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The 11 Definitive Rules of Blogging

Today I thought I’d compile a definitive list of must follow rules for bloggers that all successful blogs follow:

I was going to stop at ten, but 11 has a much nicer ring to it, don’t you think? Plus point number 11 brings them all together nicely.

This post was inspired by a variety of comments, tweets, and blog posts of late that suggested I or other well-known blogging “experts” teach “rules” or “systems” of blogging.

The reality is that there are no rules. While ProBlogger obviously contains a lot of teaching about blogging, I’d never want to suggest that all blogs need to subscribe to a single philosophy of blogging. Rather, this blog is a place where I hope to share what I do, as well as sharing what has and hasn’t work for me (and similarly, to let guest bloggers share their own experiences).

The reason I take this approach is that of the numerous blogs that I’ve been involved with over the last nine years, no two blogs have been identical in terms of what has and hasn’t worked. There are some principles that have worked for me, but transfer those ideas to other blogs, and there are no guarantees of success.

There are also a few strategies that I personally avoid in blogging that I’ve had little or no success with; however, they’ve worked for others.

If anything, the only “rule” of blogging that I’d be brave enough to preach is: find your own way.

Most of the successful blogs that I’ve come across have something unique about them. It might be the personality or voice of the blogger, the topic, the design, the fact that they were first, that they’re funny, that they’re comprehensive and thoughtful, that they post 100 times a day, or that they post once a month… But each of them is unique somehow.

Successful bloggers tend to forge their own path. Many of them are aware of what works for others and learn by observing, but they also take what they learn, experiment with it for themselves, and let it evolve in a way that fits with them and their audience.

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.

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Comments

  1. Taylor says:

    Seems like someone may be running out of posting ideas ;-)

  2. Definitely agree with you on this.. I also help people grow their audiences, get traffic and use a blog as a way to grow an internet business – but what works for me isn’t necessarily going to work for them, all I can do is share my experiences and hope that my readers will benefit from implementing the advice.

    I see you do the same – and I respect your no rules approach..

    Hector

    • Hey Hector great point! I am in a similar boat, teaching others how to grow their own online business and be successful. Just like Daren, I too follow the no rules approach, but I cannot tell you how many people ask me for my proven strategy to make money online. When I tell them it is to improvise, listen to my audience and give them what they ask for, I get looked at like I have two heads.

  3. Very helpful! I find myself learning daily from this site and have to say thank you.

  4. Julius Orias says:

    Wow…what a great post. I was surprise also about your post here Darren. I thought you run out of ideas but again it is good to know that there is no rules to follow…Yeahhhhh! Have a wonderful day :)

    Cheers!
    Julius

  5. Mike J says:

    Just like in life there are not necessarily specific rules, although there are best practices. That is what I refer to when describe different techniques for blogging and driving traffic to people. Like you have said so much of this depends on the personality of the blogger and the content they provide to their audience. The very thing that makes great blogs is that they are “unlike” others.

  6. Find your own way after understanding your personal niche. I get it. In the internet world there is room for many different blog styles.

    Mr. MakingUsmile

  7. David says:

    True true. You can only copy to an extent, but you have to begin bringing your own style and personality, as well as expertise into the blog. Once you start to find ways of getting readers, you choice is to run with it or die off.

  8. konti says:

    Am new to blogging and these tips would definitely come in handy. thanks and keep it coming!

    • You are starting from the last. Try to digg more here to start from first. There are lots of experienced based articles that certainly help new bloggers.

  9. I’m agree with u @darren, there’s no absolute rules for blogging, we should find our way to blog. As u mention in this articles “philosophy of blogging”.. now I’m thinking about this. Thanks @darren

  10. Darren, I always like your presentation in your post and i trust your experience. Thanks for sharing!

  11. Nicole Rivera says:

    This is hilarious… I am catching up on my reading on my iPad. I thought the list was in flash or something! I was super-sad!

    What can I say? I am slow to the punch line. Great post! It got me thinking on many levels! :P

  12. Kellie says:

    I’m just starting out in the world of blogging so really, this post wasn’t all that helpful. But this seems like a great website, I will have to poke around a bit more.

