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7 Blogging Beliefs You Interpreted Wrongly

Posted by on May 18, 2014

Back to blogging for a bit.

There’s a lot of bad blogging advice out on the internet. There’s also some pretty good advice. However, what I find is that sometimes people are misinterpreting what they’re seeing, and that’s never good.

Arise award
A belief I got right

A major truth is that for every bit of advice someone gives you as to how you should do something, there’s someone who’s violating every one of those principles and succeeding in doing so.

Or are they? Truth be told, sometimes people are doing just what they’re supposed to be doing, but it’s not being seen for what it really is, or what it really means. It can be confusing to new bloggers, but it’s also true for long time bloggers who are trying to be something more than just another writer, yet don’t know whose words to follow.

I’ll tell you; follow mine! lol Okay, that’s a blatant throwaway statement, so let me clarify. Here are 7 blogging beliefs you’ve probably read somewhere that are both true and not true, depending on how you’re reading them. As always, I’m going to tell you the truth… MY truth.

Yours might be different; heck, I know it will be for some because I’m going to be interpreted rather than understood. C’est la vie! lol Here we go.

1. People won’t read long blog posts.

This one is always out there on someone’s blog, with the explanation being that you can only hold someone’s attention for maybe 2 or 3 minutes. Luckily, it’s not true, and some of the most successful blogs you’ll find have very long posts, even longer than some of mine.

The problem with some long posts is they don’t advance in any way as people go through them. For instance, some people harp on the same thing over and over, thinking they’re finding new ways to tell you something or complain about something while we see it as the same thing. No one likes to read rambling thoughts that don’t mesh together in some way.

That’s why list posts are a good type of post to write. It involves putting some thoughts together up front and then writing about them, and each point is different. Thus, if it happens to go long, people will still read it, or possibly jump to the points they want to see. By the way, as I’ve done on this post, it’s a good idea to highlight either the topic line or the point number so they can jump to it easier.

Britain Going Blog Crazy - Metro Article
Creative Commons License Annie Mole via Compfight

2. You need to have a blogging schedule.

There are some people who see the word “schedule” and their minds freeze. Suddenly, it makes blogging, or anything else they’re doing, look more like that dreaded 4-letter word “work”.

When people talk about blog scheduling, what they’re saying is to try to have some kind of frequency for writing posts that people can get used to. If you write once a week and can stick with that, then that’s your schedule, and people know when to stop by and look for something new. If you write twice a week, nothing says it has to be on the same day each week, and nothing says you can’t deviate from it every once in a while.

The basic reasons for writing a blog are to have a platform to say what you want to say and to have visitors stop by and read what you have to say, hopefully learning something or interacting with you in some way. Schedules help you keep them coming back for more, which is a good thing. You can do what you want, but if you want consistent visitors you’ll find a pattern that works for you and stick to it.

3. You must define your niche to be successful.

I know you’ve read about niche blogging; how could you not? After all, if you can find someone who’s interested in your specific topic and you can stay as close to always writing about that topic as you can, you can build up a loyal audience.

However, writing on a niche that’s too finite can spell doom for both you and your readers. Say you love humpback whales and start writing about them, and only them. How long do you think you could write on them before you have no idea what to write about next? Say you’re a person who researches humpback whales so you actually have a lot to keep writing about. At what point does your writing stop seeming to be fresh and invigorating? When does it become like a parent who takes 100 pictures of their baby every single day, seeing changes that no one else can see?

Every niche has a way of being broadened so that you, the writer, has a lot to talk about. If I decide I only want to write about blogging I can write about process, write about writing, write about blog platforms, write about plugins for my blog, write about colors, fonts, images, making money, page rank… on and on. I could write on it for years… oh yeah, I have! And I can deviate from it here and there and not lose anyone because when all is said and done it’s still about blogging.

4. People don’t care about your spelling or grammar as long as they understand what you’re saying.

True and not true. If you have some typos here and there it’s never a big deal. If there are certain words you misspell because you’ve always done so, maybe people will overlook it and give you a free pass.

However, one of the saddest things a blogger can do is not learn anything about the craft or try to improve what they do and how they say it. Truth be told, how you write influences how people see you. If you write like a professional, people will see you as one.

