "tweet" about my posts and I find that brings relevant visitors that subscribe to the feeds. Nice.

Take away: Find sources of relevant traffic, not just traffic.

It bears repeating : There are not short cuts to building an audience. It is hard work. Work hard.

# 5: Read spectacular blogs, find inspiration

I am sure like me that you have all 79 blogs in your space in your feed reader. Devouring the latest from all of them is a daily, if not hourly, ritual.

I find that one can get carried away with this and you start to live in a world surrounded by mirrors. It can become myopic and sometimes, well often, you might lose perspective.

I know that sounds silly, but I have seen it happen so often.

My solution is to read other blogs, lots of 'em. Blogs that are not in my area of expertise. I find that it both breaks some of the loss of perspective and, for me, provides inspiration.

I read Seth Godin for that reason. I am constantly humbled by his brilliant posts, and inspired to constantly do better. It is a bonus that I feel I can stay informed biscuitsnoisette www.chocolateandzucchini.comabout the cutting edge thinking on what Marketing is / should be.

I read Clotilde Dusoulier's blog, Chocolate & Zucchini, for that same reason. I am smitten by her pretty creations and her personality that comes through clearly on her blog.

Now here is the surprising thing, I can't cook to save my life and I am a Vegetarian which means I can't eat or imagine the taste of most of the stuff she writes about. Nonetheless… I feel inspired.

Do that. Find inspiration. Outside your own little or big ecosystem. It will be a blessing.

# 4: Become very good (top 25% in the world) at two things

This one comes courtesy of the eclectic Mr. Scott Adams (from the Dilbert Blog). This excellent post: Career Advice. Here's the relevant excerpt…

If you want an average successful life, it doesn't take much planning. Just stay out of trouble, go to school, and apply for jobs you might like. But if you want something extraordinary, you have two paths:

1. Become the best at one specific thing.
2. Become very good (top 25%) at two or more things.

The first strategy is difficult to the point of near impossibility. Few people will ever play in the NBA or make a platinum album. I don’t recommend anyone even try.

The second strategy is fairly easy. Everyone has at least a few areas in which they could be in the top 25% with some effort.

Mr. Adams advices two or more things, my humble opinion is try for a couple things and get very good at them. That's my plan.

dilbert scott adamsStay focused on your blog.

There are now in excess of 100 million blogs in the world. It is harder with each day to stand out being a generalist or being widely dispersed all day.

You are probably fantastic at a couple of things, blog about those. Stay focused in that ecosystem.

You will stand out because you are writing about what makes you unique. Secondly when people want someone who is a unique voice in one of those two things they'll know where to find you.

# 3: Don't be a jerk / jerkess

This is the only one that makes a repeat appearance from my original ten blogging tips. I feel it is that important.

I very strongly believe that one should not be a jerk. Overtly or covertly. Leave your personal attacks and vendettas for other places.

One: It is not nice. Two: It is really not nice. Three: Almost always you look like a jerk, and most people don't like jerks.

And don't think that you can hide it – if you are a blogger you will write a lot and that makes you very transparent, no matter how hard your spin it all.

respectI was reminded of this by a surprising source: Mark Cuban. Surprisingly only because Mark is not known for mincing his words, his actions are widely covered. But in his closing keynote at BlogWorld Mark's advice was: Don't be a jerk (I am paraphrasing here).

His reasons were that over time you come to regret it, and everything is a permanent record on the internet. You can delete a post but it is still in the feeds. If that is somehow solved it is still in the Internet Archives.

My children will have access to everything I ever write. They might even read it. I don't ever want them to think their dad was a jerk. Besides it can be bad for business. Your future bosses will read your blog. Your business partners and clients will read it too.

An example: A Web Analytics consulting company lost a $45,000 contract because their leader wrote a vindictive post. I know this because he/she wrote about me and the CEO of the client company wrote to me to tell me that. The disagreement was secondarily about the content, it was primarily "I don't want to work with people like him/her".

Remember: Disagree. Put forth your opinion. Take a radical point of view. Travel the road less walked on. But do so with dignity and respect.

