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.
“Is the oven off? I haven’t cooked in hours. But, what if I left it on? I know I shouldn’t let my OCD win, but what if? Oh, anxiety you SOB.”
“How many times do you think I roll over in a night? I wonder if Fitbit could ever make an option to track that rolling over. That’s got to count for calories burned, right?”
“I wonder if there’s a way to send supplies to people struggling in North Korea.”
“I wonder if people in North Korea know they’re struggling. If that’s all they’ve ever known, maybe it’s just normal to them?”
“Why are avocados so expensive?”
“I wonder if I’ll ever get a job.”
“Passport to Paris is the best Mary-Kate and Ashley movie ever.”
“I wonder if I ever cross anyone’s mind when they’re trying to fall asleep at night.”
“Can the right pair of jeans really make my butt look that much better? I don’t want my butt to look average, do I? Or, do I really care?”
“English accents are just so adorable.”
“How can I start my own business?”
“I wonder what serial killers think about when they sleep at night.”
“Now that these ancestry kits are available where people are sending off their DNA to find out where there family comes from, do you think serial killers are wondering if their family members might be sending off their DNA and that, could eventually, lead to their getting caught?”
“If you get arrested, own up to it. If all you have is excuses, this likely wasn’t your first time and probably won’t be your last doing whatever caused you to get arrested.”
“I miss cheese. Oh and bread. And chocolate.”
“You should sleep.”
“You should really sleep. Why do you lay awake like this?”
“I have to pee.”
“Reading a book will help me sleep.” Picks up book and gets bored five pages in. “Yeah, I don’t want to read a book.”
“Why do people think Canadians talk funny?”
“Why do people think Canadians apologize so much?”
“Why do I apologize so much?”
“I wonder what people say about me behind my back. I mean, I don’t want to know because I know that it’ll eat away at me. But, at the same time, I’m curious.”
“Why do I have such a hard time sleeping? How do normal people go to sleep?”
I have renewed my WordPress subscription for twelve more months, so I guess it’s time for me to get a whole lot more creative. Also, I would like to be a whole lot more thoughtful with respect to the things that I say with my blog moving forward.
The career series is still coming. It’s something I very much have my heart set on doing. I got a little tied up with the whole situation wit my cousin and her son, then there was a baby here for ten days… not sleeping. Needless to say, It was a few weeks that seemed to fly by, but also somehow, last a lifetime. If I told you I was going to email you, that email will still be coming.
*If anyone remembers my post about my cousin’s son, there is a familial match, so we are grateful for that blessing and hopeful for the prospects that brings for her son’s health.
Instagram is a tricky beast. I love sharing photos and I love looking at photos, whether they’re of people, places or things, but I am also abundantly aware of how fake the platform is.
There are some incredibly creative people in this world, people who quite literally share their talents with the world thanks to Instagram. But, for the most part, the platform seems to be a beauty worshiping pit of vanity. So I have always been hesitant to share photos for fear of feeding the beast.
A few days ago I stumbled about an YouTube video made by someone from Vancouver who spent nearly 45 minutes going through her perfectly curated Instagram feed to talk the truth behind the beautiful photos and catchy captions she’d been posting for years.
With 2.1 million Instagram followers, hearing the truth behind her photos was actually quite shocking. As much as you know people aren’t truthful with their Instagram accounts, you tend to just envision people’s lives as perfect because… well because that’s what they want you to think. But her life, well it’s far from perfect. I was quite shocked about how far from perfect it was. But I found myself respecting her so much more after knowing the actual truth behind her photos.
I’ve decided that I’m going to start sharing some photos on Instagram and, in the comments, sharing two captions. Firstly, I’ll share the caption I would write if I were trying to make my life look perfect, and secondly I’ll share the reality of what was going on at that point in my life when I took the photo.
And, if anyone else wants to include this ‘Instagram vs Reality’ captions on their photos too, let me know and I’ll follow your Instagram.
Honestly, while I think my life is far from interesting, by any means, I do live in Canada and this entire country is basically the equivalent of a ‘Wish You Were Here’ postcard. So, I do have some pretty beautiful photos. But, as with all things in life, there’s two sides to every story…. Instagram versus Reality.
I’ve thought a lot about it and one of the things that I would like to do, starting in January, is a series (or maybe a one off depending on who wants to participate or not) about careers. What is your career? How’d you land in your current role? What drew you to the industry? What is your education? What are the requirements to do what you do?
If anyone would like to take part, and be my first guinea pig for the series please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Whether you have a relatively common job, such as a teacher or a nurse, or a relatively uncommon job, such as a Biochemical Engineer or the Travel Agent for the British Royals, or anything in between, I’d love to hear about it.
