Pro Blogging: A Few Casual Observations

Ever since I landed my first gig as a paid blogger, I’ve been studying some “hidden” aspects of professional blogging. The one thing pro bloggers should do from the word go is take notice of the ever-shifting nature of the business, watch how it changes, and anticipate the future in order to keep those paychecks coming in. The bloggers who don’t change with the times will get left behind like the most primitive web 1.0 sites. And we all know what we think about THOSE, now, don’t we?

This little collection of observations is by no means representational of the whole industry, these are just my own opinions. They may apply in varying degrees to your situation, and I’m sure there are a few truisms in here. I suspect I’m not alone in observing some of the following:

  • People consume blogs, but are often unaware of the aesthetics until they find blogs with crappy design. That’s when they start noticing, and tune out. Just like with television, I believe people don’t notice quality design as much as they notice a lack of it.
  • It may be completely obvious to many, but I throw this one to blog newcomers–successful professional bloggers don’t do only one publication. They have their fingers in many, many pies with multiple blogs and publication credits.
  • Podcasting in writing blogs is sorely lacking. Other areas of interest have us trumped in this department. The writing blogs who discover this will prosper–but only if those podcasts are done well. Don’t even bother doing a half-assed job on a podcast, it will be as noticeable as bad blog design.
  • Joining blog networks often pays a pittance for a lot of work, but the learning opportunities are worth their weight in gold. Pro blog networks owners know this. They understand they are potentially grooming their own competition, but seem to gamble on the notion that a popular blog will earn enough money to keep the blogger around rather than risk “going indie”. It’s not such a bad trade off, really. Learn what you can and move on if the current blog isn’t working. If it does work, why fix what’s not broken?
  • Bad blogs are everywhere. GOOD blogs are harder to find. What makes a bad blog? A lack of obvious and ongoing passion for the subject. This may seem obvious to many, but it’s not so obvious that the bad blogs have suddenly rented a clue. On the other hand, many of the worst blogs are simply fast-buck affiliate wannabes anway…
  • Unlike magazines, blogs don’t really have competition. We can all help each other out instead of jockeying for position. If you don’t link to other blogs or to websites that are relevant in your sphere, you handicap the growth of your own publication. Old school publishing rules don’t apply here.

I have many other observations to share, but one of the hallmarks of my favorite blogs is the ability to respect short attention spans. I’ll save more for later. Please feel free to share your own blogging observations in the comments section, I’d love to know what other people have observed.