1000 things I’ve learned about blogging

To mark 1000 posts on this blog, I thought I’d reflect on what I’ve learned since post #1.

UPDATE: Now available in German, Spanish, Hebrew, and Portuguese.

UPDATE 2: I’ll be posting further ‘1000 things’ via Twitter – you can find them with this search or this RSS feed.

  1. Blogging is not ‘writing a blog’. Blogging is linking and commenting. Any writing is a bonus.
  2. Regular posting is important…
  3. But quality posting is even more important. Spending a week or more on a single post can be one of the most important things you ever do.
  4. First knowledge, then analysis, then ideas.
  5. A picture is worth a thousand words. More importantly, a picture is worth a thousand words in two hundred countries. The fact that readers don’t need to speak English to understand what you’re communicating can make a word-free post – or at least one with a good image – your most successful one.
  6. For similar reasons, video works. It may not be search engine-friendly, but if people can embed it the word is more likely to spread.
  7. When video meets conversation, good stuff can happen.
  8. Everyone looks ugly on video. Get over it.
  9. Online video is not online TV
  10. Podcasts work better when there’s more than one of you
  11. It takes time. Sometimes years. Persistence counts.
  12. Being early matters
  13. A big idea travels far
  14. Pingback/trackback is a wonderful thing, a form of distribution news websites are still struggling to match. What can be more interesting than someone who is interested in you?
  15. Cliques and old boys’ networks exist in the blogosphere too
  16. We are too fucking Anglo-American
  17. Language is a massive barrier (but having multilingual friends helps – see updates at top of post)
  18. BASIC principles matter
  19. Social bookmarking makes researching a post much easier
  20. The best reason to blog is not to show everyone else what you know, but to find out what everyone else knows
  21. RSS is one of the most undervalued technologies in the world. Once you understand what to do with it, you can bring the world to your desktop, your mobile, and your blog, and vice versa.
  22. A blog doesn’t open doors for you, it just gives you the idea to try knocking.
  23. When people Google you, it saves a lot of time explaining things.
  24. Blogs are just one part of a social media ecology. Half the stuff that used to go on this blog now goes on Twitter; more goes on Delicious; and some on Flickr and on Seesmic.
  25. Don’t get me started on FriendFeed, Plurk, Jaiku, etc.
  26. Humour is effective, but not everyone will get it
  27. I seem to like linking on verbs
  28. Streaming live video from your mobile is a pretty amazing thing when you think about it
  29. Streaming live video from your mobile uses up your battery quickly
  30. Web browsing on your mobile also uses up your battery quickly
  31. If you’re moblogging an event, bring a power lead, an extension lead – and a spare phone
  32. The N95 kicks iPhone‘s ass
  33. (But I’m prepared to be persuaded otherwise)
  34. WordPress plugins are addictive
  35. Firefox extensions are addictive
  36. Signing up for beta web services is addictive
  37. I don’t really care about Twitterspam
  38. A simple, fun idea can be around the world in minutes
  39. If you want to campaign against something, you already have the technology
  40. If you want a service, create it yourself
  41. Google is the biggest popularity contest in the world
  42. When you realise you don’t have a readership – you have a community – then you also realise you can mobilise, and get things done.
  43. Technology is easy; community is hard
  44. Meeting in person is important: I read blogs by people I’ve met much more often than those I haven’t
  45. Geography still matters
  46. Birmingham has a lot of bloggers
  47. Liveblogging and Twitter-blogging are not the same thing
  48. Privacy is a fluid concept: just because it’s in the public domain doesn’t mean it’s not private
  49. WordPress.com is better than Blogger
  50. WordPress.org is better than WordPress.com (see Thing 34)
  51. Content is not king.
  52. Conversation is king.
  53. Conversation is the kingdom.
  54. We shouldn’t try to be the media
  55. If someone is sending you a press release about something, you shouldn’t blog about it
  56. As a journalist, blogging is a good way to rediscover the joy of journalism
  57. Blogging is also a great way to rediscover how great having a good editor can be
  58. Do what you do best and link to the rest
  59. Blogs aren’t worth dying for. That’s what family is for.
  60. Setting yourself a maximum number of posts per day is a good idea
  61. Setting yourself a set time to look at your RSS subs every day is also a good idea
  62. If you rely on third party services, prepare for the rug to be pulled from under your feet
  63. If you publish the comments widget high up on your blog, more people comment
  64. A blog without a comments facility is broken
  65. A site that has comments, but edits or buries them, is not just broken, it’s malevolent.
  66. Leave posts open ended if you want people to comment
  67. Leave a post at the top of your site for more than a day if you want people to comment
  68. Being transparent about your sources is not only good journalism, it’s good distribution.
  69. The search engine optimisation industry is the new snake oil. I can tell you all you need to know about SEO in five minutes
  70. Although it might take me another five hours to answer the resulting questions
  71. If you expect to make lots of money from blogging, you are either naive, stupid, or Robert Scoble.
  72. If you expect to make lots of money from blogging, don’t expect to make it through advertising
  73. Being read by a few, key, people can be worth more, professionally, than having lots of visitors
  74. Being frequently linked to can be worth more, commercially, than having lots of visitors
  75. Beware advertisers bearing text-based gifts, or generous offerings of ‘free’ articles. Understand linkspam
  76. Be aware that you have an ego
  77. Be aware that everyone else has an ego
  78. Unconferences are great
  79. There’s only so much talking you can do. Sometimes you have to do something.
  80. There should be more money available to do something
  81. Ideas aren’t a problem. Knowing which ones to pursue is
  82. Only 10% of Americans read blogs
  83. But 26% of Americans write blogs
  84. How does that work?
  85. Blogs are far more ethnically representative than mainstream media
  86. People may not trust the print and broadcast media, but they trust online news even less
  87. The 1-9-90 rule
  88. Rushing off a blog entry just before bed is a bad idea
  89. Rushing off a blog entry hours before your wife goes into labour is not a good idea either
  90. Some news travels faster than an aftershock
  91. People don’t need managers to organise them – just connections
  92. When I can record a video comment straight from my mobile phone, I’ll be a happy man
  93. Don’t underestimate the power of corporatisation
  94. Don’t underestimate the power of big corporations
  95. Don’t underestimate the power of governments
  96. If, after all this, we have to go back to living in caves and eating rats, it’ll be a real shame
  97. Lists have become the biggest cliche in blogging and the most shameless tactic for getting to the top of delicious/digg/reddit.
  98. But people still read them.
  99. Have you bookmarked this yet, by the way?

