Why start blogging?

Recently I have noticed something. Everyday I spent at least an hour reading some blogs and forums. The interesting thing about this is that I don’t feel this as a waste of time. On the contrary, it is usually educational and provides me energy and excitement for the stuff I am doing. I am mostly reading content about web development and software business. It is pretty cool to be able to find people with similar interests, people who are writing like talking, people who think about stuff. So I decided I should do it too. I have a lot of ideas. They sometimes burn me, because I cannot find someone to share most of the time. I have created successful software tools and bootstrapped my own company so I must have something to share. But, if I am doing it, I would like to do it right.

What makes a good blog?

– Have a topic

The best blogs I follow usually have a focus. The author thinks about a single topic or interest. A good blog has a targetted audience. You can’t be everything to all people.

– Thought provoking

Good blogger does not stop with the idea. He pursues it to the end. Comes up with examples, makes it fun to read. He comes up with new ideas, pokes holes on the status quo. He is not afraid to share his ideas.

– Have confidence

You hate him, you love him. Sometimes at the same time. A confident blogger makes you want to read him. It is kind of like the debates. They can be fun even when they are about boring stuff.

– Keep it Honest

A good blogger talks from experience, doesn’t fake it. Sometimes I read all those mumbo jumbo bloggers and it is so obvious that they have spent last night reading webmasterworld. They have read how this guy makes $500 a day from AdSense, so they decided to make a keyword stuffed useless spamblogs.

– Cutting Edge

Gives you good outbound links. Interesting, useful stuff. What’s going on? Where are the other good articles? Some bloggers don’t have much to talk about, but they find out when someone somewhere posted a really cool entry on their blog. I love them when they do that. Keep up the good work Slashdot and microISV.com.

– Be Unique

Another interesting observation about great bloggers is that they are all unique. They have their own style. Paul Graham takes his time and develops his ideas. His blog does not look like a blog at all. They are very high quality, book-alike articles. Joel Spolsky is Fun and Exciting. When you read him you laugh, you learn and respect him. Eric Sink is down to earth. When he speaks you know that he is not BSing. He is talking from experience and he is never afraid to admit mistakes. Steve Pavlino, I hate him, he is so full of it, but why I still keep on reading him.

I won’t be a Great Blogger

OK, I said I wanted to do it right and listed all of the qualities of a great blogger. Now, please don’t expect me to be one. ☺ Why? I like to keep it simple. I really like listening others. I am not crazy about running a show for others. The plan is to be myself. If some people think my blog is great, that’s very cool. But that’s not my main goal.

But That’s OK

The nice thing about blogging is that it is a social activity. A group activity. Like any team sport, sum is usually much greater than its parts. Many not-so-great bloggers can create a great community.

What I will do

  • Write what I believe in.
  • Share my experience.
  • Have good outbound links.
  • Keep it simple and to the point.

What I will not do

  • Show ads. Never.
  • Depress readers.
  • Be negative.

Are you already excited? Read on. My next blog entry will be about a new exciting product.

This article is originally published on Dec 10, 2005, and updated on Dec 28, 2020.
Aytekin Tank is the Founder and CEO of JotForm. A developer by trade but a storyteller by heart, he writes about his journey as an entrepreneur and shares advice for other startups. He loves to hear from JotForm users. You can reach Aytekin from AytekinTank@JotForm.com

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