You Should Be Blogging

December 3rd, 2009

Starting a blog changed my life. Before Red Sweater Blog, nobody knew who I was, nobody cared what I was working on, and nobody (relatively speaking) bought any of my products.

I’m not saying the blog changed everything overnight, but my first post, on June 24, 2005, set the stage for what has been an exciting 4 year adventure. At the time, I was fresh from graduating with my second BA degree (in Music!), and was scraping by doing freelance development for an assortment of clients. Today, I spend every day working on my own software, which sustains me and my small family.

So what changed? The moment I started blogging, I became part of a community. Sure, the community was just myself and a few readers at first, but as my readership grew, it merged with other readerships, and connected me to other bloggers and readers, many of whom have become good friends. Every opportunity I’ve had the privilege to take advantage of over these years can be traced back to the reputation I earned and the friends I made by blogging.

Dan Wood wrote about the value of blogging on his excellent marketing blog. The Importance of Blogging discusses the benefits of writing a blog in more concrete terms than I have here. Check it out!

Some of you consider yourself more adept at reading than at writing. I know you’re with me, because you’re the type of person who had no problem digesting the content of this post, and you’re still reading five paragraphs later. You might be tempted to think you can’t start a blog because you’re not the world’s best writer. Think again. I covered this a couple years ago in another post: No More Excuses. I stand by those thoughts today.

If starting a blog is so great for your reputation, and will make you lots of friends, and bring you fame and fortune, why should I share the secret with you? Why not keep it to myself? Because I write blog editing software? Well, sure, more blogging is good for me. But much more importantly, it’s good for you. Helping others has always been a mission of this blog. It’s one of the things that led to its success, and it is one of the aspects of my work that gives me the biggest charge.

So start a blog intent on helping others. You’ll reap personal benefits and feel good all at the same time. Furthermore, everybody who ever helped me over the years holds a special place in my heart and they’ll always have my deep respect. If this post gets you to start blogging and achieve the level of success you deserve, maybe I’ll earn a similar spot in your heart. Bonus!

13 Responses to “You Should Be Blogging”

  1. Erik Marcus Says:

    I’m a huge fan of MarsEdit. I use it several times a day and can’t imagine life without it. For anyone who is inspired by Daniel’s post, my free Building Online Audiences ebook offers a great deal of guidance for launching a blog and growing your audience.

  2. corbin Says:

    I’m more adept at posting pictures on my blog than writing stuff. It sort of helps describe more about who I am than writing.

  3. Erik Marcus Says:

    Corbin, I think whatever it takes to build an audience is the right thing to do. Whether it’s writing, photography, or whatever, the key is to be producing something that people want to see more of!

  4. Buzz Andersen Says:

    Funny you should say that. I’ve been lamenting my lack of blog presence lately. After a long time of tweeting, I’m feeling the urge to produce something more substantial again.

  5. Daniel Jalkut Says:

    Buzz – I think what’s interesting about Tweeting is it gave us an outlet for many things we might have blogged about. In many cases it serves as a good alternative, but in many others, it’s just not the right format or medium.

    The big thing about blogs is you own the content and the format, 100%. You choose how it’s structured and how it’s delivered. I believe this is a big part in building and sustaining an internet identity.

    People on Twitter who are immensely popular usually have some other web presence to support that popularity. (Or they are the freakish real-world celebrities who are popular on Twitter in spite of their boringness there).

  6. spatt Says:

    just recently i’ve started blogging again after becoming anonymous on the internet scene..
    its kind of addicting to me. :)

  7. Richard Says:

    I agree Daniel, many more people should be blogging but less to establish the next popular blog, more because it’s fun and personally useful to get one’s thoughts recorded.

    One reason people start and then abandon blogs (and twitter accounts) so frequently is because they put too much emphasis on the social connection piece of sharing online and when they don’t become popular quick enough (or at all) they give up.

    I like the virtual social community I have but for me the key is sharing without thinking about popularity. The best blogs seem to be written by people who don’t seem to give a shit whether they become popular or not, they just like putting their thoughts online. The fact that others discover them, link to them, drive their popularity up seems to remain secondary to the fact that these people now have an outlet for their thoughts and ideas.

    After years of using flickr I started to realize how its social tools were affecting my photography; this is when I realized that putting things online to fan one’s popularity isn’t always the best thing.

    By the way, I’ve been using MarsEdit since it was in beta and in the early days, when WordPress’ web-based text editing UI was crap (it still is mostly). MarsEdit allowed me to work with text in a simple, intuitive way and kept me blogging when I might have dumped it for lack of good tools. Thanks to Brent and you for that.

  8. Brian Says:

    Are you marsaxman who used to be into futurebasic and on their listserv (back in the day)? If so, then I remember you from way back.

  9. Kevin Walzer Says:

    Interesting post. What’s your take on comments in a blog? Some allow them (like this blog), because it offers a chance for a conversation, but some don’t. (Cf. Gus Mueller, John Gruber.) Mine don’t, but that’s mainly because I don’t like the headaches of trying to keep out comment spam: I moved away from a pretty nice blogging setup (Pivotlog) to Blosxom, which is just a single, unmaintained Perl script.

    Otherwise, I agree with you that blogs help humanize the person behind the business, and are an excellent thing to have.

  10. Conor Says:

    Due to your well deserved fame and success you no longer blog as you used to. As a programmer I miss the old technical posts that where insightful. So much to do, so little time.

  11. Devin Says:

    I agree that blogging is a good way to gain a grass roots following. People considering it should be aware of how hard and time consuming it is to create articles that are worth the readers attention.

  12. Chad Says:

    So, what you are saying is that you are on a mission from blog?

  13. Luc Vandal Says:

    Just bought MarsEdit to -force- me to finally blog. I’ve been wanting to do so for far too long!

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