Friday, September 12, 2008

How to Blog

Here, in a helpfully numbered fashion, I will tell you how to blog for fun and profit. Mostly for profit because once you have that fun will naturally follow.

  1. Live life. Many bloggers forget this one, but it is essential. You need to go out into the big, dark world and find something mysterious and terrifying, then wrestle it to the ground and in this way have an experience. Once that is done, you must come directly home to your computer where you will set it all down in words or else that experience will be completely meaningless and lost in your ever fading memory. If you’ve done that, then you’ve completed the first step, but that’s not all. Go on.
  2. I cannot stress this one enough. Click the publish button. If you fail to do this your post will not appear on your blog, and you will, in fact, not be blogging.
  3. Do not put any pictures on your blog. First, readers do not like pictures because it makes them feel childish. Secondly, if you do, you will be sued.
  4. Make people read your blog.
  5. Set up an account with one of those places that measures the hits your blog gets. A hit is the measure of how many times a person clicks on your blog. This count, in theory, measures the amount of people reading your blog when, in fact, it can’t actually tell if they clicked on it by mistake or are painstakingly crocheting your words onto a pillow. Don’t worry about that. What is important is that you put the total on your blog, so that people can see how many theoretical people are reading your blog. If you do not do so, you are a coward. And no one likes a coward. Especially a coward who blogs.
  6. Some people will tell you not to measure your stats with other blogs. They will tell you that blogging is not a competition. They are wrong. The numbers are all that matter. Obsess over them endlessly. Hits are as good as money (see the Money section below).

Congratulations! You are a blogger. Enjoy your success.

Troubleshooting: Marketing. Let’s pretend people aren’t reading your blog. What to do?

  1. Make your family read it. First, tell your family that you’ve started a blog. They will not read it. Second, tell them that you’re talking about them in this blog. Some of them will look into it. Be sure to say rude things about one family member in particular, usually the one who is least likely to read the blog. Your brother, perhaps, who sells irrigation equipment and accessories. After a while rotate which family member you choose to ridicule. The more negative, the more likely your hits will go up. Corollary: the more hits you get, the less you will be invited to family functions, which will have the advantage of giving you more time to blog.
  2. Make your friends read it. First, do not tell your friends that you’ve started a blog. Instead, write several long posts about them where you use their full names. They will inevitably find the blog while Googling themselves. They will feel a secret thrill as if they’re reading your secret diary, when in fact they are falling for your secret plan.
  3. Get more friends.
  4. Go to any random blog and leave a comment. The comment doesn’t even matter, only that you link it back to your blog. In fact, the comment should be something inscrutable. For example, just write “Turnip!” I would also recommend an exclamation point. The blogger and the blogger’s audience (i.e. that person’s friends and family) will inevitably think to themselves who is this person that has written “Turnip” with an exclamation point and then click on your link to uncover the mystery. Presto! More readers.
  5. Pay people to read it. Warning: this step may cut into your profits.

Troubleshooting II: Money. Why are you not rich yet?

  1. Hits are not as good as money. Only money is as good as money. Hits, however, can be converted into money.
  2. There are programs like Adsense that will place ads into your blog and based on a complicated geometry problem decide how much money to give you from these advertisers. I suggest you not do this because this is what we in the biz refer to as “selling out.”
  3. A far better and easier way to capitalize on your blog is to, as we like to say in the biz, be “discovered.” This is where a person with a lot of money reads your blog by accident and decides you are brilliant and wants to give you a lot of money to be your sponsor.
  4. An even easier way to capitalize off your blog is to convince your significant other that the above shadowy sponsor will find you sooner the more time you spend on your blog. Suggest to your significant other, therefore, that you should quit your job in order to dedicate more time to the blog. Enjoy not working.
  5. Finally, sell things on your blog. Like transcripts of this very “How to Blog” manual, available here for only $9.95!

You have completed my online course on the fundamentals of blogging. You are free to put the button “S. Craig Renfroe, Jr. Approved” on your blog (WARNING: This button is trademarked and the sole property of S. Craig Renfroe, Jr. Any attempt to actually put said button on your blog will result in a lawsuit).

Copyrighted 2008 (One final tip: be sure to put this at the end of every post so that no one steals your beautiful ideas and makes more money off them than you do.)

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