Even when you’ve heard the same tried and true rules absolutely everywhere, it doesn’t mean those rules will work for you. Some blogging rules were made to be followed and some well, not so much.
ALWAYS FOLLOW THESE RULES…
Avoid flowery, long-winded, mucky, metaphor-filled writing. I’m not saying you shouldn’t or can’t write long posts, but long or short, posts full of fancy Nancy style writing or purple overload are so freaking annoying. Readers (read me) aren’t interested in wading through paragraph after paragraph just to locate the point. In college the best web writing advice I ever got was that you can almost always cut 50% of what you just wrote. It’s true too. In fact, I’ll prove it. I could have summed up all the above like so – “Get to the point fast so you don’t lose your readers attention.”
Hit enter! Web text needs to be easy to scan or people start to get serious migraines. You can also break posts up with bullets and bold text.
Before you hit publish ask yourself one question. “So what?” Asking yourself this one question can help you with pretty much every post you write and help you to avoid the above mentioned flowery writing.
Check your spelling before you publish. Grammar, punctuation, and text structure are often gray areas in blogging; the rules can be played with. Continually using poor spelling may not necessarily amount to bad writing, but poor spelling can frustrate many of your readers and it’ll frustrate your clients for sure.
BLOGGING RULES YOU CAN BREAK…
You have to write for free when you’re just starting out as a problogger. Not true. I didn’t write for free. Many of my friends never wrote for free. Having to write for free is nothing more than an unnecessary myth of the professional blogging world. If you’re writing for free you haven’t searched the job boards enough, you’re not applying to gigs properly, or you’re not a good enough writer to snag a gig and it may be time to look for a job you can make actual money at.
Never write for free. Writing for free (i.e. guest posting) can work in your favor, but you should carefully consider the reasoning behind your decision.
You should always quote rates when asked. Frankly I’ve broken this rule for most of my blogging career. In my experience the folks who ask applicants to quote rates are one, looking for the cheapest bid not the best person for the job, or two, the client has no clue what purpose they want the blogger to serve. Neither is a great situation for a blogger so I tend to avoid applying for gigs that demand a rate UNLESS the client really did spell out the services they need, but that’s rare. If the job is interesting enough I may email the client and say something like, “My typical rate for one blog post of 300 words with an image included is ______, if you require longer posts, networking, blog maintenance, or other tasks let me know so I can offer you a more accurate quote.”
You should send new clips when asked. This is a time waster not a good rule. A clip is meant to showcase your writing so old or new a clip is a clip. It’s totally befuddling to me that a client would say, “Please send a brand new piece” so I just don’t do it and yeah, I still get jobs. PS if you’re a new blogger learn how to build up clips.
NEVER write long posts or the related NEVER write too short of posts. A post is what it is. Some are long, some are short, and lots are in-between. Many of my most viewed posts are way longer than most bloggers recommend and on the flip side I’ve gotten great comments on posts where I wrote about two sentences. Different posts require different things so don’t be afraid to mix it up.
You have to be a social networking diva if you’re a blogger. We talk about social networking a lot here at Blogging For A Living, and for good reason. Social networking is a skill clients look for and it’s an excellent tool for expanding blog readership. However, many popular blogs became popular before we had quite so many social networking platforms. Also social networks aren’t perfect and a good blog is not dictated by your social skills alone. Great content, loyal readers, keywords, the right niche and so much more help create a good blog. It’s not all about social networking. You should have some sort of social networking plan, and by all means network where and when your heart is into it but know that you don’t have to join every social platform on the planet to grow a popular blog.
Which rules do you think bloggers should always follow? Which rules can be broken?