July 12, 2006

How to Start a Blog

Posted in Writing at 3:34 pm by Calico Jack

You didn’t actually think that we were going to give you the information ourselves, did you? We’re a very small fish in the blogging ocean right now, and any advice we could give to all of you up-and-coming bloggers would be taken with a healthy dose of skepticism–after all, this particular blog has only been around for a month or two. Each of us here at Ignorant Critics does have previous experience blogging, but this is our first foray into something other than an online journal.

Thankfully, Joe Carter of The Evangelical Outpost has assembled an outstanding collection of links to help you figure out this addiction we call blogging. His primer is an excellent introduction; reading it will help you to understand just what it takes to make it in the blogging world. Joe lists four attributes of a successful blog: consistency, quality, work ethic, and ambition. I especially like his words on quality:

When it comes to blogging, quality will not make you successful. You can write the perfect post and even if it is the talk of the Internet, it will soon be forgotten. If you want to be a successful blogger you need to combine quality with consistency. Write that on a post-it and attach it to your laptop. Make it your mantra. Whatever you do, remember it. Without quality posts, consistency is a waste of your reader’s time. Without consistent output, quality is a waste of your time.

I would also add that perseverance is a key factor. Don’t give up if you see little growth in the first few months. Don’t pay too much attention to the traffic numbers or worry about how many comments you’re getting (or in our case, not getting). And keep writing; eventually people will discover what you have to say.

I do disagree with one part of Joe’s advice. I don’t think it is necessary, especially at the beginning of your blog’s lifespan, to put up a hit counter. It can become a temptation to obsess over your stats. For some bloggers, watching that number tick up becomes a source of pride. For others, a low number might be too much of a discouragement; and that can be unhealthy for your blog. Don’t write solely to gain readers. Write about what interests you, and the readers will come. Once you’re established, a hit counter becomes less worrysome, as you already have a solid base of readers.

In any case, Joe’s guide has plenty of useful information for all of us. Check it out.


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