# 2: Cultivate your audience: Create a dialog, respect their intelligence

You want an audience? You'll have to create a dialog.

When people ask questions in your posts, do your best to answer them in a timely fashion. [Though replying to every comment with "thanks for the comment and agreeing with me" can be counter productive.] Trust your blog readers to have the intelligence to know which commentators are agreeing with you.

If people blog about your posts then comment, if you can add to the conversation (even if the Author disagrees with you). It shows your ability to listen, and remember others are reading that as well.

I also email every single person who writes a comment on my blog. I try not to just say thanks for your comment. Rather I try to read about the person's point and respond back with my thought on it. It shows you care about the them.

For every comment on the post I get three comments via email. So if I get 30 comments then I'll get an additional 90 emails (!). I reply to all of them, no matter how open ended they are ("Avinash could you please tell me how to do offline tracking" !:).

I try to create a dialog so blog readers know that they can talk on the blog or off the blog. They then take my posts more seriously. Because I talk, then they talk and I'll listen.

audience

Finally no one became bankrupt by respecting the intelligence of their audience. In all dimensions. In what you say. In how you say it. In what you write and how you listen.

Remember: Intelligence attracts intelligence.

# 1: Be remarkable

With all the noises out there yours needs to stand out. Is it remarkable?

Remarkable as in unique, valuable, insightful, different, wonderful, passionate, and as in "eat like a bird, poop like a elephant".

But also Remarkable as Seth Godin had recently defined it (this post: How to be remarkable).

Remarkable as in being noticed, being worth of a remark, as in "let's give 'em something to talk about", being the first, the best, the really trying hard and then waking up in the morning and trying some more.

Being remarkable will make you a X…..

the best rise to the top

and the rest of us will be Y's.

100 million plus blogs. Be you. Be remarkable. x is will be the outcome.

Good luck, may the force be with you!

Ok now it's your turn.

What have your learned from your days / weeks / months / years of blogging? What am I missing? Did anything above connect with you? Did anything upset you? Was any of this helpful?

Please share your perspectives, critique, additions, subtractions, bouquets and brickbats via comments. Thank you.

[Like this post? For more posts like this please click here, if it might be of interest please check out my book: Web Analytics: An Hour A Day.]

Comments

  1. 1
    chica says:

    I think your points are very good. I think the toughest I've found is to keep my blog readable without compromising on what I would like to say. I write about books and to express my thoughts accurately I end up using words which will definitely not pass the readability test!

  2. 2
    Ankur Mody says:

    Hey Avinash,

    You are not a novice ! i hope someday i can market your actual motive ! ! !Great blog as always.

  3. 3
    Steve says:

    re: twitter et al?

    del.icio.us is the social site I draw most traffic from. – fwiw. That may be more of technical audience… ha! *segment* … thing.

    Not lots, and not from any single url within there; but enough and consistently to be noticeable.

    The other spread your message meme I would strongly add: Know your audience. In the sense you probably already read that field or similar via aggregator sites[1]. So use those topic focused aggregating sites!

    I've never yet had a posting I've felt… worthy that I submitted, not get pushed out and draw a respectable crowd. Usually it'll ripple from there to the other related aggregators.

    Perhaps more like a tenth of your description of being digg'ed; but I can easily see that if I could sustain the volume and regularity of postings, I could draw and hold some of those readers.

    I'm one of 'em!

    The stuff I write is what I like to read. :-)

    And perhaps that's the key…..

    Cheers!

    - Steve

    PS Did I congratulate you on yet another excellent and thought provoking post?

    [1] For me: rootprompt.org; cyberciti.biz; more rarely linuxtoday.com. YMMV!

  4. 4
    Life Design says:

    Excellent as always, and I'd add something else you do particularly well Avinash: develop a presence outside of your blog.

    The Google Video you did is a great example of a traffic driver to your site (it drove me). It's a different media, a great showcase for what you are all about, and allows your professionalism to shine.

    It's an extension of don't be a jerk: be good, and be open.