Think of it this way; how easy is it to define spam on blogs or email based on how the messages are written? You’d never think about clicking on any links where the language is barely understood would you (please say no lol). Well, say you’re selling jewelry; would you really expect people to buy from you if you wrote a sentence like “these ones is nice”?

We will give a pass to those whose first language isn’t the same as our own though; after all, most of us only know one language, and I’m always amazed that people seem to easily learn English, even if they don’t learn all the nuances. That’s why it’s true and not true at the same time; if English is your first language, you should be better because you’ve had more time to learn it. Just sayin’… 🙂

Hard Bloggin' Scientist
Creative Commons License Duncan Hull via Compfight

5. You need to optimize your posts and titles to rank well on search engines.

Have you been paying attention to Matt Cutts lately? Although everything isn’t, and shouldn’t be about Google, there are some interesting things one can learn by hearing what they have to say.

The biggest push Google has made over the last few years is natural writing that conveys what your content is all about. You might get an immediate bump from a well written title and stuffing your content with the same word over and over, but eventually the algorithms will catch up and work on determining if what you’ve written is pertinent to anyone.

I always feel it’s best to have titles that tell people what the article is about most of the time, although sometimes a funny title will catch a person’s eye. Don’t ever deceive the audience; they won’t like it.

As for content, if you tell your story you’ll help get across what it is you’re writing about without having to stuff your article with a certain percentage of your keywords and keyword phrases intentionally. For instance, this article is on blogging, and notice how many times I’ve used that word or phrases around that word and the short version without intentionally doing it. Think it’ll get the point across okay?

6. You can’t use too many big words.

This one makes sense but it’s not really telling you the whole story. If I wrote this blog and I used 10 large words for every 500 words written, I might lose my audience. And yet, William F. Buckley did this intentionally and his books sold millions.

Any of you ever read the New York Times? Not the news articles, but things like movie and book reviews. I do all the time, and invariably there’s going to be a word that sticks out like a sore thumb.

One of the things the New York Times seems to want to stay away from is talking down to its audience. Showing that you have some intellect every once in a while boosts the IQ of the audience you’re communicating with, whether they like it or not. In my opinion, education is never a bad thing.

However, that’s still misinterpreting the statement. As an example, let’s look at the word “intelligence”. I could write 20 blog posts in a row and use that word in all of them, and within the same article I might use that word 5 or 6 times. At a certain point it starts to water down the content and now it means nothing to anyone. Kind of like the phrase “the shocking truth”; how many times have you seen that by now and how often do you check those types of articles out because, unfortunately, there’s not really a shocking truth?

What works instead is to use “intelligence” maybe once or twice, and if you have to go back to it again change a word, maybe saying “brilliance”, “perceptive”, or maybe even “smart”; that’s not too big a word right? The idea is to change things up from time to time to stay fresh while elevating your audience just a little bit. Yeah, I know, pipe dreams… lol

7. Blogging is hard/easy.

Both of the above are true and not true. It depends on what you’re writing about, if writing comes natural to you, if you have a lot to say, if you’re a good or bad communicator, and if you care. I think that about covers it. lol

I visit lots of blogs; I love blogs. I see some good writing and I see some bad writing; that goes with the territory.

The worst thing I see are blogs that have long gaps between articles, or blogs that suddenly stopped having any new content. I’m one of those folks who occasionally takes time out to go through blog comments, and there’s plenty over almost 7 years, and checks on links to see if blogs are still around or not. Lots of them are, but people stopped writing in 2012 or before; what the hey?

Last year there were a lot of big time bloggers who decided it was time for them to close up shop. They weren’t getting what they initially were getting out of blogging, or mentioned that they didn’t have time to keep up with it any longer, and they up and quit.

I know what that’s like, as I stopped writing my leadership newsletter last February after 10 years. I could have continued writing it, but I’d lost any passion for it, never got the type of movement from it that I thought I might, almost never got any feedback on it, and frankly I didn’t think anyone cared any longer; have you felt like that sometimes?

Mentally it was hard to keep doing. Technically… I can write forever, because I still have my leadership blog. So I ended it, and though it’s not left as an eyesore for anyone to come across accidentally, truth be told one of these days I’m going to have to figure out what to do with all those article links, which are sitting on the site not linked to anything; now that’s a shame.

Anyway, there’s my take on 7 blogging beliefs. Did I touch upon any of them that you’ve believed that you’d like to offer an opinion on? Let me know; enjoy!
 

