100 Blogging Lessons From 100 Blog Posts

100 Blogging lessons

In January 2014, I published my 100th blog post.

I started WorkReadPlay Become a Writer Today as a project when I was looking for employment. My circumstances have changed since then, but I still spend between five and ten hours a week posting about writing, productivity and creativity.

Blogging has given me the chance to make lots of mistakes and learn these 100 blogging lessons:

  1. Drupal, Joomla! and WordPress are the primary content management systems for bloggers, and each have hundreds of great themes.
  2. Not all themes are created equally.
  3. WordPress themes (I use WordPress) often promise more than they deliver.
  4. Changing a blog theme is far more time-consuming than I first thought.
  5. If you’re buying a WordPress theme, post-purchase support is really important. I previously used a theme (not this one) where the seller refused to answer my questions because I wasn’t paying a monthly subscription.
  6. You can blog without knowing any CSS or much HTML.
  7. You can use WordPress without knowing anything about PHP.
  8. Customising a theme is fun, but you’ll need to learn some CSS and maybe even PHP.
  9. It’s better to customise your blog on a test domain, rather than in a live environment.
  10. Go easy on the fonts, colour schemes and CSS tricks.
  11. I really hate pop-ups on blogs and websites.
  12. Not all WordPress plugins are made equally, some are great but others can break your site.
  13. Pages and posts are apples and oranges.
  14. Older posts need to be maintained and occasionally updated.
  15. Learning Markdown speeds up the process of writing blog posts.
  16. If you use WordPress, WordPress SEO by Yoast takes the pain out of SEO and makes it easier for people to find your posts organically.
  17. If you create content for the web, pin the Periodic Table Of SEO Success Factors to your wall or save it in Evernote.
  18. There’s a small but appreciable cost to blogging e.g. hosting, plugins, apps.
  19. Self-hosting offers more control than hosting on WordPress.com.
  20. Don’t skimp on a hosting company. When things go wrong (or if you break something, like I did) you’ll need them. I use Spiral Hosting because of their excellent support.
  21. A good webpage should load in less than eight seconds. If it takes longer, visitors will leave. I time my webpages at pingdom.com.
  22. Write a blog post and then delete 33 per cent of what you wrote. Now rewrite.
  23. Blogging sometimes feels easier than I imagined.
  24. Blogging is sometimes more work than I care to admit; I have to turn up in front of the keyboard most days.
  25. If you’ve carved out a nice, it’s possible to turn almost anything into a blog post.
  26. Writing a meta description and considering keywords is a key part of blogging.
  27. Headlines are as important – if not more important – than the blog post itself.
  28. I’ve spent hours on a blog post and watched it sink without a trace.
  29. I’ve knocked out a blog post in under and hour, and watched it become one of this site’s most popular posts.
  30. It’s a good idea to keep a month’s worth of posts in reserve.
  31. Editorial calendars feel like a chore, but they save a lot perspiration later on.
  32. Blogging three times a week works for this site; some bloggers post more frequently, others less so.
  33. A good blog post is as much about reduction as it is about addition.
  34. Some blog posts start out on pen and paper, others begin life as a digital note.
  35. Ttypos are a bitch.
  36. It’s possible to spend twice as much time in Photoshop creating an image for a post as it is in Word writing the post.
  37. People read blog posts differently to magazine articles. Write your post accordingly with your audience in mind.
  38. People don’t read posts that aren’t broken up with sub-headings, images, lists, quotes and links.
  39. Blog posts need to link to other blog posts internally and externally.
  40. A blog post without a call to action is like a fillet steak without onions.
  41. People love lists posts.
  42. Every blog post needs a good hook.
  43. When stuck for an idea, take a topical news story in your area of interest and write a reaction piece.
  44. It takes between two and eight hours to write a really good post.
  45. A blogger only needs a good keyboard, an internet connection (and even then, not always), a computer and room within which to work.
  46. It helps if you can type, and if you’ve strung a sentence together in a past life.
  47. And coffee, coffee is good too.
  48. Great content can be recycled into follow-on posts, lists, SlideShares and tips.
  49. It’s OK to write short posts i.e under 300 words.
