I get a lot of questions about my blog. People ask when I started my blog, how it grew so quickly, how to encourage feedback, what type of content to share, etc… And, while I’m extremely humbled and flattered each time someone does ask me, I often wonder if they’re perhaps asking the wrong person. I don’t see my blog as anything all that exceptional, I just consider it a branch of my personality – the good, the bad, the happy, the sad, the real.
I started my bog in January of 2019. The truth is, I don’t know how it grew so quickly. Dumb luck, perhaps? Being in the right place at the right time? I’m not really sure how to answer that question because, quite frankly, I think it’s a better thing to ask someone following my blog than it is to ask me. I don’t mean that in an offensive way, I just mean that… I can only speculate as to why people follow me. You would have to ask them to find out for certain.
This blog has only been active for eight months, so I am by no means an expert. That being said, I do understand the whimsy and excitement that comes with someone reading your posts, liking what you’ve written and sharing a piece of themselves that lets you know your words have resonated with them. So, here are some suggestions that I’ve learned, through trial and error, and a decade of working in digital marketing, that might help you along with your blogging journey.
CHOOSE YOUR BLOG NAME WISELY. Give your blog a name that people are going to remember. Your blog name is your personal brand, so make sure that it’s something simple that will stay top-of-mind for readers to easily come back to. If your blog name is “Steve12432342352” people could have a hard time finding you. So pick something that is reflective of yourself, but also, easy to find.
FIND YOUR NICHE. It sounds cliche, but a niche integral to finding any success with blogging. Don’t just say that you’re going to write about life, dig deeper. What aspects of life do you want to share? What feelings and emotions, what experiences do you want to display? An established niche will help you to create more well-rounded content for your blog and help readers determine why they should or should not be coming back to your blog. Some people say that you’re supposed to establish your target audience and I vehemently disagree with that tactic. I believe that first and foremost, you should be writing for yourself and not for an audience that does not yet exist. Furthermore, establishing an audience closes the door to anyone who isn’t in your target demographic, and you don’t want to be closing the door to potential readers.
USE YOUR ‘ABOUT ME’ PAGE TO ANSWER WHY YOU STARTED YOUR BLOG. If someone accidentally stumbles upon your blog one day and they like what they’re reading, the chances are they’re going to want to see who you are and find out more of what your blog is about. A carefully written ‘About Me’ section will allow readers and potential readers to learn about who you are and why they should follow your blog. So please don’t neglect the ‘About Me’ section.
ESTABLISH GOALS. Real, reasonable, honest goals. Sure, it would be great to make a living writing a blog, but that is a by-product, and should not be your goal. The truth of the matter is, most blogs do not make money, and if they do, it’s not enough for someone to live off of. If you’re just blogging in hopes to make money, that will show in the content you produce and will likely lead to a lack of credibility and integrity. Establishing real, reasonable and honest goals for your blog will help to keep you motivated with what you’re doing. Do you want to share your DIY Crafts? Are you hoping to find a like-minded community to talk to? These are the things you should be seeking, and as your blog grows your content can continue to grow with it.
CREATE CONTENT THAT YOU LOVE. I have crossed paths with a few people over the past eight months in which you can definitely tell they’re writing for attention and nothing more. If attention is what you crave, you may find it in the things that you say, but that connection with people will be fleeting before they move onto the next. Use your blog to share things you’re passionate about and that passion and love will be conveyed through all that you do. If readers crave authenticity (and they certainly do) they’re going to adore you for sharing your content with love.
DEVELOP YOUR PERSONAL STYLE. Are you a minimalist? Do you like things to be flashy? What is it about your personality that can shine through in the layout of your blog and in the content that you post to your blog? Think of your blog like a brand. The best brands have a consistent tone to them. If you’re minimalist and quiet one day, flashy and raunchy the next, people will have a hard time following what you’re putting out. But, if you establish your personal style through the posts that you make, people will know what to expect when they visit your blog and will look forward to that.
FOCUS ON WHAT YOU’RE GOOD AT. Sure, it’s nice to think outside of the box every now and again, but do remember that your strengths are your best asset in blogging. If you suck at poetry but are amazing at short stories, perhaps you could make one out of every five posts a poem. That way, your short stories have their time to shine whilst you’re still practicing your poetry. This same example can be applied to virtually anything you desire to blog about.
IF YOU DON’T WANT TO BE IN FRONT OF THE CAMERA THEN DON’T BE. There are plenty of people in this world who would love to have their face plastered all over a blog because it helps to showcase their brand and their personality. Then, there are people like me who are awkward and uncomfortable in front of a camera. That awkwardness would be easily conveyed through any photos of me in existence and would likely turn people away. So I guess all I’m saying with this is, do what’s right for you. Don’t feel pressured to post photos of yourself because you think that’s what is going to make you popular.
ENGAGE. ENGAGE. ENGAGE. In this day and age people can spend their time doing a million things under the sun. So, the fact that they’re spending time reading your blog does and should mean a lot to you. If they leave you a comment, respond to the comment. If they send you an email, let them know that you got it. If they ask you to check out their page, check out their page. Let them know that you’re listening and that you’re grateful they took time out of their day to view your blog.
TAKE A LOOK AT WHAT OTHERS ARE DOING. This one, I got from a woman named Catherine on who runs a youtube channel called ‘Do It On A Dime’. Her biggest piece of advice for blogging and vlogging and sharing with the web is that you should take a look at what others are doing, find what you love and ask yourself how you can put a positive twist on that to make it your own. Someone who follows this blog of mine once pointed to me that the things I say aren’t anything that special or different from what anyone else experiences/shares, but that it’s the way in which I say them that draws her in. To me, that was a huge compliment, because that means there’s authenticity in what I’m conveying on my blog. I think that’s what everyone should be aiming for. Taking something that you feel, that others have felt, and putting your own spin on it.
ALWAYS KEEP LEARNING. There are so many tricks to the trade when it comes to digital marketing. Learning things like analytics, audience demographics, trending topics, these things will all help as you look to improve your blog. But just remember that you need to walk and not run. It’s not a marathon. The likelihood of 50,000 people viewing your blog overnight is slim-to-none. What you can do, however is focus on the small improvements to be made. How can you use analytics in your favour? What do demographics mean to you? How can you learn more to help consistently make your blog better in small ways with each passing day?
BE KIND. There’s enough assholes on the internet already. If you have an opinion, you can share it. Just remember that you don’t have to be an asshole in doing so. Because after all, if people think you’re an asshole, what reason do they have to come back to your page?
MOST IMPORTANTLY, HAVE FUN WITH IT. If you treat blogging like it’s enjoyable, it will be. If you treat blogging like it’s a nuisance, it will be.
P.S. – If you haven’t already read it, I did a post in May titled ‘On Building your dream blog’. To read that, Click here >
P.P.S – If you haven’t already read it, I did a post in July titled ‘Beginners guide to wordpress analytics (and using them to grow your audience)’. To read that, Click here >