The point at which I realized my indubitable worth was the moment my back grazed the wall opposite a firing squad. My mind raced with an anomalous swiftness that only NASCAR fanatics would understand; my heart screeched at every chirp of the shifting sub-machine guns, as they waited impatiently in my adversaries’ cracked palms; and my 140 pounds of confused, beaten shame were crumpled pieces before the general even shouted his dooming commands. But they weren’t the last ones I ever heard—I made it through that Burgess-like “flip dark chill winter bastard” of a night. Now I’ve shared my story online to all of you, fashioning a formidable following in the process, and it’s time to shout MY (blogging) commands. Read everything in bold for a short lesson; read it all for a long lesson, fused with pungent attempts at humor, sincerity, and experience.
POUR YOUR HEART AND MIND INTO YOUR INTRO!
A cherry, whose sweetness and importance lies only at the front end, will affect the world far more than a maimed coconut whose greatness took too long to crack open. We’re all that flustered customer whose schedule is too busy and important for the packed Walmart—with only seven open check-out lines—that the internet is. So you’ll need to swiftly say some seriously special stuff to the flustered, impatient people around you; otherwise, you’re just background noise, as they fool with their phone, food, or baby.
I made up the above intro to provide such an example. After all, I haven’t been held at gunpoint. My life isn’t interesting. I’m a crotchety, uncomical suburban white boy. You have to play the game to get views.
HIDE YOUR GRAMMATICAL MISHAPS!
Writing with poor grammar is like going to a family party without your special Substance and brushing into that parent who hasn’t seen you since you were “this tall”; you’ll smile and manage to hold his or her inviting gaze long enough to flush out uncomfortable small talk, but it won’t be long before one of you is off to nibble at crackers in the kitchen—or do anything less awkward. In short, bad grammar doesn’t mean you can’t write, but it looks awful and thus decreases your chances of having meaningful exchanges with others. And we all know that writers hate small talk. They don’t want to capture the world either; they want to change it.
Fortunately, grammatical proficiency is no longer compulsory to inking error-free sentences nowadays. Use a browser plugin like Grammarly. Until I stopped making them, it constantly bothered me with grammatical corrections. A useful enemy, Grammarly—its unassailable commitment to belittling you—will never wither. And after enough trial and error, you won’t need its services anymore.
MARKET YOURSELF FERVENTLY!
This tip yields the most immediate results. You wouldn’t need it if everyone in the world supported you as much as my mom supports this blog, but alas most of us are your cold, unfamiliar Walmart strangers. So you must be the annoying, persistent social media self-marketer. I’ve lost a handful of Facebook friends (start counting the middle school camp friends with whom you share mutual goodwill but no contact, will you?). But I’ve also received thousands of views from current FB friends, accruing validation from close and distant ones alike. As for views elsewhere: get on WordPress Reader, check out posts under fitting hashtags (so #life #mentalhealth #soccer #movies etc. for me), and dish out likes, comments, and follows. When you cement your acknowledgment of a decent blog post, its author will often reciprocate your initiative—kind of like that person on Instagram you don’t really know but whose posts you tend to “like” ’cause they do the same to you. Strange, right? But definitely a fortuitous utilitarian relationship. Truthfully, you can have an awful blog and still achieve a decent following with this tip.
USE HASHTAGS ON YOUR POSTS!
Between categories and tags, WordPress Reader allows you to have 15 total (14 tags and 1 category, 13 tags and 2 categories- got it?). It’s easy: tags are one of the few ways for viewers find your blog, which you—always being at the exact center of your own personal universe—may find weird, but it’s true.
You’re not stupid background noise, and that’s why you made a blog. You’ve been trapped thinking inside a flimsy sleeve of skin your whole life, so you definitely know how special you are in so many ways. Now you just need to prove it on your blog. Show me how you want to exist as a moving, pumping breath of life whose fleeting existence is sealed in the timeless, ever-expanding vault of the internet; show me how you’re a forever warm slice of pizza whose colors and scents never fade; and show me that you want your scattered curiosity to scorch inspiration into the fingertips of readers everywhere. I don’t want the bold arrow of time to stiffen my body six feet under a tombstone that reads “here lies a promising man who never accomplished anything special,” and you don’t either. So don’t be afraid to offer new perspectives and experiences with your writing. Be dynamic!
ON THE CONTRARY, PANDER TO YOUR AUDIENCES TOO!
