So, you’ve started a blog. Like all of us already here in the great and vast blogesphere, you may wonder what makes a good blog and how you are going to get there when your stats now seem abysmal and your list of followers can never grow quite fast enough for your taste. As the holder of an incredibly mediocre blog without any bells or whistles…I’m here to save the day and tell you! What makes me qualified to bestow this type of knowledge, you may be asking yourself, as my follower list is only just over a brand newbie and my little parenting blog has never been granted entry into the throes of the Freshly Pressed masses?
The answer is….absolutely nothing. Nothing makes me qualified to write this which, I think, is all part of the fun in doing so. Don’t you?
Being a blogger is a extremely personal venture. It is very much like being a person bumbling around in the world. You can do with it what you so choose and be whomever you would like to be and you absolutely control your own destiny here. That being said, I am no more here to tell you how to run your blog anymore than I would ever advise you on how to run your personal life. I can only share with you my experiences and hope that it, in some way, helps you to see your blog from an outside perspective and guides you to a better blogging space. Some of it very well may be common knowledge so I implore you to take from it what you will and feel free to discard the rest as you see fit.
Blogging Rule # 1-
Be You. You, and what it is that you have to say, is a wonderful and valid thing. Being yourself here in the blogging world is much like being yourself in the real world. You can make the choice to be fake, if that is your desire, but people will sense that and they won’t appreciate the effort the way that they would if you were simply representing yourself. There is little judging here and always a like-minded individual somewhere to be found that will validate your opinions and ideals.
If you write as yourself (even under a pseudonym) you will find that whatever and whomever you are will be appreciated. This may be the one place that it is more than okay to unapologetically be who you are and you will still find people that will love that about you. We are all flawed individuals, we all have our faults, and we all are all, in some way, unique. Finding the people that are like us is what makes this journey into the unknown so wonderful. You could be a manic-depressive ballet dancer that is into Motown and, I promise, you will find a couple more souls here that will make you feel less alone. Be you. People will like you for you.
Blogging Rule # 2-
Be cohesive but don’t beat a dead horse. When you begin your blog it can be about anything under the sun. Perhaps you want it to be about trains. That’s amazing, people love trains, and it’s a wonderful topic to blog about. Though, you have to bear in mind that no matter how much people may be interested in a particular topic, it can become quite stagnant for them if you don’t show, at least, a bit of versatility. That being said, you also don’t want to have a bipolar blog that no one is capable of following so be prepared to keep one solid cohesive feature. I know bloggers that write about every topic that there is though they always do so with humorous undertones. That is their cohesive factor. As long as you have a blog that people know what they are getting MOST OF THE TIME (Everyone partakes in an off-topic rant every now and again) when they click on your posts, then you are doing A-ok in my book.
Blogging Rule # 3-
Don’t let your stats define you or guide your creative process. I know there are people that care nothing -at all- about stats or followers and I say kudos, to you. Most of us, however, like to know that all of our hard work in creating these pieces is appreciated and reaching others. If we wanted to talk to ourselves– we could do it in a dark room without the hassle of a computer and proofreading.
But don’t let the numbers on the screen define who you are as a blogger in the beginning. You are new and building a blog takes time and patience. And, unless you get Freshly Pressed right out of the gate, you are going to have build and grow a community at a slower pace and that may seem a tad aggravating in the moment. My advice is, don’t bother to look at your daily hits as this can be a frustrating and fruitless practice…instead, pay more attention to your monthly ones. As long as that bar graph is continually going up, up, up, then you are doing great and keep up the good work.
Blogging Rule # 4-
Be a good blogging friend. Building a blogging community is very much like making friends in your actual life. If you have a friend that always calls you and all you ever do is talk about yourself endlessly and then never bother to be a person that calls back and inquire about their well-being then you are, most likely, going to lose that person’s friendship. The same rules apply here. Always answer your comments, read and comment on others’ work that moves you, and take the time to be a good blogging friend. People will respond to that trait, even if you don’t have many months or posts under your belt, I can promise you that. No one wants to be friends with a narcissistic blogger that only talks about themselves, never attempts to answer you when you comment, and can’t be bothered to read or comment on your work every so often. And your most loyal followers are the people that would, in an odd way, consider you a friend.
Blogging Rule # 5
Write your heart out but attempt to be entertaining. Your blog is like your home. You design your house, you live in it day after day, and you are the one that truly needs to love it no matter what. But the fact remains…you probably also want to show it off from time to time. You want other people to enjoy being there, correct? Your blog is very much the same entity. Always write what is in your heart, what moves you, or the things that make you laugh without abandon. Write about subjects that are important to you. Though don’t forget that, in the end, you are essentially writing for other people to read. Otherwise, why not just go out and buy a diary and call it a day? You may as well be talking to yourself if you don’t, at least, attempt to write for a broader audience. People want to feel as though you are speaking to them, not at them, and this goes a long way toward making your blog something that is not only readable but enjoyable for others and that is the key factor in yielding more readers.
Usually, this can go a few ways. Readers either want to be awed by your phenomenal writing capabilities, moved by your deep and intuitive thinking, or (like the rest of us) laugh at or with you. Blog about what is in your heart but write it as though you are speaking with a friend over a cup of coffee.
Try to find a way to connect with people and people will find a way to connect with you.
Blogging Rule # 6-
Be informative but remain humble. If you insist upon writing a blog that teaches…do it with astounding amounts of grace. Do it with the utmost humility. Be accessible and open to the opinions and thoughts of others. No one likes a little-know-it-all that thinks they are right all of the time and refuses to acknowledge that there are valid opposing viewpoints and alternative methods of teaching. It is a wonderful and humanitarian thing to share your knowledge with others but you don’t have to be a jerk about it, either. It’s a lonely place atop a soapbox, isn’t it?
Blogging Rule # 7-
Have fun with your blog and let it be something that moves you. Blogging is a hobby for most of us. A lot of Work, work, work with little or no paycheck at the end of the day. Though the reason that we do it is because it feeds our souls. For me, it has become this incredibly cathartic activity. It goes beyond being fun. I truly enjoy the sense of community that I have been blessed with that I found here.
I used to be so genuinely worried that I was doing everything wrong as a parent because I didn’t feel like your typical parent in the sea of seemingly perfect mothers. As it turns out, there are hundreds of women out there just like me, that struggle just as I do, and becoming a blogger has helped me to connect with them and, in turn, be more confident in my parenting.
Blogging has saved me sleepless nights and astounding amounts of apprehension. It has helped to make me a better person and a better mother. I have a tremendous amount of gratefulness for my little corner of WordPress.com. Being allowed to unburden my soul has contributed to me actually making friends that, not only make me laugh, but are unbelievably supportive and are simply the only people in my life that understand that, as a stay-at-home mom, I can only talk to them when I can eek out the time. I legitimately love my blog.
So, love yours, too, and it will show.
Yes! Like that much…
I'm just living minute to minute, hour to hour, day to day.