There’s a lot of blogging advice out there. A lot. I’ve written some of it myself. More than five hundred articles, tutorials, how-to guides, step-by-step guides, habits, lessons, case studies, books, and online courses.
But the truth is that most of the stuff I wrote, most of the advice I’ve given, it’s not going to make much of a difference.
Look, I’m going to be honest with you. When you play this game of “offering blogging advice,” you often feel the pressure to come up with some insight, some strategy that no one’s ever thought about. Most of the times, that strategy sounds clever and simple, but it’s difficult to implement, especially by a beginner.
Don’t get me wrong. Sometimes the advice is good. At least, that’s what I’d like to believe. Sometimes the advice I share is something that’s been just at the edge of your mind’s peripheral vision, and that way I help you bring it into focus.
Eight years ago, long before I started the Art of Blogging, long before I was coaching aspiring bloggers, I wrote a post. The 7 Golden Rules of Blogging. Some five hundred or so words.
In this article I shared advice such as, content is king, format your posts, and engage your audience. This post got over 3,600 likes and 510 comments.
Even though it makes a lot of people angry, the best advice is the most obvious. The best advice is the one you actively choose to ignore, or the one that involves a lot of time and mental energy. The “read a lot” and “write a lot.” The, “if you want readers, go out there and comment on a bunch of blogs every single day.”
A lot of people don’t want that. They ask, “Is it that simple?”
It is. Blogging success can be as simple as leaving half a million comments on half a million different blogs.
But can you do it?
Do you ever ask yourself if you can do it?
Do you want to know how much time and energy a full-time blogger invests in doing those three dumb things? Reading a lot? Writing a lot? Commenting on other blogs?
That’s why I am sharing with you the tips and tricks and rules of blogging that sound clever when you read them, only to make you angry when you try to apply them.
1. Write, Write, Write
I wake up around 5am. I have a cup of coffee, sit at my desk, and begin punching those damn keys. Okay, maybe I spend a couple of minutes going through my notifications and e-mails, but never more than 10 minutes. No scrolling through Instagram for me.
I sit down and write. That’s it.
I wrote until my girlfriend wakes up at around 9 or so. I write two blog posts before most people in my neighborhood wake up.
That’s what I do.
That’s what you have to do.
That’s what everyone who’s a successful blogger does.
You have to write, write, write.
The more you write, the more you are able to write. The more you write, the better you write. The more you write, the faster you write.
When I first started out, in 2012, I’d struggle to write and edit an article in a single day. Now, if it’s a longer piece, a tutorial or something that requires a bit of research, I get it done in under two hours. Most articles take me one hour to write, sometimes I write shorter, inspirational posts in fifteen minutes or so.
There’s no way to avoid this. You have to do the work, you have to punch the keys. There’s no strategy, not hack, no system, no trick.
If you want to become a successful blogger, you must write a lot.
2. Edit, Edit, Edit
After I write my articles for the day, I edit them. Usually, it’s still before my girlfriend wakes up. Sometimes it’s after she leaves for work. Regardless, I edit my work.
Writing is mostly rewriting.
There are no brilliant first drafts.
The trick, however, at least in my opinion, is that you shouldn’t aim for perfection.
People don’t go online looking for the next [insert your favorite writer]. They want ideas, they want to be inspired, they want to relate to someone who managed to overcome what they’re not struggling with.
They want actual words written by actual human beings, not genius writing, the same people don’t go on YouTube and expect some guy to recreate the quality of Hollywood movies with a smartphone and a $500 camera.
But you must edit. Nothing’s perfect, and it doesn’t have to be, but it can be made better by at least going through it a couple of times before you share your article with the world.