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5.11.12

How to give good blog: Idea #1



Am I qualified to write a 'how to give good blog' series? Probably not. Is anyone? All I know is that I work with bloggers and blogs, I've got a (sometimes, call me maybe) blog, I've read countless blogs over the 2 1/2 years I've been blogging. I use the word blog a lot.

About that blog reading I've been doing... so, so, so, so many. They come, they go, some stick, most don't. A few stick because I personally know the blogger, some because I feel like I 'should' read them because every one else seems to. But many stick just because they are that good. I want to read them because they are special.

How do you make a blog special? Depends on what you want to get out of it, I guess. Blogging is a hobby for most, an income for some. But for any kind of blog, there are a few key things that guide a personal blog in the right direction towards interest, engagement and longevity. These are all just ideas, mind. I'm no expert, just an innocent bystander.

 Here's idea #1.

Know your purpose.

Yep, just a thinly disguised 'why do I blog?' question. Sigh. But it's important.

Whether it's just a hobby (in which case you won't care a jot what I have to say here - check out my mice) or whether you're trying to make it into your business, you've gotta know what you are trying to get out of it in order to make it good. Reasons you might blog include:

Being a part of a community
Although I hesitate to point out that you can get that pretty well just being a reader of blogs (hello Heather!) or Facebook and god knows you don't want to end up working your butt off to gather 10,000 hits for Facebook every day and 11 for your blog...

Talking about stuff that people don't generally talk about
The beautifully raw, the beautifully honest, the beautifully perceptive

Sharing your knowledge
You're a marketer, a image maker, a web producer, a Photoshop guru, a wearer of the clogs

Sharing a lifestyle that's a little bit different
You live on a farm, you're particularly eco-friendly, you're a traveller, you have a very nice house

Making us laugh
Funny almost always makes great content

Showcasing your existing business
Maybe you're a photographer, a writer, a life coach, an artist

Creating a new business
You are possibly a food blog, a style blog, a fashion blog, an interiors blog

Curating stuff from around the internet
Creative stuff, business stuff, general stuff, vintagey stuffstuffy stuff

A specific blog 
A blog for your class, for your trip, for your (groan) wedding

Of course, there are also lots and lots and lots of blogs out there that are just about 'my life'. That's find too, but just remember that there are lots and lots and lots of blogs out there that are just about a life. If you are keen on going into sponsored blogging, I think it would be very hard to get the kind of traffic volume you need to make that a profitable, long-term venture. Unless you are an incredible writer, in which case, as you were.

But for the rest of us, the way I look at it, it's very hard to keep a 'personal' style blog engaging enough to sustain relationships over a long period of time. Not without a lot of hard work it's not. We are mostly just not that interesting, not that consistent and not that into ourselves.

Remember, this is your voice on the internet and you want to say things that count. Once you've been blogging for a while, you'll want the content of your blog to 'stand alone'. You don't want to have to keep working hard every single day, flogging yourself around to get eyes on your page. A year or so in, you want the search engines and Pinterest boards of the world to be doing that for you. If you're just blogging about yourself and your life, that's a very, very hard thing to do. You need a hook!

Ah, but that's another story for next time.


What's your purpose? Did I forget to mention yours?


59 comments:

Danielle said...

MY purpose. To record our crazy, wild life. The rest is just icing on the cake!

Steph said...

Hello lovely Bron! Why so I blog...well firstly as a journal for me and my loves but also as a way of connecting with like minded souls. We sometimes feel like we live in a bubble so it's nice to know other Mummas out there are feeling and doing similar things. I'm passionate about children and play in its most natural form and I guess I like to share that with who ever is reading. Would love to make oodles of money from it but fear I'm not terribly cool! You on the other hand lovely lady are fab-u-lous! Wishing you a gorgeous Tuesday and thanks for sharing. Great ideas! :) x
Steph
P.S. And yes...I have moved my blog...crazy gal that I am...but loving it so much more. x

Bri said...

I guess my blog is purposeless. I wrote with specific purpose for so long at Fat Lot of Good that I wanted desperately to have a purposeless blog where I could write about anything I wanted. Maybe I have sacrificed the blog traffic for that unrestrained content but for me it is worth it.

heartmama.net said...