  13. Lucy says:

    Hey!

    I tried reading this, but for some reason where you list the 11 rules, it is not working. It only shows the numbers. I know it works for everyone else, but no for me. Thanks for reading this comment and have a wonderful day!

  14. LOL, okay the title sucked me into reading this post… and you had me confused at first with the list of 11 blank items… but you are so correct Darren. There’s really no correct ONE way to successfully blog.

    The only words I can think of when it comes to successful blogging is PERSISTENCE and TEST ALL THINGS -Daniel

  15. As usual, great post, but I think you missed these 2 rules -

    12.
    13.

    but above all don’t forget original, engaging content.

  16. Ann says:

    LOL,

    Looks like the politicians list of kept promises.

  17. Dylan Dodson says:

    Funny! Very true post though, most of the time you just have to find what works best for you by trying things out yourself!

  18. Guy Lawrence says:

    Must admit, had to look twice to see where the rules were! :)

    Most successful blogs seem to be very different from each other. I certainly think that as long as you are genuine and passionate about your blog, the rest will follow.

    I’m having great fun and success with my blog from simply spending quality time on a article or video with the user in mind. :)

    Aren’t rules there to be broken???

  19. I love your blank points. Very Zen. Unique is being ourselves, but I’d say that positivity and at least the intention to be helpful is a good basis for ‘success’. And that raises the question – What is success really?

  20. Angela says:

    Very helpful. I’m interested in blogging but not yet a blogger. This has given me so many ideas since it now seems I can do what I want, experiment and have fun with it. I do have to agree with Ann, it does look a lot like a politicians list of kept promises.

  21. Kksonakiya says:

    it is amazing that u took a topic on which most desperate bloggers are going to click, only to find that it says ‘find your own way’. It’s obvious that everyone needs to find his/her own way. But unless they do something recommended by a higher authority or a figure, they would never find there own way.
    I don’t deny the fact here, but if there would be just one rule to follow for blogging, then it would be ‘do what feels right’.
    Don’t write or publish what u don’t like even if someone recommends it. Don’t advertise if you don’t like it, don’t sell ur blog like a product if you don’t want to, etc.
    That would be the perfect way to go and with experience, he/she will at some point that blogging is ‘fun’. Else, it would be more like a 9 to 5 job that nobody wants to do.
    Build a car if u want to race urself, if u like others sitting in your car then build for them as well. But if you don’t like ur own design, then u can never compel others to like it.
    Same kind of thing goes for blogging as well, u like ur blog and writing stuff, then others will like it as well. Traffic will come eventually, if that is what u r worried about. I hope i m not confusing anyone.

  22. physcodog says:

    It’s funny because I clicked on this article to get some tips on blog success. I am a new blogger and I was looking for some insight. When I opened the article I was shocked at the “list,” of the rules because what I found in all those blank spaces is places for me to write my own rules. This was a very good concept and it can help any blogger open up in their blogs because each of us are unique in our own ways. Great job Darren!

  23. Forex Nick says:

    For one minute I thought this was a draft post as the empty list caught me unaware :-)

    Thanks for this. It makes perfect sense.

    Nick

  24. Michael says:

    It took me a second to get it. I was like “where are they, is it a glitch on my computer.” Good point though.

  25. Brian B. says:

    Lol I thought Firefox didn’t load all of the way but it turns out that was the point of the post =P. Still a great post and I am sure others found it helpful.

  26. You could say it is the Spinal Tap approach to blogging tips…

  27. Freon says:

    I will follow your only “rule” – I will find my way! :)
    I am new to blogging and I don’t have much experience, but I learned one thing – that there is no rulebook for this. There are some points or basic starting elements, but no definitive rules. And that is the beauty of it, because you can play by your own rules, as long as you produce something fresh, unique and original, others will like your ‘game’ and they will like to be part of it.
    I try to apply to my work concepts from other bloggers that will surely work for me, but mainly I focus to create my own original style that is going to distinguish me form others in this ‘bloggocean’

    You can get tips from others for the route, but it is up to you how the journey is going to be!

