That Blog Post about Blogging.
Ohhh… the world of blogging.
Disclaimer: This is LONG. And I am not a blogging guru. And there is no point I’m trying to prove. THIS REALLY HAS NO POINT. I just think a lot about blogs and wanted to get those thoughts on paper.. well.. on the blog.
I suggest reading this if A) you like blogs a lot B) you are an avid blogger or C) you’re interested in starting a blog.
I started blogging four years ago. I was a sophomore in college and had lots of things to say, but not many people to say them to (sophomore year was lonely). It was also then that I started taking pictures, so those got posted on the blog as well. These days, it seems that everyone and their mothers (literally, my mom included) has a blog. Which is great, but it gets me thinking: What ARE blogs? WHY do people blog and WHY do people read them? I’m not actually going to answer all these questions but maybe it’ll straighten things out. This is just a small, SMALL portion of the blog world (think BlogLovin’, Tumblr, ect, I won’t even go down those roads)
1. A lot of blogs start because someone wants to share some knowledge they got from college or they need a place to store their thoughts. Think: food blogs. The author says “I like to cook. I want to share my recipes. I will start a blog.” Easy enough, yes? But then there’s that thing where everyone who has ever cracked an egg starts a “food blog”. And then it’s confusing and no one knows who is actually a good food blogger or not. (This goes for any kind of blog).
2. Which brings me to point 2: “This is not a new idea”: Craft blogs. Food blogs. Design blogs. (Can you tell what types of blogs I read?) You can’t call these new ideas. I feel like if a blog is going to be ‘successful’ (which is a whole other point in itself) it has to be seriously unlike any other. And the chef must not only be a chef, but also a marketing guru AND a photographer, because if you can’t find the blog, or the pictures aren’t nice, no one wants to read the blog or pin the pictures. The crafter must also be a graphic designer and give away free prints and coupons to other Etsy shops in order to keep readers coming back. Yes, they have to be different. Out of the ordinary. The blogs I follow all have this special-ness to them, which is many because of number 6.
3. The “success” of a blog: I will be honest and tell you that I am very jealous of those bloggers who make a living off their blogs. I am jealous because it’s awesome. And I don’t get paid to blog when sometimes it feels like I should (mostly just when I was doing the 365 posts and theoretically HAD to blog every day). What makes a blog successful? The number of followers it has? The amount of awesome content they feature? The amount of comments it gets? The amount of people who want to ‘guest post’ or advertise on it? I really don’t know. I really don’t! It will always be a mystery to me.
4. Advertising/give aways on other people’s blogs: This is something I just don’t know if I can get on board with. Yes, it’s a nice perk if maybe I can win a camera bag I’ve always wanted, ect. But I don’t really gel well with a blog who posts mostly things like “win a free this! check out this awesome sponsor here! discount code this! advertise this month here!” It’s just not… helpful. There’s no story, there’s no knowledge. If I wanted to win free things, I’d sign up for all those emails when I can get discounts and stuff. Yes, it might lead me to another great blog, and yes I understand promoting small businesses, but please, limit it to once a month or something. If I originally followed your blogs, it was because I liked what you posted, so please keep posting awesome, likeable things. /end rant (that’s my only rant, promise)
5. Business blogs vs. Personal blogs: As a girl who loves blogs in general, it’s surprising how few personal blogs I follow. The blogs I frequent are those of photographers and creative people I admire, and most of those people post very helpful tips and tutorials about their crafts. I follow/read their blogs not only to see their gorgeous pictures, but to take in some real value by learning from them. It’s the same for (our example of the day) food blogs. If you’re a chef, why not follow and learn from other chefs around the country? And for creative businesses, I love reading about their inspiration, or their design processes or behind the scenes shots of a products shoot, ect. Also, don’t get me wrong, I love the personal blogs I do follow, mostly because I’ve grown to really like the blogger themselves….
6. Which leads me to…Blogger personality: This is close to my heart. I’ll be honest, my blog isn’t very resourceful. I don’t teach ya’ll anything significant on a daily basis. BUT I’ve been blessed with a hilarious personality and extreme knack for taking pictures, which you have all clung to and can’t wait to return to day after day to see what charming tidbit I’ve posted this time. No, but honestly. There are a few blogs I read (who I stumbled upon randomly or through another blog) that I love mostly because I feel like I’m following a story unfold. The bloggers’ writing, pictures, ect, is so fun and inspiring that I can’t help but go back to finish the story.
7. Blog loyalty: I know people who only follow 4 blogs, and that is all. They won’t follow any more because either they feel like their ‘cheating’ on the first food blog they ever stumbled upon, or they don’t want to waste anymore time than they already do. That’s fine. I’m sort of like that. I have a preliminary “potential good read” list in my bookmarks, and after months of reading and enjoying the content, it’ll get added to my every day Google Reader feed. But I do venture out to different types, like a UX blog, to learn something useful, or I’ll not only read the most famous packaging design blog, but also a less-famous one. This is so I can see a bigger variety of designs. Branching out also exposes me to more than just one side of a certain industry, because most blogs are just one person’s thoughts, and it’s good to get more than one opinion.
8. Being yourself: If you want to start a blog, do it for YOU. Don’t do it because you moved across the country and your family wants to know how you’re doing. If you start a blog solely because of peer pressure or “feeling” like you “should” have one, it’s not going to be fun. And, in my opinion, it should ALWAYS be fun. And it should always reflect your personality. If you’re starting a blog, write/make a ton of content first, so it doesn’t take a month to make your next post. If you want to blog consistently, have a theme or a “series” (think my For Your Inspiration series – every Monday). If you want people to follow your blog, share it. If you’re weirded out knowing people in your life will know all of your life details, you probably shouldn’t start a blog…
. . .
So anyways. My incoherent/inconsistent thoughts have barely touched the surface of the blog world. Please don’t hate me if I forgot an important thought (I tend to do that). In fact, comment and tell me what I forgot! Also answer this: Why do you read blogs? Do you only read one ‘genre’ of blogs? If you’re a blogger, why do you blog? For personal or business use? Spill. The. Beans.
In conclusion: I LOVE THE BLOG WORLD. Really. I do.