265 million tips on blogging

A blogger overwhelmed by blogging advice

Overwhelmed by blogging advice

When I become a Highly Successful Blogger with 1,000 followers — oh why be so modest, 10,000 followers — please, please don’t ask me how I did it.

Here’s the hazard: I would be flattered. And I might actually agree to deliver my gems of wisdom, my 10 or 10,000 tips on how to blog stupendously well. And that would be deeply embarrassing.

You see there are already 265 million pages of “blogging tips”, and if you Google “how to blog” you will discover 6,670 million answers. What more is there to say?

Search results for "how to blog": 6,670,000,000 results

A taxonomy of bloggers

Let me crudely categorise the bloggers I follow into types. Each type has completely different needs.

Type A. Professional bloggers. They work hard at every aspect of their blogging day after day after day. Classic example is Darren Rowse of Problogger.com, who is not only blindingly successful but also knowledgeable, balanced, helpful and authentic. If you want your blog to make money, or to advance your business or professional career, go there for advice.

Type B. Personal bloggers. People like me, who started with a vague idea that blogging might be useful professionally but quickly forgot about that angle and now regard their blog rather as an exercise in self-entertainment and exploration.

Both these types are happy in their work. Blimey, what a sweeping generalisation! Maybe I should say they kind of know what they’re doing, or what they are aiming at. Professional bloggers have a vested interest in improving what they do, but personal bloggers don’t. Not really. And they don’t care because they’re having fun.

And within these “types” — who are not really types at all — are infinite variations because we are all utterly different. We have every reason not to follow the herd, because authenticity is the gold standard of blogging. All the bloggers I follow have chosen to walk their own path. Their blogs are all very, very different— in length and tone and topic and attitude and style. I enjoy tiny frivolous posts, deep long demanding reads, photos, fiction, poems, about politics, philosophy, fitness, feminism, aging, everyday life and so much more. I want posts to take me by surprise, not to trot out the same old recipe for “success”.

Type C. Anxious bloggers. They may be fixated on statistics of Likes and Followers and feel inadequate.  They may suspect there’s one magic trick that will make them an instant “success.” Or they may just suffer from generalized anxiety. So they seek advice. Not by Googling, or taking a course, or following a trusted adviser on blogging, but by asking their favourite bloggers. Who then respond with another 10 Tips for Blogging…

OK Personal Blogger, here come my 4 tips (I just can’t help myself)

It’s only one tip, actually. Why would you try to change yourself with the hope that strangers might find you, like you and follow you? That would destroy you. Don’t do it.

Of course, read tips, do a course, get the hang of this blogging thing. I recommend The Daily Post Blogging University, for instance. And then get going. Don’t be scared, just start.

Stop worrying about what hypothetical readers might hypothetically want. Figure out what you want. If it’s instant easy “success” with 10,000 followers by Tuesday, forget it: this is not going to happen, luckily. Blog the way you feel like blogging on the day. Keep on blogging your way, in your time, when you feel like it. Be yourself and let the followers come or not. (They will. And they’re lovely.)

And lighten up! What’s the worst that could happen? You learn with experience? I rest my case.

19 thoughts on “265 million tips on blogging

  1. Good advise. Too many get caught up in statistics. Work on getting conversations going especially in comments. That’s where the success is.

    1. You’re a champ, Kate, and you do it your way.

  2. bone&silver says:

    I think the younger generation of bloggers is more caught up with the whole ‘numbers=success’ pressure; that’s the dominant social media culture isn’t it, especially on Instagram? Whereas us oldies place more value in genuine engagement and conversations, as well as the sheer delight of writing and publishing, plus we probably have ‘real’ jobs to help pay the mortgage etc. Being yourself is absolutely the best advice (& I also wish you 10,000 Followers!), cheers gabrielle : )

    1. Maybe you’re right and it’s a generational thing: I hadn’t thought about that and now I shall. Thanks Gabrielle — and thanks for being yourself!

  3. I just stumbled across your blog while researching blogging tips. Really glad I did!

    I’m squarely in the Type B category here. Personal blogger that realized a hobby picked up on a lark has become far more personally satisfying the expected.

    However, I’ll have to admit, I dooo tend to obsess over the comment section more than I should… in fact, I’d argue that this has become my favorite part of my blog recently. Connecting with fellow bloggers and forming virtual relationships that I never thought possible before… surprisingly satisfying.

    Really glad I bumped into you here Rachel. And looking forward to following!

    1. Aha, here it is, your first elusive comment. Only elusive because I waited a day or so before answering. I think nearly all the people I follow are Type Bs like you and me. Yet as you imply elsewhere, we are capable of shouldering the burden of excessive statistical success, should it come our way. I think you’re right to obsess over the comment section: that’s where the action is and so much enjoyment, right? Now, if we got 1,000 comments for every post, how would we cope? I feel surprised and privileged to be part of this active virtual community. Your own blog is unique, and higher praise I cannot offer. Welcome aboard, once again.

  4. lifecameos says:

    Yes Gabrielle says it all for me.

    1. And I love your contributions–thank you!

      1. lifecameos says:

        Thank you !

  5. Hi Rachel and you’re just so right. I’ve noted the bloggers who are very definitely professional bloggers of which a large majority are also (if you’re talking fashion bloggers) selling stuff. And within that group are the anxious ones who want you to click on sites and tell you so – hmmm. Me, I’m with a few fashion bloggers who don’t sell anything – we just write. Yes, the reason I have a blog is to write and communicate with others – that I just love doing. You’ve nailed it with your tips: go on a course to learnt basics – I did and it was very helpful, and then just write! Not saying it’s easy but for me writing is the prime reason for my blog, and the followers are coming without any selling,so that’s great.

    Thanks for such a relevant (to me) piece – really enjoyed reading it

    1. Hi Penny! I’m glad my anti-blogging-tips hit the spot. I thoroughly enjoy your blog, partly because it lacks that marketing vibe. That leaves you free to be 100% yourself, and what could be better. There’s a paradox deep within the blogging-tips phenomenon.

  6. Well said, Rachel.

  7. Wade says:

    I just want to make stuff and share it! Of course, I’d be lying if I suggested that I didn’t want thousands upon thousands of readers, and that I didn’t want, at least a little bit, that old statistically relevant notion of a successful blog.

    But then again, I’m just gonna make stuff.

    1. Hello Wade! It’s so good to hear from you. I’m sure there’s another comment from you lurking on my website… but meantime, welcome aboard. Making stuff is so much fun, and sharing it means we get to meet each other.

      1. Wade says:

        Cheers to that! I’m all about community. Thanks for the warm welcome.

  8. joared says:

    I’m just a casual blogger, but seems to me some people who began blogging in the very beginning when doing so was new and a novelty might have more readily attracted a lot of readers than, say, presently when so many bloggers and blogs keep getting refined and digital offerings of all kinds have proliferated. Mostly, I think blogging is like much of life, to some extent you get out of it what time effort you put into it. I only write about something that happens to tweak my mind at any given time, which, obviously by readers numbers, isn’t a shared interest of too many people, but I’d be surprised if it was otherwise.

    1. I like your relaxed approach– very healthy.

  9. After two years I’m still flabbergasted that anyone would want to read my blog anyway. But a) it has made me take more notice when I travel and b) it is a joy to make so many ‘pen pals’ and learn of their lives. What more could you ask of a hobby?
    Loved the post Rachel, once more you’ve got us all soul searching.

    1. That’s such a great benefit, that we become more observant just because we blog—an unexpected bonus, just like the fact that you shared the thoughts. Now I’m going round in circles: blog — brain boost — virtual friends — brain boost — blog… Thank you, Lindsay.