Yesterday morning, a friend dropped this note on my Facebook wall:
“So I’m curious–how did you get a successful blog with a good following? I mean, i get how single-topic-niche blogs grow audiences (I have a writing blog that gets tons of views) but I don’t know how you do it when you talk about many different topics! Asking because I wanna have a blog with a similar style as yours but I don’t know how to start out!”
This was a hilarious question to get right after November, seeing that I only posted twice during the whole month of November because I was busy writing a novel. Still, it was a good question, and more than one person was interested in the answer, so I decided to up and write a post about it.
‘filigree’ WIP for jenny f.
Basically the only blogs I read are single-subject blogs: lifestyle, fashion, writing, etc. My blog stretches to every corner of the known subject galaxy. Sometimes I talk about writing, other times art, other times spirituality, life, decorating, fashion, wherever the whim takes me. It’s hard to balance a blog like this sometimes, and I find myself reading other corners of the internet and wondering, “Should I condense it all? Should I stop blogging about spirituality and just stick to writing? Should I do anything different?”
And then I think, ‘Nah.’
Several years ago, when I switched my platform from Blogger to WordPress, I had the opposite concerns. How was I supposed to have a blog about everything? How was it supposed to gain any readers?
I don’t have any totally foolproof formula for running ‘an everything blog,’ but here are a few things I’ve learned over the years.
HAVE A THEME
Even if that theme is you; your life, what you’re up to, what you’re writing, what you’re drawing, what you think. It’s easy to look at an everything blog and think, “There’s no theme,” but if you look closely at the ‘About Me’ section on most blogs, that’s where it’s at.
BE THE KIND OF PERSON YOU’D WANT TO KNOW
A blog is both a personal and a public thing – you’re sharing your personal thoughts with a public audience, and like any public speaker, you want to be relatable. You need to be personable. You need to be willing to interact with your readers – and it’s fun! One of my favorite things to do is reply to everyone who comments on my blog whenever possible. Why? Because back when I was a baby blogger just stretching my little blogging wings, actual responses from blog authors made my day. It shows you’re paying attention and it shows you care. Blogging is, in many ways, a relationship – don’t neglect it, put some effort into it, and enjoy it!
INCLUDE PLENTY OF PICTURES…
…preferably ones you take yourself, whenever you can. It offers readers a fun glimpse into your life, and as someone who has been both a blogger and a blog reader for eight years, it’s still one of my favorite things. Try to make your pictures as aesthetically pleasing and insightful as possible to add to the quality of your blog.
HAVE AN ATTRACTIVE THEME THAT’S EASY TO WORK WITH
By this ‘theme’ I don’t mean that of your blog content, but rather the look of your blog. I’m very theme-picky and generally come back to the one I’m using right now. Having a clean, fun, easy-to-navigate theme is a must. If you know someone savvy in blog design, you might get them to help you out. Look around at your favorite blogs and get a feel for what ‘look’ you think suits you best!
HAVE YOUR OWN SOUND
If you’re a fun, peppy person then you probably don’t want to sound stiff and professional. If you’re a serious-minded person, trying to force yourself to write a humorous blog will probably come across awkward and disingenuous. Just be yourself – say what you really think and feel and say it clearly and thoughtfully, but leave plenty of room for your own personality to shine through.
DON’T COPY SOMEONE ELSE
Gather inspiration all you like, but remember – readers will read your blog because they like you. They can tell an imitation or a knockoff from a mile away. You want to be the genuine article, and in doing so, you will draw genuine readers.
REMEMBER TO HAVE FUN, AND REMEMBER YOU’RE THE BOSS
Don’t feel like posting something? Don’t post it. Feel like posting something? Post it. Don’t want to take your friend up on that blog tag? Then don’t. This is your space and your platform, and you can do whatever you want with it. Honestly the lack of rules might seem a bit daunting, but over time you’ll create a blog feel that you enjoy and are happy with. It’ll probably take some time, but that’s okay – most blogs start out fairly awkward and smooth out as they mature. Enjoy yourself and remember, the master of your domain is you – and since you won’t please everyone, you might as well do what makes you happy.
I hope this was at least vaguely helpful – basically; be friendly, be open, be honest, and have fun!