I’ve been blogging for a long time, and as such I’ve pretty much seen and done it all. Back in 2002 when I started blogging—at the age of 12—I made every mistake in the book. (OK, there is no book…but if there was…I’d have been the subject of that mother fucker.) Unsurprisingly, I see new bloggers making the same mistakes I did and wondering where their viewers are, and why they aren’t getting comments.

If an official blogging handbook existed, rule number one would probably be “Be Interesting.” The truth is, it takes years to build up a readership, and maintaining it can be difficult, but it is possible as long as you’re interesting. Unless you’ve already made it as a blogger, nobody wants to see or read about your lunch or your kids or various other mundane topics in your life. Your lunch doesn’t make anyone want to come back and see more of your work. The only thing you, your blog and your lunch have in common is that your lunch is turning into actual shit inside of you and on your blog as you write about and publish it. It isn’t interesting. Coincidentally, a post with more photos of your children than paragraphs isn’t going to incite awe and wonder in potential readers either. Not even mommy bloggers publish as many photos of their children as I’ve been seeing lately on a lot of “Lifestyle Blogs”—cut that shit out.

If you’re guilty of these things you might be thinking that it’s OK, because you blog for you and not for anybody else. Unfortunately, if that was true you really wouldn’t be reading this.

Blog memes and weekday themes are another thing I see a lot of that aren’t going to generate more readers for your blog. They’re cheap content. I am also guilty of participating in “Wordless Wednesdays” and cheap survey type posts among other things and they did nothing to benefit my blog. Sure, every now and then a post that is only a photo might be beneficial to break up the wall of text that some blogs become—but is it doing anything more than creating cheap filler? No. Don’t rely on it. Also, that 50 question survey? I might comment on it but you can be damn sure I didn’t read it and I’m only doing it to leave my link behind.

Consistency is key. I find that the times when my blog is most active I have the most visits. Right now, I’m coasting on traffic regarding pine needle cleanup but I know that after January all of the pine needles will be gone and it won’t matter how high I am on the search results about pine needles stuck in carpets. If you blog often, you will get better at it and your visitors will keep coming back because they will expect new content on every visit.

Lastly, proof read. If you want me to take you seriously but your blog reads like a 5th grader’s creative writing homework you’re insane. My eyes roll a little further back into my head each time I see an uncapitalized “I” or the misuse of there, their and they’re. You’re a blogger, and bloggers are short format writers. Act like one.