What makes a great blog?

In my personal opinion, individuality is what makes a great blog.

A blog that showcases individuality is one that I will come back to read again and again and again.

So many blogs just seem to be different variations of the same thing. And, while that’s all fine and dandy, it’s just not interesting to me. What is interesting to me is finding something new and different to view every day. What is interesting to me is finding someone who makes me think differently about the world, someone who opens my eyes to something I’ve never realized.

If you want to run a great blog, you need to ask yourself what stands you apart from the other 75 million blogs on WordPress. If you want to run a great blog, you need to ask yourself what you can do differently.

“I’ve been blogging for a year and I have 40 followers.” 40 followers is awesome. How about celebrating the fact that you’ve managed to connect with 40 strangers and ask how you can build upon that, not speak of that like it’s a bad thing.

“Why don’t I have more followers? Do people just not like me?” I think you’re asking the wrong questions. People don’t really know you. Remember, the goal of any blogger should be to make a reader care about their content. Have you been writing content in hopes it’ll make you famous, or have you been making content in hopes it’ll make people care?

In blogging, you shouldn’t be measuring your success by your follower count, you should be measuring your success by the fulfillment you get from making a post, by the fact that people are coming to your blog, reading a post and coming back. Views are great, yeah! If someone comes and reads your post and your view count goes up for a day, that’s awesome. But, if they never come back then you’ve not given them a reason to come back.

I follow blogs that have follower counts from 8 to 140,000. And let me tell you, the person with 8 followers has just incredible of a blog as the one with 140,000 followers. The person with 8 followers has successfully made me want to come back, time after time.

If you’re wondering how to make your blog stand out, wonder what makes your blog individual.

So, what makes you an individual?

Things I want for this world

I realize these are what most would refer to as ‘pipe dreams’ and that when I speak of these, most people tell me ‘Stop wishing for it because it ain’t gonna happen’… or something of the sort. I can’t help it though. I have high hopes for this world, and I refuse to let those hopes go.

I want to live in a world where education is a right for everyone and not a privilege for the lucky few. Whether you live in Boston, Riyadh, Bloemfontein or Sydney I think knowledge should be afforded to you. An educated world is an empowered world, and I want to live in a world where everyone is empowered.

I want to live in a world where no one has to go hungry for lack of food, or lack of access (geographic or monetarily) to food. In my dream scenario, no food would go wasted… what we buy from the grocery store, we’d eat. And we wouldn’t judge others for what they do or do not eat. Also, when sports teams have leftover food from games, whether it popcorn or hot dogs or burgers or WHATEVER it is that’s edible, they’d donate it to the homeless shelters in their cities rather than throwing it in the trash. Because there is ALWAYS food left over after the hockey, basketball, football and soccer games, and people just… throw it away, while tens of thousands of people go hungry.

I want to live in a world where health care is free for all. Or, if not free, at the very least, affordable and attainable – whether you live in Canada, the USA, Denmark or Sub-Saharan Africa. There should be no reason that a mother from Michigan needs to come to Canada to get insulin for her child. Insulin is ten times the price in the USA as it is in Canada. I mean… excuse my language but what the fuck for? To take advantage of someone suffering from a disease that’ll effect them the rest of their life? No one should have to decide between medication and paying rent. No one should have to question whether or not they can afford a surgery that’ll save their life, or what the consequences of said surgery will be (paying off bills for the rest of their lives).

I want to live in a world where no one claims the moral high-ground, regardless of their job, their wealth, their religion or any of the other stupid reasons people use as a means to believe they’re better than everyone else. In my ideal world, we’d all understand that we’re all just human. We do good. We make mistakes. We forget. We fumble. No one is perfect and no one is better than anyone else whether you’re the Prince of Whales or the man under the bridge.

I want to live in a world where people can disagree with one another and still show each other respect.

I want to live in a world where equality is a reality. Where you get the job based on your intelligence, experience and skills, not on what you look like. Where women aren’t told what they have to wear and how to act and where men aren’t treated as superior solely for being born a man.

I want to live in a world where… if you can dream it you can do it. I hate thinking about all of the unmet potential in graveyards across the globe because of lack of confidence, lack of money, lack of resources, lack of anything that kept them from being who they could have become. If you want to be President, do it. If you don’t want to be President, then don’t.

I want to live in a world where no one is judged, shamed for or embarrassed about mental illness. The stigma is so real. And, as far as we might have come, there’s still so much more to do. See, point one about education.

I want to live in a world where they remove all pineapple from pizza.

And, I’d really like to live in a world where people choose kindness over anything else. Keyboard warriors, assholes and outright nasty people could just have a change of heart, realize that their nastiness doesn’t get them anywhere and do some good. The world needs a lot more good in it.

Least popular posts of 2019

I’m not going to lie, these were hard for me to go through because a lot of them come from the beginning of this year, when I first started this blog and was in a horrible place mentally and emotionally.

Thinking back to where I was at the beginning of this year, thinking how sad I was, how ready to give up I was, how I thought the world had crumbled around me… I really don’t think I smiled the first two months of this year at all.

I’m still not in the best place in life, but I at least can see these and see how far I’ve come in the past year.

FEBRUARY AIR.
A moment in February when I was feeling hopeful about what was ahead.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT
The importance of being selective with the people you let into your life.

DAY 28: THAT INEXPLICABLE LUMP IN YOUR THROAT RIGHT BEFORE YOU’RE ABOUT TO CRY
I was sad, lost and talking about why I was sad and lost. (Ironically, 11 months later and I still, to an extent, feel the same)

HONESTLY, REMEMBER
A reminder that we are all simply human and we all have our struggles.

