I started blogging in college. Make when MySpace was the cool thing and you could decorate your profile using crazy neon color schemes and backgrounds. Some of my sorority sisters read it and offered feedback, so I felt like a real accomplished writer. Then, when Little Man was born in 2008, I started another blog (like so many others) as a way to keep our family posted on what was going on with him and with our family.
When I realized that they weren’t reading it but that other people were, I started to share more and more of myself with the world and my tiny little audience.
I didn’t realize it then because blogging hadn’t become the social stipend that it is today, but maintaining a successful site and engaging and audience on a personal level is a full time job in itself.
I read somewhere in a random Google Search that there are some 175,000+ new blogs created every day. Which means that there are at least 100,000 people out there who are just starting on this venture and might not have the slightest clue where to go from here. I may not be The Pioneer Woman and I may not get paid to talk about how awesome over-priced kitchen appliances and lipsticks are but I have been at this for over three years, so I think I might know just a tiny bit about social media. Maybe. Just a tad.
That being said, I present you with:
You don’t have to be Ree Drumond or Heather Armstrong or insert-other-big-name-blogger-here. In fact, I want to encourage you NOT to be. Because they’ve paved their way. They’ve formed their community and their audience and you will never live up to that. So don’t try. Instead, try to be your own person…find your own voice…and share what you know. The world is full of copycats, so don’t try to be someone you aren’t.
A blogger deliberately avoiding Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest (as well as the other handful of social media sites that pop up every week) is like a doctor avoiding medical school. You will never see your blog grow to its fullest potential if you don’t get out there and broadcast it. Without sharing your site, the likelihood that you will ever be discovered, is small. People visit and hop to sites that they find from someone else. So if YOU aren’t putting your site out there, then chances are, other people aren’t either.
There was a phase for a little while that had everyone thinking that they had to revamp their blogs and their sites because they didn’t have a niche. They weren’t targeting just one audience and focusing on one topic. I could be wrong (it wouldn’t be the first time), but in my opinion, niche blogging is boring. It’s overrated and it’s dreary. Unless you’re a world renowned photographer like Jasmine Star or Andee Tate…someone who is sought out for their speciality and their talents in one particular area, the chances are that your readers won’t mind reading about something new every once in a while. Does that mean you should blog about Health Food & Organic Living one day and then three days later share a recipe on 5 Different Ways to Eat a Twinkie? No. Make it relevant, but don’t stress about staying within certain boundaries.
This concept tends to get mixed reviews from different bloggers, so take this or leave it for what it’s worth. I would rather visit a blogger who posts quality content once every four or five days, than visit someone who posts daily and shares poor content. The same with posting multiple times a day. I tried posting twice a day for a while…focusing one post on photography and one post on personal stuff. It was overkill and neither of my posts were getting the attention that they needed or deserved. Find a pattern or a routine that works for your. If you have something of worth to share, share it. If you don’t, wait until you do. Your numbers may be low until you come back with new content, but at least when you return you will be bringing something good to the table.
It’s way too easy to get caught up in the numbers game when it comes to blogging. We’ve all been there at one point or another, and usually default back to worrying when no one is looking. It’s easy to wrap your worth up in how many page views you get per day and how many comments your posts receive. But the fact of the matter is, blogging is supposed to be about YOU and about sharing who YOU are and what YOU know. Not about everyone else and what they think. Feedback is nice and everyone loves comments, but that should never be the main focus of your site. If you find yourself asking “I wonder how many comments this post would get me?” or “I probably shouldn’t share this because it won’t rank high in the search engines.” then chances are you are in this for the wrong reason. Step back. Find your Purpose and then come back.
Blogging is one of those things that can be whatever you make it to be: fun, exciting, therapeutic…but you have to decide which route to go with it.
Linking up with Nicole @ Moments that Define Life for Listable Life!