Rules for Blogging? NEXT TOPIC!

The 1990s are calling. They want their Internet back. 

Sitting here, enjoying a warm cup of coffee from my “RTFM” mug, I realize some of you aren’t even old enough to remember a day before “blogging” was a thing. Back when the Internet wasn’t free, but we had freedom. Back before a quick Google search for rules blog* netted “about 551,000,000 results.” WTF?

People, you cry out for free speech and yet you are so shackled by this need for “rules” over it that you will make them up at the drop of a hat and seek to impose them on yourself and others in the name of something to blog about. Holy cats, why?

Not that things like, “Know how to construct coherent sentences and string them together in reasonably clear paragraphs” isn’t important. Not that civility doesn’t require common sense and etiquette – general good manners that might be considered “rules” of a polite society. Stuff you learned when you were three, one can hope. So here are my proposed 5 Rules for Blogging:


  1. Comply with applicable laws and don’t plead ignorance as an excuse. “Applicable laws” would be your local laws, including copyright, and your web host’s terms of service. If you’re reviewing or selling stuff on your blog, read about the FTC’s new guidelines for reviewers.
  2. Don’t be a jerk in the name of web traffic or “just because you can.” There’s trolling just to be a jerk – to make strangers’ lives miserable for your own entertainment – and there’s satire and controversy. Know the difference.
  3. If the blog topic you’re considering has “about 551,000,000 results” already–and you should do a quick search or two to find out–consider whether the Internet really needs you spending your precious life’s moments writing more of the same. Come up with something fresh and original, or go fly a kite. Seriously – Google “how to make a kite” and “how to fly a kite” and go do it. If you have nothing new to say, why blog at all?
  4. You own your own stories and experiences, and that is all that makes you stand out in the blogging world. Share those, because they are what make you interesting and they are what keep your readers coming back for more.
  5. If you’re a happy blogger, breaking no actual laws and bothering no one, do not get tangled up in someone else’s “rules for blogging” post. Do your thing. Be happy.

Now get off my lawn, kids. Go read a book. 😉 



18 thoughts on “Rules for Blogging? NEXT TOPIC!”

  1. Well, since I write about what I know, learn, and with which I have keen interest, I never care if someone is or is not writing about it. Because I am sure that my (deranged?) take on the subject will offer something different 🙂


      Yes, you’re right about that! Nothing about your blog is dull or cookie-cutter, for sure. And that’s the point. You aren’t trying to clone someone who’s tried to clone a formula. There will not be 551 million other posts like yours. Probably not even two.

  2. Those are pretty good rules. I especially like the part about peanut butter and jelly sandwiches… oh wait, that’s what I’m thinking about having for dinner. lol

    Personally, #4 works best for me. Even if it’s not a story, if it’s your opinion on how to do something or what you believe in something, it’s infinitely more interesting than parroting what everyone else is saying.

  3. Nicely said, Holly. Of all the bloggers I follow you provide the best shining example of the difference between “making lives miserable and satire and controversy”

    I stick to my own blend of eccentric, contrarian and often controversial stories to make points and I hope, make people think.

    I offend many who disagree with my perspective, and I will disagree with others’ opinions, but I try not to attack personalities.

    1. Peter! Good to see you here after a long absence. (Yes, I need to visit you, as well – I know.) You and I don’t often share political views, but I have never been at all “offended” by your writings or our conversations. I think your perspective is an interesting one, and just as importantly, you’ve laid the personal groundwork for it in ways that make it easy to understand. Where some would be hostile, you’re thoughtful. I think if more people like you and like me got together more often – where it counts, maybe in government – we could find happier middle ground without trying to drown out or annihilate each other. That’s the thing, isn’t it? No one can listen when they believe they’re fighting for their very right to exist and live free.

      1. You just delightfully validated my comment about your example with your reply.

        Your last 3 sentences are absolute gems.

        Despite differing political views, I believe we have similar hopes for mankind.

  4. You inspired me to write a post on do’s and don’ts on your blog… NOT

    Besides, I don’t do “shoulds”, so how can tell others what they should.

    Love your point about “be your unique self” to add value, or find something else to do.

    1. As long as you tell your own stories, your way, who can ever tell you you’re “wrong”? Start pontificating and telling others how they SHOULD do it (absent a compelling, societal interest – like following applicable law) then you just annoy people and beg to be argued with unto death. Not saying a good debate on an issue isn’t fun, but arguing pointless crap gets a little tiresome, after a while. 😉

  5. Applause, applause! Number four is what I do best, anyway. 🙂 Clever tie in to your books, as well. Hope your ankle is healing well. Cheers!

  6. Wow Holly, I resonated with many of these rules, but number one really hit home.

    I struggle trying to follow all these rules. They open so many things that I have done wrong.

  7. Good advice, Holly. I’m always more interested in posts about the writer than about their writing (although I do look for books to add to my TBR list). And speaking of that, I’m about to log off and go back to the book I’m reading (Stolen Souls by Stuart Neville). Yes, I should be writing a blog post for tomorrow…

    1. I wonder what kind of posts readers really want to see from relatively unknown or mid-list authors and indies? (As opposed to the “celebrity” authors, I mean.)

  8. Hi Jahangiri,
    The Rules for Blogging looks awesome. But you have to consider that internet has changed a lot from 1990’s, not even 1990’s, if you consider just a year back. We can see a lot of changes taking place over internet. It’s now just becoming a race and competition is so high that simple common queries over search engine looks like the websites are just news journals, everyone is publishing same articles again and again on different dates.
    I think the situation is no way is going to improve but instead is going to become more worst. But, still let’s hope that the situation improves.

    MS Qureshi

    1. Well, it’s only going to improve if bloggers stop trying to follow some stupid formula that worked for one person ten years ago, you know? It takes a little imagination, innovation, and personality, whether you’re in it to make money or just to use it as a creative outlet. I just got tired of seeing the same “rules” recycled over the past decade or so – recycled, reposted, regurgitated as gospel… Be yourself; be unique. Have fun. Comply with the law, but that’s the only “rules” anyone should have to follow, really.

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