Due to some positive response in my comment section on my thoughts of what makes of breaks a blog, I have decided to write a four part blogging series on what I think works. I will try to keep these as positive as possible as my fear is offending others.
Please keep in mind I have no intention of offending others as I write these I am simply going off of my experience of what I believe makes a great blog. Trust me I do not think I have a great blog, I am still constantly trying to improve upon it just as I am sure others out there are doing the same. It’s something we all learn along the way. I’m sure if you go back to some of my older entries you will see I have already learned quite a lot from how different it looks when I first started.
Part I: Content
What’s a blog without words?
Whether it be writing skills or what is being written about, the written word is essentially what causes readers to stick around. Nobody wants to read someone constantly complain, just as nobody wants to read someone who is constantly rejoiced. Readers want to read what’s real, and being real means having up and downs. Nobody’s perfect and if you pretend to be no one is going to believe you. One of the many bloggers I read recently refused to be a positive blogger and instead has taken a negative turn. I quickly grew tired of the constant negativity and deleted the blog from my Google reader. It’s ok to have a bad day every once in a while, but constantly dragging every down is a little bit of a bummer. Both extremes of happy and sad are annoying, it’s all about balance. Be sad one day, but grow and move on. Be happy the next and remind everyone that life is still good.
I know in my particular genre of Healthy Lifestyle blogging, there are plenty of blogs out there that are identical to the next. The trick when starting a blog is to think slightly different then the rest. The favorites of the blogs I read grasped my attention by stepping outside of the generic realm of food blogging and found a niche to make their own. For instance Caitlin’s blog is dedicated to healthy living, but it also chronicles her journey as a bride as she stays fit and happy while planning a beautiful wedding. I used to love Jenna’s slogan on her blog where she stated “Surviving pastry school, while still trying to fit in my jeans.” That line and her story is exactly what kept me coming back. Those are just two examples of blogs that have a niche in the healthy lifestyle market.
When I created my blog I was trying to decide what would make me stand out among other bloggers, so I looked to my story as inspiration. I was a recent college graduate who was overcoming my new steady lifestyle so I decided that should be my niche. I did not know really any other blogs that were aimed in that direction so I felt safe in originality. I know there are so many others out there in my same situation and I wanted to show them that being in the real world does not mean you don’t have time to live life. I had found my market.
As far as actual content, when I was simply a reader the blogs I enjoyed most were those who gave a look into their personal lives. With the recap of food and fitness they would tell stories of their day and little musings on the world. This makes bloggers relatable and feel more like friends then the blogging celebrities I saw them as. (Yes, I think of some bloggers as celebrities and would probably squeal and ask for their autograph if I met them in real life…lol…)
I decided on the three posts a day approach simply because those were my favorite ones to read. I was bored at my old job so I would constantly be checking all of the food blogs through out the day and my favorites were those who updated after every meal. They kept me entertained. This was essentially how I became a big fan of Tina’s blog. She updated enough times to hook me in so that I was addicted. I also found with my first attempt at blogging that posting all of your meals in one lump slum was a bit boring to write out. I feel the three posts a day approach gives me a little more creativity. Granted, I still love reading those who post once a day and that does not stop me from being a huge fan. It was just a personal preference I decided on.
I have always been a creative cook in the kitchen. My kitchen creations have been getting strange looks since I learned how to use the stove top. What I enjoyed about Kath’s blog was her constant creativity and new recipes. I knew with my blog I wanted to show my creativity in the kitchen as well and thought even more outside of the box to keep people coming back. I first found food blogs because of the great healthy recipes out there, so I knew I wanted to have that be highlighted as well. A lot of bloggers out there are cooking for multiple people and I didn’t see many singles cooks out there, this is how I found my Perfectly Portioned of One niche. This was something that developed in my blog which I did not originally start out to focus on, but they were such a big hit I went for it. Content develops over time, once you start its easier to decide a direction to go.
I hope you enjoyed your first installment of Blogging 101. Please keep in mind this is strictly my opinion and my thoughts as a reader turned blogger. These are just ideas of how my blogging style came to me and what I think works. Every blog is different and it’s all about how each individual blogger feels.
Please let me know if you have any questions or comments. I’m interested to hear how others feel what in the way of content works for them.
Check back over the next few days for the rest of the series. Including:
- Part II: Design
- Part III: Photos
- Part IV: Marketing