There’s far too much to say about the art of blogging, and I believe that it can be a very personal thing that everyone does very differently.
When stripped down to the naked core, there are absolutely no rules to blogging whatsoever — despite what other bloggers might have to say about it.
You just have to be put stuff on the internet and make sure it’s not illegal.
I started experimenting with blogs and blogging in 2009, and now years later, I’ve come to realize the huge mistake I made that I deeply regret now.
Once upon a time, I had a personal blog, and I was part of a small community of bloggers from around the world.
We would comment on one another’s posts, retweet them on Twitter, like each other’s Facebook pages, and support each other through constant and consistent online interaction.
It was great at the time, because I was in school and could procrastinate on my homework by blogging and interacting with my readers instead.
Maintaining a personal blog and spending hours interacting online opened up new opportunities for me in my professional career, and I began to drift away from my personal blog as I shifted toward pursuing new projects in freelance writing, small business website development, and social media consulting.
It was because of my personal blog and the comments and the other social proof of its success at the time that I was able to start pursuing it professionally, even having served as the editor and expert to web trends on About.com for several years now.
You’d think that would make me a success, and I thought so too — I was ecstatic that I was getting paid for for this sort of stuff — but I lost sight of how I had started in the first place, and have been distracted by all the other projects I’ve undertaken ever since.
Having no time or real desire for personal blogging anymore, I shut it down and focused entirely on work projects instead.
Years later, I now find myself standing in a sea of online distraction, lacking the stronger web presence I once had.
I mean, About.com gets massive search traffic for being a major authority site on the web, but if Google disappeared tomorrow, where would that leave me?
I don’t currently have a relatively strong or impactful relationship with any sizeable online audience, I lost contact with so many people who were once happy to come back and read my stuff, and I never continued to work on expanding what I had achieved through my personal blog.
I regret ignoring the opportunity to build upon the small but loyal following I had at the time, even if that meant less time for other projects.
Looking back at other popular blogs and bloggers that I love — like The Bloggess, Hyperbole and a Half, and The Fearful Adventurer — I can’t help but think to myself, “man, I could have probably made more of a dent on the web like they did, had I just stuck with building my personal brand and not gotten so distracted by everything else.”
In my opinion, a successful blog isn’t just one that has a cool design, lots of valuable content, great search rankings, and a group of experienced writers with journalism backgrounds.
A successful blog, to me, is one that has a very loyal readership and a strong community.
In fact, I just went ahead and checked out Steve Pavlina’s blog and I can’t believe it still looks like what it did five years ago.
But who cares about crappy design when you’ve still got a relationship with your online audience?
I even find myself jealous of all the kids on Tumblr who do nothing but reblog other users’ content, yet somehow have thousands upon thousands of loyal followers — a lot of them being angsty teenage trolls, but still.
“Indeed, bloggers do not only produce content to post on their blogs, but also build social relations with their readers and other bloggers.” — whoever wrote or edited the Wikipedia page for ‘Blog’
I may not be starting right back at square one, but I sure am kicking myself for throwing away what I had.
I’m now on a quest to pump out lots of original content on my own terms and rebuild my platform, because I think I’ve got more to offer than what I originally thought.
I just want to create more useful stuff — more blog posts, books, videos, tutorials, challenges, or whatever else I can think of — for people like you.
So, here’s what you need to do…
Photo via Mike Licht
- 30 glorious snippets of wisdom worth knowing by the time you’re 30 (or any age, really) - December 31, 2016
- The divided self: Why we care way too much about what other people think - August 14, 2016
- What everyone gets wrong about “being authentic” - July 3, 2016
- 7 eye-opening ways to forget about your goals so you can let happiness flow - June 20, 2016
- Why you won’t do all the things you want to do this summer - June 13, 2016
- 50 everyday things you can give up to make time for more important stuff - April 30, 2016
- How to go from waking up miserable to exhilarated every morning - April 18, 2016
- How to align your mind to get exactly what you want - April 3, 2016
- Why we’re so bad at sticking to good habits (and what to do about it) - March 19, 2016
- 6 useful tips for dealing with an all-around bad day - June 30, 2015