  5. 5
    Tony says:

    Definitely not a novice and your statistics are proof!

    Another good tip is to make it easy for a reader to subscribe to your blog. With so many blog feeds in my feed reader, I can't spend even more time going to 20 different url's because they don't have a feed. Add a few of the top buttons to your blog: Add to Google, Add to Yahoo, Add to Bloglines (feedburner can help). Then also setup the ability to subscribe through email using feedblitz. Your readers will appreciate it!

    Great job!

  6. 6
    Jason Burns says:

    I can't agree more about Digg and Stumble. I have had 30,000 hits in one day from Digg and no significant change in ad clicks or subscribers. I think the best way to grow your blog is just like this, get to know and be active on blogs that have readers that would be interested in your content. Make your self stand out by giving quality feedback that is relevant. When people notice you have something to add, they will track you down. If your site stands out, they will subscribe.

  7. 7
    Alistair says:

    Nice list. Very much agree; people are too busy to subscribe to generalists, and want one person who's their go-to domain expert.

    As for the language thing, I loved this manifesto from the branding guys at Language In Common: Dirty Words and Dick Jokes which, despite its somewhat NSFW title, is about writing stuff that isn't dreadful.

  8. 8

    Your advice is dead on, and I too follow Seth Godin, though running a business, writting a blog, raising two kids and staying up on other blogs out there I find exhausting, I did not say I did not do it though. I agree with Seth Godin & Kevin Costner – "If you build it, they will come".

    One more thing to add to your list – and I like to think I do this, be honest. Honest blogs get an audience, I write about running a business in the children's industry and am an artist to boot, – my industry does not have a large amount of information written about HOW to do it, or HELP – I give it, I tell it. It is exhausting, it is time consuming but it is what my blog is about – and I give the good, the bad and the ugly. I see blogs all the time that are all "butterflies & puppies" and I want to puke – life is not like that.

    Great post – will be forwarding to many a blogger. Thanks – my husband is an avid reader of your blog.

  9. 9
    George says:

    Fantastic post. I just found your blog from Stumbleupon so I guess that helps prove number 6.

    I am going to have to check out more of your blog.

  10. 10
    nethy says:

    "'Life Design, … and I’d add something else you do particularly well Avinash: develop a presence outside of your blog….' Post4, Nov27"

    I totally agree, If you are hard up for something to blog or track nor blog about tracking, I recommend correlation between flesh & blood notoriety & blogosphere success ;).

    Personally, I learned about this blog by having the book recommended at a web-analytics training session. When I came across the blog (via MarketMotive after having its grand opening recommended by an IM site's newsletter) aware of its author.

    When I first read the blog, I already knew who you are (were), flicked through your book, and a few other bits & pieces. It very possibly made me read further & take the blog more seriously.

  11. 11
    Patrick says:

    Hi Avinash nice post once again (unfortunately I dont have a blog ;-().

    "The URL of this blog is the hardest thing to remember, that does not seem to matter."

    I must say Im a bit surprised that you make such statements being the analyst you are :-). How can you tell it does not seem to have mattered if you haven't tried it and tracked the different outcomes?

    I would agree that it obviously wasnt the decisive factor as your blog audience has been growing well ever since, but maybe you would have gotten more repeat visitors if the domain name was easier to remember? I know that I had a real hard-time remembering it in the beginning. It took me a couple of times until I was finally able to remember it and type it in (now thats not a problem anymore hehe ;-)). I was really interested in the topic so I kept coming back and making that effort to remember the domain name (many others obviously did the same thing), but other people who weren't that interested in the topic might have not done the same, but would have come back if the domain name had been webanalytics.com :-).

    The way I think of domain names (from a generic internet marketing POV) is that what really doesn't matter is the creativity. You might want a creative name that sounds cool for yourself, but your visitors won't really care. All they care about is if it's easy to type in and if they'll remember it. If a site about learning French has great content I (as a visitor) couldnt care less whether it has a creative name or whether it's called www frenchstuff com.

