So You Want to Start a Blog? | The Content

I’m going to start this off by telling you the opposite of everything else you will read: you do NOT need to choose a niche. Take a look around my blog, it’s been four years and I’ve yet to pick. Don’t worry about it.

What do you like?

The most important thing about blogging is you need to write about things you like. It doesn’t matter if it’s not popular (trust me, you aren’t the only person who likes something), it doesn’t matter if you don’t know everything about it (learn). What matters is that you enjoy what you’re talking about. It shows when bloggers are writing about what’s popular, what they think will sell, it’s not what they care about, they’re doing it for the views.

Find Your Folks

This is the only place you’re going to have trouble when you don’t have a niche- but it’s doable. My folks are for the most part other twenty-somethings generally at the same stage in their life as I am. Each person and I have something different in common, all of my folks are from different “tribes” (a term for another post) if you will.

Finding Your Voice

I don’t like to be professional on my personal blog, these are my thoughts and opinions, and I want to write in a very familiar tone. I want people to know they’re reading Mary’s Average Adventures by a line. I don’t want to be authoritative, I don’t want to lecture, I just want to be, so I use my own voice. A lot of my writing is exactly how I talk– run on sentences and scattered ideas. I’m very scatter-brained- the kind way of saying a mess, but that’s me and that’s what I want my blog to show. My voice is not me showing my best self (did I get tipsy and write the other night, yes), it’s me showing me.

That’s not to say that’s the only way of doing things. If I was talking about business that wouldn’t be okay, but I’m not. You have to figure out what voice fits your blog.

This is you.

A blog isn’t meant to encapsulate anyone but you. It’s meant to house your thoughts or information you think the world should have. It’s you. Don’t worry about what’s popular- it’s easy to fall into the trap of what will get views but at the end of the day it needs to be what’s best for you. Don’t burn out over a blog, that’s silly.

Thoughts? New blogs I should be looking at?

 

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The One-Size-Fits-All Blogging Method

I’m sure you’ve seen it, heck, maybe even my click bait title got you here, but here’s the thing: There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to blogging. According to the “experts”, I’m a failure. I’ve yet to make a dime off of this corner of the internet, so if that’s why you’re here you can click off this page.

Let’s be real, everyone wants to their blog to be successful. Most people would love to quit their job to work from home and make ridiculous amounts of money by blogging, here’s the thing: that’s not the reality.

If you get on Pinterest and look for “blogging tips” or really just anything to do with blogging, it’s all about trying to make $20,000 in the first month. Quite frankly unless you already have a huge online following, like Poppy Dayes, it’s not going to be your reality, well, unless you get super lucky.

So here’s my question: why do so many of those posts exist? How are there blogs dedicated to making money via blogging?

Personally, I believe that it’s because there are a handful of people in the “public” eye making buckets of money via social media, blogging, YouTube, etc. That’s not why people started doing those things though, they did them because they liked it. They fell into the money and now people see it as a get-rich-quick scheme.

It drives me crazy the number of posts I see on how to make $8,000 your first month blogging, or $20,000 your first three, or even “How I quit my six-figure salary full-time job to become a stay at home mom and blogger.” That’s not how it works for everyone. You need your blog to be filled with passion, good content, and it to be what you want it to be. If you formulate your whole blog around someone else’s definition of what a successful blog is, how does that make it any different from the 9-5 job you hate? You still aren’t doing what you love.

There isn’t a one-size fits all blogging method. Plain and simple. If it worked like that we would all be rich. While your content, SEO optimization, keywords, pictures, and outlook is all extremely important to blogging and striving to make money from it, there is an element of luck. The right people need to see your blog and think it’s good enough to be successful. At the end of the day, make it something you love and you’re proud of. Don’t worry if it translates into money or not, don’t count on it is my advice. If it happens, think of it as a happy surprise. If you’re going into it looking to be rich, I just don’t know how successful you will be.

