Blogging tips for the newcomer: a jaded old hack advises.

(These tips appeared in print yesterday.)

1. Don’t be scared by the technology. Anyone can get a basic blog up and running in less than ten minutes, with no technical knowledge. What’s more, it’s free. Try – it’s a great starting place for novices.

2. Always be aware you’re writing for an audience, even if it’s only for family and friends. Put yourself in their shoes, and imagine them reading what you have written. If you’re only writing for yourself, then keep it to yourself.

3. When writing about other people, always assume that they will one day discover what you have written. This isn’t just a faint possibility – it’s a distinct probability. You’d be surprised.

4. If you want to be rude about someone, stick to celebrities and politicians. That’s what they’re there for.

5. If you’re blogging about work, then be extra-careful. Even if you’re blogging anonymously, what you say might be seen as damaging to your employers’ reputation. If in doubt, leave it out.

6. Although a small number of blogs attract thousands of readers a day, most blogs have much, much smaller readerships. So don’t blog for the fame and the glory, and don’t start worrying about who’s bigger and better than you. Remember: nobody loves a bitter blogger.

7. Tell us something we didn’t know before. If you’ve got specialist knowledge of something, then share it – you’ll soon attract like-minded souls.

8. Failing that, tell us about yourself: funny stories, sad stories, even what you had for lunch, if you can make it entertaining. We’re nosy, and we like to know what makes people tick.

9. Start building a list of your favourite blogs. Read them regularly, leave them comments, and link to them. You never know: they might link back. (But if they don’t, then it’s bad form to pester them about it.)

10. Your blog can be anything you want it to be. So don’t be afraid to break a few rules.

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