I feel like we should all have a secret handshake. A signal that we give each other as we pass by on the street that we are in this together. Because only we know the celebrations, the struggles, the amount of work, and the amount of time it takes to run a blog.
I joined a lot of blogging Facebook groups in the beginning. To meet all of the other people out there who are just as insane as I am. It’s where we group together to ask questions and figure this whole thing out.
There are so many different types and levels of bloggers, which is amazing. No doubt about it, bloggers read blogs. I get lost reading other people’s super interesting and creative posts but instead of embracing our own ideas and our differences we lump ourselves into two categories, those with followers/subscribers/readers and those without.
We are in a hurry.
I had a sense of desperation to get those followers when I decided to get serious with this whole thing. I thought, mainly hoped, there must a trick to this whole thing I didn’t know about, and I was in a hurry to find it. There had to be some secret, some sort of magic formula, that would bring people to my website in masses.
I did it in 7th grade, I had an E-Zine with thousands of followers that caused AOL to shut down our account and call my Mom. But it was so easy then to get people to listen. It was 1997. Facebook didn’t exists. Hell, Google had just registered their domain name. The halls were empty and I was screaming down them, everyone listened, even if I was just making up horoscopes.
So, I posted my first posts. Literally crickets (I live in the country). Nada. Not even a blip of a reader on the analytics graph. What the hell? No, refreshing my browser didn’t change anything and neither did a computer restart.
Well, that didn’t work, so of course I changed everything. It’s actually good that nobody was following the shit storm of confusion that was about to happen. I changed everything constantly. I was constantly starting over. I once changed my entire website and blog from an art site - to a marketing firm for musicians - back to an art site within four days.
It’s because some people responded to a blog post and some tweets I wrote about marketing to musicians. I thought that was the key, so I changed everything even though it was not me at all. It wasn’t something I was interested in. I decided because I wasn’t actually in that scene, I didn’t want to go down that path, so I changed everything back.
We are focusing on too much.
We work super hard and we spend most of our time sitting and reading. We follow all of these people who have gone through this part already. They have that thing out that has made transformed them from Newb to Success. I can’t tell you honestly how many hours I spend a week researching how to articles on blogging. It becomes addicting.
We absorb everything. Every tip. Every how to. All of it. Problem is when you look at all the advice side by side it’s all conflicting. Focus on email lists. No, nobody reads emails anymore, focus on Pinterest. No, um actually social media is a waste of time, you need to focus on SEO and google algorithm charts and formulas (shit, I can’t math) if you want followers.
We become so obsessed about everything we should be doing we forget about our actual content.
See, you can’t just promote promote promote if the stuff you’re promoting is worthless or old. People need new and exciting and they demand quality, not some copy and paste paraphrasing of everyone else’s blog posts. That just doesn’t work, sorry.
It’s very easy to get lost in a checklist of things we should be doing. And because there is such a long to do list, especially in the beginning because of the very large learning curve, it’s so so easy to start regurgitating information and quickly become boring. We forget the cardinal rule, actually the only real rule, content is king.
Everything else is really up for grabs, SEO, your host, the amount of posts, the amount of pictures, the opt-ins, everything. Those are different for everyone, regardless what anyone says. They help, sure, but everyone knows if the content is bullshit, so is your following.
Which is why blogging works in the first place. Your perception, your experiences, are unique. That is your voice. We are interested in what other people have to say, whether we admit it or not. Isn’t that why social media is such a big part of our lives. We want to share our experiences and see what other people are doing.
Which means there is no secret formula to successful blogging. For each successful blogger there is an equally successful blogger doing the exact opposite. But one thing each successful blogger has in common is they have something to say in their own way. Sometimes that thing is something I’ve heard before, but it’s the way they say it that is different.
If people aren’t reading your blog posts, your content probably sucks and nobody wants to tell you. And nobody can tell you what content you should create, you have to do the work. You have to actually think about what you are putting out there and make sure it’s really coming from you, from your own brain, from your own experiences, otherwise nobody cares.
I'm Jackie, an artist, illustrator, and friend to ghosts, monsters, and aliens. This blog is full of DIY projects, stories, and things I think are cool. Stay weird.