I would be lying if I said that blogging full time isn’t my dream career because it is. There are a few things in life I’m passionate about and blogging is the biggest one. I’ve been doing this for almost four years and I’ve made microscopic amounts of money from it, but it doesn’t matter. I love every second that I’ve poured into my corner of the internet. I treasure every person that I can call a friend because I decided to write a blog. I have a job with benefits because this blog is what made me passionate about the internet. Take those things into account if your blog isn’t literally paying off because psychologically it probably is. There’s no way I would be where I am today without this site.

Blog because you love it. Blog because it will change your life. Blog because you want to. Don’t blog to make six-figures a year.

What do you think?

Why Start a Blog?

Chances are if you found this post you’re on the fence about blogging, well I’m here to tell you why you should and how it will positively impact your life.

  1. It’s fun! Blogging is a good and creative outlet for all of your thoughts that get stuck in your head. You have something to look forward to when you’re bored or have an idea and you have somewhere to put it.
  2. The people and community. I have found that the people in the blogging world and the community that they hold together is simply amazing. While I may not have my own niche community (yet) I have found some great friends and people that have turned into friends, even though I have never actually met them.
  3. Learning more about yourself and the things you love. With communities, commenters, and friends you never knew shared common interests you can learn a lot about the things you love. However, in addition, just by writing consistently you can learn a lot about yourself.
  4. Remembering to write down and document all the really cool stuff that happens to you. There are things I would forget about if I didn’t blog about them. It’s like a virtual, public diary for me. It lets me remember all of the good things that have happened over the past four years (maybe some of the bad too but that’s okay) and that knowledge can help you grow.
  5. Writing helps everything. There is proof that writing is good for you. It stops you from forgetting a lot when you get old. It’s yet to work for me, but hey, it’s worth a try!
  6. Get different opinions! Tired of hearing the same things from your friends? Well ask some internet friends, get a new perspective on a problem you feel like you have exhausted your options on. Share stories of how other opinions have impacted your decision making!
  7. Peer validation!  I mean I’m not saying I need and/or crave peer validation, but it does make me feel better about myself. It helps me from feeling as if I’m the only one facing problems and that there are other people in the same exact place as me. On the other hand, it’s also nice to know people like my blog (if I’m going to get real honest here).
  8. Simple but still creative. Making a pretty website and expressing yourself in your own way can be so simple today. It doesn’t take a lot to click your favorite theme and run with it. You can still be creative with your writing and graphics, but there are very simple ways to handle it.
  9. Simply being creative. (Get it play from tip 8 I’m hilarious) Everyone should just be creative. Take the time and energy and put it into something you love. You have something you like, make it creative and put it in a blog!
  10. Share your thoughts/views/opinions! Everyone thinks, has views and opinions, so why not share them? Why not share your love of tomatoes, fashion, being a mom, makeup, or really just love of anything. There are people out there that you never knew shared the same interests.

Share with me why you started blogging and why you stuck with it! Don’t have a blog yet? Tell me what’s holding you up!

Don’t Read the Blogging Scheming Tips

I hate these blogging tips and getting rich quick schemes that people write for bloggers. It’s nothing I have against the bloggers themselves, rather they typically produce really good content which is probably while they feel compelled on how to share their success. I’m not trying to bash on those who get money from blogging, because who doesn’t want to make money off a hobby? But I feel like these scheming tips aren’t going to help everyone.

I will admit, that I used to often read these and try to adapt to these methods of getting sponsorships, more readers, and just trying to figure out the game to being successful. And no matter what I did, my bests posts always came back to the ones that were filled with me and my personality. Sure, my everyday makeup routine brought in views, but I hated doing that post. I still hate that post. I hate that  I chose to do a post for the simple fact that “make up” gets more hits than “college” or any of the other things I typically tag.

That’s what these sites will do. They will give you posts that attract more attention, give suggestions on how to get sponsors, how to get people to notice you, how to make money, and various other “ideas” but these are what worked for them personally. There’s no way to guarantee to these quick sponsorships. It’s all a personal thing. You can put yourself out there and follow all of these tips, but it’s so noticeable when you are blogging  for money or to get rich quick.

