The internet has this sneaky habit of being one of those places that can make us feel completely incompetent. Doesn’t matter if you’re an SEO specialist, social media consultant, professional blogger or bad ass coder, there is always new shit to learn and it makes my head hurt.
It also makes me feel really stupid.
But I shouldn’t feel stupid… What I’m doing works for me. Sure, maybe I’ve never properly SEO’d my site, refuse to keep a calendar, wake up late, stay in my pajamas all day (apparently a “freelancer no-no”), don’t regularly comment on popular blogs or use Google Reader, but it doesn’t seem to have any sort of effect on my business or site. Maybe.
Yet I always feel like I’m missing something. Like when people talk about their stats or subscriber lists, I generally have no idea what they’re talking about. Is that a bad thing or a sign that I’m a rebel without a cause, refusing to play by the rules? Ha. Regardless…
Rules I Don’t Follow
I will not stress about guest posting for major sites. If it doesn’t fit my personality or I have to pull some idea out of my ass then I won’t do it. Guest posting is all the rage now and it’s making me crazy. I feel like I have to be everywhere, pissing myself over writing for The Holy Grail that is ProBlogger or Zen Habits. Except I find myself brainstorming ideas I would never write about on my own site. Topics I know nothing about.
On that note, I have no desire to become buddy-buddy with “popular bloggers.” I’m sure they’re all lovely people, but there are very few out there who respond to emails, comments, etc. I realize they’re significantly busier than I am, so my question is: Why should I waste my time? To be part of the “in crowd”? What, is this high school? Hells to the no. My favorite relationships are with my readers and the blogs I actually read on a regularly – regardless of their popularity or traffic.
I will not advertise my reader or subscriber numbers. I won’t pimp out the size of my mailing list. Why? First of all, it’s not that impressive and secondly, I think that’s kind of lame. We’ve all seen those sites advertising 20,000 SUBSCRIBERS! Then we compare them to the site with 120,00 SUBSCRIBERS! Then we come across a crazy awesome blog with 37 subscribers and we write them off. I don’t know, I just don’t dig it.
I will not think about SEO. Sure, I could use some Google referrals – only 12% of my blog traffic comes from search engine traffic – but it’s one more thing to think about and I don’t really understand it or have the time to learn and to be honest, it’s pretty obvious when a blog is hardcore SEO’d. Yes, I realize doing it well means it’s not obvious and there will be tons more traffic because of said SEO, but I have other things to worry about. I don’t think Hyperbole and a Half stresses about her search engine optimization and she’s “internet famous.” Granted, I’m not Hyperbole, but I think if a blog is good enough, word of mouth will spread it, not carefully placed keywords. I’d rather keep my voice – does that make sense?
I will always include outbound links. Screw bounce rate. If it’s valuable I’ll send you their way.
I will not use Google Calendar to organize my life. Does anyone else have the problem where they think they’ll get all organized and start meticulously adding events with descriptions and times and addresses but then after two days they just stop doing it? Cuz that’s me all the time. I just can’t keep it up. However, I did find an AWESOME Firefox plugin (ReminderFox) that’s so easy to update it’s the only way I remember anything.
Here’s the thing: I do realize the value of these “rules.” I’d love to get more Google traffic and think my freelance life would be so much easier if I could organize my time. But I also think it’s important to know yourself and not spend time stressing about all those things you don’t do or understand.
So are there any rules you refuse to follow? It can be blog related or otherwise but I’m curious to see if I’m the only one…
UPDATE: So many great comments here! If you’re so inclined, share your favorite way to break the blog rules on Twitter. We’re using the #blogrebel hashtag. Join in the conversation!!