Better Blogging, Part One

This article on better blogging needs a preamble; sometimes that’s just how things go. We’ll get to the initial blogging tips in a quick minute; stick with me.

Back on June 27th, 2018, I wrote an article titled 22 Things You Need To Do To Help Promote Your Blog Or Business On Social Media. At that time, not only was I highlighting my 17th year of being self employed, I was also highlighting that I’d just written my 1,800th article on this particular blog.

When you have that much content over the course of 11-12 years, you’ve probably written some articles that were pretty good. With a few updates, you can make them new again. That’s what writing evergreen content is all about. I talked about the concept of repurposing content in February of this year, but I’ve touched upon it here and there before now.

Why repurpose articles? Turns out that many articles get to a certain age and the search engines forget they’re around. Unless they’re consistently getting traffic, you’re not getting much benefit from them any longer. Thus, if an article is still fairly evergreen, updating it and re-releasing it makes a lot of sense.

That’s what I’m doing with this article and it’s successor. Since last June, I’ve had 58 articles before this one go live. Out of that 58, 30 have been original; 28 have been repurposed. The dates of those repurposed articles have been between 2010 and 2015. This one was originally written in 2011. It was half of the first of my pillar posts, and I had so little confidence then that anyone would read an article almost 6,000 words that I split it in two. These days that doesn’t happen; oh well…

My goal back then was to write 2 pillar posts for the year. I ended up writing the one. I’ve written multiple pillar posts since then, but this started the revolution. However, both this article and the following one got few comments. They did well as far as visits go, which proves they deserve being updated.

Let’s proceed. Basically, this is about to be a very long post. Its intention is to put as many concepts of my belief of what better blogging is all about in one place. Most of the concepts in this post I have covered elsewhere on this blog, but they’re scattered in many different articles.

For the majority of you who visit this blog all the time, this post really isn’t for you. I’d love you to take the time to read it and comment on it, but the truth of the matter is I don’t expect most of you to take the time to read this entire post. I also hope you share this post with some of your readers or friends or whomever whenever the topic of what blogging is all about comes up.

The original post was more than 5,300 words long, and even for a pillar posts in the day that was a bit long. That’s why I broke it up into two posts, which I ran back to back.

Y’all have been warned this is going to be long; let’s get started.

Let’s get this first concept out of the way; what is real blogging? I’m using that term to differentiate it from other types of blogging that, in my opinion, really aren’t blogging at all. Real blogging isn’t a bunch of sales posts. Real blogging isn’t a bunch of news posts. Real blogging is putting together posts that have to do with either your opinion, or the opportunity to show your expertise in something.

If all you’re doing is posting a bunch of pictures or videos all the time, that’s not real blogging because you really haven’t given anything of yourself. That is, of course, not assuming that every video you put on a blog is you talking or that you’re sharing your own images. I think we can make allowances for that, because some people really hate writing and would rather make videos. As I’ve learned lately, it takes some work to get videos down to a science so that you don’t look like an idiot.

There are many pros to blogging. The number one pro is the opportunity to express yourself to let people know how you feel and how you think. What’s the point of blogging if you’re not going to do that?

The sidebar pro to that is if you’re blogging to highlight your business or your expertise in something. Blogging is a great way to show that, and because blogs aren’t static, that means you have the opportunity to write something new every day if you want to. You also get to show the range of your expertise.

Another pro about blogging is that you can make money from it. Not all that many people make a lot of money from it, but it can happen. I don’t make a lot of money off of this blog, but I have a different blog where I’ve taken in a lot of money from people who want to advertise on it. I have a 3rd blog that’s been generating some affiliate sales lately; I’m not mad at that.

I’m not rich by any means, but as I continue to add content and traffic continues to build, the possibility of increasing how much money I make will grow. But anyone who blogs only for the reason of trying to make money will often find themselves failing, wondering why it didn’t work, and giving up.

You can’t have pros without talking about the cons, and there are some negatives to blogging. One, it takes time to blog. Some people, like me, can put together a regular blog post within 10 minutes to a half hour. Some people take days to put together blog posts, and that’s okay as well. The thing to take away from this is that blogging isn’t something you can do quickly. True, you can hire someone to write your blog, but it’s still going to take them some time to get new articles onto your blog.

Another negative about blogging is the same as one of the pros, that being you put yourself out there for people to comment on what it is you have to say. If they don’t like what you have to say you have to figure out whether you can handle their criticism or not. Everybody won’t agree with everything you have to say, especially if you don’t say it in the way you mean it, and reacting the wrong way even once to a bad comment can hurt your blog for a long time to come. Just so you know, sometimes the right way is indignation; you don’t always have to be nice if it’s not called for. 🙂

One last negative is keeping a blog going for a long time. Some very well known bloggers who have had great success with their blogs and made money off their blogs have suddenly found themselves two or three years later feeling too much pressure to continue writing those blogs. A minor statistic I came to researching on my own shows that many people who have commented on this blog when it was new have blogs that no longer exist, or the people who had them had stopped writing on them.

Other statistics shown that close to 70% of all blogs that are created don’t last longer than a year. One thing I always say to people is that if you don’t think you can write on something for longer than a year don’t even start, because nothing looks worse than an abandoned blog. I have a couple I don’t write on often these days, but my responsibilities have changed. Still, I get something on them when I can.

If I haven’t scared you off yet, let’s talk about what you need to think about before you ever start blogging.