I completely agree with you...I was blogging about life...mainly about parenting. But I thought long and hard about my focus - my purpose. Rawness? Honesty? In the end, love and kindness towards children won the day. I didn't set out to be a 'mummy blogger' - I didn't know anything like that ever existed when I began writing. But reading blog after blog, I realised that not that many celebrated mothering, or focused on the positive side of it all. I guess that was my incentive.
Thank you though for the reminder. It's a very vital point. Since I focused my blog my readership and community has grown so much, and I think my posts have improved.
x

Good Golly Miss Holly! said...

My purpose is make gal pals and rock out in the blogosphere ;) Personal blogging is definitely tricky. Sometimes I want for a niche, just so I have something I can come back to but then again, the challenge of finding something to write about can be a big part of the fun! Am I waffling? I think it's bedtime for me x

Hannah said...

yeah man WTF, where's my link?! (literally dared to write that by the LOML) thanks for the hook up with heaps of great blogs and a few newies to me, ox

Good Golly Miss Holly! said...

*to make gal pals. Yep, definitely past my bedtime x

Mandy Ferry said...

Ha, love it. I think you've got the know how to blog about blogging! I mean you've got engagement on your blog that most would only dream of. Look forward to the next instalment. And thanks for introducing me to a few good blogs.

Kelly Exeter said...

What a wonderful post Ms B. While I do have an underlying purpose to my blog (author platform .... Groan, sorry!) I also blog for the connections it has brought with like minded people. And who ever knew there were so many like minded people out there in the world? It is really something wonderful :)

Mother Down Under said...

Thanks for all the links...so many new blogs to check out!
I think I am still finding my purpose.
Sometimes I think I should carve out more of a niche but then I keep coming back to writing the posts that I love to write...which are all about Toddler C!

Kylie Purtell said...

I started off blogging as a way to collect stuff I saw on the internet in one place where I could find it (which Pinterest now does for me, damn you Pinterest!) and so that I could basically just rant about whatever popped in to my head because my husband was sick of hearing it and there is always someone on the web willing to listen!

I also needed somewhere to gush about books I've read because everyone I know is sick of hearing me talk about books, and now I include banging on about my daughter with the ranting and book gushing. It's never gonna pay my bills but I am totally cool with that.

Kelly HTandT said...

This is great! There were a couple of blogs there that I hadn't heard of - thank you.
I started off blogging because I thought I had something to say. Then something to offer. Now something to say again. I think I'm still finding my feet. They're only small, easy to lose I guess...

Life In A Pink Fibro said...

I only blog to keep up with my sisters. That's a good reason, right?

Anna Spargo-Ryan said...

I blog to keep up with Allison's sisters.

But really, I've always been an oversharer. If I knew where to stop, I probably wouldn't blog at all.

Thanks for linking up some I'd never heard of. Love new (to me) blogs.

Nikki @ Styling You said...

Thanks for including my blog, Bron. I'm not sure the hard work stops but as long as you're still enjoying the ride then it's the best hard work you can ever do. I'd still show up on Wednesday if I won the $100 million tomorrow night ... well maybe Thursday ;)

Claudz said...

My blog is for me. But I love it when people comment and being part of the community. I really need to blog about stuff more and less about me.
Thanks for a great post!

Cat said...

And that there is why I'm not blogging in my previous guise anymore. I'm still a little sad about it in all honesty cos the honesty reason is the one I had there for sure. I just am not sure that that honesty is something I can continue with anymore. And so I wait for my new purpose to become clear before I embark on any new journey. I have never cared about stats, visits, referrals and all that stuff but what I have cared about is knowing I'm not alone and my blog most certainly helped with that.

Sarah said...

I just like to share the madness (it stops me imploding ;)

posie blogs Jennie McClelland said...

