I started blogging in 2005. My husband and I were living several hours from our families, and I was pregnant with our first child who also happened to be the first grandchild. We were both working full time, and I was exhausted from repeating the same information over and over with every ultrasound appointment. I decided the best way to keep things fair for everyone was to develop a central location for communication. Unedited pictures, a few comments, and an Amazon Wish List link were included.
A lot has changed since my first blog, beginning with the fact that the blog itself no longer exists and instead has been turned into digital photo books. Blogging has become an avenue for creative expression. It is still a central location for communication, but my audience has expanded. As a bonus, my blog has become a small source of income and has been a bridge to receiving free products and meeting amazing people with similar passions.
There have been some major shifts in blogging since 2005, and I’ve found that for every blog that starts, two end due to overwhelmed or frustrated writers who feel they have lost the battle for readers. The blog battle I’m discussing today is about more than the number of your readers. It’s the one that causes you to consider changing your blog content and causes you to lose your voice, writing about topics you aren’t that interested in but seem popular. And worse of all, the battle that causes you to convince yourself to give up on blogging.
When I was blogging for our extended families, my audience was easily defined. But it’s not always that way, and this isn’t something that should be rushed. Let’s say you are passionate about knitting and you find that your friends are always asking you for help. You decide to start a blog where the most common questions are answered about knitting.
Your friends love your content so much they share it, and eventually, you find that your audience has grown well beyond your friend group. That’s awesome because you are helping hundreds of people with knitting.
If you aren’t careful, you could find yourself caught up in the common blogging trap of focusing too much on social media engagement. Often when this happens bloggers find themselves writing on subjects they think might get the most social media shares, even if they are out of context for the blog’s main subject matter. I’ve had friends who have had devotional blogs begin featuring grocery store sales as a way to draw in a larger audience.
Resist this urge! Remember that your friends were the original personas. Not only that, they appreciated your efforts so much they shared your blog with their friends. Your readers came to you for a reason. You are a resource to them.
Ultimately, you should be writing about a subject you are passionate about. And if one post resonates with an audience more than another it doesn’t mean that other post won’t catch the attention you feel it deserves later on.
If you are working a full-time job in addition to maintaining a blog you are likely to find yourself short on time in different seasons. It might be tempting to take a break for a few months, but I suggest you consider a different option.
Develop a schedule that works for you all the time, and stick with it. There is nothing wrong with posting once a week on your blog. I know many people are posting several times a week, and that’s certainly a great option for continuing to keep fresh content in front of your audience, but it’s most important that you create quality content.
If you know that it’s realistic to create one high-quality blog post a week, then that is your goal. When you find yourself inspired and you write three posts in the time it normally takes you to write one, take advantage of it! Schedule those posts out to give yourself a cushion moving forward, or save them to be scheduled for the times when you are on vacation or sick.
In addition to setting a reasonable schedule for posting content, having specific goals will help you keep the right perspective on your blog. With a knitting blog, one goal you might set is to develop partnerships or sponsorship with a yarn brand. This is a great goal, but having that be something that happens in the first month of blogging is unreasonable.
Take time to develop both long-term and short-term goals for your blog. I re-evaluate my goals seasonally, to coincide with what my calendar looks like in the next few months. Sometimes they are on par, other times goals need to be adjusted.
At one time, for a select audience, I was able to get away with blog posts that contained spelling errors, vague references, and had a lack of keyword focus. It didn’t matter how bad my posts were, the star of the blog was my son, and the audience his grandparents and great-grandparents.
Now, with over 1 Billion blogs in circulation, it’s impossible to ignore the details of content marketing, even for a personal blog. Your audience and Google will need help finding you amongst the noise. Taking the time to make sure you have a great title and meta descriptions are key steps to incorporate. An eye catching image will draw attention on social. Incorporating the step of posting on social will help your readers share your blog posts easily.
Most of the time a writer’s blogging battle happens internally. Focusing on the wrong metrics can allow an unnecessary frustration to develop. Taking the time to incorporate some SEO as well as remembering who your persona is can reduce and possibly eliminate the stress induced battle altogether. Take time to set some SMART goals and remember to leave time with each post to focus on the details that will make your blog great. Above all else, give yourself grace and don’t give up! You are helping your audience whether they tell you every time you write or not. Your voice is important, and your blog is worth the fight.
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