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Blogging Debates – There are Many Ways to Build a Successful Blog

Debates in blogging circles have raged for years now on many topics.

  • Should a blog have full feeds or partial feeds?
  • Is a blog a blog if it doesn’t have comments?
  • Frequency of Posting – Should a blog post once a week, once a day or 20 times a day?
  • Should you self host your blog or use a free blogging platform?

There are many questions and issues that bloggers tend to debate when it comes to blogging and each time I ask one of these questions as a reader question it is amazing to see the diversity of opinions that bloggers have and decisions that they’ve made about how to run their blogs.

Here are some of the topics I’ve seen debated regularly over the years:

  • RSS Feeds – Full vs Partial Feeds
  • Comment Sections – Comments vs No Comments
  • Post Frequency – Post More vs Post Less
  • Domain Names – long vs short, hyphens vs non hypens, .com vs other extensions (like .net, .org), local vs global domain extensions
  • Hosting – hosted vs self hosted
  • Titles – descriptive vs keywords
  • Content – Link content vs Original content
  • Design – Professional Design vs Templates
  • Ownership – Use Social Media vs Build Your own properties
  • Topic – Niche vs Broad Topics
  • Dating Posts – Dates on Posts vs Non Dated
  • Anonymous blogging vs Using Your Name
  • SEO – Writing for Search Engines vs Writing for Humans
  • Personal Blogging – Sticking to Topic vs Injecting Personality and Personal details

I’m sure if we were to go through each topic in turn (and I intend to tackle each going forward into the next month) that there would be a little heat in some of the discussions because many of them are things that bloggers have quite strongly held opinions on.

However – the reality is that there are many ways to build a successful blog and in almost every debate that bloggers have there are bloggers who manage to take almost diametrically opposed approaches to blogging yet who build successful blogs.

For me it comes down to being willing to enter into building blogs that are shaped more by the topic you’re writing about, the audience you’re attempting to reach and in a way that fits with your style, personality and situation. Out of all that will emerge a way of blogging that is unique.

What other blog debates do you see happening?

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.
  1. Rants(emotional posts) vs. Informative (factual posts)


  2. WordPress vs Blogger

    Yes, I know WordPress has better themes (even though I’m a blogspot/blogger user).

    But at the end of the day, I doubt anyone reads (or refuses to read) a blog based on the platform.

  3. The beauty of WordPress is this:

    If you self-host your blog using (as opposed to, you become part of a massive community that has built plug-ins and widgets for just about anything that you could need or desire.

    WordPress has become far more than a place for blogs. It is a great Content Management System with a massive library, really thorough help and documentation, tons of templates and the ability to get into the code and start tweaking to your hearts content.

    If you don’t have experience doing back-end stuff, you are going to need a little hand-holding during the installation stage, and as questions arise, but if you’re willing to get behind the scenes, WordPress is an amazingly powerful tool.


  4. I’d add advertisements to the list (to run ads or not to run them).

  5. Hi Darren,

    In my small, tiny, niche of personal experiences as immigrants in Canada, one of the debates around blogging was around the use or not Blogging techniques (most of them noted by you above) According to some bloggers in this niche, using blogging techniques for telling people about your personal experiences in your blog is not authentic. Something like “cheating” let’s say… It looks like you have more credibility if your blog is read by 20 people a day instead of 800… which is not my point of view of course.

    In disagreement with that position I claim you should use everyt possible tool to reach as much audience as you can… just because you are supposed to be willing to share your experiences after all! isn’t that right?

    Have a great day Darren… I’m looking forward to next week!

    Guillermo from Canada

  6. Hosting – hosted vs self hosted

    “Self host your blog, dont use free hosting like”

    that’s one thing you will have from any blogging pundit, i don’t know why? whats wrong with free hosting ?

    does your read really care how you host your blog. I mean if Seth Godin self host his blog, will that effect his reader base (Seth uses Free typed host) or if John chow move to free wordpress platform will that decrease his subscriber count?

    people want information and quality post, they dont really care from where it comes self hosted or free hosted blog. as long as it meet their requirement.

  7. Oh, and we could probably also add some points to the debate regarding links (for example, whether you should or shouldn’t use the nofollow attribute, whether you should be generous or moderate when linking to other blogs, etc).

  8. Most of these debates depends on the Blog or Site Owner not to the readers.

    In the end, its all about your preferences.