    —-

    I'm surprised that you didn't mention one thing: Tracking user feedback on the type of content you're creating. For example say these two posts about blogging got really great feedback and many of your visitors loved it, it'd probably make sense to do a couple such blog posts in the future, too. If you made a blog post about the role of statistics in web analytics and I am the only one who reads it (lol), it might not make much sense for you to blog about that again in the future.

    Do you do something like that by tracking different metrics that give you feedback about how users *cough* engage with your content (time on site/length of post? # of comments/e-mails?)? I know if I created a blog that's definitely what I'd do to see what kind of blog posts my audience is interested in.

    thx!

  12. 12
    Patrick says:

    By pattern your audience do you mean looking at the # of unique visitors/day for example and then making it a habit to create new blog posts on the days that you get the most visit(or)s?

  13. 13
    Rick Galan says:

    I have only been blogging for a few weeks now, and one thing I think is important to point out is that blogging is hard. Writing is not an easy thing for most people (me!) to do.
    Hard things take practice to do well.
    So although I agree with you that you should determine your own schedule, it is beneficial to get into some sort of rhythm.

  14. 14
    javier says:

    Just to translate my trackback in spanish:

    This are my learnings:

    1. Don´t blog about something you are the online one to blog
    2. Don´t write for Google
    3. Don´t care about digg ( "meneame" is a digg clon in spanish)
    4. Don´t write for yourself
    5. Don´t (only) write, read or comment (do it all)
    6. Search for comments
    7. Search the persons behind
    8. Search for yourself

    I think the only reason someone is blogging for a long period of time is that he has found himself when blogging seriously.

    thank you avinash :-)

  15. 15
    Victor says:

    I've read your blog for a year now and this is the most effective post for me yet. Its beautiful in its simplicity, #3 (the 2 things) and #4 (jerk) really hit home…

    I've been brainstorming a lot lately as I'm approaching a career change, and this post has really INSPIRED and will lead me in the right direction. Thanks!

  16. 16
    Dr. Pete says:

    I also email every single person who writes a comment on my blog. I try not to just say thanks for your comment.

    I'm amazed how powerful this is, and how strongly I respond when you and other bloggers do it. I have to admit, also being an introvert, that it's taken me a while to feel comfortable with it, but actively engaging my visitors has been a huge part of my own blog's growth. I not only comment back and often email now, but I make it a point to visit my commenters' blogs and try to learn something about them.

  17. 17
    John says:

    Avinash,

    Thanks again for a great post, your insights have helped me in so many different parts of my life.

    I started reading your blog after watching your Google TechTalk because I was looking to improve some web sites that I run (my day gig). It has only been a few months since then and your web analytics advice has already had positive effects.

    Who'd have thought that a web analytics blog could help a musician struggling with his choice to switch careers and go to law school. Your post on the Stupid Passion Thing was the right medicine for me at the right time providing the clarity I needed to make the switch.

    Finally, reading your blog motivated me to start writing my own and the rewards have been amazing. I've learned more about myself in the last month than I have in the previous 29 years! Your blogging observations have also been spot on. I try to create a conversation now instead of giving a lecture and all of sudden comments are increasing and my daily readership is consistently higher (over a dozen a day, woohoo!!!).

    Funny story – one of my first blogs discussed your post on creativity and you wrote my first comment ever(not from my Mom as I expected). I freaked out thinking of the astronomical odds of you finding my little home in blogville. I had a 'doh!' moment when I learned about the magic of trackbacks, but that didn't take anything away from the impression you made by taking the time to respond. You certainly practice what you preach.

    Thank you again!

    P.S. – To add to the conversation here, I remembered your blog because of the remarkable content and the unusual domain name.

    The remarkable content made me want to return, but due to your unusual domain name it stuck out among the dozen other analytics blogs that I had recently read.

    So I agree that the domain doesn't matter to readers once they are there, but it certainly helps in branding. Who searches the web at search.com, buys books at books.com and looks for jobs at jobs.com?

  18. 18

    Great article, I especially resonated with your thoughts on remarkability. Along with that, I think it's always important to remember that being remarkable it critical, but always bounded by authenticity.

