Blogging rules (a.k.a. myths) I'm not very good at following

58548-O99UXY-183Recently I realised that I had been blogging now (if you include my previous blog) for about three years.  I can no longer say I’m new to blogging (how am I going to get away with making mistakes now?).

In one way, it’s a long time. In another, I feel like I just started yesterday and, whilst I’m a bit more confident now than I was, bit is the operative word.  Every time I hit publish I am excited to be sharing my thoughts and terrified about how people will respond (if they respond at all) in equal measure.

I’m also still daunted by how good I feel some bloggers are and determined to do the best I can to make my blog the best I can.  The big difference is probably that I now try and do it my way not the way I thought I needed to do things when I started.

Then, I read a lot on how to blog and found a lot of rules I tried – and have since failed – to follow.  I’m sure I’m not the only but for those out there like me, finding my way in this online world, I thought I would share the ones I no longer live by…

apple-1867752_1920post often, but not too often – I have come across this confusing piece of advice more than once and more than once I have wondered, how often is too much and how often is too little.  Apparently it’s enough to keep people interested in what you had to say but not enough for them to get bored with you.  A couple of posts put a figure on it, saying four to five times a week was a minimum but every day was better. But only once a day.  Starting out, I was lucky to get three posts up a week. Now I’m at the magical four to five most weeks.  Every day seems like a goal I won’t reach. And I’m not sure I want to.  Where does the rest of the fun of blogging fit in then? Where does the reading go, the reading on other people’s blogs?  I know some of the bloggers I follow out there manage it, some posting more than once a day and I admire them, but most don’t and it doesn’t stop me visiting their blogs.

clock-1392328_1920…post early – Again, what is early? Before breakfast, before lunch? And early for where in the world? The idea, I think, is this way you’ll get more visits, more comments, more likes (you get the picture) and your blog will be more popular.  Sometimes I follow this rule but it’s not normally that well thought out – occasionally I get posts scheduled but often it’s because I write early before anyone else at home is up and I have peace, quite and space to think about what I want to say.  A lot of times I don’t till the afternoon or later (hello this post) and it doesn’t seem to make much difference…in fact, I’ve just had a look at it seems 1 PM is my magic posting number, the time when I get the most hits so it just goes to show.

crowd-1699137_1920…don’t look at stats – they don’t mean anything, or at least that’s what they (the rule makers) would have you believe.  But they do.  They aren’t the be all and end all but the do make you feel good about what you are doing, that you are reaching people with your reviews (which is what it’s about in part isn’t it – sharing your opinion).  It’s nice to know you have followers (would you honestly post if you didn’t?).  Stats also help you get better at blogging – showing you what posts are more popular you can maybe figure out why.  Plus, when it comes to getting ARCS etc. I’m pretty sure they matter there too – though maybe not (others can probably answer this better than I can).

wordpress-552924_1920…you must self-host – whilst I do, a lot of my favourite blogs don’t and they are all just as good if not better than some of the ones that self-host.  They don’t seem to have trouble getting followers, comments or review copies.  There are benefits (which I should take more advantage of) of self-hosting, but platforms like wordpress are more than fit for purpose and they’re FREE.  Last time I checked free is good.

less-is-more-791109_1920….don’t use the “more” function – because people like to read posts all in one go.  Now this is something I do do but more because I’m lazy than anything else.  Never has the continue reading option stopped me reading a post I wanted to read and I don’t think it ever will.  I actually prefer it because I can see more of what people have posted.  In fact, now that I’m thinking about it, I might start using the option myself…

There are more, lots more probably, but I’m over the maximum word count a post can be (700 in case you are interested, though 500 is better) so I had better sign off.  What about you, do you follow these rules or others or do you just say rules be damned and do what you want?

Emma x

This post is part of my discussion challenge2017-discussion-challenge3.

p.s. Blogging image was designed by Freepik, all other images courtesy of Pixabay.

  1. I have never been a big rule follower…LOL. I didn’t even know the blogging rules when I started (in 2008), and my one blog had very little activity. I hadn’t yet discovered the “community,” and from that discovery came an eye-opener about what blogging could be.

