This is the big day, folks! My bloggie bestie is here! With a somewhat cyber-friendship, it sure can be difficult to figure out if it’s the ‘real deal”, but there was no doubting it with Beth. We can talk about blogging, husbands, kids, family, world politics, and the meaning of life. Kinda covers it all, eh? I love her so, and I’m incredibly happy she’s here today. The ONE person I learn from the most is Beth, so I know you will too!
Hi everyone! I’m Beth from Home Stories A to Z, and I am thrilled to be over here today on Justa’s blog sharing with you some “musts” that all bloggers should try to live by. I have learned so much in my four years of blogging and Chris was graciously one of my first blog mentors! Before I called her bloggy BFF, I called her “Oh Wise Grasshopper” and bombarded her with my newbie-blogger-questions. Chris emulated the kind of blogger I wanted to be when my blog grew up, and I am so thankful for her mentorship and friendship! I have thought long and hard about what it takes to be a good blogger, and I’ve narrowed it down to ten blogger commandments that I think are some blogging musts!
1. Thou shalt produce good blog content.
Content is king and context is queen. Our site has to have good content to keep people coming back for more. Our content needs to be entertaining, relatable, interesting, engaging, informative, well written, with good photos, and a sense of humor certainly doesn’t hurt :). But we also have to take into consideration the context in which our readers are viewing our site. Are they on a mobile device trying to navigate a mobile unfriendly blog? Are they a new visitor popping in from Pinterest and want to know what we are all about? Are they non-English speaking and unable to easily read our content? Are they searching our blog for our pallet creation but can’t find it because we titled our post “I Did the Coolest Thing EV-AH” instead of “pallet creation”? The context in which our readers are landing on our blog will give us a ton of information on how to keep them engaged and returning. Pay attention to your Google Analytics key words, traffic sources, top posts, etc. to learn about your audience and then use that information to become a better blogger.
2. Thou shalt use one’s blogging and social media platforms for good.
Whether your readership is in the teens or the trillions, you have an amazing opportunity to reach others. Blogging is a powerful gift and can be used to ignite a spark in someone else. We want to be ready for what sparks we might be igniting! Now, if you know me, then you know that I’m not one to shy away from speaking my mind (or from conflict in general). However, I always want to use my blogging platform for good and not for harm. If you’re going to approach any hot-button topics on your blog, then first you might consider seeking out a blog friend to bounce your ideas off of and to give you feedback.
3. Thou shalt have a skin as thick as an elephant’s hide and shall be comfortable with thou delete key. When you blog, you put yourself out there for all to praise and all to criticize. Negative comments sting and are never fun to receive but arguing back seldom does any good. Keep your focus on the positive and just hit that delete key!
4. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s blog.
The comparison game happens to the best of us. It’s so hard not to be envious of a fellow bloggers’ traffic, numbers, home, projects, opportunities, popularity, etc. but coveting just leaves you feeling icky with nothing gained. Make your blog goals be about you and not someone else. Yes, it is cliche’ but it’s also so true: focus on being the best YOU and bringing that to your blog each day.
5. Thou shalt unplug occasionally.
Blogging can easily become all consuming. If you blog for income, it can be even more difficult to place boundaries on your “work time”. When you love what you do it doesn’t feel like work and let’s face it, the internet is addictive. Taking at least one day off from blogging a week is so important for your creative mojo not to mention your family life. Do yourself a favor and unplug at least one day a week.
6. Thou shalt not steal others’ content, photos, ideas, or blog name.
Putting it rather simply: Stealing others’ ideas and passing them off as your own just makes you look dumb. You are amazing all on your own and you don’t need to copy someone else! Be original and if you do copy then of course give credit where credit is due. We all inspire ideas in each other, but our ideas should be different enough from the original that they are clearly our own.
7. Thou shalt honor thy blog family.
Our blog niche is amazing, and I think we’re one of the nicest niches out there! Home bloggers rock. I love that we honor each other through features, re-tweets, facebook shout outs, etc. It’s good bloggy karma and it sets our niche apart. Keep it up!
8. Thou shalt be authentic and relatable. My boys’ bedroom on a typical day
We do “pretty” really well, but we all know that “real life” doesn’t always look like a page from a Pottery Barn catalog. It’s okay to show the not-so-pretty every once in awhile on your blog. It shows others that you are human too. Don’t be scared to be real. People love real people!
9. Thou shalt not make an idol out of one’s blog.
Blog worship is easy to do. Blogging is awesome, inspiring, and fulfills many needs. You are awesome, inspiring, and fulfill the needs of others! However, a blog is just a blog and shouldn’t become the center of your universe. If it has, your priorities are out of whack and it’s time to reevaluate and practice some more of number 5.
10. Thou shalt stay humble.
A healthy self esteem is nice and noteworthy…bragging constantly about how awesome you are is not. I don’t know if it’s just a new style of blog writing, but I’m noticing a huge trend of “I am so amazing” jargon on blogs. I’m all for tooting your own horn, but remember to do so in a spirit of humility. It’s fine to say, “I love how this project turned out!” It’s questionable to say, “Everything I touch turns to gold and I’m going to be bigger than the biggest so you’re going to want to follow me! Bow to me if you must!!” That kind of chest beating is a turn off. Just stay sweet, humble and handle compliments with grace. You are indeed amazing, but don’t let it go to your head. Thanks for letting me share some blog commandments that I try to live by! Let me know in the comments if you have any to add!