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Is There a Wrong Way to Blog?

by Andrea Updyke

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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?

Simple.

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?

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31 comments

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31 comments

Jessica October 5, 2010 - 8:15 am

word

Melissa {adventuroo} October 5, 2010 - 8:36 am

Thanks for the link love!

While there may not be a black and white right/wrong way to blog, there are definitely best practices that make a blog MORE LIKELY to attract readers. And you’re so right about certain blogs may not be for you (or me) but there’s someone out there who loves them. I think staying true to yourself is a simple “best practice” that goes a long way.

Andrea October 6, 2010 - 10:16 am

I agree! It’s all about what you want. And while I am all for taking advice on tools and tricks to get more visibility, that has to be YOUR goal.

Danielle Smith October 5, 2010 - 9:24 am

I love this:

“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. ”

I think you are doing it right 🙂

Keep at it!

Andrea October 6, 2010 - 10:17 am

Thanks so much! I think I will 🙂

Lisa @ Crazy Adventures in Parenting October 5, 2010 - 9:32 am

I began blogging for me, to share my love of writing married with my love for my family. That’s it. I have loved writing since I began writing as a small child. My mother would make books from duct tape and cardboard to create for me because I always wanted to be a writer/author. Now, I’m doing exactly that, and somehow, I’ve been blessed to make some money from doing what I love, and that’s okay. I probably won’t be rich, but I love doing what I do, and having made friends who share in that same love.

Andrea October 6, 2010 - 10:18 am

And THIS is what I love about blogging! How many of us had this dream? I love that you are doing something that truly makes you happy and even making some money! It’s a wonderful place to be.

Lisa @ Crazy Adventures in Parenting October 6, 2010 - 2:42 pm

Yes! It most certainly is a wonderful place to be. And I get to show my children that childhood dreams really can become a reality <3

marty October 5, 2010 - 10:30 am

This makes me want to sit down with a cup of coffee and talk about it with you. My short answers are: no, I don’t think there is a wrong way to blog. The internet is a big, big place, and there is room enough for everyone. That being said, I’m only human, and it gets to me a little bit to get lumped in with review, giveaway, text link, and sponsored to the hilt blogs and all called ‘mommybloggers’ just because we all have kids. It’s not that way with the male bloggers.

It never bothered me until the whole Blog with Integrity thing came about. For some reason, that just sort of set it off for me. I was just dang grumpy about feeling pressured to put some badge on my blog in order to be considered authentic. Seemed WAY backwards to me, and thus began my spiral into grumpy old woman bloggerhood. Which, by the way, I’m busting out of as we speak.

Great thoughts, Andrea.

Andrea October 6, 2010 - 10:20 am

I would LOVE to get that coffee. I know what you mean about the labels. In theory, I don’t mind the title “Mom Blogger” because I fit the bill – someone who writes about life as a mom. However, I haven’t always been that, nor will I forever blog about my toddler. He will grow up. I decided to stop worrying about what title I fit into and make my own. And as for your blog, I think it is great just the way it is!

LBDDiaries October 5, 2010 - 12:26 pm

This was good = very good (and I liked marty’s point in the comments, too). I blog because I want to. I refuse to fit into anyone’s mold of what I should be, how my blog should look, what I should do, and dang it, my son is OUT of the house and has been for 10 years so it gets very old not fitting because I am NOT a mommy blogger as so many many many many are – (there’s nothing wrong with that, either). I finally had to quit trying to do what others said I had to do to succeed and just write. I’m learning everything about blogging by accident (or reading excellent articles like this one) but it all goes back to “I blog because I want to.”

Andrea October 6, 2010 - 10:21 am

Yes! Exactly this.

Jessica R. October 5, 2010 - 1:26 pm

It’s funny that I came away from TypeA with similar thoughts. I agree that there’s no wrong way to blog, but I’m always fascinated with how people arrive at conferences and instantly forget WHY they blog and start comparing themselves to everyone else in attendance.
Once you figure out why you’re blogging it’s important to keep that in mind so that others don’t make you feel like you’re getting off track.
Here’s what I had to say on the subject after TypeA. http://www.itsjessicaslife.com/2010/09/secret-to-online-success.html

Andrea October 6, 2010 - 10:23 am

I think you have a good point about the conferences. I tend to go into the conference feeling pretty good and open-minded, leave inspired and a week or two later worry that I am missing steps and failing. It’s then that I have to take a step back and remember that there is plenty of room for me to be me.

