It’s Blogging Week here at Cristian Mihai blog (yeah, I don’t have a fancy name for my blog). We’ll talk about blogging, different tools that make blogging easier, and other stuff. The other stuff is mostly related to some of the do’s and don’t of blogging, what works and what doesn’t.
Everything you’re about to read is common sense. So, please, don’t expect some 3 step tutorial to gaining a billion followers.
And now for today’s post. 7 Golden Rules of Blogging.
I’ve been following and reading a number of blogs for over five years now. I remember this blog by a Romanian journalist; I would spend hours reading the posts, the comments — oh, the comments were so funny and great. It was quite addictive. He got an insane number of comments, and I was jealous of his success.
I was quite sure that I would never become a successful blogger. I created some blogs on various platforms, but I never had the patience to build an audience. The thing is that I never asked myself whether I had something worth writing about on an almost daily basis. I think this is something a lot of bloggers struggle with. What’s worth sharing? What’s considered useful information? Also, I believe that a lot of writers simply focus too much on trying to come up with an original idea for a blog, a new approach, a new angle.
I believe passion is the key element in any creative endeavor.
There are 56 million WordPress blogs. That makes it almost impossible to come up with a new idea for a blog. And even if you come up with something new, if you’re not passionate about it, if you don’t work hard, it’s all for nothing.
I made this blog mostly because I had heard it’s very important for a self-publisher to have one. I needed a place to showcase my books, a place to promote, and a place that would act like a sort of central hub for my other social media accounts. And I wasn’t sure what I was going to write about. I just went with the flow, writing book reviews, movie reviews, and self-publishing related news. But everything changed when I started to write essays about writing and art.
Because it was something I was passionate about, more than anything else in the world, people connected with my words.
Now, I’m sure I’m writing the type of blog I’d enjoy reading. If I wouldn’t be this blog’s writer, this blog would be one of my favorites.
But let’s get to the core of this blog post. Here are some of my rules. I’m no expert, and there’s no guarantee that what worked for me will work for you too.
1. Be passionate about the subject matter of your blog
If writing blog posts starts to feel like homework, you should stop and consider a change. But you should make sure that you’re not feeling this way because you can’t get people to follow you. Perseverance goes a long way.
My advice would be to blog for a whole year before deciding whether you’re wasting your time or not. Blog traffic and follower count don’t just explode. Take your time, work on content.
2. Blog often enough, but not too often
You need to find a balance here. I started out by writing a blog post every two, three days. Now I blog almost daily. Sometimes even twice a day.
If you’re productive enough to write a blog every day or so, that’s good, but you should focus on quality as well. Also, it depends on your subject matter – blogs that rely heavily on the visual aspect (photography, architecture, etc.) can do well with a lot of posts per day. Also, news blogs or collective blogs can do well when updated more than once a day.
Other than that, it’s pretty safe to assume that constantly posting more than once a day won’t work really well. I know I break my own rule sometimes, but when I do so, I never write two long posts in the same day — one of them has to be short, funny, a question about art, or a picture.
Also, try to work out a schedule. Whatever works for you, but you should do so that readers know when to expect new content from you. When to check your blog and stuff like that.
3. Engage your audience
This is really the golden rule of blogging. And it’s not about replying to every comment you receive. How would it feel if you’d just say thank you to everyone who comments on your blog? No, reply only when you have something to say. Or when you need to answer a question.
Also, engaging your audience is more about writing blogs that will make people comment. It’s always nice to end with a question. If you don’t feel like doing that you can always write about controversial subjects. That’s sure going to get people talking.
It’s quite ironic that you never know what posts will perform better than others. That’s something no blogger can master. You can work for hours writing a blog, adding pictures, trying to offer unique content, and get just a couple of comments.
4. Use as many social media platforms as possible
Turn on publicize. Enable sharing on all major platforms. Let people tweet and share your stuff, allow rebbloging, all these things are going to drive traffic to your blog. Also, use only the tools that are relevant for you. I don’t have a reason for using Pinterest because my blog is more about words. All I could do with such a profile would be to take photos of my imaginary friend, Adrian.
5. Content is king
A blog’s not free. Yeah, it might not cost you money, but you still have to invest time. A lot of it, if you want to be successful. Time spent researching, time spent writing, time spent replying to comments. Take good care of your blog. Be careful what you write about, how you write it.
Choose the length of your articles very carefully. My blogs are usually less than 1,000 words long. Sometimes less than 500. If you write long posts, try to break them down into smaller bits. Do a series, add some visual aid, such as tables, pictures, and lists.
Make it easy on the eye.
6. Don’t be afraid to share the stage
In other words, don’t be an egoist. Feature other bloggers, either by interviewing them or allowing them to guest blog. Don’t be all me, me, me. The world isn’t going to end if you interview a fellow blogger you admire. And I’m pretty sure that your followers won’t abandon you for him/her.
7. Use an appropriate visual layout
If you have a lot of text, don’t use a white on black theme with a very small font. Use a theme that works well with your blog. Also, try to add some photos. Make it easy on the eye. Add some videos too, if you want. Make it easy for people to read and understand your posts.
A bland layout will put people off. But don’t fall into the other extreme.
The layout is an extremely important aspect. It’s the first thing someone notices. A good first impression helps.
These rules won’t guarantee success. Nothing can. But I hope they can help you with your blog. If there’s any other rule you feel should be listed here, don’t be afraid to use the comment box bellow.
This week we’re going to talk about blogging. What tools to use, how to use them, and stuff like that. No magic shortcut to gaining a billion followers in a week will be posted here.