  28. admin says:

    How can it be visible, I try from last 3 days but only numbering!!!!!!!!!!
    this is only number,what about its discreption

  29. admin says:
  30. Ben Jacklin says:

    Haha, well you’re certainly in a position with plenty of authority to advise so I have no idea why some people are saying you’re short of ideas!!!

  31. Smart, very smart…
    :-)

  32. Chris Alta says:

    Darren my dawg!

    Haha I saw the title of this post and thought to myself “hey man wtf there aren’t any rules for blogging, if there were then everyone would be closed minded and wouldn’t express their true selves!”

    Then I open the post and see that 1. through 11. are blank..(sigh of relief..) haha

    ABSOLUTELY REAL TALK THOUGH BROTHA D-ROWSE

    NO RULES MEANS NO LIMITS

    WOOOOOOO!

    -Chris Alta

  33. Great Post ..thanks …I don’t like any rules in a lot of fields, and blogging is one of them.

  34. Tech Crates says:

    Agree with you Darren…Thanks for sharing

  35. Brian Smith says:

    Great post but, let’s be honest there is no rules, only sugestion, probably this is a post for making linkbuilding

  36. Jeremy says:

    Finally someone speaks the truth about blogging. Hopefully more people who think about spending money on learning how to blog will read this post first and save their hard earned money. The only real success in blogging is having the desire to stick with it even when other bloggers fade away or lose interest in it.

  37. Heather says:

    I completely agree with you on the fact that there may be many different type of bloggers out there and that there is some reason why people listen to them. Whether they are funny, smart, relate to their own personal experience, or the way they type their blog like their design. There are many different types of people in the world that have evolved and learned to speak their mind. The blogger needs to try to get everyone their marketing for attention.

  38. Wong Zhiwei says:

    I totally agree with what you posted about. The only limit is the sky…
    Our imagination has no boundaries. Blogging is quite the same.

    Thanks for being so inspiring!

  39. Ruth says:

    I had to do a double take and then I scrolled down and BAM! I get the message. Tell your story as only you can when you start a blog. It is about life, your life and your passion for what your do. Why are we so conditioned to follow rules? Just be you!I get it Darren, thanks.

  40. Yep the only thing I would say is stick at it! I started and made every mistake to be made at the start but that really is the only way to learn! Finding your own way is the key!

  41. mike says:

    Sub-topics on topics you are interested in is good. I started with my 80s music blog then went on to the other eras like 70s 60s… Then classical music, now opera. Write about the topic you are most interested in.

  42. Brendon says:

    The non-list. No rules. Learn as you go. That is the beauty of speaking your mind through your website. It doesn’t have to follow any specific set of rules and you can still find success. Now where are my keys?

  43. I think this is true. Being unique is KEY! If you’re just like everyone else and say everything everyone else is saying, you really don’t have anything new to add to the table. If this is the case people won’t be that into you. There are basics to follow true, but the essence of your blog should have something fresh about it. Just being yourself is the ticket, no two people are exactly alike.

  44. Clever idea. I for one am tired of all the rule-makers. Speak from the heart, be authentic, have something to say, post and get out of there.

  45. Some might have found this post to be hollow, but I do think it rings true. Take the best of the blogs that will benefit your style and substance, and then forge new paths where others have not.

  46. payslip says:

    Every blog differs and bloggers should maintain that uniqueness. Blogs offer opportunities to share lessons in every aspect of life. But successful bloggers should lear and do things by themselves, as well as to know how their blogs should benefit their audience.

  47. Ava says:

    I think that quality content and backlinks are so important when blogging. I find the use of Social Media very helpful!

  48. Paul Swaney says:

    My first reaction was “that was a stupid post,” but the more I think about it the more I realize that as much as we would all like to have a simple list of rules to follow, the fact is that every niche is different, and every path is different. I’m really glad that I found this today. Maybe I’ll stop looking for the rules and realize that what I believe in will happen as long as I work hard…