FYI: The series (or one off) won’t give away any specifics, like the name of your employer, I just want to do a series on careers and what people do to achieve them.
Update: I’ve gotten a lot of responses since posting this! More than I ever thought I’d get. It might take me a couple of days to get back to you. But there are some pretty cool people with some pretty cool jobs that I look forward to sharing more about in January!
I’ve you’ve sent me an email, I will send you one back, I promise! It might just take me a day or two!
As hard as you try, not everyone is going to like you. That’s a fact of life. And that’s totally okay. Don’t break your back over someone who’s opinion of you is never going to change. Quite frankly, their opinions don’t and shouldn’t matter to you. What should matter to you is who you choose to be, day in and day out.
Be yourself. Be authentic. Be true.
Those who know and love you will appreciate you for exactly who you are. Those who don’t, well, don’t waste your time or worry on them. You’re perfect just the way you are.
And if you do change, don’t change for anyone but yourself.
A friend of mine said this to me the other day. I’m not really sure how I feel about it. After I was dropped from that job in July that would have seen me make decent money from writing, I’m beginning to wonder.
What are your thoughts? Is there money in writing? Can you sustain yourself in an industry that seems to be somewhat on its way out? Or will there always need to be some sort of a catch?
Back in March of this year I had shirts printed with my #MillennialLifeCrisis logo on them. I love them. I’m biased, I know that, but I love them to bits. To this day, they’re two of my favourite shirts. So, I created more.
Please be advised: All shirts are printed, produced and shipped from TeeSpring in the United States. Shipping fees are determined by Teespring based on where you live.
If you would like to purchase one of these shirts, note that I will make a profit of roughly ten dollars per shirt sold. If you would like to own one of these shirts and want to support me/my blog, thank you so very much! And if you do not make a purchase, that is totally okay too! Thank you for reading and for your consistent support.
The #MillennialLifeCrisis logo was the first thing I ever created when I made this blog. It has become somewhat of an… identity to both my blog, but also, this crazy stage of life, one that I know all too many people feel!
Available in t-shirt ($20), long sleeve ($25) and crew-neck ($30). Each of these prices is in American dollars. I believe that if you visit the site from elsewhere in the world, Teespring will convert the price to what it costs in your currency. Example: The t-shirt is $20 American, when I view the store front it shows it as being $26.13 Canadian.
Colours available include: black, grey light pink, light blue. Shirts are unisex sizes. Sizes available are dependent on the shirt you order.
The Millennial Life Crisis t-shirt
Buy it for yourself, or for your favourite Millennial. This design is available in t-shirt ($20) only. This price is in American dollars. I believe that if you view the website from elsewhere in the world, it will convert the price to your local currency.
Colours available include: white, grey, light pink, light blue. Shirts are unisex sizes. Sizes available are dependent on the shirt you order.
The AUTHENTIC MLC Shirt
Authenticity is a message that I often preach on my blog and something that I find great importance in. I wanted to create a shirt that made a statement. And, I truly believe this shirt does. The front of the shirt reads “Authentic” in large print with “MLC” underneath. MLC measures less than 1’x1′ in size. Its big enough to be there but small enough to not take away from the message.
Available in t-shirt ($20), long sleeve ($25) and crew-neck ($30). Each of these prices is in American dollars. If you visit the site from elsewhere in the world, Teespring will convert the price to what it costs in your currency. Example: The t-shirt is $20 American, when I view the store front it shows it as being $26.13 Canadian.
Colours available include: white, grey, light pink, light blue. Shirts are unisex sizes. Sizes available are dependent on the shirt you order.
All shirts will be available until November 10, 2019. If you would like to purchase one to rock the #MillennialLifeCrisis brand and support this blog, thank you! I am immensely thankful for your purchase.
If you do not want to purchase, that’s totally okay too. Thank you for your consistent reading and support of this blog and everything that I share. Your support has meant the world to me in 2019 and is a big part of what has gotten me through. So thank you so very much for all that you’ve given me!
And if you like what you see, please feel free to share with your friends, family and so on. I’d be interested to see the reach that this project of mine could possibly get.
Without knowing it, many of you have taken part in an experiment over the past couple of weeks. What? An experiment? How sneaky of me, I know! The experiment was a test to see just how many comments could be collected on one post, if I asked the right questions. And let me tell you, your responses did not disappoint!
One of the most common things I see asked with respect to blogging is how do you get more people to comment on your blog. People ask here on WordPress, they ask on Twitter, my former bosses used to ask me all the time. How do you get more people to comment on your blog, your content and your message? It’s actually a question asked in the corporate world quite a lot. Even companies like Nike and Starbucks can struggle with getting people to provide feedback.