I got most of my first year’s views speaking highly of movies I like or painting my forehead with mental health labels. I was honest and passionate in deep and shallow topics alike… but was also telling people what they wanted to hear. But I don’t want to simply tell people what they want to hear, you might be telling yourself. Don’t worry, I don’t either; I want to be like Radiohead. Radiohead doesn’t exist to create music people want to hear—songs like Creep. No. Radiohead was forged by several geniuses who wanted to change the world, manipulate listeners’ emotions with nuanced albums, and pursue unseen artistic and musical horizons. How did they meet those goals? By releasing Creep, obviously. They knew the eccentric, self-pitying jam would thrive in Nirvana’s grunge age and they used the fan-base earned through Creep to make far better music—better music which wouldn’t have gone famous on its own since it’s all so bizarre. (See In Rainbows, OK Computer, A Moon Shaped Pool, etc.) I’m only proud of a few of my past blog posts, but that’s okay because my pandering earned thousands of followers—and now I’ll post more unique and ambitious stuff! Pander to your audiences for a while; release your Creeps before your Paranoid Androids!
MAKE YOUR SITE AESTHETICALLY PLEASING!
Nobody wants to see a text-heavy blog. Add some images, quotes, links, media widgets, etc. Include a really good “about” page. Make sure your design template is clean, easily navigable, and cool—even if your life, like mine, is a dirty, cumbersome, and hot mess.
I’m not going to be that cheesy idealist who tells you to write your goals down and pick berries in the field all day, or whatever, but I will say that mentally identifying my goals for this blog has legitimately helped me achieve success. On a monthly basis, I usually set a goal on how many views and followers I want, and I almost always end up meeting them. How? These fixed goals tend to accelerate my lazy humanness. For reference, my current 2016 goals are to watch that ball drop with 10,000 followers and 100,000 views under my belt. I’m confident of the latter, and we’ll see on the former, but I definitely wouldn’t hit either goal if I started dallying around with pipe dreams and forgetting about my goals. Set those goals.
CONSIDER SPENDING MONEY!
I made a point to never do this. But if you have some idle money and are willing to eat Ramen noodles for a week, pay for some cheap ads on Facebook or Google Adwords or something; I know others who’ve really profited from these things, and you are literally guaranteed with your payment at least a few hundred views—so put $20 into Adwords if you want to try it out.
TAKE YOUR TIME!
You have to view each post as a work of art that requires meticulous attention paid to every detail. You probably won’t get famous if you treat your blog like a Twitter account and post every day, which a lot of people seem to do. I don’t impose any structure on the times at which I post on this blog, allowing me to post twice in a day or go several weeks without anything—which lets me forget about my blog most of the time and still end up satisfied with each paragraph I lay out. And I wrote this paragraph in two minutes, so that’s why it’s so unsatisfying. Try to spend a couple of hours—or days—on most of your posts. Keep in mind that at least five people have called me the greatest blogger they’ve ever seen
LET THE CRITICISM FUEL YOU!
Christian Bale started getting bullied at age 13 for being an actor, and now he’s inspiring change in all of those bullies who were too afraid to be unique. If you think impressing your best friend with your blog is fun, imagine the ecstasy of receiving a long, apologetic text from an awesome person who got bored of being boring and stopped bullying people altogether—upon seeing one of your posts. It’s the best.
To my face and behind closed doors, I often get called a “pussy” or “fag” for having a blog. It all got to me for a while—the insults and the close-mindedness—but now I love it; it reminds me that I don’t want to worry about being liked or seen as a “cool” kid by everyone anymore. I don’t want to pass through my years in a meaningless blur of acute culture, boring conformity, mediocre memories, flaccid attempts at looking “cool” by being “chill” (AKA constantly stoic and cynical), and never attempting anything special or unique, though I’ll still occasionally chill when I have the will. Also, life is too short to have animosity towards anybody.
I’ve been playing around with words throughout this blog post. I’m trying to be free. Cuz @ teh edn uf teh dae, u d’not hvae 2 splel nething rihgt 2 git ur wrods nad massege a cross. likewise, you don’t have to capitalize anything. ETC. Do-nut let bore-ring formal-i-ties pre-vent u f-rum m-aching a uni-que *comma* art-is-tic ex-press-ion. The world has already imposed enough rules, and you shouldn’t bow to mine or anybody else’s if they restrain you. With that in mind, I’ll go ahead and (b)log out.
To those of you who wanted blogging tips, I hope this suffices. Thanks for reading and please squeeze those precious seconds of your day to like, comment, share, and follow if possible.