Blogging can be a fun creative outlet or a profitable occupation. A blog can show the world your thoughts and talents while connecting you with other people who share your passions, your concerns, and your point of view. Your options are limited only by the scope of your imagination — your blog can be your thoughts, your photographs, your videos, or your pontifications.
A blog, no matter how well intentioned, isn’t much of a blog without readers. Readers are drawn to bloggers who have a voice and a consistent personal style that gives them a sense of connection to the person behind the keyboard. Finding yours is the first step to separating yourself from the enormous pack of online authors.
Blog — as a Verb
If you want to get better at doing pushups, the trick is to do more pushups. The best way to get good at blogging is to blog — a lot. Blog whenever you can, and don’t worry at first about the content. Just do it. Posting frequently not only gives your readers a steady stream of fresh material and a reason to keep coming back, but it gives you the practice and experience it takes to get good.
Write Your Passions
You don’t need to find a blogging niche. It’s already inside of you. No matter how obscure, your passions and interests are shared by a multitude of people who are on the internet every day looking for awesome new content.
If you’re really into Topps baseball cards from 1987, the year they had the wood trim, blog about that. If your thing is hand-blown glass, then that’s your niche. Don’t seek out a hot topic and try to find an angle. If blogs about credit card debt are trending, but you’re not interested or knowledgeable about credit cards, it will come off in your writing and no one will read it anyway. Be true to yourself — your readers will appreciate it and reward you by returning.
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Listen to Critics
If people comment on your blog, take it to heart. Your blog is your baby, and no one knows how to raise it better than you, but a second opinion never hurts as long as the criticism is constructive. The anonymity that people feel online gives them carte blanche to be honest in a way that they wouldn’t be if you were in the room with them.
That’s a good thing! If people point out your blog’s shortcomings, they’re doing you a favor. Take honest inventory of the early criticism that you’re certain to receive and use it to improve.
Read Other Blogs
It’s easy to get into a bubble and develop tunnel vision on what you’re doing, but don’t forget that being a student of a craft is the best way to become a master of it.
Never steal or plagiarize, but see what’s out there. What do you like? What don’t you like? Check out blogs with similar themes and do a side-by-side with yours. Comedians can never steal jokes, but there’s nothing wrong with them watching old George Carlin or Richard Pryor tapes for inspiration.
Do you feel comfortable with your blogging voice? Or do you think it could use some polishing?