    Figure out who you are, then tap into ways to let that shine.

  19. 19
    Kristen Nomura says:

    Hey Avinash,

    Thanks for introducing me to a cool new blog — I just checked out Chocolate & Zucchini and think Clotilde might get a few new loyal readers from you mention.

    My favorite in the Top 10 is "Don't be a jerk/jerkess". There are plenty of people who could blog about the topics you do, but I think a lot of us come back again and again because your sincere personality really shines through.

  20. 20
    Anne Libby says:

    Avinash, this is an extremely useful post.

    I especially appreciate the heads up on WebsiteGrader. I've recently started to work on writing more directly. It will be great to have a metric to watch. (And a new blog to read and learn from.)

    Be well.

  21. 21

    Hey Avinash,

    On your #2 tip for blogging, you have a sentence right after the picture with guitar: Finally no one became bankrupt but respecting the intelligence of their audience.

    Instead of the word 'but', was it supposed to be 'by'?

  22. 22
    Vijay says:

    Avinash!

    That was a wonderful list. I keep it like a checklist for my blogging.

  23. 23
    Derek says:

    Great list here – and as always, the specific examples and references are what helps.

  24. 24
    Dr.Mani says:

    Excellent post, learned many new things. Thanks for sharing those great tips.

    Re Stumbleupon, I was new to it last month, and as is my practice, jumped in with both feet and researched like crazy. Then, I wrote my longest blog post ever – 4,300 words long – titled:

    How To Get MORE StumbleUpon Traffic – A Guide For Beginners… And Experts

    It's here:
    http://InfopreneurBlog.com/how-to-get-more-stumbleupon-traffic-a-guide-for-beginners-and-experts/

    I'm sure you and your readers will find it of some interest and value.

    All success
    Dr.Mani

  25. 25
    jblu says:

    Thank you for these tips. They're very thorough, simple, and practical.

    I'm a big fan of bagot.

  26. 26
    Vicky says:

    Hello there! I love your comment about simplicity – and if in doubt ask your Mum.

    I think its probably time Mum's of the world formed together to form a super-consultancy for these very issues.

    I can't count the number of times my Mum has read drafts of complex research reports and proposals – and her insights of "its probably just me but, this bit…" pack a killer punch everytime!

    Best wishes, Vicky

  27. 27
    Jennifer says:

    Hi,
    I enjoyed your tips, that my friend sent me. I have a question. I don't understand how Stumbled Upon helps your blog. I can't find the place in preferences where you list your blog.

    Where is that or does it exist?

    Thanks,
    Jennifer

  28. 28
    Kat says:

    I liked the comment about "Become very good (top 25% in the world) at two things". I believe that many people's strength isn't in doing one thing well, but at combining a number of things that they do well enough. For example, I think we need more people that can merge history, psychology, and biology; paleontology, biology, and physics; and Computer Science AI, psychology, and biology. A world that has only specialists would never work quite as well as a world in which generalists hold all the specialists together.

    Great post!

  29. 29
    Ajay M says:

    A must read and practiced for all the bloggers. This is an encyclopedia which must be followed. a 110 out of 100 for this post.

  30. 30
    Laurie says:

    Nice to meet you, Avinash! You may find this unbelievable, but my visit to your blog is only my third visit to a blog site in my life. I had to comment after John said:

    "Who’d have thought that a web analytics blog could help a musician struggling with his choice to switch careers and go to law school."

    Turning 50 this year with a newly acquired Masters' in Social Work has me pondering my future…Pursue the sure thing ($$) or take a leap. At my age, it feels like I am learning greek everyday in this tech world we live in. On some days it is torture to keep up. You have inspired me to keep going towards the ledge…

  31. 31
    bai says:

    Nice Blogging Tips, thank for the tips

  32. 32
    Alex says:

    Hey Avinash,

    I'm woefully behind on my blog reading, but I just wanted to say thanks for the great tips. You're still very much an inspiration.