Stacia October 5, 2010 - 2:09 pm

I think you hit on something very important in this post. There’s not necessarily a wrong way to blog – unless what you’re doing isn’t in keeping with your reasons for blogging in the first place. I have several blogs with different purposes and I often find myself confusing the purposes or losing sight of the mission. In those cases, I’m definitely doing it wrong and have to step back until I can refocus.

Andrea October 6, 2010 - 10:24 am

That is so interesting that you have several blogs and even blur the lines. That just tells me that it’s not always even about competition with each other, but with our own sense of what “ought to be”. It’s so great to get that overhead perspective from time to time!

Sue Robinson October 5, 2010 - 3:43 pm

Is there a right way to do anything? It is all in the eye of the beholder and what your objective is. So I have to say, no, but there is a little more grey when it comes to this topic. I agree with Marty, lets get coffee and discuss it further. Great post!

Andrea October 6, 2010 - 10:25 am

I am always down for the coffee!

Cyndi October 5, 2010 - 8:22 pm

What Marty said 🙂
…And although I agree there’s not a wrong way to blog, it is certainly possible to blog badly.

Andrea October 6, 2010 - 10:26 am

Teehee, this is true. But then again, my version of bad my be your version of entertaining. Within reason of course 😉

Wyletter October 6, 2010 - 12:34 am

Stopping by from SITS Hare Group. Good post. I blog because I love to write. My blog allows me to connect with others through my writing.

Andrea October 6, 2010 - 10:27 am

That’s great! Finding community has been one of my favorite by-products of blogging. And it seems endless! Thanks for stopping by.

Angela October 6, 2010 - 9:12 am

Love it! My daughters (9 and 10) have begun blogging and they started out getting caught up in if anyone was even reading it. Now they understand that it’s about the love of writing and it doesn’t matter if anyone is reading it or not. It’s all for them. Plus it’s a great way to work in those pesky Language Arts lessons for homeschooling 🙂

Andrea October 6, 2010 - 10:30 am

Can you imagine having a BLOG at 9? That is so amazing! I was also home-schooled and I used the internet (Prodigy) at a really young age, but not that young. Good for them! And for you!

Angela October 6, 2010 - 10:50 am

When I was 9 the most hi tech thing we had was an Atari LOL! But back then I wrote and wrote a lot. My girls wanted to blog because mom does so why not? And since I monitor the site, I can make sure they are safe. I figure if they want to make it in this world they need to know how to write, communicate effectively, and use social media well. Who knows what the world will be like when they are adults? At least they are getting in and will be able to keep up with the changes.

Andrea October 6, 2010 - 9:50 am

I blog because I write. I write because I always have. My entire life I’ve been writing. Journals, stories, letters, more and more things have been filling my brain and I like (want? NEED?) to write them down. To use a blog to do so allows (enables!) me to meet people, make friends, connections, personal, professional, whatever you want to call them or however you’d like to [collective YOU here] categorize them. If people enjoy reading what I write, that’s great. It’s a validation of sorts. If not, well, I would hope they’d give me a chance, but I’m not going to fight to prove myself TO them. I write for me. And, I will add, I write for you. Because if you’re a reader of my blog, and if you enjoy it that makes me happy. I didn’t start off writing for you, or any readers, but once they come along it’s kind of nice to direct a conversation TO them now and again. And this way when there are comments in response it’s a reminder that, hey, I’m not just talking to myself. So while I write as though I am just talking to myself and just writing for me, it’s a nice reminder that there’s a YOU out there, as well. [That was so dizzying to write, I’m sure anyone reading is going to gloss right over my entire comment!]

Andrea October 6, 2010 - 10:28 am

I love this and I totally get it. Gaining readers for me is like icing on the cake. It can be addictive and therefore I need posts like this to remind me why I am really here. But I do think that knowing there are people out there helps me take more time to really think through my thoughts and hopefully become better at the craft of writing.

adrian October 8, 2010 - 5:37 pm

What a great post. I like to view blogs as separate little nations. The laws of each nation are set by the rulers and they may be different than the laws I set in my nation. So I may or may not chose to revisit certain nations again, but I do defend their right to do whatever they please in their territory and hopefully they will extend me the same courtesy. Just stopping by from your SITS Hare group.

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