The first thing is what you’re going to write about. There are two things to consider when you’re going to look at this issue. The first issue is what do you know? For instance, if you’re an accountant and that’s what you know very well, then maybe you’ll decide to write on accounting. Maybe you know a lot about fashion, even if that’s not your profession; you can go that route. The more you know about a subject, the better the possibility is that you’ll be able to write on it for a long time, and the better blogging you’ll do.

The second issue is what is your passion? For instance, even if you’re an accountant and know a lot about accounting, you might want to talk about monster trucks instead because it’s a passion of yours. It certainly offers up the opportunity to appeal to more people than accounting might, and unless you’re writing a business blog, passion and enthusiasm goes a long way towards attracting other people to your blog.

It also helps if you have a lot of knowledge in what you’re passionate about. It does no good to say you love television yet can’t remember the names of any of the TV shows you watch or the actors who are on those shows. By the way, passion comes in different degrees; if you’re interested in it enough to be able to write about it for a long time, you’re good.

Something else to think about is the concept of niche versus non-niche blogging. A niche blog basically says you write on one subject and one subject only. Say for instance that you want to talk about painting, and I mean house or building painting, not art. Every article you write will concern painting and nothing else.

However, a niche blog doesn’t mean that you have to limit yourself as much as you might think. Talking about painting houses or buildings offers a lot of things you can talk about. You can talk about different brands of paint; you can talk about the ways of mixing paints together; you can talk about the different types of paint; you can talk about different ways of painting, such as textures and the like; you can even talk about some of the problems and successes you have had in painting different surfaces. There are a lot more topics I could come up with, and I don’t even know how to paint. 🙂

Non-niche blogging is a different story entirely. For instance, you might be someone who likes to write a lot of stories on different subjects, even funny stories. You might be a conspiracy theorist that sees government intrusions across the world in many different areas. Or you might be someone who just likes to tell things about your life, what you discover, or anything that comes to mind, kind of like this blog most of the time.

Not having a niche means you can pretty much write about anything, and therefore you should always have some kind of inspiration to continue going. It can be a lot easier to write, but it can be a lot harder to consistently keep certain people coming to your blog and it’s certainly hard to optimize. It’s not a bad thing, and even non-niche blogs can make money, if that’s concern of yours. It goes against the grain of all those people out there who say the only way you can make money off a blog is to write a niche blog.

Something else to talk about is the concept of free versus self hosted blogs. There are a lot of free services out there where you can create a blog and start writing almost immediately. A service like Blogger (Blogspot), which is owned by Google, or, offers people a way to start a blog in minutes without having to worry about either paying for it or getting it set up.

Self hosting basically means you’re going to pay little bit of money for the freedom of being able to do whatever you want to do. There are always restrictions of some kind if you’re using a free service, and many people have found that if they cross the line without knowing it suddenly their blog is gone and they’ll lose access to anything that they’ve put on it previously.

Self hosting means you’re going to pay for a domain name, and you’re going to pay for a place to host your blog, which basically means you’re paying for storage space. There are a lot more choices and things you can do if you self host your blog than if you go with the free option. However, both of the free options I mentioned above also have a paid option, and that might be something you want to consider if you decide you want to blog for a long time.

The next thing to think about is, if you’re going to self host your blog, the blogging platform you want to use. Once again, there are free or paid options. I have chosen WordPress software as my blogging platform. It’s free software that’s always being updated to protect against those bad guys who want to take it over, and there are literally tens of thousands of different templates out there that allow you to change the look of your blog. That plus it’s easy to use; if you know anything about coding or aren’t afraid to tinker you can make even further changes.

There are also paid platforms such as FlexSqueeze, Thesis and Joomla. There are some people who will tell you that you have to pay for a theme in order to look professional; that’s a bunch of garbage. What you need to be able to do is write quality content and possibly make some modifications to whatever theme you decide to use to make it seem more like your blog. Still, there are also paid themes that are pretty good; go in the direction you feel fits you best.

The final thing to think about before you start blogging is what your overall blogging goal is going to be. This is going to drive how you decide to move forward with your blog. Is your goal to make money? Is your goal to show expertise in a certain field? Is your goal to help spread your influence? Is your goal to help you publicize yourself? Is your goal to create controversy? You should think about all these things up front before you start, although there’s nothing saying that you can’t mix some of these things here and there.

This is the end of the first half of this topic on better blogging. The next article, part deux, continues this little pillar post series. Stay tuned.; the really good stuff is next!

4 thoughts on “Better Blogging, Part One”

  1. Hi Mitch, Thanks for the thoughtful article. I hadn’t thought much about niche versus non-niche blogging. I find that the more I blog, the more there is to say. Has that been true for you, too?
    Thanks again, Carol

    1. In a way it has. On this blog, although I mainly write about blogging, writing and social media, in general I write about whatever the heck floats my boat. lol However, as it pertains to advertising, I made the most money off my finance and medical billing blogs, which of course were niche sites. My main business site is a niche blog also, but it’s geared more towards showing my proficiency than generating recurring online income. Still, this blog’s the easiest to write for, and I’ve compared some of the oddest things to blogging over the years! 🙂

  2. This is just what I needed to read tonight! I find myself in trap of thinking too much about building traffic and making money, but I write better content when I just focus on the fact that I’m writing about something I am passionate about!

    Thanks for your insight!

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