    Your point about reading level wasn't something I had considered before. Apparently, I'm writing at a high school level…

    One thing I will say is that I do think some elements of your blog design, while not critical, can help. For example, I added chiclets to my blog and saw a noticeable spike in conversions.

    I also try to follow the rules in "Don't Make Me Think" to make it easy for people to find the content they want and (hopefully) subscribe.

    Hope to see you in the halls of C360 soon :-)

    Best,
    -Alex

    PS: I can share some good WordPress plugins with you, if you'd like.

  33. 33
    Riordan says:

    nice post

    your tips is very useful

    thanks

  34. 34
    Alex Gardner says:

    All great tips, but just wondering if you have any additional tips on finding inspiration for your posts?

    Do they just come to you like a bolt of lightning or do you do anything to help generate the spark?

  35. 35

    Alex : As a active Practitioner I am lucky, inspiration seems to be everywhere.

    A common source is my consulting and speaking engagements. I run into so many things that give me ideas for things I should write about (amongst the most famous one of those is this one: Engagement is not a metric its an excuse).

    The next one I think is readers of the blog. I get atleast 50 emails a day with questions / request for help / "what would you do if" / tech support for Omniture or Google Analytics (amazingly just those two!) / feedback on something I wrote. Those are all a great source (a recent one of these is this one: Is Conversion Rate Enough? It’s A Good Start, Now Do More!).

    Often people just write to me and say: Can you write this post for me? One of those was this one: Web Analytics Demystified.

    Next in line is just things that pop up to me as I use the many web analytics tools I have access to. I am trying to create this report or get that answer and I'll look at something and say "hey that is clever" or, often :), "that is astoundingly dumb". A example of the former was this one: I Got No Ecommerce. How Do I Measure Success?)

    Finally sometimes other blogs spark ideas. Not so much web analytics blogs but other blogs I read. Kevin Hillstrom might write about something that makes me think or Seth Godin or many of the other great bloggers, they inspire me.

    I have writer's block just as much as the next gal, but I feel lucky I have help such as above.

    I love blogging. I am mostly done with the post for tomorrow and I feel a genuine sense of thrill (at getting it done) and anticipation (at what the reaction will be) and excitement (one more post!!).

    Hope this helps a bit.

    -Avinash.

    PS: At the end of my first six weeks of blogging my wife, a loyal reader of my blog I might add (!!), turned to me and said: "you should slow down, you have written about everything you know already!". I felt exactly the same way. It is hard to believe it has been a year and half now.

  36. 36
    Steve says:

    "… (one more post!!)"

    I believe that's called "addiction". :-P

    Cheers!
    - Steve

  37. 37
    Stacy says:

    Hey There,

    Thanks for a helpful post – as a new blogger this is just what I need. I just checked my readability level and it is "Secondary/High School". Yikes! I really thought I was writing in a conversational tone, I guess I'll have to be more mindful of this.

    Again, thank you. This is a great blog, and your daughter is beautiful!

    ~Stacy

  38. 38
    Shruti says:

    Really informative Post !!

    Looking forward for more..

    -Regards,

    Shruti.

  39. 39

    Tip #4 is really important. Most people engage in too much busywork, never attempting to master their special interests, whether it is a search for extraterrestrials or cooking with pomegranates. It's those specialties that make you unique which also qualify you to publish a successful blog. I'll bet there are a lot of topics out there which can attract far more attention than one would think, given the subject. Write with a sense of humour and you'll have it made as a teacher and explorer.

  40. 40
    wendy says:

    Thank you for the advice, while my blog is more for my own entertainment and probably wouldn't interest most people (and I'm not trying to appeal to the masses), you presented some great points that I probably wouldn't have thought of: don't be a jerkess, your children may read this one day! That's good advice and I think sometimes I forget that I am posting potentially to anyone in the world – even a future boss!

  41. 41
    jo meyer says:

    I was wondering if you could sneak an peak at my website and give me a critique. I can handle it. For one I think my posts are long and rambling.

    I am learning how to blog. Teachnical techniques are coming slow.

