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The 7 Deadly Sins of Blogging
What Not To Do While Blogging
No matter what people say, no matter how hard they try and deny the inevitable; blogging has etched out a legitimate place in the writing hemisphere. Not only has it become one of the key components in the tech-savvy world, with thousands upon thousands of followers it has become one of the newest forms of the American pastime. Ask anyone and you’re sure to find out about the many blogs that they follow. From DIY, home improvement, health and fitness, or even writing blogs, there’s something to suit everyone’s taste.
Bloggers far and wide search for some kind of fame and glory on their blog. Unless a writer is using their blog to fill with journal entries, there’s a reason and a purpose behind their work. Many bloggers have found mild amounts of fame: Jenny Lawson, the Bloggess, has a New York Time’s bestseller, Ali Malfucci now has a bestselling cookbook, and the Tone It Up girls have a television show. For many it’s the dream and the light at the end of the tunnel. For others, it’s a vision too far out of reach to make an actual reality. The difference in many of the blogs, of course, comes down to many different factors, just one of which happens to be money. But, for a blog to get advertising interest it has to garner followers and to do that, it has to work as a well-oiled machine.
Running a blog is easy, turning it into something people follow every day, however, is not. By understanding the sins of blogging, you’ll be able to take the next big step in your blog’s growth.
Keeping To Yourself
The whole point of blogging is to convey information to the world and in turn gain followers. Followers are the way you’re going to make money, they’re who are going to spread the news about your great post, and they’re the ones that are going to comment, engage, and take interest in you and your blog. You need to return the favor. Becoming one of those bloggers who frequently ignores messages in their ask-box, comments, or concerns are the ones who quickly find their blogs losing followers and momentum. If you find that engaging with your followers is tiresome, then success in blogging probably won’t come easy.
Along the same lines of keeping to yourself, avoiding connections is damaging to your career as a blogger. Connections that are made in the blogging world are key to gaining and keeping more followers. Sharing the posts of your fellow bloggers, for example, and giving credit where credit is due, will often nudge other bloggers to reciprocate. By doing so, you’ll find an increase in followers as they come over from other blogs to yours. You don’t want to be seen as a blogger who has no interest in others. Friendly, cooperative, and uplifting blogs do better in the long run, giving your work a better chance to succeed.
A Fear of Social Media
When I started out, I didn’t think that there was much for me to offer in the way of Facebook or Twitter. Guess what? It doesn’t matter. Bloggers who fear social media will not succeed in creating a successful, moneymaking blog. Social media creates a web of connections and allows those unable to follow your blog to keep in contact with you elsewhere. Connections via all forms of social media will get your name and blog out there for the world to see. If you aren’t already, look into starting a Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and whatever other social media outlet can help your platform grow. Don’t fear social media—embrace it.
Forgetting Your Platform
Platforms are what make a blog work. Consider, if you will, the blogs that you follow. Whether it’s a health and fitness blog or something else that's garnered success, I’m willing to bet that they post about the same kinds of things, and rarely—if ever—break away from it. That’s because a good blogger understands that their followers are following them for a reason. You like what you’ve seen and you’ve come to expect certain types of posts or information from their blog. Also, don't forget to stick with what you know. Nothing is worse than reading a post that's clearly been written by someone who hasn't a clue about what they're writing. Likewise, with your blog be aware of what your platform is and stick to it. Find your niche, your voice, and your specialty and don’t veer away from it. If for some reason you need to change your platform, do so on a separate blog and start from scratch.
I follow several blogs throughout the blogosphere, and I’ll never forget the first time I saw this happen. It was a fairly popular blog who basically called out their current and potential followers for asking questions that could easily be looked up on the Internet. In all fairness, I understand the tiredness of constantly responding to questions and comments. However, when you try to grow your blog it is something you must expect and be prepared for. If you need to take a break, then do so! You’re entitled to that because you’re a person, too. However, you should always be kind and courteous to your followers, allowing them to come to you with their questions about your field. If you think it’s something they could answer themselves, kindly explain to your followers to reread their question before hitting the send button. Inform them that if it can be answered on Google then you won't be answering it, and will spend the time sharing information with another person. Chances are, your followers will get the hint.
It wasn’t allowed in high school for a reason, it got you kicked out of college for the same reason, and no matter how much you might wish otherwise, it still isn’t okay. Plagiarizing is stealing--plain and simple. It shows a total lack of respect for fellow writers, bloggers, and to your followers as well. If your followers think you’re providing them with genuine information and you aren’t you are betraying their trust in following you. While the blogging world has become so large, it’s become difficult to sort through all of the plagiarism, it’s still something to never do. If you want to borrow pictures, information, videos, tutorials, or blog posts of any kind then always give credit to the author. Just because it’s no longer as easily traced, doesn’t mean it’s going unnoticed.
What 7 Deadly Sin of Blogging Do You Practice the Most?
Keeping To the Shadows
The best blogs have a person behind them and not just a name. Much like your platform, your blog should have a personality, and that personality should be yours. It’s much easier to be yourself than it is to carry on a persona that you think the world wants to see. Imagine if Jennifer Lawrence avoided being her klutzy-self, or if Amy Schumer stopped discussing women’s rights, or Jenny Lawson suddenly stopped writing from her goofy, insightful brain—the world wouldn’t feel quite right. Likewise, pretending to be one way on your blog will feel unnatural and false. Be authentic and provide your authentic answers and responses to your followers. Not only will your posts flow better, but also your platform will be stronger for it.
It’s hard enough to filter through the endless number of blogs and find one worth following, without committing to the seven deadly sins of blogging. I've found that avoiding these seven pitfalls have helped me on the way to over 10k followers. I'm not telling you this to brag, I'm telling this to assure you that it IS possible! You don't have to be a blogging celebrity to amass the amounts of followers you want. All you need is a little ingenuity, patience, and research.
What do you think? Do you think there’s an eighth, ninth, twentieth sin? Let me know in the comments below!