Tomorrow marks my 5 year anniversary as a writer/blogger, so I thought I’d share some of the things I’ve learned from writing. But in keeping with the 12 Days theme, here’s a great video from Straight No Chaser singing their version of The 12 Days of Christmas:
Hope you get to see it. Warner Music has their nighty in a knot and is removing their artist’s videos from YouTube. Check it out if it’s still there. These guys are fabulous!
Things I’ve learned about writing over the past year:
1. Fellow writers are some of the nicest, most helpful people on earth.
Especially in the personal finance realm, your fellow writers are more than willing to help you in almost any way possible. I’ve heard that other niches are not that way, but in my experience, I’ve found virtually every person I’ve come in contact with to be friendly and willing to help me.
2. Writing is hard work.
If you plan to write 6 days or more per week (like me!), it takes a lot of time doing the necessary research, writing, editing, searching for just the right photographs or movies, answering emails, responding to comments, figuring out monetization methods, and interacting with other bloggers. But it sure is fun!
3. People rarely click banner ads.
Most people never click a banner ad (have you?), but write about your experience with a product and include a text link, they just might click it.
4. Always wait for the first version AFTER the major revision.
The major revisions of software, particularly WordPress, seem to have a few little bugs in them, but if you wait until the first security patch comes out, you’ll probably get a better product. And it usually doesn’t take that long either.
5. Some plugins don’t play well with others.
Some, in fact, will crash other plugins, and some will crash your whole system.
6. You don’t need every plugin you find.
I’m running a lot plugins right now and some are probably duplicated in WordPress 3.5 but I haven’t had time to investigate which ones to deactivate.
7. Some people won’t like what you post.
It’s best to just blow them off and move on. There’s no point in getting bent out of shape, is there “lumberjack411?”
8. Your RSS Feedcount will fluctuate.
Sometimes it will fluctuate wildly. When I moved my feed from the old Feedburner to Google’s Feedproxy, I seemed to have lost several hundred subscribers. Give it time and they will all come back. Just keep writing good content.
9. The best way to build your own blog is to contribute to others.
Leaving comments on other blogs in your niche is the best way to draw attention to yourself. It’s important that your comments aren’t just “Great Post” or “I agree” but meaningful, substantive comments that add to the discussion.
10. Don’t be afraid to write a controversial post.
Go ahead and write about something controversial, but do so respectfully. You are entitled to your views as are your readers, but I don’t allow bad language on my blog and I have edited some comments to insure the language is PG at the worst. I personally discount any blogs that use vulgarity, gutter language, or any other language that my children shouldn’t hear. There really is no call for it in my opinion and it adds ZERO to the discussion.
11. Make sure your readers know how to contact you.
Sign up for a Gmail or Yahoo account and use that. I personally use Gmail and find that it has an incredibly strong spam detection system as well as the ability to add labels and a ton of other things!
12. If you self host a blog, upgrade now.
When I wrote 12 Things I learned By 42 That I Wish I Knew At 22, I had no idea it would get over 100,000 hits on Digg and Stumble. It crashed my server and I had to upgrade. Later, when 26 Signs You May Be A Mega Consumer hit the front page of MSN, it still was pretty slow, but it held up to a 25,000 hit day. I’m currently using, Bluehost . Give them a try!
There are still a lot more things I’ve learned but I can guarantee that I’ll learn a lot more during the next year.