6 Steps To A Popular Jewish Blog (Lazy Man’s Edition)

So, you want to start a successful blog.  A successful Jewish blog.

I get it.  Trust me, there’s nothing more rewarding than people paying attention to you.  Yep, blogs have made it easier than ever before for people like me and you to find an audience.

But the ease of starting a blog has made it harder, as well, for us bloggers to get noticed.  There are a sea of Jewish bloggers for your audience to pick from, so it takes a very well-implemented strategy to take the lead in the race for attention.

But this is the thing: for most people, this sort of thing can be hard.  It can take work.  Effort.  A bit of creativity.

But don’t worry.  You don’t need those things.  From my years of Jewish blogging, I’ve formulated a fool-proof plan for success without working too hard or thinking too deeply.

Let’s start from the top.

1. Pick a villain

There is a reason almost all popular stories divide their characters neatly into the good ones and the evil ones.  People want to believe the world is black and white.  This allows them to feel like they don’t need to improve their own lives and that all their problems come from external forces.

To succeed with your blog all you need to do is take this principle and apply it to the real world.  Convince people that someone (or even better: group of people) is the reason for all the ills of the world, for everything wrong, and you are guaranteed an audience of people dying to convince themselves this is true.

Now, don’t worry.  You don’t have to say out and out that this person (or persons) is your villain.  In fact, I highly recommend that you repeat things like, “I don’t hate anyone,” when people accuse you of villainizing your enemies.

But, of course, you know that’s not true.  They are a tool for your success.

2. Seem creative by disagreeing with everything

Now that you’ve picked your villain, the next step is fairly simple.  Take everything that they think, everything they believe, and find the holes in it.

The beauty of this is that since the world is much more gray than black and white, it’s simple to see the holes in anyone’s beliefs and opinions.  Your job is simply to find them.  And exploit them.

This is something critics have been using for ages.  Film and literature critics love this strategy.  It allows them to exist near the realm of creativity without actually being creative themselves.  You can do this too.  Just criticize and never offer your own solutions to problems you see.

People will admire your cunning wit, your ability to “cut through the BS”, and your no-nonsense attitude.  Other cynical people will flock to you, excited to have found an advocate that makes them look both intelligent and creative.  And with their constant support, you will quickly develop a fanbase that will both keep you in a bubble of agreement as well as get the word out to people that don’t know better.

3. Write about what everyone else is discussing

This is, of course, necessary for the success of any good writer, and especially for all bloggers.

See, talking about things like Women of the Wall, settlements, and other polarizing topics are perfect opportunities for popularity. These topics create the perfect opportunity to do the above two steps.  No matter what side you take, who you align yourself with, there will be a villain.  A villain that your audience will love for you to attack.

And the more you imply that there is really only one bad guy, and that these situations aren’t complicated or subtle, the more readers you will inevitably gain.

The popularity of these topics takes the success garnered from the first two steps and multiplies them.  You’ll be riding a wave of people to your destination: attention and an audience.

Remember: these topics are meant to be abused and overused.  Otherwise, people wouldn’t keep reading about them.

4. Remember: everyone else is breaking halacha

Halacha is a Jewish blogger’s best friend.  Because it is so complicated and rigorous, it’s virtually impossible not to find a way to accuse your enemies of breaking halacha.

This is great because whether you’re liberal or conservative, Reform or Haredi, the groups you oppose will almost always be too heavily focused in a certain halachic direction.  That gives you a perfect opening to attack them for breaking halacha in all the opposite areas, and, even better, distracts people from any of the good they may be doing.

Worried someone else will attack you for breaking halacha?  Don’t worry, there’s a very simple remedy to that: accuse them of lashon hara.  Or ad-hominem attacks.  Or tell them to stay focused on the issue at hand: the other people breaking halacha.

Either way, distraction is your friend.  Remember, you won’t be able to hold up to the same examination you’re putting people under, so keep the focus away from yourself as much as possible.

5. Never forgive anyone

No matter whether you follow the above rules or not, there is one principle of blogging you need to remember above all: you are all that matters.

So if someone criticizes you, even in a mild way, even if only once, they must immediately be blacklisted.  Blacklisted in your mind, blacklisted in your posts, avoided at all costs.

Your blog, as it gains in popularity, will become a powerful way to direct people to various other blogs.  The last thing you want to do is direct someone somewhere where they will find something negative about you.  Blogging is all about the illusion of perfection, and the more you hide your negative flaws, the more people will love and praise you.

At all costs, never link to these people.  Never comment on their blogs.  Never refer to them by name.  If you can also hate them with a deep passion in your heart, that would really help.  Don’t tell anyone about the hate, though.  Keep it on the down low.

6. Lead the witch hunt

There is one time, though, when it’s permissible to link to these people or talk about them.  If you’ve been around the internet a bit, you know how much people love witch hunts.  Witch hunts, much like the ancient real-life equivalents, involve picking a villain and attacking them relentlessly for a slip-up or controversial post.

That’s why this tactic is perhaps the most overutilized one in the books.  Linking to your enemy’s post or article with a horrified comment to accompany it is a genius move.  For bonus points, write a post that is either sarcastic or sanctimonious in tone in response. Both tactics simultaneously accomplish all of the above.  They create a villain, are critical without offering any solution, are about a popular topic, put all the blame on the villain, and further your plans to never forgive anyone ever.

In other words, if you lead a witch hunt you are a hero.

And, truth be told, you can lead a witch hunt even against people that aren’t your designated villains.  Plenty of bloggers do.  The payoff is simply too high to ignore.