When you start to blindly follow these tips you lose your personality. It was the personality of bloggers (hopefully) that got them to the point where they think these tips will help other bloggers, however I think it promotes the idea that blogging should be less of a hobby and more of a job. If you only do something for the money you aren’t going to love it, you aren’t going to be passionate about it, and that’s what makes a good blogger.

I only read a few blogs that I would say make money. A few of them have made posts on how to do it, and I see them doing that with good intentions. I still don’t think though that his is the best way to promote blogging as a fun hobby. Of course more people are going to be intrigued by the idea of blogging and want to try it if they think they can make money off of it, but those aren’t the genuine bloggers that I love to read. I think I can tell when it’s something people really want to do or if it’s something they’re doing to try and get money and it makes me sad.

I know that this is going to be a controversial post simply because I know for-profit blogging is something that some of my readers do, and that’s really not a bad thing, it’s actually a great thing. The only thing I think is wrong with it is when people follow these posts that tell them how to be a for-profit blogger and they don’t read it for the right reason.

While there’s nothing wrong with collecting tips from other bloggers, especially the professionals. I’ve done it, but I did it for the wrong reasons and have since reverted back to writing for myself and not for views or money, while the numbers do get distracting, it is much better writing what I want to write. Even when the bloggers block is unbearable I don’t want to go to what’s going to get me views, I want to find some inspiration that I can relate to, not something that I’ll think “well this will get people to read”, because that’s really not me.

So no, I’m not trying to bash these posts or people, so don’t get me wrong. But my advice is to be personable. It’s every bloggers dream to make money, but that shouldn’t be the sole reason you blog. It’s just a pet peeve of mine that I’ve been noticing a lot recently.

Does anyone else agree or am I on my own for this one?

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Mary’s Blogging Tips

blogging tips

This post may seem like a stretch after yesterdays but I thought it would be important to share the things I have discovered in my year and a half of blogging- the majority of that daily blogging.

  1. Write about your own interests not what you think interests other people. I’ve made the mistake of doing makeup posts or things that I think people would read and they end up being very popular posts but they aren’t well done or things I would consider my best work.
  2. Numbers don’t matter. I often get distracted by the number of people reading, the number of likes, and the number of comments. The happier I am with the content the less I care about the numbers- produce the content you care about and the numbers will begin to reflect your passions.
  3. Don’t pressure yourself. You don’t need to put pressure onto yourself to be the best blogger ever. If you don’t want to do it, don’t. If you don’t want people to know, don’t tell them. Don’t do anything that makes you uncomfortable.
  4. Save drafts. This is something I am constantly learning the hardway considering I never write a post all at once. I put my computer down for five minutes and the next thing I know the internet has crashed three times and there goes any progress I have made. I even lost the first draft of this post which made me add this to the list. There is nothing worse than losing an hour or two worth of work just because you didn’t click save.
  5. Check spelling and grammar. I need to do this more and proofread more often. No one wants to read anything that’s filled with mistakes. I know my posts probably have a lot of mistakes because I hate to proofread and check my work but don’t do what I do and actually check your work! Most host sites provide a spell check service as do most internet browsers- utilize them.
  6. Always write. Even if you aren’t going to hit publish on a post- write it anyway. It keeps the creative juices flowing and it helps to promote a writer’s mind. The more you write, the more you can write.
  7. Find time.  Time needs to be put into every hobby it turns into a question of how much time do you want to put into blogging? Personally I would like to achieve around  5 blog posts a week with each having about two or three hours work into them, I know this will vary. I would say most people probably post once or twice a week but really it’s what makes you comfortable.
  8. Be passionate. People can tell when you are passionate and knowledgeable about what you write compared to how you are when you are neutral or don’t really care about a subject- show it in your writing.
  9. Make friends. Don’t be afraid of talking to bloggers and commenters. I have met people here that I would consider to be great friends. I talk to them on a regular or semiregular basis we are friends with each other on social media, we have built a relationship that’s more than bloggers who read each other’s thoughts.
  10. Use pictures. Don’t be afraid to add color to words. It really helps. If you don’t take them yourself make sure you give credit but the more you can add to a post the better. Long, lengthy posts are great but some people need a visual with that so add it!

Here are my top ten blogging tips! What are some of yours?

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