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42 Comments »

I will definitely disagree with few of the above points. Of course things can be done in any way, but too much freedom of strategy, niche and SEO will limit the possibility for success.
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May 19th, 2014 | 1:35 AM

I’m not sure I understand you based on the way you used your words Carl but I’m going to hopefully interpret them in saying that having a strategy that doesn’t allow one to be open in their communications as it pertains to blogging isn’t a good thing. If that’s what you’re saying then I agree with you. In any case, I think people can find ways to come up with things to write and still get benefits from it.

May 19th, 2014 | 8:14 PM

Your interpretation is absolutely correct, Mitch. Well, actually this is the freedom of small business, to be able to change strategy and try new things.
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May 23rd, 2014 | 9:35 PM
Sunday:

Hi Mitch,
These are common myths in blogging that should be demystified. Every blog is unique and the approach should be different.

What I always believe and come to appreciate is that providing value for the readers should be upper most for successful blogging.

Value should define the length of post, the timing of post, the number of post, and the proofreading of posts!

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May 19th, 2014 | 3:17 AM

Good deal Sunday (is Sunday your real name?), and I agree about value. At the same time, value means different things to different people, so don’t be afraid to change things up from time to time.

May 19th, 2014 | 8:15 PM
rohan:

Hello there Mitch, its so nice to read your post. Blog guru’s exist and they ruin the atmosphere of blogging.

I wrote short post and long post, each got good readership. So I think there is some ground rule in blogging, but there is a totally different blogging success story for every other blogger.

For me, blogging is just sharing the thoughts freely, so it is a good habit to drop all that hard jargon.

Blogging is easy if you are happy with few readerships, but it is hard if one have too much expectations from it.

May 19th, 2014 | 9:07 AM

Rohan, everything is hard if you have a lot of expectations from it. lol Actually, I do think there are some set rules for blogging that are also set rules for life: don’t be boring, don’t blatantly insult people, don’t be mean, don’t ramble, and do treat people like you want to be treated. Works for me anyway. 😉

May 19th, 2014 | 8:27 PM

Wow!, what a nice article, in-short this is one of the best article i have read today.

You hit the hammer directly on the nail and I enjoyed it.

Many people complains about reading long post, they said readers will get feed-up the moment they see that the article is over 2000+,I see it as false. it depend on how you write, some bloggers just don’t know how to write a long post that will hold the attention of the readers.

if your long post is boring, people will leave but if it is interesting, they will surely keep calm and read it with joy.

Bloggers nowadays are misinterpreting the “USE A CATCHY ARTICLE” trick, i have read several post that the content is different from what the article title says.

Because of traffic & clicks, some lazy bloggers use attractive title that doesn’t correlate with the article content. This i see as nonsense..

Thanks for this wonderful post and have a nice day…

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May 19th, 2014 | 12:08 PM

Thanks Olamosh. A couple of weeks ago I wrote a long post talking about my 2-day adventure of flying and being in an airport. It was about 2,200 words, yet it’s turned out to be my second most read post for posts written this month. Heck, this post was about 1,800 words and I think it’s done pretty well on its first day. People have being fooled and they hate having their time wasted. If you can give them what they want and still do what you want, it’s all good. I still do believe people need to write for themselves first, with the intention that if they like it, others might as well.

May 19th, 2014 | 8:51 PM

They say there are always three sides to a story. Your truth, my truth and the truth.
Yes, agree. Lists posts are good for those of us with shorter attentio …SQUIRREL!
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May 19th, 2014 | 3:44 PM

LOL! I’ve seen that line before and had a friend actually do that on the phone while talking to me, only she said “shiny.”

Actually, sometimes there are absolute truths, like the one where we’re not getting out of this life alive. Sometimes those truths are misinterpreted though; we have to be willing to look at some of those truths here and there.

May 19th, 2014 | 8:53 PM
Rudd:

Agreed with you, especially for the first point. Writing a very long article is touch and should be avoid if you don’t have much to say. Some great blogs that I still read although most of the articles are long are SmartPassiveIncome, MatthewWoodward and Viperchill

May 20th, 2014 | 9:36 AM

Rudd, Viper Chill does have some very good posts and most of them are quite long. You’re right, those are sites with good examples that prove longer posts will be read by many people.

