Blogging

3 Blogging Rules I Think You Should Break

Bloggers like to talk about blogging rules, whether they like to acknowledge “rules” actually exist.”

Nearly the moment you tell someone you’re considering starting a blog, you start hearing about blogging rules you shouldn’t break.

During last night’s #Blogchat, the topic was blogging rules that should be broken. Don’t get me wrong: I’m not one of those people who looks for reasons to break rules; I think many rules exist for good reasons.

But there are times when you may decide for your own reasons and for your own audience, that certain rules might not apply as well to your blog. In that spirit, here are five of the “rules” I think you should definitely consider breaking if the alternative doesn’t feel right.

1. Write every day, no matter what.

I cringe every time I hear someone spout this one, as if it’s written in stone somewhere. Writing every day isn’t a bad habit to get into; many of us who derive an income from one kind of writing or another write every day automatically. But every profession gets vacation time once in a while, and for creative types, there’s nothing at all wrong with taking a break to recharge.

Some will invariably protest, saying, “But a writer writes.

Well, sure.

But a writer also reads. And researches. And experiences. Each of those four makes a writer better.

2. Begin with a clear focus, purpose and niche.

In a perfect world, yes, every blogger would, from the very first post, know exactly what the purpose, focus and niche of the blog would be. Some bloggers, on the other hand, have found incredible success by beginning without a plan and allowing the blog’s voice and its audience to help shape what the direction would be.

Wade Kwon, the blogger and journalist behind Magic City Post in Birmingham, Alabama, is an example. Check out his story here.

3. Longer posts should be split into a series.

Bloggers love to stress about word counts. People seem to think there’s a definitive “magic number” of words that is the ideal length that will make everyone read.

The problem is there’s no one magic number that works for every blog, every writer, every reader and every niche.

There’s only one number I worry about when I write: 250. The only reason I pay any attention to that number is because SEO seems to like posts that are at least that many words. So if I had a “bare minimum” number of words to shoot for, it’d be 250. I figure that if I can’t get more than 250 words on a topic, it needs a bit of expanding anyway.

But once I reach that 250, I write until I’ve said what I think needs to be said. That might be 500 words, 750 words, 1,000 words or even 2,000 words.

If I feel the need to split a 2,000 word post into two or three mini-posts, I try my best to talk myself out of it unless those three posts can stand alone. After all, expecting your readers to return to your blog is one thing; expecting them to return on specific days for specific parts of a long post you could have just delivered in one maneuver can be a lot to ask a reader…even one who is pretty loyal to your site.

We all have multiple demands on our time by the hour these days. For some readers, by the time they make a return visit to your blog, they may have even forgotten the previous post for which the next part is now waiting. If they visit on a weekly basis, you may have published a few posts since the next part of whatever they were reading, and it’s possible they may never even remember to look for it.

As a reader, I’d rather get the full picture in one lump sum.

1 Comment

  1. I’m not to follow any rules, certainly lot not that last: I suspect there’s little I could happily post about any topic that’d fit with the right amount of details in just 250 words. If that is all we could manage, we’d be providing too few details to make it worthwhile to read. Especially for me; I love to learn. If a topic new to me does not provide enough reading material, it is a total letdown.

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Patrick is a Christian with more than 28 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.