Why Are You Blogging Anyway?
Many people answer that question by exclaiming, “To make money!” Truth be told, not a lot of people make much money by blogging. Some do bring in big bucks. But it takes patience and practice, hard work and commitment. Eventually you can bring in some money via advertising or other income generating ideas. First, figure out a better reason to blog.
Many blogs have started out as extravagant business cards, especially for free lancers. You post your résumé, a portfolio of your best work, perhaps a price list of services you offer, and contact points. You may want to establish yourself as an expert in a field or topic, such as SEO copywriting or web design.
Maybe You’re Altruistic, Out for a Good Time, or Just Helpful
Other good reasons to blog include helping people, expressing your thoughts or opinions, endeavouring to change lives, or to push for social or political change. You may want to connect with folks such as yourself, or to stay active and knowledgeable in a field through interchange with others.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to have fun and being creative. You may love writing sci-fi and want to share it for feedback before approaching a real publisher. A friends and family blog is great for familial or social circles to stay in the loop and swap stories, photos, etc.
“Passion” Is a Blogging “Keyword”
The thing is, most successful blogs start out with a blogger’s passion. Even if you’re a free lance, you must be passionate about what you do. Many award-winning blogs started out because of a passion for a particular concept, field of knowledge, a genre of literature, or even a product.
The passion provides the fuel to keep the blogger and the audience interested over a long period of time; provides the fuel to keep the blogger going week after week to cultivate a rapt audience.
Blogging Is an Art
But passion alone does not a blog make. That is perhaps the first deceptive notion a blogger can have. Blogging is actually an art. As with any art, there are ways and rules to attend to.
How to mix colors for painting, how to construct beguiling prose for writing, or myriad other techniques are required in any art. A blogger can unknowingly deceive himself or herself, or his or her audience. And the 10 following deceptive notions can kill even a passionate blog.
Blogger! Don’t Lie to Yourself!
- People actually read blogs.
Wrong – at least initially. Why do you think they call web engines “browsers”? People scan or “graze” until something catches their eye; then its up to you to grab them and hold them.
- Formatting is not that big an issue.
Bullet points and numbered lists are great ways to grab an audience. Globs of grey, dense copy and thick paragraphs just don’t cut it. Headings and subheads help scanners become readers.
- Selling something in a blog post is a good thing.
This is something like being invited to a friends house for a snack and conversation. Once you arrive you see that the “friend” really wants to sell you cosmetics, kitchenware, or soap. You may be selling your services, but it is important to instil trust, build authority, raise credibility, and then try exploiting opportunities for sales or promotion.
- Audiences want to know what you think.
Until you establish authority and credibility and that becomes evident by your website and the response from others, people want to know the facts. Once that credibility is established, your audience will then appreciate knowing what you think about certain issues, ideas, or concepts.
- Tracking your statistics isn’t that important.
Any success requires feedback – mechanical, electronic, or human – for improvement. Using the Google Analytics, for instance, will give you clues as to how you may have acquired more followers. Or how you could have better incorporated SEO, or generated more sales. Where is your traffic coming from? What keywords are really working? You need to know these things to keep your blog in the mainstream.
And Don’t Lie to Others!
- Come-ons are okay to pull the audience in.
A title or a subhead sets expectations in your audience. Vague or misleading titles break trust and credibility. Disappointment sets in quickly after a surfer says “Aha!” upon seeing a title, only to find that there is no “Aha!” there.
- Doing heavy SEO or keyword stuffing is necessary.
As browser algorithms become more sophisticated, the focus is more and more on quality, not quantity. You should always be writing for human beings, not search engines. Keyword stuffing and heavy SEO makes prose stilted and basically unreadable.
- Deep prose and quality content are synonymous.
Even PhDs don’t like to read too much technical jargon nor do they want to have to go the dictionary every other sentence. Keep your prose as simple and direct as possible; keep technical terms and references to a minimum. You absolutely must proofread and proofread again. If you can’t, find someone who can do a decent job. Typos, poor grammar, and lousy punctuation are amateurish turn-offs. Blogging IS writing, after all.
- Replying to comments is a matter of discretion.
Be thankful that people are visiting your blog. Be almost in love should someone care to leave comments. Answer EVERY comment, either on site or in an email. You must have a venue for reader feedback. It helps set your blog’s success.
- Posting is a matter of discretion.
Not posting regularly, especially when you have said you will, is one of the best ways possible to discourage and ultimately lose your audience. Post regularly and on time.
No Blogger Is an Island
Of course, artists go to art galleries and writers read books. So it goes with just about any human endeavour. It’s just human nature. If you’re going to be a passionate blogger, a blogger who avoids deceptive notions, a blogger who is successful, you must be an active surfer as well.
Bloggers must be surfers who travel from island to island in the vast archipelago of the web to learn new techniques, grasp new ideas, and thereby become even more valuable to their audiences. Just tending your own little island blog is not good enough – that’s just one more deceptive notion.
Check out our previous articles!
- How to Drive Traffic to your Site Without Being Spammy
- What To Do When You Have Nothing To Blog About
- 4 Tips for Successful Web Content Writing
- Promote Your Blog Offline: 5 Ways to Use the Real World for Virtual Gain
- Four Ways to Stand Out as a Trustworthy Blogger
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