So how do you encourage engagement? How do you get more comments? How do you cause people to stop by your blog and think ‘I need to comment on this post!’
Suggestion 1: Ask them!
It seems simple, right? But many corporations and individual bloggers forget. We get so wrapped up in sending the message that we want to send that we forget to quite simply ask people what they think, how they feel, what their opinions are.
The two posts on my blog that garnered the most comments over the past few weeks were posts in which I purposefully went out of my way to ask you for your opinions.
And your perspectives, I got! If you read the comments section of these two posts: Absolutely (un)important questions and I would like to hear your opinion you will see oodles of different opinions. Each post has more than 100 comments on it. People went out of their way to not just share line or two, but to send me meaningful, thoughtful opinions of their perspectives.
If you want people to leave comments on your blog, ASK THEM QUESTIONS. Talk with them… instead of at them. Let them know that you want to hear their opinions. Let them know that their opinions, no matter if they align or disagree with your own, are welcome on your blog and then encourage them to share. People like to share their own opinions and will feel a lot safer to do so if you let them know their opinions are welcome on your blog.
Suggestion 2: Thank people who do share.
All too often I stop by someone’s blog to leave a comment and they don’t bother to respond to my comment.
This is totally fine. You don’t have to respond to your comments. But I truly believe that if you don’t respond to the comments people leave on your blog, they aren’t likely to leave another. It’s true for me, and as you’re reading this, it’s probably true for you. If you take the time to leave someone a heartfelt comment and they don’t bother to write back, why would you do that ever again?
This is why it’s really important that, if you do get comments on your blog, you respond. Responding to your comments lets people know that, whether they agree with your not, their thoughts are welcome on your blog. Responding to your comments encourages people to come back to your blog. Responding to your comments shows the people reading your blog that you’re thankful for their reading your blog. When your readers find you, let them know you’re thankful for every comment they leave.
Also – please remember, not everyone communicates in the same way. Some people have a way with words where they can leave you a really eloquent comment whereas others might just say ‘Thank you for writing this’. Please don’t devalue ‘thank you for writing this’. A reader is still valuable to your blog, no matter how long of a comment they leave.
Suggestion 3: Encourage feedback.
While not every post on your blog is going to be you specifically going out of your way to ask people for their answers to important questions, you can ask for feedback on your own content.
When you make a blog post, encourage people to respond. If you’re sharing your opinion, ask people for theirs. If you’re sharing a short story, ask people what they think of your short story. If you’re sharing your art, ask people to rate it on a scale from 1-10. However you see fit, whatever you see most aligning with your post, encourage readers to give you feedback.
Please note – When you’re encouraging feedback, don’t end your posts with a question that can be answered with a single word. End your post with a question that asks people for their opinions.
Example: You write a post about a truly orgasmic pizza eating experience. On the end of the post you leave a question.
Bad Questions: Do you like pizza? Do you like cheese? Do you like pineapple on pizza?
Good Questions: Can you tell me about a time in your life when you just couldn’t believe the pizza you were eating? What made that pizza so incredible? What about that memory sticks out so well in your mind?
The reason why the bad questions are bad questions is because someone can say “Yes. No. Yes”. It’s so simple that it doesn’t really encourage any informative feedback, it only asks yes or no questions. Yes or no questions that can be answered so quickly people might just skip over answering them at all. On the other hand, with the good questions listed, if people read that, they’re going to want to share their stories with you. They’re going to take the time to think about the best pizza they’ve ever had and they’re going to type up the whole story in your comments button.
Suggestion 4: Leave a comment on another blog.
Simply put, people are more likely to view and leave comments on the blogs of people who’ve left comments on their blog.
Now it’s important to note that with this suggestion, I DO NOT mean to spam people. Don’t just go to someone’s blog and write “Hey Check out my blog!” in their comments. I mean that you should go to someone’s blog, leave them a thoughtful comment and then mention “Hey, I also just recently touched on this subject on my blog. Would you consider reading it?”
It’s worth noting that this happens ALL THE TIME in the corporate world. The Oreo brand is notorious for leaving comments on other brands from KitKat to Boeing to American Eagle. They do this because they know that in doing so, they’re supporting other companies, but also supporting themselves. When people see a comment from Oreo on an American Eagle release, Oreo knows that’s going to put their brand at top of mind for a lot of American Eagle customers. It’s a small piece to marketing, but if you do it properly, an effective one.
Encouraging engagement can be difficult when you’re just starting out. But, it’s worth noting that things are always difficult when you’re just starting out. The important thing is that you try. That you put your efforts towards not just building a blog but building a community. Because people want to know they’re a part of a community and they’re being talked with, not at.
Take it slow and steady, one step at a time. Even Everest is conquerable so long as you go at your own pace.