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Shakespeare on Blogging

This guest post is by Leanne of IronicMom.com.

Although Shakespeare wouldn’t have known words like Twitter, social media, and blogging, he no doubt would’ve embraced these new terms. After all, he coined an estimated 1700 words and had a lot of fun playing with language.

But what do you get when you take Shakespeare’s words out of context and apply them to blogging? You get sage advice that has—in its own way—survived more than 400 years.

Here are words from the Bard, applied to blogging.

On the length of posts

Brevity is the soul of wit.
(Hamlet)

Translation: Keep posts and paragraphs short.

On posting too infrequently

I wasted time, and now time doth waste me.
(Richard II)

Translation: Post regularly, or your blog’s energy and following will wither away.

On finding images

Suit the action to the word, the word to the action.
(Hamlet)

Translation: Ensure your image is related to your content; if it’s not obvious, use a caption make the connection.

On the importance of blog design

The apparel oft proclaims the man.
(Hamlet)

Translation: Appearance is important. If you wouldn’t wear 35 accessories, don’t put that many on your blog.

On content

More matter, with less art.
(Hamlet)

Translation: Photos and images are important, but fantastic content is what keeps readers returning.

On avoiding controversial topics

Boldness be my friend!
(Cymbeline)

Translation: Don’t be overly afraid of divisive topics; they can attract and engage readers. Deal with them maturely, and invite readers to disagree.

On commenting

They do not love that do not show their love.
(Two Gentleman of Verona)

Translation: Ensure you read and comment intelligently on other people’s posts. Blogging is about building relationships, and—if you’re genuine—commenting is the best way to do so.

On dealing with hostile comments

I am not bound to please thee with my answers.
(The Merchant of Venice)

Translation: Hostile comments are rarely fun to deal with. It’s usually best to remember that you don’t have to please; instead, aim to critique the idea, rather than the person.

On being preoccupied with statistics

All that glitters is not gold.
(The Merchant of Venice)

Translation: While stats do indeed glitter, they don’t tell the whole story of a blog’s success. Check them, use them to improve your blog, but don’t let them distract you from writing and building community.

On verifying your sources

Lord, what fools these mortals be.
(A Midsummer Night’s Dream)

Translation: Don’t immediately trust what other people have put on the Web. For example, there are several quotations from seemingly reputable sites that are attributed to Shakespeare; cross-referencing revealed the quotes aren’t all his.

On the need to proofread

What’s done can’t be undone.
(Macbeth)

Translation: Think before you hit publish; ideally, leave your post 24 hours and reread it again.

On helping other bloggers

How far that little candle throws its beams! So shines a good deed in a weary world.
(The Merchant of Venice)

Translation: Find someone less established to help out; this is the spirit of blogging.

Leanne’s motto is “If you can’t laugh at yourself, laugh at your kids”; you can read her attempt to survive parenting at IronicMom.com. Leanne also co-created the website, WordBitches, where she and two friends use sass to motivate each
other to write 500 words each day.

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Comments

  1. Bryan says:

    Haha, all that glitters is not gold. Love that quote especially to those who are obsessed with stats on their sites. I used to have that problem but i’ve realized that its not a priority.

  2. Sandra says:

    Shakespeare is still actual today and I think will be forever. You can find something for every sphere not only blogging. I think it’s because of his understanding of human nature, we have the technology… society has changed… fashion come and go… but deep down human nature remains the same with the same struggles for success and greatness and we are still making the same mistakes.

    • You said that so well, Sandra. There is something equally beautiful and scary to the fact that human nature has essentially remained unchanged.

    • patrick says:

      Very powerful words Sandra. You’re right. The physical world has progressed but humans still struggle with the same internal challenges. Those who only look at what they don’t have are no happier today than those in Shakespeare time.

      Our struggles in society for greatness is never-ending. It is only in finding peace and acceptance within ourselves that we can rest, and given our history I don’t know of the majority will ever find peace. So Shakespeare will always remain relevant. All of life is understanding others.

      And thank you Leanne for composing those quotes and using great analogies.

  3. Style Maniac says:

    Fantastic advice.

  4. minka kelly says:

    The clever and wise people as Shakespeare always had a statement that had far reaching consequences in the future. Their words always inspire humankind to centuries. I myself really like to study and examine the words of wisdom from them.

  5. Chris says:

    Great post. Shakespeare knew more about blogging, long before the internet, than most of us do now.

  6. Vanessa says:

    What a brilliantly amusing post. The quote from Richard II had me grinning from ear to ear, as well as leaving my heart heavy. How you evoked an array of emotions in me! I love Shakespeare, and you did such a fine job with this post. Truly, it was a pleasure to read!

  7. Mano says:

    Shakespeare is indeed one of the greatest writers of all times. His words will remain forever. And it’s good to know that we can relate these words to blogging. His words are clever and it’s good to know that we can use them in blogging and other modern ways of writing.

  8. kristinherdy says:

    Great post – good reminders.

    I’m helping a new blogger get started, and told her not to let her stats determine her success. There were months I wanted to give up while I talked to myself, but the good news is that I got to learn the ropes while no one was around to see me fail.

  9. Usama says:

    very useful and helpful thoughts nice post thanks

  10. Eve says:

    I just started my blog yesterday, and Im a bit obsessed with statistics. I check it at least 20 times a day. I just want to make sure my small amount of readers are enjoying my posts. Im focused on the content though. Maybe a bit too much. I always have to make sure I have posts scheduled the night before so that I won’t leave anyone who bothers to read it bored, or wanting not to return. Its a deals, freebies and coupons type blog, so I feel like I have to be on my toes at all times.

  11. Colin Smith says:

    On Social Media:
    ‘Tis better to have loved and lost
    Than never to have loved a tall…girl

  12. Congrats on the guest post, Leanne…I especially like your comments on commenting and helping other bloggers…

    Wendy

  13. What fun!

    Shakespeare would have been a pretty bad ass blogger me thinks.

    Editing is such sweet sorrow!

  14. Jeff says:

    That’s why he’s among the “Great Writers” in Mortimer J. Adler’s collection: Because he’s still relevant today.

  15. Kent says:

    I agree with what shes saying about Blog Design. When I usually type a question into Google, all the search results are usually Blogs from people who may or may not know what they are talking about.

    I don’t mind reading opinions, but what I do mind is going to a Blog that is FULL of Ads and Pop-ups, and those annoying Adsense things all over the place.

    Even if the Blog answered my question, I make a note to never visit that website again. Its like walking into a dirty house. Haha. This Blog looks pretty clean though. I like it.