Blaugust 2021 is coming soon! It’s fun! Do it! If you want. I’m not your mom.
I don’t like to give out blogging advice, because:
- Blogging advice is always the same, year after year. You can Google it in a billion places. I double, triple, quadruple dare any blogger to write new blogging advice they haven’t seen or read or even written before.
- For many years now, my primary blogging advice has been to avoid blogging if you’re looking to build an audience, so I’m not a very good blogging ambassador.
Blogging is hard work. Grueling, unforgiving, unrewarding, unnoticed work. Day after day, forever. If that scares people away, then I’m happy to have improved someone’s life a little bit.
But if you have the wherewithal to say, “I’m not scared, I’m doing it anyway!” then you might find blogging a fun hobby.
Bloggers who stick around year after year typically have uniquely personal reasons for blogging, such as:
- The writing process is intrinsically soothing or self-satisfying.
- It’s a way to practice writing (English or whatever language) in a safe way.
- It’s a way to keep a historical record, a way to archive and remember things.
- In my case, my blog is now a test platform of sorts for web development.
- I suppose if the exceedingly dull field of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is somehow interesting to you, a blog can be useful.
Blogging (and most creative endeavors on the Internet) should serve your own needs, not anyone else’s. Otherwise, it’s probably not going to work out for you, because nobody else is going to give you the time of day.
With those inspiring words aside, why not give it a shot? It’s very easy to try. You don’t have to be a web developer anymore. Sign up for a free WordPress account, type some words into the editor, and click “Post.” Now you’re a blogger. A free account will work perfectly fine for years or forever. (Don’t bother with anything other than WordPress, you’ll be shooting yourself in the foot right from the start.)
I know what you’re thinking: “Who would want to read anything I wrote?” It’s what every new blogger, without exception, thinks. The answer is: Almost certainly nobody. But maybe somebody. Probably not, but it’s possible. In any case, no blogger ever expects anybody is going to read their posts, from new ones all the way up to seasoned veterans. You’ll be writing your posts mainly to entertain yourself. Another inspiring blogging pep talk from me to you.
In any case, Blaugust is a fantastic time to start a new blog, or return to an old one, because there’s a little community of nice people looking for new blogs to read.
Unfortunately the biggest problem with Blaugust that hasn’t yet been solved is that it’s impossible to read the sudden influx of new blog posts. Everyone has the best of intentions at first, but after the first week it quickly becomes apparent that nobody can possibly keep up with it all.
So some practical blogging advice I might suggest is to create simple, descriptive titles. It’s good advice any time, but especially in Blaugust. Titles that clearly and succinctly state what’s in the post probably have a much better chance of getting read. Imagine you’re sending an email in a typical busy workplace, where nobody reads more than the title and maybe the first sentence of the email, if you’re lucky.
Okay one more bit of inspiring advice: Turn on full posts in your RSS feed if you want anyone to read your posts. And enable RSS. I’m sorry to say this, but most people don’t want to be bothered going to your site to read your new posts. Most readers want to use Feedly or something similar to make your new blog posts go to them. I’m afraid most of that hard work you put into the layout and colors and fonts and spacing of your site will be entirely wasted. Sorry about that. Readers will usually only see your actual blog site if they happen to land on it from a Google search years later, or if they happen to notice a tweet notification of yours go by in the raging whitewater rapids of a typical Twitter timeline.
As for what to write in Blaugust, there are topic suggestions, but I like to make up a theme-of-the-month for myself. This time it’s probably going to be Revisiting My Old Posts. I’ve made a list of 30-something old discussion posts that might be worthy of more modern epilogues. I’ll put that list in another post if anyone needs any specific writing prompts.