Lately, I’ve been getting asked a lot of blogging-related questions so today I’m going to share some insight and advice on how to get noticed and a few of the steps it takes to build a solid blog. Please feel free to leave a comment if you have more specific questions!
In The Beginning: Nubbytwiglet.com, Fall 2007
Blogging isn’t easy. Though the internet is overflowing with how-to articles and more advice than anyone needs, the truth is that there’s not a proven formula to gaining notoriety. Rather, here are some concepts to consider, whether you’re new to blogging or have been at it for years:
If you’re seeking a massive readership, you’ve got a long road ahead of you, considering that there are over 100 million blogs out there.
With many niches already at saturation point, the one thing that you can do to stand out from your competition is to offer a unique perspective. How? Start by simply asking yourself “What makes my perspective unique and interesting?” You should be able to easily rattle off a list of ways that your blog differs from its nearest competitors. This cannot be stressed enough. If you’re presenting a carbon copy of someone else’s theme, personal style, voice and aesthetics, it can be a huge turn-off and readers will usually default back to the originator.
When making a list of what encapsulates your unique perspective, it can be super simple or totally outlandish. It may be as straightforward as finding your unique voice. Do you have an uncanny knack for ‘keeping it real’ that people admire? Or, maybe you have an awe-inspiring job (International Playgirl, anyone?). What about an amazing collection of shoes? Or, perhaps you possess a treasure trove of thousands of MP3s and an inside look at the music business. Play up your uniqueness and make the most of what you’ve got.
Blog because you’re passionate about your subject matter and about sharing what you know. Blogging for the sole purpose of gains (monetary and otherwise) won’t get you very far. To receive whatever it is that you’re after, it’s only fair that you’re willing to give something in return. Being completely self-absorbed and not offering your readers anything of genuine value will get old fast.
What can you give? Consider sharing advice about your profession or how to earn an education in a similar field as your own. Maybe you’re skilled at painting, drawing, knitting or another hobby and can share the outcomes of your projects along with tutorials. Do you possess a unique fashion sense? Share it with the world and inspire people as they’re getting dressed in the morning! Are you a brilliant writer? Share your experiences and offer your readers advice.
Besides offering content that no one else has, unique columns also add structure to your blog. If you keep a regular schedule, it helps readers to know what to expect on certain days. I’ve developed quite a few including The Typofiles (Tuesdays), Ask Nubby (occasional Wednesdays), What I Wore (twice a week), Link Love (Thursdays), The Week In Pictures (Fridays) and more that are all listed here.
Post content at regular intervals (but don’t post just because). Figure out a schedule that works for you and your lifestyle. Personally, I am happy with posting five to six days a week, but if three times a week works for you, that is fine. Be relentless with the schedule that you set for yourself. Posting a week straight and then disappearing for a month without a mention of why comes across as flaky and makes you seem undependable. We all get busy and we all have lives to live. The bottom line is this: don’t set yourself up for an unrealistic schedule that you can’t keep. Set your expectations while keeping time constraints and other commitments in mind.
Share what you love and always remember to link to it. Giving link love is one of the best ways to support those you admire while gaining authority from other blogs that share your links.
I know so many people that want to blog, but are holding out until their theme is perfect, until their prewritten articles have reached a certain number and until they’ve gotten their niche and elevator pitch perfectly crafted. While preparation is great, perfection is impossible. Waiting isn’t doing you any favors. Think of the content and amount of readers that you would have now if your blog had gone live in its imperfect state six months ago. Two years into Nubbytwiglet.com, I’m still making tiny changes on weekly basis. And, there’s still so much to do. Embrace the imperfect nature of digital content. It’s constantly shifting and growing and that’s what makes it fun to watch.
Two years into blogging five times a week, some days are still a struggle. There will be days where a post that you spent hours meticulously crafting barely receives any comments. There will be instances when you wonder if the time and energy you’ve committed is even worth it. Sometimes, you will feel as if your inspiration has been sapped dry. Then one day, when you least expect it, things will just click. It took me a year of regular blogging before my stats spiked and freelance and advertising offers began rolling in. It’s all about perseverance and dedication.
One of the coolest parts about blogging is to see a blog grow and change with a person. When I first started blogging, I was a full-time design student sharing my projects and vacation photos. The blog has continued on through multiple jobs, internships, business endeavors and freelance gigs. And, it is still a constant reminder of not only where I’ve been but where I’m going. Follow through with your blogging plan and refuse to give up, even when things get tough. People will notice. And, you’ll eventually be rewarded in ways that you cannot even imagine right now.