  50. Longer posts are good too i.e over 1,000 words.
  51. Pictures – notably featured images – are almost as important as words.
  52. Don’t forget your ALT tags.
  53. It’s a good idea to keep images under 100 KBs in size.
  54. Creating a blog logo is much easier if you get constructive feedback.
  55. Branding is important – think consistent colours, fonts and logos.
  56. Checking your blogs stats is like going back for another hit of crack; you know it’s bad you, but you just can’t help yourself.
  57. I should really write more guest blogs for other people
  58. I should invite more people to guest blog here.
  59. Enabling social media commenting encourages more feedback from readers.
  60. Social media can feel like a beast that consumes itself. It inspires and drains me simultaneously.
  61. Social media – notably LinkedIn and Google+ – are full of great communities for idea-starved bloggers.
  62. It’s better to set up a presence on one or even two social media networks and develop that presence, rather than posting on every social media network.
  63. Google+ is geared towards the sharing of great content and aspiring bloggers should make it their network of choice.
  64. Twitter and Google+ attract a lot of traffic to WorkReadPlayBecome A Writer Today, whereas Facebook doesn’t.
  65. It takes almost as much work to publicise a post, as it does to write it.
  66. There’s nothing wrong with self-promotion online; when you’re starting off, it’s the only way people will find your posts.
  67. The content on WorkReadPlayBecome A Writer Today doesn’t translate to Tumblr.
  68. The more you blog, the easier it becomes and the faster you can write posts.
  69. Claiming Google authorship improves the chances of your post being found.
  70. There are lots of free resources for bloggers who want to code or design.
  71. And there are lots of paid resources worth signing up for.
  72. HubSpot’s library can get new bloggers up to speed relatively quickly.
  73. Once you find out the rules, break them.
  74. Blogs are one of the most effective tools writers have at their disposal.
  75. I read more blogs because I write blog posts, and I write more blogs post because I read more blogs, and so on.
  76. It’s better to post high quality content less often than low quality content more often.
  77. It takes at least 10-20 posts to find a blogging voice.
  78. Some bloggers make money through display adverts.
  79. Other bloggers make money through referral programmes.
  80. And lots of bloggers make money by advertising their goods and services.
  81. I haven’t made money directly from this site but…
  82. Blogging helped get me a job.
  83. Tech blogs are ten-a-penny, quality tech blogs less so. The same applies for blogs about minimalism and productivity.
  84. Getting Things Done is more popular than I first believed.
  85. Lifehacker is a bible for productivity bloggers.
  86. Copyblogger is a bible for any blogger.
  87. Leo Babauta’s Zen Habits is a shining example of blogging without the bells and whistles.
  88. You can (almost) win awards through blogging.
  89. Successful blog posts should entertain, educate, inform or inspire the reader.
  90. If readers like a post, write a follow-on.
  91. If readers dislike a post, at least they read it.
  92. If nobody reads your post, write another one anyway.
  93. And if nobody reads that post, at least you enjoyed writing it (right?!).
  94. The Pomodoro method helps me write more.
  95. I’d find blogging harder without Wunderlist, Evernote and Notational Velocity.
  96. Don’t take blogging so seriously; it’s only words on a screen…
  97. …but the words are all we have.
  98. It’s better to create than to consume.
  99. 1000 lessons from 1000 blogs posts would make a really good eBook.

and finally… I should have started sooner.

I hope some of the lessons I’ve learnt about blogging over the past year can help you.

Please let me know in the comments section below about your blogging lessons and experiences. You can also subscribe via the form at the bottom of this page.

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11 thoughts on “100 Blogging Lessons From 100 Blog Posts”

  1. I’ve come across this just as I’m about to reach the 100th post on my blog and I have to say, this list is excellent! I can relate to the vast majority of your lessons, keep up the great work! 🙂

  2. Hello Bryan Collins,

    Very nice post….every lesson gives good idea for me……thanks for share…..

  3. Edf.44334433@gmail.com

    Hi. I want to create a blog, but I don’t want to create social media pages like Facebook, Twitter, etc. Are social media pages not necessary for Blogger?

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