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 stuff, stuffy 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?