Lots of probably valid advice are* flickering out there in the digital ætherverse about how to improve and maximize the potential of “your blog.” WordPress offers some, and many bloggers have repeated (and repeated and repeated and…) some basic notions, achieving a clear-cut and simplistic formula for the blog-writer to obediently follow directly to success.
First, I am supposed to keep it short. Sometimes I do but not nearly as short (enough) as many, if not most, blogs, boasting just four or five short little paragraphs as a post. A short one for me runs about 400-500 words…
Furthermore, I need a very snappy lead (opening paragraph in just a sentence or two), followed by no more than three basic points, each stated as directly and briefly as possible. I should frame the post around a single clear issue and finish with a question to stimulate responses in the comments section. I have read some (some pretty good) blogs that follow this format, excessively programmatic as it seems. Most read like theyʼve been brewed (overly quickly) to a formula, bland and all-alike — like Hollywood movies. And the clever little question at the end often smacks of drooling manipulation (of the readers) or a desperate effort to turn a simple, gentle observation into a debatable controversy (or pose a question so bland no one really should feel motivated to bother answering).
Third, I should post regularly but not too often, so that my gentle readers donʼt feel overwhelmed with the responsibility of perusing my mortal observations. And my tags, that list of words in various sizes revealing the number of posts tagged with that term to the far right below the Category Cloud, need clarification and normalizing. This matter seems to preoccupy WordPress powerfully of late, because once I post manually, I arrive at a screen telling me how many posts I have made and how long this particular one is in words (a count that varies significantly, lower, from my own in Scrivener and theirs in the editing window for new posts, strangely), topped with one or more suggestions about more normative or obvious tags to draw seekers to my blog from search engines. For instance yesterdayʼs “You Have Posted” page got me to add the “dictation software” tag to my list, and I might have tried “Dragon Dictate,” “microphone” and about a half dozen other terms drawn directly from my text. Personally, I figure if I just tagged posts with “sex,” “naked” and suchlike lazy lures, Iʼd have all the pornseekers hitting on my blog all night and day.
So what do you think? Is pat formula preferable to crotchety, quirky curmudgeonliness?
* It took me a second look, too, but “Lots,” the subject of that first sentence, is** clearly a plural.
** However, the word “lots” itself is just one word, therefore singular.
Footnotes are undoubtedly a poor idea, according to the formulæ, I feel sure. My cantankerous apologies.