    With six blogs now (I once had as many as 20, but that didn’t last), I know I’ve broken many rules. But for me, blogging is fun. So whatever gives me pleasure and brings a bit of community my way…that’s what I’ll keep doing. For now, anyway.

    Great post…thanks for sharing!

    1. I wish I wasn’t so much but I’m better at ignoring them once I have an idea what I’m doing. Some rules are good but only if they work for you I think. As for six blogs, you are a legend in my eyes as I can barely manage one!

  2. Love your post Emma! I have tried to follow all these rules, and failed too 🙂 I was confused about the frequency too 🙂 I can’t do more than three times a week at this point so I try not to agonize over that and… stats! omg. That’s agonizing LOL! BUT you are right. If no one came to visit I wouldn’t blog so I do keep an eye on them and try to accept them as they are and just get better 🙂 Your blog is awesome by the way! That’s why I visit almost every day 🙂

    1. Thank you for saying that about my blog. Love yours too 😀Glad I’m not the only one who has tried and failed to follow rules by rule makers I don’t even know. I think you should post as many times as you can or want to and just enjoy your blog.

  3. I’m a rules be damned kind of girl! I mean I try to follow some of the better advice that I’ve seen floating around. But most of those “rules” don’t apply to me concerning blogs I follow so why should I be concerned about them for my own postings? If I like what you have to say then I follow you regardless of how many words, what time of day you post or how many times a week.

    1. I like your philosophy- following who appeals is my approach too. I like to get things right so I look for the rules then have a tend any to ignore them once I get the hang of what I’m doing.

  4. I like people who don’t follow rules, in fact I have spent all my life “kicking against the pricks” whenever it was not too damaging to do so (and occasionally when it was). I’ve been blogging since the beginning of time (well, 1997 which was when it all began getting popular) and have seen many different sets of rules. The only thing I would advise is post as often as possible, adding updates, blagghing comments from people, posting new links etc. to existing posts when not posting new stuff.
    For all Google’s blether about quality content, search engines have no means of discerning quality because they cannot understand the meaning of words. One of the big factors in they way search algorithms rate your site, introduced a few years ago, is the frequency with which it is updated. So we have no chance of keeping up with Facebook or Twitter, but updating something the engines can index so the site changes several times a day should boost figures and attract more searches.
    Can’t say I do that a lot myself, but I did once for a while to see if it worked — it does.

    1. So many changes over the last decade I’m sure. With blogging in its infancy then I imagine there were things you had to do differently but it will have changed since then like you say. I try to post often but it is hard some weeks. I just want it to still being fun. Thanks for stopping by.

  5. I really struggle to hit 5 posts a week with working full time etc but getting there… the weeks differ in reading speed and productivity! Found the biggest thing I’ve improved on that people DO advise on is using social media more – since I actually started paying attention to twitter I’ve done far better. None others though – I agree with all your points here, you’re not alone! Great post 😊👍🏼

    1. 5 is a struggle but I managed to get a few books ahead so that has helped. Still don’t always manage it though. I should use social media more and do think that’s a good rule but I don’t get chance during most work days so my posting is more shares than anything.

  6. There isn’t enough time to do it all when it comes to blogging. I’ve finally had to admit that it just isn’t possible and just do my best! You’re definitely not alone on not following the rules. I’m not planning on self hosting any time soon. I feel like I just don’t have the mental space to deal with one more aspect. Great post!

    1. There really isn’t and as I do this for fun (and free books) I just eventually came to realise it was easier and less stressful to do it my way. Plus most blogs I follow don’t follow rules and seem just fine to me.

  7. Just do what you can and what you feel comfortable doing. We none of us have so many hours in a day to do all the things we “should”!

    1. Exactly- took me a while to get there as I always want to get things right…now it’s just right for me!

  8. Great post! I started blogging in February. When I first started I was trying to figure out the “right” way to blog. It didn’t take me too long to figure out there teally is no right way. I’m still learning new things every week and enjoying every minute of it!

    1. The right way is your way I’ve come to figure out…it also makes it a much more stress-free way. Thanks for visiting and commenting 😀

  9. I love this post as it just goes to show the ‘rules’ are worthless because I follow, and read lots of blogs who break one or more. The only one I don’t like is the more function because when I started blogging our internet was so slow it made it unnecessarily hard but ultimately we all have different preferences.