    Darren, I would like to add:
    FaceBook or Twitter? ^_^

  9. Interesting question re self-hosting vs free platform… Credibility is important. If your blog is niche and focused on web-hosting or some related technology, it seems that credibility is lost if your URL is “” as opposed to “”.

  10. “Get rich quick” vs. “get rich slow” is a big debate when it comes to monetization.

  11. From my small blog community: which helps more in spreading the good word about your blog – facebook or twitter?

    I have come down on the side of Twitter, but there are a lot of Facebook holdouts there.

  12. I think blog should at least post new articles everyday. I noticed the most successful blogs on the net are those that have something new always.

    But then with the new social networks and the tweeting system, then makes it easier for followers to keep track.

  13. Full vs Partial RSS feed

    I don’t see the point of a partial RSS feed. Give them the full version because some folks would rather never leave their RSS reader when consuming their morning blog roundup.

    Why force them to click a link to view the full article?

    Sure, it promotes more visibility for your ads, but I say higher subscriber numbers and happier reader community is more important than ad revenue.

  14. I am personally open to most of the topics you’ve listed. There are a few however that just seem wrong and almost pointless.
    Content – Link content vs Original content
    Absolutely original content is hard to come by in some subjects. When it comes to NEWS or TECH stuff, a lot of people come up with the same things. So long as they present the information using their own views, opinions, etc. I think it’s alright.
    On the other hand blogs that are either manually copying information word for word or using programs to do the same, shame on you. Be original and have some fun with it.

  15. Writing style, “voice”: Professional style vs loose writing. What’s the line not to cross? Use profanity or not?

  16. Blogging mentality — money oriented vs. self-satisfaction

    Whether or not to blog for money, or should we concentrate on quality first before even thought about earnings? Although we all love to earn some, but too indulge in money-making over quality & self satisfaction (forcing oneself to write something out of his/her comfort zone) may be disastrous & stressful. In another hand, some opined it’s good to have a proper money-making strategy the earliest possible. Or should it be somewhere in between?

    -Social Media/Blogging

  17. SEO – Writing for Search Engines vs Writing for Humans

    This hits home for me as an work as an SEO, sometimes it’s tempting to cater everything towards search engines but user experience and readability is also ridiculously important in my mind. Having good search exposure is one thing, but if the site they end up on is rubbish then people aren’t likely to stick around….

    Basically if people aren’t enjoying what you writing about then there’s no point really!

  18. Let the games begin!

    There also seems to be a bit of conflicting advice over planning everything or just starting a blog. I would also be interested in your opinions over formatting the actual post, like the use of , , , etc. and what effect, if any, that has on SEO, scanability, and general reader-happiness.

  19. Okay, so WordPress took all the HTML tags I was trying to list out of my comment, but you get the idea. LOL

  20. Now I admit, I can’t really speak from experience because my blogging endeavor is fairly new, but I believe the real answer to these questions is, “It depends.”

    I really believe it comes down to your specific goals, objectives, and the audience you are trying to reach. If you create consistent content that is relevant to your audience and work hard at engaging your audience, I believe anyone can succeed.

    I really see the questions posed in this post and debated as being somewhat irrelevant to the big picture success of any one blog.

  21. Here’s a new one: Run a debate on your blog vs. avoiding debatable topics!

  22. blogging vs vlogging

    I know that video blog can help expose your site it should be used along with an actual entry. Is a blog a blog with only vog entries or just a mini YouTube?

  23. In response to Jan:
    The social networks that are driving traffic to my site in order of volume-myspace, facebook, twitter. Myspace might be superior because i have 40,000 some odd friends, but facebook is fantastic with their new “newsfeed” allowing you to “Share” content.
    Twitter is fast growing, too, and effective in driving traffic.
    Darren, good post……….i know you’ve covered this before, but this has been something i’m tinkering with this week…..testing which social networks drive the most traffic.
    Myspace may be dying, but it ain’t dead yet…….strangely.

  24. That’s what make the blogging activity more fun. Debate is not always bad, every science comes from pro and contra.
    For me I just blogging with the way I am, not every ways that someone else take and success with it, will be match for me too. I don’t try to find the best one, but the most suitable way for me, that’s all.

  25. Whether on not to “talk” about blogging on your blog, assuming your blog is not about blogging. Some readers want to know that stuff because they also blog, others don’t really even know what a blog is and you might lose them if you write about blogging.

  26. For me the post frequency is a never ending debate. I am currently trying 10-12 posts a month. I plan to do 20-25 in my summer vacation.

    The frequency changes according to time.

