My Blogging Tips

Recently I was asked if I had pointers about starting a blog. Here’s what I said:

  • Have fun with it. If it’s not fun it becomes a chore and you’ll stop writing. (I wrote this point last and then realized it’s the most important thing I have to say.)
  • Should you buy a domain name and create your own site or use free a platform like Google Blogger or WordPress? I did the former. It involves more work and expense (not a lot–BlueHost, my blog’s host, is now $5.95/month) but gives you greater control. I (usually) enjoy learning the technical aspects of creating and running my sites, but not always. Blogging-specific hosts make life much easier. WordPress is the premier blogging software, which you can use without having WordPress host your blog.
  • Set realistic goals for how often you’ll post. Beginner’s enthusiasm can generate a flurry of initial posts but at some point it will fade, you’ll not post for three days in a row, and you may feel pressure to post something–anything–which can interfere with posting something good. My goal this year is 20 posts a month. If I meet that goal it will be the largest number of posts I’ve made in one calendar year. I kept the pace through August, fell behind when school began, and have started to pick it up again over the past few days. The important thing is that I only make myself a little crazy if I go 10 days without posting.
  • Understand why you are writing the blog. I created the blog because I like to write short pieces about ideas and issues that capture my attention, because writing about legal topics helps me refine my thinking, because I want to reveal how I think about these topics to students, and because there’s a never-ending conversation going on in my brain.
  • Define your blog’s focus. Will you post only about a few specific topics or will you also post about personal things–a book you enjoyed, a place you visited, whatever? How much will you reveal about yourself? It takes time to decide on a focus and settle into a voice. I post mostly about law-related topics with some personal stuff thrown in to give the blog more personality and make it more fun to write. I decided early that I would not post about really personal topics because there’s only so much of myself I’m willing to reveal to my general student readership. If I intended the blog for friends or peers its content would change dramatically. Should you ever notice that I’m posting about truly personal subjects it will be a sign either that I’m nearing the end of my teaching career or that for some other external reason I no longer care about my privacy.

One Reply to “My Blogging Tips”

  1. Anand Brahmbhatt

    I admire this blog and your hints. It’s just interesting to me to think that years ago blogging was a new thing, and many people do it. It’s kind of like a journal with “readership” as you say for some, and for others its about talking about real events. I’ve started one of my own last year, and I don’t have the ambition of 20 posts a month… I write with motivation, but it just makes me realize how much I do have a passion for writing. I just think it’s cool to have a real outlet for your thoughts, and I love looking through other people’s blogs regardless of what they talk about because there’s so much out there that helps you learn about yourself, about our world, and many other things. 

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