Oh, why hello, 'tis me, 'wearer of the clogs'. Thanks for the mention & links to many new blogs, i'll check out later today.
Hmmm . . . purpose . . . well is started blogging as i had a business to promote, it was great fun, my 4th baby had headed off to preschool & i wanted more of a personal image behind my brand, than just a website to sell my designs. I played around with it, forgot about it, then got serious 3 years ago & really started to enjoy it again, make great connections, take on PR work & as i close down my design business (as it's been 12 years of sewing for others, i want to build my own house & decorate it, plus those babies are hitting their teens now, i'm much busier with my family) i'm using my 4000 follower base to build on advertising & PR, making cash from that instead. It's a slow build, with loyal followers & a fantastic community.
I still mainly blog about personal things, my husband going to war, my 4 children are endless fodder for discussion & i've done about 50 Social Commentary Posts where i talk about the world, media & staying strong to do your own thing. As we transition from city life & Army housing to a homestead on a farm outside Canberra, i have to admit, i think my life is really interesting & my readers enjoy my views, pretty much - on being a mother, who is interested in design, events, travel, fashion . . . i didn't start blogging about babies as my youngest was 2.5 when i started blogging, so no trantrum, breastfeeding or new baby posts from me, yet i believe i have longevity in the blogging world - for starters, there aren't many blogging about teenagers, twins over the age of 10 or making their own pasta, eggs, ice-cream, i pick up new readers - just like in real life - i do something practically different every day, not bad for a housewife hanging out with chickens, exercising & cleaning all day!!
My main reason for getting back into blogging 3 years ago, my husband deployed to Afghanistan again & this was his connection with us, i will always go back to that, i'm not trying to impress anyone, just say it how it is & personally, i love my life & find it very interesting, as it's quite different to most. He's spent the last 3 years living in Brisbane too, so i post about our life for him, just lucky i have a gorgeous community to enjoy the ride too. Plus my visits to Brisbane to see my husband have opened up a gorgeous group of Qld bloggers & stores to shop at. Ditto Sydney (my home town) & endless catch ups.
Now, off to read all these new blogs you've opened me up to, love Posie

BabyMac said...

Thanks for the link to my very nice house Bron!

I think that if you connect with the person writing the personal blog for whatever reason - you have a kid with the same name, you like the holidays they go on, the way they write, or take photos of, what they cook then you will keep coming back to pop into like a friend. That's my favourite thing about blogging - making those connections - all around the world. I hope all those people keep on going - whether they have the numbers or not, they still serve a purpose in my day.

Lipgloss Mumma said...

The sole purpose of my personal blog is to get stuff out of my head. My intention is to share in the hope that some will relate. My focus is to create an authentic and inspiring life, to make every moment count, no matter how mundane, how serene or how painful.
I also have a professional platform blog for my writing and another personal niche blog about pro-cycling. Each serve their own purpose. (And keep me busy!)
There are so many amazing writers and bloggers out there, each with their own unique blogging style - that is the beauty of blogging.

Kate said...

Oh, therapy! Free, easy therapy is my purpose! Where else can you have a session, in the middle of the night if need be, and not be watching the clock! Writing as a way of healing. That's my blog.

Brenda @ Mira Narnie said...

what a great post Bron! I have lately found a few new blogs i love and thought of sharing the love and spreading the word. i clicked on all your links and found a few blogs that i hadn't been to before. it's so lovely when you find a new blog that you love. its like finding the perfect dress! As for why i blog. well a journal in a way of the mundane but simplistic stuff i love as a stay at home mumma. also as a way to connect...like the mothers group i wish i had kind of. as for finding a true purpose...i'll keep that in mind for my second blog!!!

therhythmmethod said...

Firstly, I love that header! The font and the pattern in-fill is gorgeous.
Secondly, I think this is a really important conversation to have. Five-ish years into blogging and with the rapid expansion of social media platforms, we all need to think about how we are doing what we are doing. Take stock of how we formulate messages and send them out into the ether, because the online world is only going to grow. So many of us are still putting up posts that are the equivalent of us clearing our throats online, when - if we have something we really want to say - we should be trying to strengthen our voices. Being heard (or seen) is what we all want, but sometimes that overrides quality content. Newbies need to know this, and they also need to know that we get better as we go. A great blog does not happen over night; it's like a garden, and it must start off with good soil (ie/ a purpose). Quality should underpin everything we do; it's too easy just to copy/paste, we need to be original and have a purpose and think about our readers. Find the universal theme in what we are trying to communicate.
Thank you for the lovely mention. The internet would be a poor place without you and your sisters. x

MultipleMum said...

Man you hit my sore spot with your very first post in this series. No purpose. Hence no link to my blog here! I am considering it and hope to have a plan for 2013. All this sitting around 'healing' has to allow me to get sorted right? You do pretty so well :-)

Alison said...

A timely post for me...thank you. In another life I used to blog purely for personal reasons (MelbourneMumma) but now, it's a blog attached to my business. I'm wanting to include personal snippets, but clearly see it as a business-related interiors & pretty pics space...so...I wonder if the 80/20 rule can apply to blogging..? Alison

pip lincolne said...

Wooh! Yay for blogging!!! xx

Anna @ green tea n toast said...

Great post Bron x

Kellie // 74 Lime Lane said...

I'm never honestly quite sure how to answer this question. I just like doing what I do. I'm so glad someone else gets it :) Thanks for including me link!

