How (Not) to Be a Successful Blogger

Photo credit: marsmet544 on Flickr
While the Great Blogging Bubble is a thing of the past, as every single one of you reading this can testament, blogging is still very much a thing that is alive and well. New writers take up the call to online journaling every day, while others jump ship, leaving their blogs to gather virtual dust online (or, alternatively, obliterating them altogether).

So it is little surprise that many surf the interwebz to try to glean insight as to what makes a blog popular, how to gather more traffic for their new online venture and how, ultimately, to be a successful blogger.

Well, my fellow web-surfer. You have come to the right blog.

From the mysterious blast of ingenious insight that brought you the likes of How to Write a Masterpiece and How (Not) to Write the Perfect Query Letter, I bring you ten secrets to being a successful blogger:

10 Golden Rules to Blogging Success*: 
  1. Write ridiculously long sentences and paragraphs and actually it’s best if the post is one hugenormously long paragraph (no shorter than 1000 words because really, who wants to waste their time reading a tiny post?) because everyone knows that the more words you fit into a sentence the better the sentence is and also, no one wastes their precious time skipping from one paragraph to the next anymore so you might as well fit whatever you can into one single large paragraph (or title, if you’re that skilled). The heading basically says it all, I think.

  2. LIGHT COLORS ON A DARK BACKGROUND—OOH IT’S SO PURDY. Without pretty, eye-popping colors to give your readers the migraine of a lifetime, your little blog will never be remembered.


  4. Comment on other people’s blogs about your blog. There’s little point in commenting if you don’t leave a link to your blog, anyway.

  5. Ignore your blog comments. It’s not like your readers actually appreciate when you take the time to answer their comments, so why bother?

  6. Change up your blog topics. Everyone knows your readers will get bored if you start doing that thing where you consistently write about one topic.

  7. Only post once or twice a year. Too much more and you might clog up your subscribers’ feeds, which in turn could scare them away.

  8. Proper grammar and spelling is conforming. aND ur nawt a cuhnformisst R U?

  9. Only post about your one-eyed gerbil, Alfredo. Because, as I’m sure you already know, the one-eyed gerbil is the international mascot of the blogging world, so no one really wants to hear about anything else, anyway.

  10. Don’t put any thought into the design of your blog. No one cares about the design; they just want to know about Alfredo.

And just like that, the secrets to gaining a raving horde of fans for your blog are yours. Use them wisely.

* = Please don't actually do any of this. Please? 

What blogging secrets would you add to the list? 


Chihuahua Zero said...

So amusing, and so true. 

Well, you might get away with point number 9 if you're trying to get Alfredo to be the next big Internet star, but I bet most of us are trying to make writing or reading blogs.

Ava Jae said...

Glad you enjoyed it! And I like your point about Alfredo. I suppose if that was your goal, you could possibly get away with it (and I've heard of crazier things making internet stardom). But yes, my guess is most of you guys don't have a one-eyed gerbil who they'd like to make the next big internet hit. :)

Julia Tomiak said...

I'd like to add:
Don't have a regular posting schedule, because busy people don't like predictability.
Don't include pictures, because readers don't want any interesting visual distractions.

Daniel Swensen said...

11. Bring lots of personal drama into your blog. Be angry a lot! Say petty things. Cut down other bloggers. All very appealing traits in a successful blogger.

12. Do a tiny bit of work and beg for it to be praised. That totally won't alienate people.

Tony Bennett said...


Haha, had to do it! Kick Ass post, some sound advice that people are often guilty of!

Beverly Diehl said...

Ads, lots and lots of ads, so many that one has to really work at it to figure out what the content is.

Also, really cutesey fonts, with lots of curlicues and squiggles.  Inline links in yellow or pale, pale blue so nobody can read them.

StartYourNovel said...

Funniest of all is that you would need that little caveat at the end.

13. Have a meltdown in public when any of your strategies fails to work.

14. Comic Sans is the bestest font for headlines. Everyone knows that.

Ava Jae said...

Yes! Great additions, Julia. Thank you! 

Ava Jae said...

More fantastic additions! Thank you Daniel, I especially like the personal drama bit. It unfortunately happens a lot. 

Ava Jae said...

Haha, thank you Tony! Glad you enjoyed the post (and I certainly enjoyed your lovely example). :)

Ava Jae said...

All great points, Beverly. Thank you!

Ava Jae said...

I'm relatively sure 99/100 people would understand the sarcasm without the caveat but...there's always that one person, thus the unfortunately necessary caveat. 

And how did I forget the Comic Sans? Great point--everyone knows Comic Sans is the font for all things professional. 

M.K. Hajdin said...

I do get bored when people blog constantly about one topic, though.  I get it if the blog is supposed to be about one topic, but on personal blogs, there is more leeway.
Not all of us are enamored with the "be an expert on one thing to GROW YOUR PERSONAL BRAND!!" market strategy.  That just leads to a glut of so-called experts, and an increasingly jaded audience. 

Ava Jae said...

I think you're right that there's definitely more leeway on personal blogs. Depending on what your goals are as a blogger, there are different strategies to go about it, and not everyone wants (or needs) to "grow your personal brand," as you put it. 