May 20th, 2014 | 8:18 PM

Hi Mitch

You really busted out some of the common myths in the blogging arena 🙂 That is really at the first instance people will think that its true but a closer Look reveals that it’s really a myth. Thanks for reminding about these things

And of course in this busy world people are in a rush to move forward when in such a situation one may think that hey, man where is the time to read such a long post, this was really my understanding till recently and while going through some of the well-established blog authors pages I have noticed and realized that it is the other way round, of course one need to have something worth in it otherwise it will be indeed a boring one.

I have come across many popular blog pages the authors deal with the subject in an elaborate was as you did here, to tell you the truth this is my first visit to your page and I am sure I can add this in the above mentioned bloggers list as long content writers LOL With pics graphics and infographic and all such things some time the post will be really eye capturing and worth reading too.

Coming to the point you mentioned about the myth that hey spelling and grammar are a secondary thing if your content is well understood by the reader. This is indeed a myth, if more typos and grammatical mistakes erupt surely it will give a bad taste to the readers, this happened to me several times and some of my close friends noted or mentioned to my thru mail and phone, there after I am bit careful but sometimes in a hurry things happens like that, but that is not an excuse, and I fully agree with you to that point. Altogether it’s a worth preserving postThanks for sharingKeep up the good work

Best Philip

May 20th, 2014 | 4:04 PM

Thanks for your great comment Philip; I had to break it into paragraphs because my mind couldn’t separate the concepts without doing it.

I think the images go a long way in helping to break up the content in some fashion, and luckily I was able to make most of the relevant, excluding the first image which was kind of bragging. lol Everyone doesn’t have to do that but sometimes I think it helps people stay interested in what’s going on.

Meanwhile, you made the point better than I did about too many grammatical or spelling mistakes being in posts. Sure, we might be able to figure it out, but if our brains have to work that hard to get through content sometimes we’re just not in the mood for it. I bought a book called The Millionaire Code that had some good information, but I never finished it because they’d throw in tricks like backwards writing, writing along the edges of the pages and having some pages in code that we had to break. If I’d still been in college I might have thought that was fun but as a speed reader it got on my nerves.

Good luck to you in your blogging ventures, and hope to see you stopping by again.

May 20th, 2014 | 8:23 PM

absolutely great tips, but I’m not sure if the first was true… I mean, in my opinion it doesn’t depend on the length go the article if it was boring or not… content is the secret key of success! and blogging can be really easy if you are passionate about the topic you are writing about! so do I with 3d printing… it’s okay, I have no idea about SEO stuff and my blog doesn’t rank too high but at least I have some true followers who are really interested in my 3d printing experiments and designs… maybe I should give it a try and apply some of your ‘optimisation’ tips to trick search engines…
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May 21st, 2014 | 3:55 AM

Based on what you wrote you do agree with my 1st point Peter. lol As for the other, I didn’t really give any SEO tips other than to write great articles that highlight your topics well.

May 21st, 2014 | 7:02 AM

I never mind reading long posts (in fact, when it’s one of my favorite writers, I feel like an extra-long post is an extra treat!).
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May 21st, 2014 | 11:41 AM

Meg, I went to your blog and based on what I saw I can understand why you might like long posts. 🙂

May 22nd, 2014 | 8:04 PM
Daniel White:

1. Since I post everyday to my blog, I try to not make my blog posts huge giant walls of text. I’d like to be able to have anyone visiting my blog to be able to read my latest post in a respectable amount of time as to not take too much time out of their day. I really don’t like massive walls of text and if it takes forever for me to read, I’ll eventually just give up honestly.

2. It’s best to figure out what kind of schedule you want to have when you start a blog, as I’ve noticed sometimes that if you break the schedule or change it, it will sometimes make your readers leave as they were adjusted to one specific schedule.

3. I honestly don’t have any specific niche for my blog. I sort of have like an all-in-one blog where I pretty much post about anything I feel like at the time. I don’t really blog to be super successful, I mainly blog because I enjoy doing it.

4. I’m admittedly guilty of making typos time to time, but thankfully Firefox lets me know of any typos and I try to correct them before publishing, but some do slip by. I don’t mind if people make typos in their posts if I go on their blog to read, we all do it time to time.