Sam Stone (A Life on Venus) said...

I think I am still trying to figure out my purpose for my blog - I am only a newbie. At the moment it is because I love writing and want to write more and more and more...and this is a great platform for me to do that.

rhon said...

I've been blogger well past the year mark and yet I still don't care if I have a ton of followers. I love the comments I do get and mostly I just blog for me. It's sort of my space, to rant or rave, or sing someone's praises. I'd love for it to be a self sustaining business but honestly, I don't have the gumption to try to do that!

kell said...

Hi Bron, I love this post and all the links, thank you. I started blogging to remember everything we've been through and continue to go through, and have met some very special people because of it. While I love the pretty stuff too, it's the real-life stuff that keeps me coming back. Have a great day!

AhkaVintage said...

Great idea! Although I feel as though I've been doing all of that and still find my blog sluggish, any tips or ideas you have for me and I will love you forever!
www.AhkaVintage.com

Annabel Candy, Successful Blogging said...

Thanks for including Successful Blogging, Bron. Sounds like you're well qualified to write about this.

I love the funny stuff and I think it's important even if your blog topic area is potentially boring (like Internet marketing... yawn) that you still make your content fun and interesting.

I started blogging over at Get In the Hot Spot for fun and I try to make that the main purpose of my blogs because if it's not fun for me I'd never keep at it. Also readers and bloggers can never have enough fun in their life:)

You're doing a great job of that here - I love the images, headline and lay out.

Cat from Raspberry Rainbow said...

I feel I have lost all my purpose, and am considering dropping my blog. I have been thinking about stopping it for a long time now, but once or twice a month I manage a post, usually to show (off) what I have been making. Thank you for the (bloggy) food for thought.

housegoeshome said...

Oh dear, I'm a bit worried about my random, personal/Hollywood/property/recipes blog now ... great food for thought, though ...

smellsgoodfeelsgood said...

I write to understand - myself, my life and the world. Sometimes, the insights i have help other people to understand something about themselves, and that's lovely too! It seems we like the same blogs - many of the ones that you have linked to, I love as well :)

tash @ Littlebitofthyme said...

I blog for me. One day I hope to find that definitive purpose, but right now, I am just enjoying it. And I have loved getting to know other bloggers out there. Yes, it's not real life, but it's better than facebook? right?

Anne Downing said...

My blog is on health and fitness. I eventually want to start my own business but thought I would try my hand at blogging to start with. It is all so new to me and I am not sure if I am on the right path!

Little Paper Trees said...

great post and you got my thinking. sometimes i lose my way when I blog, other times I feel like I'm just finding my voice. i suppose i blog because I'm too lazy to journal and when my memory goes, the blog will stay. x

Corinne – Daze of My Life said...

Hmm my blog started as a place for me to write, I never imagined in a million years that people would read it. Then it turned a little bit and I started to get more serious about 'blogging'. It's funny the posts that get the most activity are the ones where I'm pondering big questions.

I thought that now I was living in a different corner of the world that I might get more readers or that it may become more interesting to people. It seems that the opposite has happened, people seemed more interested about my life in Sydney than Dubai! That's fine, I still blog for me and that won't change. I'm not looking to conquer the blogging world. I just like having an outlet and having a few friends.

Mumabulous said...

I'd love to one day write professionally and I see my blog as a way of putting together a portfolio. I'm also having so much fun connecting with like minded ladies all over Australia.

Fiona said...

Hey Bron, thanks for the mention, I'm really flattered. I have to admit I blog for nobody but my family. I hope it helps my great grandchildren gain an insight into life in the "olden days". I so wish those who came before me could have opened such a window into their lives. Of course I'm always thrilled that others find anything we do slightly interesting. Thanks again.

Miss Pink said...

Right now? I am an "Oh my gosh has it been that long since I've blogged because I've been so crazy busy and yet I still have so much around me to do so I probably should have just kept blogging" blogger.
I think some people think my light is flickering, but it's not. I'm just struggling with time becuse life is being so crazy busy.
I think you forgot yourself in there as an inspriational blogger.

Easy Peasy Kids said...

Been blogging 18 months, my blog shows you who I am on the inside. I blog about Alzheimer's, children & life in general. Thanks for introducing me to some new bloggers x

Loreena said...

Oooohhh there are some links to lovely bloggers in your post I must take some time to read up on! Sometimes being a very niche blog can get a bit tricky when I really want to join in with things that aren't so in my niche, but I'm learning to integrate the 2. I think it's really important not to lose sight of the fact that a blog is your very own space, and when it all comes down to it, treat it as you wish, just as in life, don't spend time being anyone but yourself!

rachelsbooknook said...

