I’m going to talk about blogging again today. After attending both BlogHer and Type-A-Mom this year, it should come as no surprise that the topic of blogging is fresh in my mind. Not my blog per say, but blogging in general.
What does it mean to have a blog?
Did you know that the word blog is in Webster’s Dictionary? I suppose it should be since blogging has been around for 12 plus years. Yet somehow I was surprised.
It seems pretty vague if you ask me. I mean there are Mom Blogs and Design Blogs, Political Blogs and Humor Blogs, Dad Blogs and Craft Blogs. How can they all fit the same definition?
Because no matter what the niche, blogs all have one thing in common. They are written by unique human beings who aren’t tied down by the objective nature of traditional reporting. To that end, Webster’s definition is entirely accurate. Blogs are largely opinion based. Which then begs the question, can one’s opinions be wrong? It’s a slippery slope.
Take Lil-Kid-Things for instance. What is this blog made of? If you were to peel back the layers and look at the data, what would you find? If you said years of personal reflections, comments and links from Andrea Updyke then you would be spot on.
But am I doing it wrong?
Well, I suppose that depends on whom I am trying to please. First and foremost, I write because I enjoy it. I also write because I want to be a better writer and to communicate with friends, family and those I have yet to meet in person. I write to connect. And I write in the hopes of making enough money to work from home when our child(ren) reaches school age.
These are my personal reasons. Yours may be entirely different.
Blogging for Bucks
If you are looking to make money on your blog, there are certainly best practices you need to use in order to help your blog stand out from the crowd. However, don’t lose your personality in the quest for SEO perfection or more (more MORE!) followers. Why did people start coming to your blog in the first place? Keep doing that.
While there may be a few wrong ways to run your blog business, your actual blog is your own. You set your brand up to be whatever it is YOU want to promote. And if you can find financial backing to support that then rock on!
Blogging for Buddies
Maybe your blog is simply a meeting place to connect and share your thoughts. Maybe you don’t care about page rank and advertising. Maybe you really just want to talk about your amazing sock collection and how every time you go on vacation your number one souvenir is a new pair. Wool? Synthetic? These topics are the perfect blog fodder for you. And you have your readers and you have your hobby and that is just fine.
Blogging for Bloggers
Many times we divide ourselves into camps of the “right” and the “wrong” in terms of how you should run your blog. I think this can be destructive to our community. While there are plenty of blogs that don’t fall into my “must read” category, that doesn’t mean someone somewhere isn’t enjoying them. And that’s where we get back to the dictionary’s definition of blogging as “personal”. While it is wise to take advice, blogging to please someone else just doesn’t work.
I won’t reach every person with this blog. I just won’t. I am not a newspaper. I don’t follow the AP feed and report whatever they are saying. My demographic is very specialized and I am ok with that. And while I know that even the person who stands in judgement over another blogger’s worthiness has a right to express their opinion, I’d hate to see anyone get trampled in the process. Or worse, quit blogging altogether for the wrong reasons.
So is there a wrong way to blog?
Honestly? Yes and no.
It goes back to the question of what YOU want for YOUR blog. If you want to make a living, you will need to plan on spending a lot of time researching and implementing tried and true writing and marketing strategies. Make use of the many many networks and writing prompts online to better your craft. Set a goal and see it through. Be honest with yourself about why you are here in this space.
But please, don’t think for one minute that you have to transform into something you are not in order to be taken seriously. There is a market for everyone. I might not be buying, but Joe Socks may have a handful of cash just waiting for you. What matters is what you want to get out of it.
So, what do you want?