How to be old—we're all learning

10 blogging guidelines that don’t apply to personal blogs

We personal bloggers have highly individual reasons for blogging.

For whatever reason, you have started a personal blog. So headlines like these spark your interest:

There’s a heck of a lot of headlines where those came from. A search for “successful blog” on Google today produced “About 1,030,000,000 results”, so there’s no shortage of advice out there.

You’ll soon discover that the vast majority of articles assume that you are blogging for business or professional purposes. But hey, you don’t want to build a brand, make money, or grow your business. You are blogging to express yourself, to make friends, to develop your own ideas, to learn about other lives, to expand your understanding of the world, to get advice or support, to offer advice and support to others — or just for fun.

I’ve been a business blogger in my time, blogging for years on behalf of Contented, my business. (We provided books and training courses in — guess what — business writing in the internet age.) After I left Contented, I became familiar with the marvellous unsung world of personal blogs. I soon realised that for us personal bloggers, certain widely accepted guidelines for blogging are just plain inappropriate. Sure, we can do our best to follow those business rules, but we are free to change direction at any point. That’s the point. We are free, yippee! Free to make our blogs like no other, break (nearly) all the rules and make up our own.

Business blog tips vs. personal blog tips

  1. Business blog: build your brand
    Personal blog: just be yourself and find your niche along the way
  2. Business blog: get squillions of followers or you are a failure
    Personal blog: some are happy with six followers or none at all
  3. Business blog: blog frequently and regularly
    Personal blog: it’s OK to blog whenever you like; your blog, your rules
  4. Business blogbe successful, be the best
    Personal blogblogging is not a competition and there’s no such thing as failure
  5. Business blog: monetize your blog from Day One
    Personal blog: making money is not what most personal blogs are for 
  6. Business blogyou must have a professional and brand-appropriate design
    Personal blog: start with a free WordPress theme and customise or change it as you go
  7. Business blogfind powerful topics to write about
    Personal blog: that’s ideal, but many bloggers get satisfaction and find an audience writing about common or generic topics
  8. Business blog: write compelling content
    Personal blog: compelling content is the exception rather than the rule (in business blogs too)
  9. Business blog: focus on writing an amazing call-to-action
    Personal blog: a call-to-action may alienate your readers
  10. Business blog: build your email list
    Personal blogoh please, give me a break!

How to get maximum satisfaction from a personal blog

Now hold on, this is a big topic and the slate is blank! However, I’m keen to deal with it, and I will do so in future articles. My mind is teeming with ideas and I know I can help. Watch this space…

Please give your own ideas and please share!