TIPS & TRICKS FOR SMOOTH TRANSITIONS THROUGH THE AIRPORT
Much like the title says, this post is tips and tricks to make the airport as painless as possible.

DAY 29: A RANT
Ranting about some serious topics.

Most popular posts of 2019

It’s crazy to me to go through analytic and see what became the most popular of my posts made this year. Some hurt, some heartbreak, some happiness, some thoughtfulness. The biggest thing I’m taking from this year is growth. I may not be where I want to be yet, but damn, I’ve come a long way. I’m choosing to believe the progress is for something.

MILLENNIAL MENTAL HEALTH
I think this turned into a bit of a reminder that we’re all going through something and that we shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover, but rather, seek to understand. Mental health is hard to talk about, but that doesn’t mean we should void it.

“THERE’S NO MONEY IN WRITING”
This was more of a collaborative discussion than a post of mine. I just wanted to hear from other writers what they thought of the writing process and what it brings to their lives.

LIFE WITH SOCIAL ANXIETY
What it’s like to live with self consciousness on steroids. What it’s like to overthink, the worry and to not be able to turn it off.

SO… THIS SUCKS.
This was my response to learning that people were ripping off my posts to post on their own blog.

TIPS FOR COPING WITH ANXIETY FROM A PSYCHIATRIST
I went to therapy in 2019, which was exceptionally helpful to me in some very dark times. From time to time, I shared some tips my therapist shared with me.

ON MAKING YOUR BLOG STAND OUT
Much like the title suggests, this was just a few mentions of how to make your blog stand out from the crowd, how to grab attention, how to make your layout, content and photos all align…

LETTERS TO ANYONE
Things I write, things I think, things I worry about late at night/early in the morning that I have a hard time putting into words.

BLOGGING 103: BLOG MONETIZATION
A warning, from a personal perspective about thinking before you jump into buying the WordPress account that allows you to put ads you on your blog. Ad revenue, without a steady stream of traffic, might not be all you think it is.

Doin' it for the gram…

Instagram account: _jpanteado_

This Instagram famous location is the beautiful Pedro Do Telegrafo in Guaratiba (a neighbourhood/locale of Rio De Janeiro) Brazil.

It’s stunningly beautiful. I mean, look at it. People from all over the world flock to this location to take dare-devil’esque photos ‘for the gram’ and claim the clout. And they come in droves.

If you search this location on Instagram, you’ll see thousands of photos posted within the past week alone. I took a few screenshots of photos that were posted to Instagram within the past couple of days just to show how many people love to come here.

I know what you’re thinking (perhaps it was just me) – these people are either stupid, adventurous… or maybe both. Either way, I wouldn’t be casually hanging off a cliff for an Instagram photo.

Oh, but these people aren’t hanging off a cliff for an Instagram photo.

In all of the photos I’ve ever seen of this place, I’ve only ever seen one Instagram account post the truth to what this location actually is. Enter, photos from the Instagram account: explorerssaurus_. This couple travel the world taking photographs at Instagram famous locations and, they’re the ONLY people I’ve seen who posted the actual view of what this location is… reminding the world that Instagram isn’t always reality, and also showcasing the power of a good angle and good cropping on a photograph. Here are there photos:

First, Raquel and Miguel’s photo for ‘the gram’:

Instagram user: explorerssaurus_

Talk about a stunning photograph. The view, the scenery, the sheer adventurous spirit of putting your life in your partner’s hand and hanging off the edge of a cliff, and being willing to do so in your best bikini. The photo is stunning and absolutely ‘Insta-worthy’.

Here are Raquel and Miguel’s behind the scenes photos:

You can clearly see that Rauqel is just inches from the ground when she’s hanging, and can actually touch the ground. You can even see the photographers head in the bottom corner.

The power of a good angle, am I right? And the power of a good crop job.

Everyone who’s ever been ‘hanging off this cliff’ have been just inches from the ground beneath them, making sure to crop the photo just right so they can be the daredevil for the gram. Not so adventurous after all, if you ask me.

I guess this is just a little bit of reminder that you shouldn’t always believe everything you see on Instagram. Sometimes it’s a cliff, sometimes it’s just a rock on a hill, along a popular hiking trail.


Note: All Instagram usernames for the photos I used in this post were included in the captions of the photos. None of the photos are my own, which is why their Instagram usernames were included. Please feel free to follow them if you would like. I just borrowed their photos from Instagram to prove a point, but in doing so, still wanted to ensure they got credit.

Some people.

Some people just walk into your life and you know, immediately, they’re meant to be there. They fit. They make things better. They make you better. They make the sun shine brighter and the bad days seem shorter. Some people turn your whole world around. No matter how perfect or imperfect it might be, they never let you go. And that, that means everything.

The difference is amazing.

I love junk food. I really do. Chips? Good. Skittles? Good. Pop? Really good. But, the difference I feel in my well-being when I actually choose to eat healthy in a day is astonishing.

I think I’m going to make one of my new year’s resolutions to eat healthier. I’m the type of person that runs to junk food when I get sad, or even mad. It’s a definite crutch, and while it’s tasty, it’s not good for me.

Food plays a really big role in how your body functions. I’ve always known this but it’s affecting me so much more these days than it did when I was a teenager.

Eating healthier in the new year, that’s what I’m going to do. I won’t say I’m cutting junk food completely. I’m a firm believer that small doses of anything is great for the soul. But, I’m going to try to cut the junk food. I think that cutting it by 50% would be a really good goal for me. I think that’s what I’m going to try and do.

But after Christmas. Because someone went out of their way to make me gluten free, dairy free Nanaimo bar and I want it.

Do you have any New Year’s Resolutions?