  27. I wonder if you could also talk about these topics:

    a) If a high volume site is attempting to build content (and value) is “sweeping” your content (i.e. lifting the entire post with a small “original article” link at the end) without permission is that something you should attempt to stop or does their link add value to your blog?

    b) What is the value of having a “website” versus a “blog”?


  28. One thing I like to do is copy and steal ideas from other top professionals in a field where I’m trying to improve myself. When I started to expand into blogging, I realized that there were a lot of tips you hear all the time…but some top bloggers do them, some don’t. And other rules, top bloggers completely break altogether. There just don’t seem to be any hard lines drawn…one thing I’ve not found a way around is that building an online following is a lot of work. I think that’s the rule, if there is one…work your tail off and be genuine. Everything else (i hope) comes in time.

  29. I’m only on the first few pages of your book. But I have yet to define what “successful” means for my blog. Is it number of visitors per day? Is it inbound leads (I’m a blogging Realtor)? Or is it just for me to feel like I am bettering my community?

    First I must define why I am blogging then find out which side of each argument I am on.

    I will say I am for professional design no matter what the blog just for reliability and ease-of-use.

  30. Not sure it’s a debate or not, but it should be: quality content vs. drivel. It seems many blogs that are trying to build audience contain content that is shallow and/or poorly written.

    We should debate this as a community. If the blogging community doesn’t work together to create good content, blogs will become less relevant and less interesting to the majority of people who don’t blog.

    If we want to build audiences outside of our friends and families, we need to create content with value.

  31. Personal blog Vs Niche blog

    I found that many people don’t like to read personal rambling blog instead of niche blog where they’re not interested to read others life or what they’ve done.

    I just think niche blog will be more interesting compare with personal blog.


  32. Partial RSS vs Full RSS — FULL wins every time for me. I’ve been known to unsubscribe from partial feeds — give your reader what they’re looking for :)

  33. Great post. I agree that there are many ways to make a great blog. That is why blogging is so cool. Every blog is different unique and special. Problogger just happens to be the best!

  34. I don’t know if this is a debate, but I was thinking about blogging what your readers want to read (this depends on your niche).

    In a make money niche, you readers want to read about making money. In an unbiased political blog, a liberal reader wants to read liberal post while a conservative wants to read only conservative posts.

    What do you think Darren?

  35. Not sure why there are debates. I write from passion and about something I have direct experience with.

  36. Great Post. I agree totally with you. Even i am doing blogging since a year or two. Every blog is different and with abundent information. Actually i got inspired for blogging by some great blogs one of the major one was yours. So thanks a lot.

  37. What about the perceived future of blogging itself. Surely it will take many technological turns. But, what about twittering as a variation of blogging. It is communication!

  38. hmmm, monitize vs not to monitize :)

  39. Domain Names should be short and as much as possible use the .com without any extensions.

  40. Darren,

    You forgot “To Monetize or Not”

  41. Whore your site (advertisements affiliates etc) or produce valuable content with integrity?

  42. I see a choice that a few bloggers have to make: uae entrecard or

  43. Over at shrewdcookie com my goal is to post on a daily basis and to this extent I am endeavouring to write two posts a day so I have some in reserve for those days when I can’t or don’t want to write.

    I am also commenting on other related blogs and am finding this is bringing some traffic – after just over two weeks online my traffic is growing on a daily basis.

    All I need to do now is get them to keep coming back……!

  44. Do you give up your best for a guest post, or should you hoard it for your own site?

  45. Those are some long list of debates. Another one is to sell text links or not?

  46. Content – Link content vs Original content ?

    Which plugins / tools do you use to quote content from other sites for your blog?

  47. Also, should we build multiple blogs for multiple niches or post them in the same blog under different categories.

    Both have their own advantages. Putting all of them in one blog under same category can give more visits out of the same visitors to the blog. Whereas putting them separate may be good for SEO purpose. which should be considered for multiple niches?


  48. Adsense vs No Adsense.
    Link buildings vs “great new content”.

  49. Is it a bad idea to submit you own articles to Digg, Stumble, etc.?

    How many tweets / Digg shouts / Stumble shares are not enough or too much?

    Is it better to have a blog on one subject or to have some wiggle room by having an open topic blog?

    Should links in your posts should open in a new window or in the same window? Does this irritate readers, or does it even matter anymore if readers are taking control, right clicking and opening links in a new tab?

    ~ Kristi

  50. What about good Sharpe concise writing.v long winded droning on forever before getting to the point.writing.

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