One Last Note:

This may all sound a bit confusing.  I understand.

Just remember that there is one guiding principle that will lead you to success: To be a successful blogger, you can’t think of people as people.  They are numbers.  Metrics.  Tools to be used.  Attention is its own reward.  Popularity is the prize  at the end of the rainbow.

In other words, never allow principles, beliefs, or truth to get in your way.  You and your blog are all that matter.  They are all that exist.  All else is illusion.





66 responses to “6 Steps To A Popular Jewish Blog (Lazy Man’s Edition)”

  1. anonymous Avatar

    I am intrigued and a bit confused. Is this supposed to be serious genuine advice? Or is it entirely sarcastic, simply pointing out the low level to which some bloggers must stoop for the sake of becoming popular?

    1. Elad Nehorai Avatar

      #2. But I do genuinely believe these things can make a blogger popular.

  2. Rebecca White Avatar
    Rebecca White

    I think this is what puts me off blogging. I have tried a few times, but I can’t do that villain thing (ok, so maybe the Yetzer Hara plays the villain – but even the YH can be forgiven as it is such an effective spiritual boot camp trainer). So my attempted blogs end up all “nice” and no one is interested and no one reads.

    So I stick to pretty pictures and use them as the oil for Hashem to light up with the words of His wise teachers and sages that He gave us.

    Though I don’t know who your villain is PopChassid? Maybe you could do a blog on advice as to how to have a successful blog sans villain 😉

    1. Elad Nehorai Avatar

      To be clear, part of the point of this satire is to point out that this isn’t the way you HAVE to do it. The way to get around all this stuff is really just to work hard and dig deep into your creativity. And most of all, to be patient. No blog is popular overnight.

      So yeah, work hard, be creative, you will succeed, I really believe that. Just look at Neshamagram!!!!

  3. Malka Hellinger Forshner Avatar
    Malka Hellinger Forshner

    I’m so glad you clarified yourself in your response to Rebecca White…….otherwise I would have just said that this post was just plain ole’ “yucky.” I’ve been toying with the idea of having a blog, but I couldn’t get clarity on “why” or “how.” Now I’ve got something to “chew on.”

  4. Ruti Mizrachi Avatar
    Ruti Mizrachi

    LOVE this post. I am completely revamping my “love all Jews, attempt to love all of G-d’s creation” format. True popularity can only come from deriding and degrading other people. Bonus: I’ll probably get a really hot seat in the World to Come. Yesh!!! [Cue fist pump.]

    Note: The above was an entirely satirical response to an excellent bit of satire, brought to you by Elad, from the makers of Pop Chassid. Thank you for reminding us of how NOT to use this incredible medium. May we use the gift of words to uplift, to build, and once and for all to unite our people.

    1. Elad Nehorai Avatar

      Thank you 🙂 I’ve been debating all day whether to keep this post up, because I’m aware it’s much more acerbic than most of my posts. Still debating, but so far I’m sticking with it.

      1. Ruti Mizrachi Avatar
        Ruti Mizrachi

        I have two words for you: Jonathan Swift. Carry on, soldier. 🙂

        1. daniel.saunders Avatar

          I also thought of Swift when I saw the reactions here. I agree the post should stay up.

  5. Shmuel Avatar

    Unlike the subjects of your post, I can see that you have put a lot of thought into this one.

    One of my primary concerns when blogging is that I may be saying something that is totally off base, or beyond the pale of proper Torah thought. I’d like to think that a litmus test for that is whether a post garners responses or not; more often than not, my on the mark posts have no response at all – it’s only when I right something that doesn’t pass the collective smell test that I hear about it.

    Maybe that’s my own way of resolving cognitive dissonance concerning the dearth of feedback to my own writing, but I don’t think so.

    Negativity attracts attention; positivity radiates outward…

    1. Elad Nehorai Avatar

      I think in general, your assessment is accurate. Although, obviously it changes a bit as your posts become more popular. But the general rule I follow is this: you can tell how “liked” your post is by the ratio of shares to comments. Meaning, a well-liked post will usually have a lot of shares, and not necessarily much comments (relative to the shares). For example, my Holocaust post may seem like it has a lot of comments (about 180) but it has 42k shares. That’s a huge discrepancy.

      On the other hand, my modesty post, which was by far my most controversial post here, has about 1,000 shares but over 200 comments (and I had to turn off the comments since they were getting so poisonous, so in theory they could have been even higher). Obviously, the ratio of shares to comments there is MUCH lower than the Holocaust post.

      It makes sense psychologically. If you hate something you’re much more likely to complain about it than to share it with others. If you love something, you’re much more likely to talk about it by sharing it with your friends, not by talking about it on the page it was originally posted.

      So, point being, don’t be discouraged by a lack of commentary. Realize that people talk about things through a lot of different channels these days, not just the original site. Most of my comments don’t even come from my site, but from my Facebook page. For some reason, people feel more comfortable commenting there than the site. These things are more multifaceted than it first appears.

  6. Yoel Avatar

    “Blogging is all about the illusion of perfection, and the more you hide your negative flaws, the more people will love and praise you.”

    This is the most beautiful bit of ironic BS. Love it.

  7. Shmuel Avatar

    I would propose a corollary to the first item, although it involves a little more work than perhaps the “lazy version” would require. It makes an exponential difference if your villain belongs to a group or mindset that people love to hate; this requires being up to date and informed of the cultural fads of the day, which are quite fickle but still hold relatively constant concerning specific groups/topics.
    Anything or anybody that runs counter to the cultural trend is anathema.

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