My Secret Sauce of Blogging

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My Secret Sauce of Blogging

This is where I give away all of my blogging secrets. I’ve decided to divest myself of any advantages Macdrifter has built over the past 12 years. My hope is that I will see fewer links to the Verge and maybe a few more new ideas from smart and funny people.

Secret 1

Save, literally, everything.1 There’s a ton of information on the internet and searching is a very poor way to remember things. I save bookmarks but, as an endangered species, bookmarks disappear everyday and then you just have a URL shaped hole in your heart. I prefer to save the good stuff as web archives or PDFs. It’s a huge pain and very wasteful but totally worth it when I can quickly remind myself why I hate LinkedIn.

Secret 2

Write down even your most stupid ideas. Sometimes ideas just need to percolate before I decide they are actually stupid enough to publish.

Secret 3

Don’t write about the same things that other people write about. It’s very tempting to pile on with my own special and important opinions but it’s often just boring to read and to write. Because I spend a lot of time on the internet I too enjoy the hobby of coming up with weakly held opinions about topics that have no impact on me. It’s only natural. But no one wants to read those articles for anything other than feeding their own hobby. It also brings a lot of trolls and it ain’t worth it, friend.

Secret 4

Pick an area of the internet where you mostly get along with people and enjoy their virtual companionship, then develop strong bias’ about that corner and write ad nauseam about it. This will draw more like-minded folks to your corner and increase your companionship and broaden the scope of your corner until you no longer have the energy to participate. Profit?

Secret 5

Prioritize your blogging engine over writing because then you can write about your blogging engine. This is like catnip for nerds. We love reading about how hard blogging is.

Secret 6

Keep copious stats about your blog that you will neither look at or use. I’m sure there is value in the total counts of computers interfacing with virtual computer. I just can’t prove it yet.

Secret 7

Do not enable comments unless you are also willing to invite people into your outhouse for a buddy-deuce. Comments get too crowded too fast. One star.


Secret 8

Never write articles as lists. It’s super weak, even though people absolutely love lists more than funny titles, animated GIFs, or even playfully misspelled words. Those lists bring the wrong kind of visitors. If you must use lists, I recommend making them ironic, humorous, and above all else, pointless.2

Secret 9

Buy a lot of expensive stuff for your blog that doesn’t make any money. Justify it by telling your family that you are “reviewing” it for your “readers”. People love to read about your purchases because it makes them feel better about their own poor judgement.

Secret 10

Sacrifice things you actually enjoy for a chance to be linked by Six Colors or MacStories. While you will regret missing out on joy, you will also regret the deluge of readers contacting you for scheduled arguments.3

Secret 11

Always end numbered lists with a prime number. People love that too. Just kidding, it’s monstrous

  1. I mean “literally” in the millennial vernacular, so I actually mean “figuratively” but with more gusto. So, not too far from the more historic “literally”. ↩︎

  2. Not this essay, of course. This essay is completely unique and important in the landscape of blerging. ↩︎

  3. I love the folks at MacStories and Six Colors, but gosh do they have some nutty readers in their long tail. I’m positive you are not one of them. Update: this is mostly a joke, if it wasn’t clear from the context. In all seriousness, there are equal numbers of super nice people and trolls. I’ve confirmed that I can not have one without the other. ↩︎