I like to blog about books - children's and adults and writing competitions but also things that my girls do - it's a good little keepsake that they can look back on. I like reading blogs about kids' stuff or crafty ideas or just general interesting stories. I signed up to two more blogs just by looking at some of your links. Thanks.

Vanessa said...

Loved reading this. We all have to have a thing, don't we. I love that I know what my thing is. The tricky part is making it into a lovely package that your own people will want to open. I heard only this morning that your blog should be a catalyst for living your best life. That's exactly how I feel about it. x

tahlia @ the parenting files said...

Great tips born, and love the blog list too... Always love to find new bogs to follow. It is definitely a hard gig,.. What ever way ou take it. Xxx

Caz Makepeace said...

Thank you for including us in your post BRon! A great post! Knowing your purpose is so essential. It's an easy one for me to figure out!!

Jeanie (Inspired Wish) said...

My purpose; to share style inspiration for the curvy & full figured woman. To lead by example, showing our 'uniform' doesn't need to be an oversized black sack. I wear colour and stylish garments giving others confidence to do the same.

As I blogger I also have an interest in photography, I share photo and photoshop tips too.

I heart blogging + fashion.

Denwise aka Denyse Whelan said...

I blog because....ummmmm....I love connecting.
Mostly it's about the people not the words.
I can have conversations with people I have never met.
However, unless I write what is interesting to others, meaningful to me and somewhat satisfying to put out there on the web forever then I shouldn't. So, I dont write to please anyone but me and readers.
Quality is important.
So is keeping in touch. I like that in the blogging community.
Oh yes, and knowing that you will read this and not reply. Yep, I know that!

tricia said...

Thanks for the link love :-)

For me - knowing my purpose also makes it easier to decide what to blog about and what to not blog.

If the post doesn't help my purpose (to inspire people to reduce their environmental impact) then the post doesn't get written.

Faux Fuchsia said...

Interesting.

My blog I spose falls into ye olde personal blog category. I don't find it hard, it takes hardly any time and I do get truckloads of traffic.

Old Mr FF would like me to turn it into a finacially viable proposition. Just to take the edge off the shoe bill and groceries, but we both know that advertising cannot compete with my Real Job as solicitor. Nor can it provide that attractive level of super (God Bless you defined beneft account)

I enjoy the comments on this blog.

x

Alisa : Ink Caravan said...

Oh, you are a total sweetie Bron, thanks for including me! : ) Thanks for all the brilliant links too - so many new to me.

I agree wholeheartedly, I think having a sense of purpose and being yourself is where its at. And it doesn't come easy to everybody.
Quite honestly it has taken me an eternity to settle into my blog, I had such different grand plans for it to start with (all awkward and not very me).
But I like how it's turned out and its a relief not to feel compelled to keep changing it. Now it feels like a comfy slipper.

Alisa x

Johanna @The Zigazag Mag said...

Great post and one that we should bookmark and refer back to when we slide off track (we all do, right?)

I started my blog because I fell in love with Western Australia when we arrived four years ago and I wanted to share it with everyone. Then I drifted off track because I thought that nobody wanted to read about Western Australia, so I veered into Travel in general. Now I realise I should have stuck with what I started with, because WA is the grooviest place to live in the whole wide world and people DO want to read about what it's like to live, love, work and travel here.

Lyndon said...

Thanks for including our blog in your post. This is the first blog either of us has written and we started it off as a diary of our holiday and for family and friends to follow. We are surprised about how many people are following our blog now and we love it when total strangers leave us comments, some who we have even bumped into on our trip or we have inspired to do something similar.

Bright Precious said...

Bron, this is good stuff. I often wander on to blogs and promptly wander away due to their lack of purpose. There's nothing more potent than a blogger with a unique voice and who KNOW why they're blogging. When I asked myself this question (early this year) I suddenly cut out lots of crappy posts that were just clogging up my purpose.

Having said this, churning out engaging heartfelt creative writing week upon week is tough work. Which has me thinking about broadening my purpose a little now...

Great post, Bron. I have missed visiting your blog!

Miss Muggins said...

I'm a bit late coming to this discussion, but I found it interesting and inspiring. I have written some thoughts about blog purpose here http://missmuggins.blogspot.com.au/2013/01/a-little-word-for-2013.html
I am hopeful there will be a next installment.

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