Patrick Archbold is co-founder of Creative Minority Report, a Catholic website that puts a refreshing spin on the intersection of religion, culture, and politics. When not writing, Patrick is director of information technology at a large international logistics company in New York.
I have been a Catholic blogger for many years now. The one thing you do as a Catholic blogger is read a lot of Catholic blogs. Over that time, I have come to realize that there a certain offenses deadly to a Catholic blogger. Some are deadly to your blog, some are deadly to your readers, and some are deadly to your soul. I have committed some these offenses myself, but you will never get me to admit which ones.
Autoplay music!! -- Don't do it!!! I don't care if it is Mozart or Monks from the most remote monastery in the world. I don't care if you managed to get angels singing recorded on your Iphone. Don't do it. There is nothing more annoying, especially at work, when music begins to play. I am quite sure that if a site has autoplay music, I will not be returning to your site. You know those Dish commercials where people say "this is more annoying than ..." Yeah like that. Autoplay sites are like acquaintance huggers at work, you avoid them like the plague.
You are not GK Chesterton!! -- So stop pretending you are. You are not GK Chesterton, I don't care how many Ho-Ho's you eat while talking in a fake British accent, you will never be like GK. Find your own voice. As it turns out my voice is a unique blend of cranky and stupid, but it works for me. At least that is what my Mom says, well its what she would say if she actually read my writing. Stop changing the subject. Point is be yourself. God made GK GK and you you.
9 Things you need to know about how I used to be an Atheist!! -- Hypothetically, say you had some co-bloggers that suck up all the air with their fancy lists and stories about conversion. Hypothetically they should stop doing that and leave some crumbs for the rest of us. How am I to compete with posts that begin, "The other day I was opening a can of beans and it reminded me of how I used to be an atheist." Sometimes a can of beans is just a can of beans Jen...uh.. I mean hypothetical blogger. And the hypothetical red-bearded blogger who can make anything, I mean anything into a list of interesting factoids. 9 Things you need to know about Pope Francis' Shoelaces. You roll your eyes but by the fourth item you're like "I never knew that about shoelaces, my life will never be the same." So yeah, stop that please. Hypothetically.
Priests Should Not Have Blogs -- Not that some priests are not great bloggers, some are. But even the mediocre ones get more respect than I ever will. Not to make this about me, but...anyway...it is not fair, to me. The rest of us can't buy that kind of street cred. I admire many priest bloggers what with all their education and prayerful, reasonable, and nice approach to everything. But these are blogs, there is no place for that kind of behavior here. I resent the unfair advantage that these blogging aristocrats have over the rest of us blue collar bloggers. Heck, there is one priest blogger who is not only a priest, he is a convert, and he is married with children. That is like the Catholic blogger trifecta! I mean pick one already and leave some room for the rest of us. Not to make this about me or anything.
Kittens -- I don't care how bereft of writing ideas you may be, do not put up pictures of your kittehs. I don't care if they are playing piano or dancing a jig, kittehs are evil. God didn't make cats, I am pretty sure the devil did that. If you feel the temptation to post pictures of kitties, say 10,000 Our Fathers or as many as needed until your laptop battery dies, which ever comes first. Don't do it.
Don't tag people in a meme. -- Seriously, the best way to end a blogging friendship is to tag somebody in a meme. Then you have all this pressure to be either funny, profound, or spiritual. Who needs that? Tagging people in a meme is like dragging them on stage against their will on Karaoke night when their boss is there. They won't like you anymore for it. Don't do it.
Stop checking your stats.-- There is nothing more soul destroying than statcounter. The statcounter is like rope. It can help you measure things, it can help lift things up, and it can choke you. If you check your stats more than twice daily, it is choking you. Rather, spend all that time obsessing over stats on writing an extra little post a day. Trust me, that will do more to improve your stats than hitting the refresh button ever will.
I will leave you with one more little bonus piece of advice. Even if you are really hard-pressed for ideas, never just write a silly little post about Catholic blogging. That would be lame.