    If you could have time to do so, I'd be grateful.

    I read somewhere that one should not give all the genealogical information out there right away. I imagine though the only ones who would be interested in my blog are relatives after that information. Or someone checking to see if they are related to me. I should add my goal up at the top blog title, too. To attract similar surnames in similar areas of germany.

    And maybe time line of similarity?

    I may have to Be more specific as the blog space will run out before I am through. I have tons of surnames that I would like to cover.
    Perhaps a few german words here and there?

    i have not seen that many comments in anyones blog before. Gosh, you must be good.
    Thanks
    jo

  42. 42
    Shafar says:

    Great article for the beginners like me! I got this page when I googled "Blogger Tips" :)

  43. 43

    Hi,AVINASH.
    I like your tips, first time i am join your blog, Its great,
    Thanks,
    pradeep

  44. 44
    Stephen says:

    Great post.

    I like your point #7.

    As you have said, once you have build a following, it is good for them to know when are they going to see a great post again.

    Thanks.

  45. 45
    esteban says:

    Remarkable post about blogging. I've read your blog many times before but this is the first time I read this particular post. I've had several non-remarkable blogs but I'm trying to make my latest as remarkable as possible. It is called Social Nerdia and it's about the convergence of technology, marketing, and social media, and the people / sub-cultures that make it possible. While the topic is "broad" it also is a bit cluttered. So reading this post is going to help. I'll have to come back to it later on too :)

  46. 46
    Mark says:

    Even seasoned pro's need a good piece of advice now and again as we all can forget the basics.

    Great PR and rankings by the way, good work :-)

  47. 47
    Michael says:

    I really like the tip 4.

    I think that too many people get stuck thinking that there's no point in trying because someone will always be better. I say get good at a few things and put your own spin on it. You may not be the best in the world at something but you can still be very successful in the top 25%.

Trackbacks

  1. [...]

    Y tu ¿Qué has aprendido con tu blog? Publicado Noviembre 27,2007 Blogs Publica Avinash un excelente artículo en el que resume en 10 puntos lo que ha aprendido sobre mantener un blog:

    1. No es el diseño lo que importa sino el contenido
    2. No hagas post muy largos
    3. Escribe para que todo el mundo te entienda
    4. Publica con la frecuencia que quieras pero se constante
    5. No todo es salir en Digg ( O meneame)
    6. Lee a otros, busca inspiración
    7. Se muy muy bueno en un par de cosas
    8. No seas cretino
    9. Cultiva tu audiencia, crea diálogo, respeta su inteligencia
    10. Destaca, se extraordinario

    [...]

  2. [...] Analytics expert Avinash Kaushik recently talked about the need to 'pattern your audience', a tip recommended in his excellent article on blogging. In that context he primarily uses the term to refer to the act of publishing posts at the same time: If possible write at regular intervals. Almost always I’ll post on Sunday night (Monday AM in Europe), and if I write two then Wednesday night (Thursday in EU). If you pattern your visitors then they’ll know when to check in for new posts (if they are not Feed Subscribers). It is disappointing for them to come & see nothing new. [...]

  3. [...]
    Blogs / Blogging

    Avinash/Occam's Razor: Ten More Blogging Tips From A Novice Blogger
    [...]

  4. [...] Bitcurrent’s going to be changing a lot. I’ve started writing for GigaOm and Earth2Tech on emerging technologies and green technology, respectively, so it’s time to focus this blog on one topic — something Avinash, as usual, is right about. [...]

  5. SEMMYS says:

    [...] Ten More Blogging Tips From A Novice Blogger Avinash Kaushik, Occam's Razor | 11/27/07 [...]

  6. [...] Ten More Blogging Tips From A Novice Blogger [...]

  7. [...]
    Si vous souhaitez des pistes, je vous recommande la lecture de cet article. Mais les meilleurs optimisations à faire pour vous, vous les trouverez après avoir choisi avec soin vos KPIs, et après une analyse intelligente de votre propre reporting. Sinon à quoi servirait-il ?
    [...]

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