A friend of mine called me recently to say that she was thinking of starting a blog and wanted some advice. I told her the blogosphere was already too crowded, and if she had any 'thoughts' or 'feelings' she should either keep them to herself or just write them down in a spiral-bound notebook like everyone else. She persisted, though, and I agreed to answer a few questions mainly because I'm a supportive friend but also because she agreed to cough up a couple of bucks for a cappuccino and a scone. Here is our Q & A:
Can anyone start a blog?
Yes. In fact, that's the comment I hear most often after people have read my blog. "Oh, I see anyone can start a blog."
How much time do I need to devote to my blog?
Most of your waking hours that you aren't working, sleeping or going to the bathroom should be spent on your blog. Nobody likes a lazy blogger. In fact, before starting you should explain to friends and family members that you will no longer be available for lunches, parties or funerals. It's also a good idea to teach your children to cook and clean and to do their homework on their own because you won't want to be bothered with any of that.
How do I get people to read my blog?
I don't know.
Can I earn money by running ads on my blog?
Some people make lots of money with blog advertising. If you look on some popular sites you'll see ads by big name advertisers like Mattel and Paramount Pictures. It depends on how successful your site is - the more readers you have, the bigger advertisers you can attract. I myself am waiting for approval from some advertisers as we speak! (I'm talking to you, Hals Donuts and Nails by Fatima!)
Are blog rankings important?
Absolutely. I suspect it has something to do with being more talented and more creative, but I know for a fact that those with higher rankings are definitely better looking. My Technorati rank is something like 18,000. That puts me right on par with say, Dan Rather or Bea Arthur. In fact, that's what I'm thinking of for my new tagline: The Bea Arthur Of Blogs!What about comments - are they important?
If you're talking about your sense of self-worth, yes. If I see that I have zero comments, I'm likely to grab a box of candy bars and crawl into bed for the rest of the day. The higher that number gets, the less I yell at my kids and the more optimistic I am for my future. Once the number of comments gets into the double digits my mood gets even sunnier and my husband knows he'll be getting lucky that night. And just as I said that I realized where all those "Anonymous" comments are coming from.
I've heard that bloggers are a narcissistic bunch. Is this true?
Absolutely untrue. But did you want to talk about other bloggers and their problems, or - Hello! Why don't you ask them out for coffee?
Should I tell anyone about my blog?
If you're planning on trashing your friends, relatives or your mailman, then no. There are those that find it offensive to be called a turd or a back-stabbing ho in a public forum. Some people are just sensitive that way.
But I find it can be an effective tool in certain social situations, like if you're trying to stop that pesky neighbor from stopping by "just to chat" or to get rid of someone at a party. Because nothing stops a conversation dead in its tracks like the words, "Let me tell you about my blog."
I'm interested in blogging and its relevance in the bigger picture. How can bloggers use their collective voices to influence political issues? In what ways can bloggers use their platform to affect social change? What are some ways that blogging influences public opinion?
No. Are you going to eat the rest of that scone?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
tags: blogging secrets | narcissism | bea arthur | popular blogs