    1. I remember paying so much attention at the start. I see the point with the more function and the Internet connection…though hadn’t thought of it before.

  10. Yes… I started my blog blissfully unaware of most of these rules and consequently spent several years blogging to the ether… But I can’t say that I follow all the ‘rules’ slavishly. I do blog every day now and have noticed a jump in my stats accordingly, but if I find as time goes on that I cannot keep it up, I reserve the right to change the frequency. And as for not looking at the stats – forget THAT one! As you say – how can you know if your output is ticking the box if you don’t keep track of your stats?

    1. I kind of wish I’d done that but perfectionist that I am I wanted to get it right – now I just like to enjoy it. Rules I do follow are things like commenting as I believe that’s important but others have to fit around life.

      1. Quite. It’s all well and good, but there are times when we need to eat, sleep and talk to the family…

  11. I am a rebel and have never been a follower of rules. I simply shared reviews, the occasional recipe, and discussion post. I use to post 7 days a week and eventually took Saturdays off.

    1. I seem to be connected to a lot of rule breakers…love it!

  12. Rules are meant to be broken! I started my blog last May and I didn’t realise there were any blogging rules! In my opinion it’s your blog so you run it as you wish. I never post more than one post at a time and how often I post varies. As a side I really enjoy reading your blog Emma.

    1. It seems like the only way to blog…do what you like you say as its your blog (and thank you for the nice comments) 😀

  13. […] Friday, I wrote about blogging rules (a.k.a. myths) I’m not very good at following – there are probably more but these are the five that perplexed me the most when I started […]

  14. Rules, smules! I think we should just all do out own thing! I go though phrases of watching my stats like a hawk, and then not caring about them for ages. And I schedule for 6am in the mornings just because I always have done, no other reason! I think the only rule is enjoy blogging! Great post 🙂

    1. I like your rule. I think rule be damned the more I blog because I do just want to have fun.

  15. […] rules (aka myths) I’m not very good at following Sooo… there are rules about blogging – who knew? Do you follow them? Or ignore them? Emma muses […]

  16. I admit these rules don’t make a lot of sense to me. I think most people go through their feed seeing what’s new whenever they happen to be online, so they’re not really going to notice how often you post or when the post went live. They’re just going to see what’s in the reader! I, for one, could not tell you the blogging schedule of anyone I follow and it really doesn’t matter to me. Do what you want and what you have time for!

    1. Now I’m more confident they don’t to me either but when I started I read a lot of posts on how to blog and I took them to heart. Now, not so much.

      1. I sometimes wonder how people come up with rules. Did these bloggers actually take notes on how much their traffic improved when they began posting at a different time? Even so, a time might work for them and not for someone else depending on the followers of each blog.

        1. Me too. At the time, I thought them experts…but maybe they are just experts at self-promotion.

  17. I ignore all blogging rules made by others. I follow the rules I made by myself: I try to post once a week and I stop by at least ten blogs a week.

    1. Sounds like a good idea. I do have my own rules now you say that, though I don’t call them that, and those I do stick too.

  18. I think the only rule of blogging is “Do what works for you.” This is a hobby. Everybody wants to be successful, but it’s also supposed to be fun. If you can’t follow the “rules,” then don’t. Interesting post!

    1. I like that rule. You are right it should be fun and nothing else.

  19. I had no idea there were so many rules. Read about them? Sure. But I thought they were ‘tips’ more than rules. Three years is a long time. Good going.

    1. It may depend on what posts you read. They seem to get repeated as gospel a lot. It just doesn’t work for me to do things just because people tell me too.

      1. True. I read them when I started blogging, last July. Then I stopped for a while and restarted this Jan. No more tips and rules seeking 🙂 It’s finally working the way I want to.

  20. There are so many “rules” to blogging that either don’t work for me anymore or never did. You really do have to figure out the best ways to do your own thing. I will admit, though, that a lot of those tips ARE helpful when you’re starting out and you just have no idea where to even begin. Having some guidelines can make it all a little less overwhelming until you do figure things out for yourself!

