Wednesday, August 24, 2011

4 things not to do on your blog

I am so sleepy and tired from being up repeatedly with Rainbow Puppy that I cannot plan a blog post for you today. Instead I have a nice picture for you. I hope it suffices.

Never do this.

If you're going on vacation, or your baby really is a little sleep demon like mine, or you have a ton of kids and they won't give you a moment's peace, or a barrel of monkeys just tipped over and are running rampant all over your kitchen like ants Toy Story-style, don't say so.

Blog readers don't care! And like as not, they'll skip right over your excuses and your apologies and click away.

Know what? Here's three other things readers don't care about:

1. How difficult it is for you to keep up with comments. When you complain that it's really hard for you to answer comments, readers don't have a lot of sympathy. It's kind of the blogging equivalent of saying "I'm so gorgeous that I can't seem to get people to stop staring at me!" If you really honestly can't get to all your comments, then just mention that you do read them and appreciate them. But not that you can't possibly keep up with the admiration.

2. Your blogging schedule. We all know it's important to keep--and stick to-- a blogging schedule. But when you post your schedule and it's complex and varied, readers aren't going to really remember it. They read your blog as part of their day. Blog about chickens on Monday and childhood scars on Wednesday, or vice versa. No one cares. We read your blog because we like you.
That being said, there's nothing wrong with posting your schedule--just don't expect people to remember it.

3. Your failure to think of blog posts. Everyone who blogs regularly has had to figure out what to blog about when the well runs dry. So once in a while you have to pull out the story about how your four year old stepped in cat puke and then told you about it as he wiped his foot off on another part of the carpet, thereby creating more mess, except you can't see where he wiped his foot off, so now you have no idea where he wiped cat puke on the carpet and no idea where to clean. This happened to me yesterday. It's a better thing to post than "I can't think of a post today."

The bottom line here is, readers don't care how hard things are for you. They don't want to hear you whine and they definitely don't want to hear how hard it is to keep up with your adoring commenters. They want you to consistently deliver quality posts, and when you can't then do one of the following:
  • Call in guest posters.
  • Run old posts in re-run style. I had to do this in the weeks following Rainbow Puppy's birth.
  • Write posts when you have the inspiration, and then schedule them for the future. I anticipated being completely brain dead after I had Rainbow Puppy (and I was right and in fact still am-- guess what? He's screaming in his crib as I write this right now, he does this every night now and also wakes about every hour and I really can't take it anymore) so I baked and froze seven weeks' worth of posts for you, all scheduled ahead of time.
  • Be short and professional. Just simply say, "I'm closing shop for the next three weeks." Don't explain why-- again, no one really cares about your upcoming monkey head transplant.
Anything to add? Thoughts about when bloggers do this? Do you care as a reader?

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