1000. I can’t count.

1000 things tweets

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126 thoughts on “1000 things I’ve learned about blogging

  1. Daniel Davies

    Thank you for sharing this, as a relatively new blogger its been nice to read and a fair few of your points made me go ‘oooh yeah’. Little bit of self-reassurance and some food for thought, good post =)

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  7. shawal

    A huge nice list, when first come in i wonder, the list is 1000 but why the page a shorts….

    I wonder why???


    Good list and nice reading.

  8. gmasatasquirrel

    What a Jip! I was all prepared to sit here and read 1000 reasons =) As somewhat of a new blogger, it’s sucks to know that there isn’t much money in it, but very good to know that others like you encourage bloggers like me to never give up! Thanks.

  9. Andrew Slominski

    I can’t count either, so you’re in good company. Thanks for the advice! I was getting really bent out of shape recently with not being able to get anyone else to contribute more to my site. I also felt a need for a post-a-day, no matter the quality of the content. Thanks again.

  10. Navjot Singh

    Great List. At first even I got scared of the number 1000, but after reading 99, I think I could have managed for the rest of 901 points too!

    Come on…we need rest of 901 points too.

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  30. Malcolm Bastien

    I totally dig how it feels like there’s a conversation going on even though your talking in numbered points.

    …and I honestly dedicated 20 minutes to sit here and look through 1000 points.

  31. steven

    Good, really liked it.

    But this: 64. A blog without comments is broken, may be not.

    There´s a spanish blog called Microsiervos, they deleted the comments some years ago, and they´re the most famous spanish blog, the most read one.

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  33. Anne

    @ # 63 – Yet your comments are still down here 😉

    Thanks for the tips, they seem pretty down to earth and were interesting to read. I’ll be sure to keep them in mind with my blogging endeavors…

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  36. Hye Munar

    Ooops, where is the rest of the list? Thanks for sharing these by the way, these can help me in blogging since I am a newbie blogger.

    Just a little comment about “a blog without comment is broken”. Isn’t it “a blog without visitors is broken”. Thanks ;0

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  40. ...tom...

    Adam S: “That isn’t possible, if 26% write they at least read their own blog, which counts !


    Are you sure..?? I have read some posts (including my own) that make me wonder..!!


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  46. Jashpal Mall


    1,000th post – what a feat – I’m inspired, so much so – I’m considering to finally start my own blog… watch this space – or should I say watch my space, blog, twitter, rss, etc!


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  51. paulbradshaw

    @Gmasatasquirrel @Navjot and @Malcolm – I will continue to post ‘1000 Things’ via Twitter – you can find them at http://search.twitter.com/search?q=+%221000+things%22+from%3Apaulbradshaw or subscribe to an rss feed at http://search.twitter.com/search.atom?q=+%221000+things%22+from%3Apaulbradshaw

    @Michael thanks for the translation! Have updated the post to include a link higher up.

    @Anne re: comments widget – the recent comments ‘widget’ is in the second column at the top of the page – that’s different to post-specific comments which are also displayed at the end of each particular post.

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  65. Beamer

    Oh, poo! I wondered how you’d ever get to 1000! And I was hoping you would. Great post! All 99! I liked “Do What You Do Best And Link To The Rest”. I’ll remember that one.

  66. cherie Corey

    I was glad it wasn’t 1000, but disappointed only 100. Maybe you can spoonfeed it to us a little at a time? I’m a newbie and trying to be like a sponge..
    TY 4 some gr8 advice

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  68. website copywriting

    Now, THAT is a great list. I gotta disagree about “Content is NOT king”. Content IS key to a successful blog. Like your post–it’s awesome content. That’s why you got so many trackbacks and commenters.

  69. Tiger

    OJB??? What kind of name is that first of all. Second, who the heck cares who you are or what you think…and supposedly you think

  70. Do Follow Blog

    My favorite is “Google is the biggest popularity contest in the world”

    This is probably one of the nicest post I’ve seen for a long time.

    Content is not the king,couldn’t be more true,i often notice some crappy posts on some blogs with thousands of comments but you know how it is for some can be crap for others gold.

    Loved your post,saved on delicious.

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    OMG! I thoroughly enjoyed reading this list from the top, right through to the bottom. It was absolutely delightful … and I really have to agree with all the experience, the concepts, idealistic manner behind it all. LOL at 1000. Love lists!!! Thankyou. Blogging is a great way to go!


    OOOPS!!! I apologise for repeating myself. Couldn’t see my comments anywhere. Now it’s repeated. Is that a sign that I will be an annoying blogger not knowing where it all goes?LOL. STOPS HERE!!!

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  75. Felix

    thanks for some of the practical advice on blogs,
    I have to start one for a class and knowing where to put the comment widget is probably useful

  76. Peter

    Keeping comments open is a must. Why do some people close them down so early. This blog has great information and is still relevant 3 years later. Some people close comments down in just months. Weird.

  77. Pingback: Starting a blog? 12 ideas for blog posts | Online Journalism Blog

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