5. I haven’t done much optimization wise to my post titles, merely just have it set so it shows as POST TITLE – BLOG NAME. That and I also try to follow a common capitalization practice among bloggers.

6. I’ve never even thought about the fact that big words can or can not scare people, I don’t even know how many big words I use in my blog post as I don’t really pay attention to it.

7. Blogging is as easy or as hard as you make it, it all comes down to the blogger and what they do that determines whether it’s hard or easy.

May 22nd, 2014 | 10:42 AM

Welcome Daniel,

I visited your blog and saw that you have 3 posts on it, so unless you have another blog you’re pretty new to the game. I’m going to check in on it from time to time to see how long you’ll be able to keep it up, but so you know I wrote 304 posts the first year I had this blog so that’s not a bad number to shoot for. I have to admit I found it fascinating that you’re on Blogspot but was able to write a post on WordPress, so I’m assuming you have another blog somewhere.

I’ll say two more things. One, if you’re not noticing the words you use then that’s a good thing because it means your writing is authentic. And two, I’m thinking you said in your 7th point what I said. lol

May 22nd, 2014 | 8:12 PM
Daniel White:

Oh yes. I just recently had to restart my blog due to some issues I was having being unable to make new posts. I’ve also been blogging on and off since 2008 and have had a few blogs here and there, some with more posts than others.

I do hope I can keep it up though without burning out. 🙂 About that post, it was a sort of promotional post for a friend of mine. I’ve also got a local server (using Appserv) to play around with WordPress so I don’t forget what I’m doing in the event I ever switch to using WP.

Also about #7, I think I said what you said but hey…it’s true! lol

May 23rd, 2014 | 8:19 AM

I have no beliefs whatsoever about blogging. I post whenever the mood comes over and I just follow my instincts on what to write and the only rule I follow is to respond to every comment that I receive on my posts. I can be like that because it is really a personal with no ulterior motive.
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May 22nd, 2014 | 10:13 AM

Rummuser, this wouldn’t be the type of post for you because you don’t conform to any of the norms, having more of a personal blog. One of these years I may go your route; it won’t be until I’ve retired though.

May 22nd, 2014 | 8:05 PM

Number 2 has definitely been the hardest for me, so I can definitely say that having a schedule is important.

I subscribe to everything I want to read in my RSS reader, but I know many many people don’t do that, they just bookmark the site. If they keep coming back and nothing is posted for weeks or months they’ll just delete that bookmark eventually.

I tend to write longer posts, too, but I don’t think it’s a drawback. I’ve never had anyone leave the dreaded “TL:DR” (Too Long, Didn’t Read) in my comments section so hopefully that’s good lol

And the blogging itself is not hard, it’s the part about building an audience, ranking in the search engines and making money off blogging that’s hard. When a lot of folks realize that it’s actually *work*, they’re gone.

The game keeps changing, man…it keeps changing…

(i don’t even know what that last sentence meant but it sounded profound in my head)
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May 22nd, 2014 | 9:23 PM

John, your long posts are always punctuated with images, and that’s what makes you entertaining, even if I keep disagreeing with you on the Fantastic Four (since my comic book reading ended in the 70’s lol). And I think there’s a difference between trying to write at least one post a week and deciding to only write one post every six months. I had a great writing schedule until I went on the road, and these days there are times when it’s work getting one article a week onto the blog.

I know what the last sentence means and I like it because it is profound. Early blogging made it easy to make money but when everyone got in the game, not only did money drop off but keeping an audience dropped off as well. It reminds me of going out to dinner this evening and sitting next to an 11-year old (which I’m not used to) and having him tell me that he had no idea who Will Smith was, and him being shocked that I haven’t played a modern video game of any type since the early 2000’s. lol

May 22nd, 2014 | 10:14 PM

Hey Mitch,

I’m not one that will read long blog posts, unless they’re yours that is. Sometimes after starting a post I may scroll down to see how much longer it’s going to take, if it’s too long I will just move along. The exception to that is if the blogger can pique and hold my interest.
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May 23rd, 2014 | 7:56 AM
Daniel White:

Funnily enough Peter, I do the same thing on really long blog posts. When I came across this one, I scrolled down to see how much more there was to it, but it caught my eye and I kept reading and I’m glad I did.

I’ve got a short attention span, so long blog posts don’t usually peak my interests especially if they take too long to read.

