Today is the tenth anniversary of my very first blog post. It wasn’t really a barn burner: El Neil on the Iraqi Prisoners. With only two posts on the first day, it wasn’t clear that the blog would last even to the end of May. Eleven posts on the second day were a more hopeful sign. I’d been reading and commenting on blogs for a few years at that point, so the transition to being a blogger was relatively easy. Managing some kind of consistency — that was more of a challenge.
Becoming a long-term blogger just sort of happened: my friend Jon installed MovableType and invited me to start a blog of my own on his site. Jon eventually decided that blogging wasn’t for him so he shut down his blog, but allowed me to keep my blog hosted at his site for over five years as a primary and my first five years of posts are still available there. Jon’s short experiment in blogging was called Blogulatiousness, and I named my own blog as a back-handed reference to his … which is why I still have the least easily pronounced blog name in the Anglosphere. Initially, I expected the blog to be primarily quotations, although even from the start, I didn’t post a QotD entry all that regularly.
Advice for anyone wanting to start a blog? (Especially if you’re involved in the gaming-oriented Newbie Blogger Initiative this year.) Blog every day. Even if you don’t have much to say, make sure you post something. It’s dual purpose: you need to get yourself into the habit of posting regularly, and you need to have something new every time a reader loads your page, or they’ll stop coming back. I have a stockpile of QotD posts ready to go for those days when I’m too busy or too pre-occupied to come up with regular posts. I recommend you do something similar, although it should be something that ties in with your general theme (if you have one): original artwork, YouTube videos, quotations, short poems or drabbles if you write fiction, historical photos, a list of assorted links, etc. But do remember that a blog isn’t Instagram or Tumblr or Facebook: don’t post photos of your lunch. Please. You’re trying to build your own audience, and it’s unlikely you’ll do better than those services, as they’re optimized for their particular niches.
Whatever you choose to do, remember to link back to your sources every time. It’s courteous and it’s common sense: you want your work to be appreciated, and so do the other writers/artists/musicians you link to.
Earlier anniversary postings:
Update, 13 May: I just discovered that May 10 in 2004 was the same day that ArenaNet announced the development of their first MMO, Guild Wars (now known as Guild Wars Prophecies. I didn’t play the game until a year or so later, but I’m amused and pleased that we share an anniversary date.