One of the really nice things about being an eclectic personal blogger is that with no real restrictions on what you can write about, you have the ability to extend conversations with your readers across blogs and across posts. The title of this post, for instance, is taken from a discussion I had somewhere (I’ve spent hours going through conversations on different posts without coming across it). Some friend remarked “Content is king, comments are queen.” And successful bloggers do know that having a conversation with their readers can be a huge part of blogging success. (Although as with everything else, it all depends upon your goals; sometimes it seems to me that I make this disclaimer in every post. Yet without it, few statements about blogging or social media would ever be accurate.)
The funny thing is, Mr. Everything might almost agree with this statement, if you changed it to “content is king, comments are queen in social media”. Mr. E loves to post in Facebook threads and definitely has some real skill at getting conversations going. Were he a bit more experienced, or had he done better research he surely would see that it is actually better to attract the long conversations to your own blog. (He did hear the bit about the reasons it is better to be on self-hosted WordPress– though he fails to appreciate the benefits that derive from the WP.com community. He is troubled, I suspect, by that fact that WP.com enables even those who can afford to pay no hosting fees at all– let alone the $125/year premium plans that I sell, can create and maintain a successful blog without spending a penny on it.) And it really is true that (again with the ‘depending on your goals’ caveat) some of the most successful blogs, including some published by huge media companies choose to go with WP.com for its community advantages, despite the restrictions you have to operate under.
Experienced bloggers know that content is king and comments are queen. Successful entrepreneurs know that choosing right tool is critical to the success of any project. And savvy authors and entrepreneurs are never quick to dismiss a free tool when it actually works as well or better for their particular purposes. I’m not doing this blog on WP.com because I don’t understand the many real benefits of self-hosting. I’m doing this particular blog on WP.com because it is the best platform for my particular purposes at this time. My #blogging advice today is to invest plenty of time in to thinking very carefully about what you want to accomplish before you create your blog.
1) Don’t make projections of big advertising revenue until you have a thorough understanding of your niche, keywords and SEO basics for your keywords.
2) Don’t mis-apply general advice that isn’t applicable to your particular goals and needs.
3) Do consider consulting with someone experienced whom you have come to trust. If I had been able to consult with the professional I am now for an hour before I started my first blog, it could have saved me years of mis-steps and flattened a huge learning curve.
Alan Jobe is the author of Walking Down The Avenue. He consults with #indie authors and entrepreneurs about social networking and self-publishing.