May 23rd, 2014 | 9:27 AM

Pete, I thank you for sticking around for my long posts. I’m glad I’ve never let the length of a post determine whether I’m going to read it or not. I can usually tell pretty early on a post of any size whether I’m going to read it or not anyway.

May 24th, 2014 | 11:03 PM

That’s because you can speed read Mitch lol
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May 25th, 2014 | 3:09 AM

Well, that’s a part of it, but I won’t read anything that’s not interesting in some fashion.

May 26th, 2014 | 9:31 PM
Samantha Clement:

Just as there are many different writing styles, there are many different reading ‘styles’, too. Find your audience, have something to say, and make your content engaging, and you will have a successful blog – you don’t need to have a Princeton writing degree.

May 23rd, 2014 | 7:04 PM

There are definitely different reading styles, though I’d never thought of it that way before. Of course, I tend to believe someone should have something to say first and if it’s interesting the audience will come.

May 24th, 2014 | 11:05 PM

Yes, of course, Mitch – you are correct. I meant that there isn’t one set of rules for readers – they just have to be interested. So, there aren’t just one set of rules for writers, either. Thanks, Mitch.
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May 26th, 2014 | 11:21 AM

Those are great points that you shared 🙂

I want to add one.

8)More is better.
People have a mind set that their Blog should contain Bundles of Content with tons of words stuffed in them.
For this, they also tend to write regularly and most of the time they ruin the Quality of their content.

While it should be other way around.One High Quality Article is way better than hundreds of Low Quality Articles.

There are already hundreds of articles and huge amount of content available in this Ocean of Internet. Adding some more content will not change anything , but adding some High Quality content will sure do.

May 25th, 2014 | 3:01 AM

Well… I’ll agree and disagree, though not for the reasons you mention. Good articles are always preferable, but the truth is that for most people we’ll write a great article and some fairly nice articles and have a dog here and there that no one else seems to care for; that’s just life. However, every study I’ve done over the years proves that the more content one has, the higher the traffic they get because, for some reason, Google will value someone who posts lots of content, great or not, as long as it’s pretty consistent. At some point they’ll kick in the algorithms and check some sites to see if the content is junk or not but I don’t often see blogs that concentrate on junk content; stolen content often but not junk.

Of course you stated low, and in a way it’s hard to gauge quite often what’s low quality content. There are lots of articles I think should be graded pretty low but the blogs seem to be ranked well and some of those articles get lots of comments. I have on idea why it goes that way so most of the time I don’t concentrate on it because I don’t want to judge readers of that stuff too hard. I just write as I see fit and hope that the people writing stuff that I might consider junk aren’t doing it intentionally.

May 26th, 2014 | 9:36 PM

I always wrote short post in the beginning because I was always in a hurry to complete but somehow I have learned so much that now most of my post go long way to help readers. I think most of the points actually help in turning into a successful blogger overtime.
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May 27th, 2014 | 3:09 AM

Thanks Prerna. Actually that’s part of my intention, to try to open people’s minds to all the possibilities that blogging can bring them.

May 27th, 2014 | 8:58 PM

Yes, our blogging world is full of stereotypes and misconceptions of all types. However, most of these stereotypes have some realistic basis. For instance, the point about the need to have a schedule is significant for those who need some additional motivation and self-organization. Sure, it doesn’t mean that absolutely everything should be scheduled for half a year ahead, yet some kind of plan can help.

May 28th, 2014 | 6:17 AM

True. As I said, making sure one writes enough so that people are encouraged to come back often should be a motivation, but otherwise working too hard at keeping a schedule isn’t for everyone.

May 28th, 2014 | 9:49 AM
bronxboy55:

Mitch, I’m also surprised when I think back on so many of the blogs I used to read, and that are now either dormant or gone. I think a lot of people have drifted over to Facebook or Twitter, which are more accommodating to short, spontaneous, and even unrelated thoughts. I’m glad you’re still around.

June 3rd, 2014 | 10:45 AM

Thanks Charles. I’m with you, there are so many people we used to read who either stopped or are no longer with us that I lament. Luckily, there are many other people who have filled those gaps, but sometimes there seems to be way more than before, and it’s harder to keep up with. Still, I’m glad they’re there.

June 4th, 2014 | 12:03 AM
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