    1. Maybe it’s because I’m a perfectionist but I think they made me so anxious I didn’t relax into my blogging for a long time. For others though, it probably is the guidance you need you are right.

  21. I constantly felt as if I was failing when it came to all of the things I SHOULD be doing with blogging. Interesting, even though I’m now only doing book reviews, have comments closed and not participating in my blog hops / link-ups, my stats haven’t changed at all…. compared to the many many hours I spent reading other blogs and commenting on link ups etc…

    1. Yes, it’s that feeling of failing if you aren’t doing everything just right…then realising you need to do it for you. That is interesting about your stats. Also reassuring…once you’ve built it (the blog, the following etc.) that they still come and visit.

  22. […] Emma @ One Reader’s Thoughts talks about Blogging rules (a.k.a. myths) She’s not very good at following […]

  23. I’ve only been blogging for like half a year, but your points are all spot on. I’ve never felt like following advice like that, really. Okay, so maybe my blog isn’t the biggest around – but I can live with that. I don’t want to have a second job that gets paid in books! It’s not why we blog, is it? So I just thought, I’d get there one day. After all, it’s always best if you learn from your own experience.

    About posting every day – I don’t think I like the idea of that at all. First of all, I’m pretty sure most of my friends wouldn’t be able to read all of it. Second, who has that kind of time? If you’re unemployed and ONLY blogging – sure, maybe. But who has that luxury? I don’t. And honestly, I don’t feel like posting every day at all, even if I had the time. Most people who post every day have dubious content. I don’t feel like I was my blog to have posts with one quote or three sentences. Or a book cover. I feel like I want my blog to have quality over quantity… and while I am still not doing discussion posts yet, mostly just reviews, I am planning to move towards it. But I don’t feel like I’ll ever be posting daily quotes or tags. The world is full of that already. Doesn’t need me doing the same 🙂

    As for time. Also yes! I have followers from EVERYWHERE in the world! That makes time really hard to juggle. I do post links twice on Twitter though – morning and evening. Different people engage 🙂

    Don’t know about other rules because I have actually never looked them up 😀 I just work in marketing, so I knew a lot of stuff already… but what I’ve noticed that’s the most different from what blogging is said to be – it’s said to be “like journalism” – you post, people listen. But it’s really not like that at all! YOU listen more, you follow more blogs than you thought you would! You have to consume it yourself to put out content! It’s a community, and that’s what the so-said “guides” fail to mention. It’s really not about screaming louder than others. It’s about listening and being IN the community 🙂

    1. I’ve just started visiting your blog and am enjoying it. I wish I hadn’t looked up so much about blogging when I started. Now I just feel chilled. I do post during the week and some of those are linkys but I enjoy how that has helped me meet other bloggers. If I don’t get round to it though, I don’t worry.

      1. Aw, thanks 🙂 I also try posting during the week, but life just… gets at me. Yeah, I think dropping the worries is the best way. After all, you won’t create positive content if you’re stressed and negative about it, right?

  24. I don’t think I’ve ever followed most of these rules. There have been times when I posted a review every single day of the week, and other posts on the weekends. Other times, I’ve posted one or two reviews, and participated in many tags and link-ups. Nowadays, I usually (not these past two weeks, though, because I haven’t posted more than three posts in two weeks!) post three reviews, and three other posts every week. Two of my posts are weekly quote posts I have invented myself – one sharing food and drink quotes, the other sharing a safe sex quote (I read a LOT of romance).
    Even the two weeks I didn’t post anything at all, my blog got both visitors and comments, so it seems that all is still good.
    And I don’t want to feel any pressure when it comes to my blogging as I have more than enough of that out in the real world.
    Great post! 🙂

    1. I think the rules add the pressure, which is why I stopped following them…I have too many rules at work! I do like having a regular posting schedule but no longer worry if I don’t meet it. If I had a quote page it would be all about murder…

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  27. I am fairly new to blogging. When I first started my blog, I read SO many “advice” posts about how to start and run a blog. There was a lot of conflicting advice and I felt like I just had to jump in. Every single thing you listed is something I’ve had an internal struggle with myself over. haha 😀

    1. I did the same and questioned myself every step of the way. Like you say you just have to jump in and do what works for you x

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