Today I’d like to reflect on a mistake I made as a newbie blogger. I hesitate to call it a mistake, as that’s not technically what it is. It was simply not the best way for me to go about achieving my blog goals, and it might be something that’s preventing your blog from growing.
After being an avid blog reader for about a year, I finally decided “if they can do it, I can do it” and started a blog. If you’re interested in starting a blog, check out 10 questions to ask yourself before you start a blog.
Lots of lifestyle bloggers are out there, trying to grow and succeed and be the next “it” blogger. That’s okay! I’m doing that too. But here’s where I think many are going about it the wrong way. It’s the way I initially wrote most of my blog posts and it’s something I see new bloggers do fairly frequently.
Many lifestyle bloggers put too much of themselves on to their blogs.
Now you might ask, isn’t that what lifestyle blogs are about? The person who writes them?
Yes. Lifestyle blogs are usually personal blogs, with one writer with one voice. But how are you going to hook a new reader just rambling about your life? A blog that’s just about “me me me” isn’t going to be instantly popular, unless the life you lead is outrageous and interesting. I’m talking jet-setting, quit your job and travel the world, kind of interesting. Some people do live lives like that. I’m not one of those people and you might not be either.
On occasion, I come across a blogger who is able to write about their seemingly regular life in an exciting or funny way. Some bloggers can do this. A great majority cannot (I can’t).
I’ve found that writing articles about a subject, with bits of me in them, are the most popular on my personal blog. We’ve talked about pinterest optimization. How are you going to make a pinterest pinable image about what you did over the weekend? Or how your baby is teething?
The easy way to change that blog post from a “me me me” post to something interesting and sharable is to write it as more of an article. Your weekend recap post becomes “10 Things to Do in San Francisco”. Your baby teething becomes “8 Tips to Sooth Your Teething Baby” – I bet that would kill on Pinterest! It’s all about how you frame it. People love lists and they love buzz words.
The thing is, if you take too much personality out of a blog, it falls flat and readers lose interest. People read blogs because of the individual voice. So don’t forget to include the bits of you in the post. It’s your personal experience that will make it interesting and it’s your voice that will hook a reader.
Readers will still enjoy reading about your personal life occasionally, especially the longer they’ve been reading. These personal posts are important to make your readers feel close to you. You just have to find a balance of personal life update type posts and informative posts that benefit readers and are highly sharable.
But initially what I see with many new blogs is that a lot of posts lack structure and are basically just those daily life ramblings. If that’s the kind of blog you want to write, absolutely write it. If your personal blog is mostly for your own documentation or for family members to keep up with your life, by all means, ramble a bit. You do you. This is not the type of blogger I’m talking about. I’m talking about the blogger who is buying ad space and networking on social media and is clearly looking to grow their blog and yet is almost exclusively writing rambling posts about their personal lives.
I’m actually an advocate for rambling posts in the early stages of blogging. Those rambling posts we all wrote (come on, you know you did too) when we first started out are what helped develop our blogging voice.
I just don’t think that the rambling stage is the best time to start really trying to grow and gain a readership. All this to say, a lot of bloggers either jump the gun on trying to grow their audience or begin working on growth before considering how their content will appeal to a brand new reader.
So who are you writing for? What value is your post providing to your reader? Who are your readers? What do they want?
If you can answer those questions, you’re definitely on the right track.