I included the topic thing because writing consistently around a single topic gives your readers a good idea as to what to expect when they subscribe to your blog. That doesn't mean that you can't write about offshoots that are somewhat related to your topic (for example, I have a writing blog here and I cover anything from writing to social media to blogging to publishing,e tc.), but it means it's usually good to stick to a topic realm, I suppose. If you write about art, for example, and your readers have learned to come to your blog for all things art-related, they might be a little confused if you one day post about kittens. That's all. :)

Lori Lopez said...

Guilty of #2. 
In my defense, I have a worpress site that's normal for those, and I know there are some, who can't handle the white text on a brown background. The rest is very good info. thanks

girltaristhan said...

Hurts my brain lol. Trying to remember these are not to dos rather than to dos lol.

Ava Jae said...

I think #2 is one that many bloggers are guilty of. I understand that some templates have it as a standard, and it can look nice...but some readers, as you said, simply can't handle the light text on a dark background. It can cause pretty serious eye strain if you look at it for too long. 

Ava Jae said...


Paula said...

Love this list! It made me laugh so hard! I actually agree - somewhat - with number 6,  as I read several bloggers who blog about a variety of topics, and I really enjoy their blogs. Thanks for the laugh! :)

Ava Jae said...

Glad you enjoyed it, Paula! You're the second person to mention that about #6 and I suppose my point applies more to blogs that usually blog about one thing. I don't follow any blogs that write about a large variety of topics (usually they blog about a certain realm of a topic), so I can't really speak for the others. In my experience, I've been more drawn to focused blogs, but that could just be me! 

Susi said...

That was certainly the most interesting how-to-blog-successfully post I have ever read. :) Thank you for the chuckle.

Ava Jae said...

You're very welcome, Susi! So glad you enjoyed it. ^_^

Matthew Rowe said...

ALFREDO!! I really luv Alfredo and talk about him in my blog all the time link link link link. Read it now, comment pleeeez!

Ava Jae said...

Ha ha, Alfredo appreciates the extra promotion. :)

Saru Singhal said...

I agree with the 6th point. We should change the blog topics. Posting once or twice will turn true to me as I am suffering from writer's block.

Saru Singhal said...

I agree with 6th point, we should change the topics. And I may end up writing once or twice a year if I don't write anything fresh. Just posting things from the backup.

Farhan said...

Hi Ms. Jae.

This pertains to your eight point - grammar, but this may be a digression.

It is common knowledge that different organisations have different style norms. Some would consider "This is Markus's pen" to be correct while others may prefer "This is Markus' pen". Now, yesterday I finished reading The Elements of Style
by Strunk and White. Everyone says that the said book is for the
general audience. I don't understand how can a style manual be for the
general public as different organisations have different style rules? 

Stephen King in On Writing, too has recommended The Elements of Style
saying that every aspiring writer must read it. But don't you think
that every writer must read the style manual of his publishing house?

James Garcia Jr said...

Hello, Ava. I read this post at work very early this morning and it had me in stitches. I guess I'm new to the whole Ava sarcasm. ;)


Ava Jae said...

I've had a couple people bring up point six and I think in the end it just comes down to what kind of blog you write. I don't read any blogs that cover a wide variety of topics (they're usually like this one, in that they cover a realm of topics and have some variety within that, but it all links back to one core idea), so I can't really speak for blogs that cover everything under the sun. In general, though, I've seen it repeated that focused blogs tend to be good because they give readers a good idea as to what to expect, but opinions on that point may vary. :)

Ava Jae said...

Hello Farhan,

When I mentioned the point about grammar here, it was referring to basic English grammar. There are certainly little stylistic things that will depend on whatever version a particular group or publisher adheres to (as you mentioned), but by and large the important grammar rules are the same, and those are the ones I was referring to. 

I haven't read The Elements of Style, so I can't really speak for it, but as long as writers have a firm grasp on grammar, I don't think you really need to worry about the nit-picky stylistic things, especially if you're going through a traditional publishing house. They have editors for that. :)

Ava Jae said...

Hi Jimmy! 

I whip out a dose of sarcasm here and there. I've found that posts like these are pretty fun to write and they certainly seem to be well-received, which is a bonus.

Glad you enjoyed the post! :D

Christelle Hobby said...

Ok 1) My one-eyed pet was a hamster named Susie, not Alfredo, 2) PEOPLE LOVE BEING YELLED OUT, IT REMINDS THEM OF HIGH SCHOOL GYM CLASS 3) responding to reader comments is for sissies, 4) Are you saying my "Wheel of Random Blog Posts" isn't a winner? 5) this sentence is the perfect length, I don't know what you're talking about... if Wordsworth can do it, so can I! 

Lol.  Totally kidding, obviously, great post though, made me chuckle the whole way through.  Just discovered your blog today, and I am loving it.

Ava Jae said...

Thanks for the grin, Christelle (and my apologies to Susie. I didn't mean to offend ^_^). I'm very happy to hear you're enjoying my blog--welcome to the community! 


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