Monday, July 26, 2010

Roadrunner Reflections on Blogs

My blog buddies Al (of the Bayfield Bunch) and Rick (Rick&Paulette's RV Travels) have offered some thoughts on Do's and Don'ts of writing a blog.  I thought I'd offer some as well.

  1. Write what you can and don't worry about it.  Most people will give you a break and appreciate the effort.  Very few will be other than encouraging. 
  2. Keep it fairly short and break up long sentences or long paragraphs.  There are a few blogs I will wade through that have long paragraphs with no breaks, but not many.  They are just too hard to read for me.
  3. I like Al's ideas on being creative.  I have very few of those creative genes but I try from time to time.  It is easy to get into a rut and say the same thing day after day or say it the same way.  But I think readers appreciate a variety.
  4. Change your pictures and header information from time to time.  Again ~ it shows you are maintaining things and trying to keep an interest which is appreciated.
  5. Be as honest as you can.  If you don't like something, say so, but remember that most people don't want to listen to a moaner, complainer and generally negative person.  But sometimes it is what it is and that is ok. You don't have to be upbeat and cheery all the time.  Life is not like that.
  6. Don't bother with a rant on politics or get into religious views unless you don't care about your readership.  I would rather not read about the back and forth of someone who doesn't agree with you.  Unless your blog is a political and/or religious blog.  I'd say most RVers reading this are not.Most readers are accepting if you are a religious person and have a comment from time to time, just be careful so it doesn't seem too pushy.
  7. Throw in some pictures.  I like to see photos if there are not more than 20 on a page.  If so, put them in a slideshow.  I guess that goes back to my briefing days and they were real big on graphics and emphasized how important visuals are to support the message.
  8. Provide some personal thoughts from time to time.  People who read about you are interested in who you are.
  9. Always try to improve.  Change things up some on your blog and see if you like it.  Banners, side bars, widgets, photos, colors ~ dabble with it and see what you like.
  10. I agree with Rick and Al:  stay away from music unless the off button is handy. 
  11. Reference other peoples blogs and copy a link to their site.  It's one of the best compliments you can give someone and it is an encouragement to them also.
  12. Add comments to other peoples blogs.  After a while I began to look at it as my 'price of reading' ~ if that makes any sense.  These people have put time into communicating their thoughts and I like that fact that they did it, so instead of 'paying', I like to drop a note and say a few words.  It doesn't even have to be a lot of words.  I marvel at statistics that tell me 216 readers viewed my site and I had only 3 comments.  On the other hand I write for many reasons, not just numbers and Followers.
  13. There must be some protocol about asking for people to 'Follow' but it must be unwritten.  Few people actually ask people to 'Follow' their blog but I see nothing wrong with it.  Almost everyone says, 'Please leave a comment' which seems fine too.
  14. Short.  Keep your posts short for the most part.  If people read like I do, they skim through them so they can get on to the next blog...
  15. Some blogs have no pictures and I find those difficult to read sometimes.  But not always. Nick of the Gypsy Journal is a very good writer and sometimes doesn't use pictures.  I think Adam is a good writer and seldom uses pictures.  Kelly is both a good writer and used to use more pictures than she does now.  Rick usually posts pictures to have pictures and sometimes are not related to the post.  That works too.
  16. If we visit a museum or park or monument, I like to have a few facts and specifics.  But as Al said, don't go overboard, provide a link so I can go there and read about it myself.
  17. Ask questions.  If you have a question about something you read on a person's blog, ask them about it.  Usually, they appreciate the question and maybe your question will turn into a blog subject all by itself.  And bloggers would rather have too many ideas for a post than not enough.
  18. That is all I could think of for now and I have violated my own guidelines in keeping posts short...
Thanks for viewing the Roadrunner Chronicles today!


  1. Lots of good ideas there Randy. Thanks for posting that stuff. It never hurts for us bloggers to be reminded.

  2. Good post today, with a lot of good tips.

    I agree on long posts that are not broken up. I find them very hard to read as well. I know I sometimes break my posts up where a paragraph really shouldn't be, but I think they are easier to read.

  3. Randy, welcome to the bear pit!! Great post and I think you've really added some good ideas to what has been said by both Al and myself.

    On Followers, I don't see anything wrong at all with asking for folks to join when you are getting near to a milestone like you are - it's just having fun as far as I'm concerned and that's what blogging is all about. I did the same thing when I was approaching 100 followers - just having some fun.

    I like you're idea of changing up the header once in a while too. I should take a look at that - I know Paulette is always changing the header on her blog.

    Thanks for the great tips and suggestions.

  4. Rule #12 is most interesting to me since you never leave a comment on my blog, although I have on yours from time to time. I see your comments listed on about 20 others blogs EVERY single day but in the past 6 months or more the only comment you left on mine was a (somewhat) negative one on the 3-camera back up system I was posting about. But truly, that's OK, since I still read yours and will comment when I feel the urge.

    Have a great week ahead!

  5. Thanks for posting this, Randy. I was definitely guilty of being too verbose when I wrote my journal while biking across country. Herb

  6. great tips, seems that a "big ol can of worms" have been opened up..thanks for all is all a 'learning curve'

  7. Great post Randy. This subject is a tricky bit of business & I was glad when Rick picked up the ball & ran with it & now you have too. The whole purpose of my original post was to offer suggestions on blogging that would be helpful to people & especially new folks just starting out on the blogging road. By the 3 of us blogging about 'what we think' I'm hoping we have helped other bloggers who may be struggling along a bit with their blogs. Thanks for your thoughts:))

  8. Good post, Randy, and well written. I like blogs that show us who the person is and not just what they've been doing. Creative blogs are good, but not everyone is the creative type. Some people are gifted writers, some are not. If I don't like the content, I don't follow the blog. Just be yourself is my motto.

  9. Thanks for your thoughts and tips you listed some good ones. I know I have been guilty of a few of them.

    Have a good day!

  10. I like the idea that a comment is your price for reading the blog. Since you took a fair amount of time writing this blog and assembling your thoughts into guidelines to help me make a better post, the least I can do is acknowledge that I was here and read it.
    Amen on the MUSIC OFF BUTTON!
    I also find posts with looooong paragraphs hard to read. Its not like a paper page where you can follow along with your finger or a highlighter.
    Good post.


  11. Well, that post got a lot of comments! Good info Randy - I like your blog - can spend a lot of time on it following links. Keeps me away from Texas Hold'em on Pogo!

  12. Being yourself...enjoying what you are doing...and having fun is essential in all blogging.

    Thanks for all the great tips!

  13. Great post! You offered lots of good do's and don't. Thanks so much! I'm new to blogging and appreciate the suggestions. I'm going to update my header today.


  14. I guess my only rule is the one I make to myself...It's MY blog, and if I'M not having fun writing it anymore....I need to stop writing. So far, it is a real "hoot" to write my insanities down.."To Thine Own Self Be True", right???..Reading other blogs is like watching a TV show...If you dislike it, are offended, or just plain bored..You turn it off. It's just that easy.

  15. Here's a couple of questions for you. How do you choose the "You might also like:" posts, and do you have anyway of knowing if people actually click on them? Is that another one of those gadgets you mentioned?

  16. I like all your tips and try to use many of them in my own blog. I think the worst thing is when folks talk about a place but never say what state or area they are in. ARggghhhh

    Karen and Steve
    (Our Blog) RVing: Small House... BIG Backyard