What does it take to be a great blogger?
I wrote this for people who are new to blogging and want a quick guide. If you read this and you’re still (possibly more?) excited, then check how I recommend people start a blog or making the switch to wordpress if you’re using another platform.
People love blogs because they fill a need for information and inspiration.
Plenty of blogs rival magazines and media sites when it comes to quality writing and interesting ideas. People don’t have to go through the old forms of media (e.g. newspapers) to get access to a readership and thus, those barriers to entry just don’t exist with blogging. There are other considerations that apply insofar as building a readership. However, it’s an incredibly democratic medium.
Blogging success is all about creating quality, interesting, or provocative content, and being smart about marketing it.
How many blogs do you follow with horrible layouts, outdated platforms, blurry pictures, or bad writing? Most likely, none. With few exceptions, blogs have to be polished. As with all things, you have nurture them if you expect them to grow. The good (and challenging) thing about blogging is that you’re your own CEO, editor, writer, photographer, proofreader, etc! You make the decisions, but you have to use your best judgment and be forward-thinking.
Quality content wins over quantity, but consistency matters too. The best blog schedule is the one you can handle easily. For some that mean a post per week, for others that could be a post per day. To give you an example, I tend to post 1 or 2 times per week and have periods where I’m working on non-blog projects and there might not be posts for a week or two, but I try to stay active in other ways, mostly Instagram and Twitter.
Social Media Sites
Don’t feel the need to grow on ALL the social media sites. Only use the ones that make sense to you and your content. My favorites are Instagram and Pinterest—great for super visual blogs. Facebook works great for story-driven blogs. Snapchat and video-blogging in general are great for fostering a sense of closeness with your readers. Video is a truly category unto itself though.
Common Blogging Mistakes
- Publishing content that hasn’t been edited. Rushing your posts.
- Posting something just because a PR firm asked you to share their press release. Does it fit your site’s tone?
- Blurry photographs.
- Posts that are too long when a more concise post would be more effective.
- Not planning out (at least generally) an editorial calendar for your site.
- Posting without coordinating social shares or other marketing efforts.
- Not connecting with other bloggers.
- Not building up your own understanding of blogging. You should be constantly learning.
- Comparing yourself to other bloggers.
- Thinking blog success looks one way, without finding your own style.
- Taking blogging way too seriously, to the detriment of your in-real-life life. Step away from the computer!
- Not reading brand collaboration contracts carefully.
- Not having a cohesive feel or tone to your blog—this relates to branding.
- Having an outdated or cluttered blog layout.
- Not being true.
- Going overboard on ads or sponsored content; balance is key.
- Spamming your social media sites rather than using them to build engagement.
- Not engaging your readers.
Investing in Your Blog
Blogs don’t require a huge investment. You can start one for free on numerous platforms, but I prefer wordpress.org over them all and that’s why I put together my tutorials. WordPress.org is free, but hosting and getting a domain are paid services. As an example, I just renewed a year’s worth of hosting with the company I use for about $150.
Other ways I’ve invested in this blog: a nice DSLR camera, paying for a nicer layout (I found mine on Studio Press), a new computer, attending blogging conferences from time to time.
My advice is to take it slow: the most important thing is having a quality site. If you find yourself growing as a blogger, determine your own next steps. Be judicious as you would in any business.
Feeling overwhelmed or burned out? Stepping away from the internet can be a good thing. Refocus and remember why you love blogging in the first place. Come back when you feel inspired. In that sense, never forget that blogging is merely a way to share your inspiration and perspective.