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What would I do different if I had to start my blog over? – Hugh MacLeod

200606222142-3The following is an answer from Hugh MacLeod from Gaping Void responding to my one question interview question of what he’d do differently if he had to start his blog over again.

OK, the question “What would I have done differently” is a toughie. I have found blogging a blast pretty much since the day I started. So I dont exactly look back on it with any big pang of regret.

I think there’s one mistake I always make, and a lot of people do the same: writing “something that is not unique”. I still do it far too often.

By this I mean, there are two basic types of blog posts:

1. “Generic“. The kind of blog post that could have been written by anyone ["Scoble quits Microsoft. Everybody is talking about it" etc].

2. “Unique“. The kind of blog post that could only have been written by yourself. Your own, unique, twisted inner voice shining through. Those are far more rare, and far harder to write.

So overall, I’d say my main regret is spending so much time cranking out “generic” posts, when the energy would’ve been better spent just on “unique” posts. But that is as true today as it was 3 or 4 yers ago.

Read the responses of other bloggers to this 1 Question Interview on what they’d do differently in their blogging

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Comments

  1. That’s certainly true, but especially for non-newsy sites that showcase the author. Hugh’s site falls into that category. But we’re all guilty of the quick fix when our energy is low or inspiration missing.

  2. Robb D says:

    I would have never started off on Blogspot.com. Because I built up a bit of a following before I moved to my on domain and a dedicated host, it was quite painful when I finally did move. It took months to build my blog back up to where it was when stopped using Blogger for WordPress.

  3. Great answer. I agree with the two types of posts he outlined.

  4. I think you’re right there. I decided to quit writing so often and just write unique content. So I’ll have to see how that goes.

    - Bryan
    http://www.bryancfleming.com

  5. A distinctive (or “unique”) post can be built around “generic” content. Op/ed writers do it all the time: They take headline news and make connections that give us a new perspective. Simply passing along news without commentary isn’t merely generic; it’s lazy.

  6. gary says:

    robb d, i would agree with you, except that it was the easy & free framework of blogger that got me blogsessed. fortunately i saw the light and moved over to wordpress early on, so the move didn’t affect traffic too badly.

    in my niche, it is harder to get unique content unless you (like me) have a true insider job that you can relate to readers. it’s all about trying to get the first scoop. later in the day, all the others will follow suit, with their own spin on a story.

  7. Jeff White says:

    If I had to start from scratch I would make sure I wrote more often in the early days. Better to make a short post once a week than a long post once a month and better to post a short post every day than a long post every week. Assuming you have content and aren’t just posting for the sake of posting.

  8. Gibbo says:

    If I had to start again I’d make sure I had written more posts than I needed to have a stock of them built up. That way when I’m busy or have “writers block” I’d have a stock of posts to call on.

  9. Terry says:

    All true with the Unique vs Generic post idea. But….

    I break it down to math more and more. If I have a blog that’s pages gets in the top page of Google search with only 3,000,000 competing pages, I simply write on a subject that has keyword competition of only 3,000,000 competing pages. That way one of my new blogs will get some needed traffic.

    Early traffic is super for testing, and not so much for making big bucks. The ability to test will lead you to bigger bucks though.

    I don’t use the above numbers ALL the time. I’ll write posts on products and subjects that I have no hope of receiving SE traffic just because I feel like it.

    -Terry

  10. PoLR says:

    I like this response, I have a blog which is independent of our company one for my own ramblings (not deemed suitable for our professional front) However, I have found that since the start of 2007 I have given up on that and am trying to edge my own quirky humour into the company blog. Now and again my posts get edited but sometimes I sneak one through!

    One thing I would or should change is to not be so hesitant in my blogging. So many times I have spent too long wondering if it is a suitable topic only to be beaten to the post!

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