6 conventional blogging tips that may make sense for personal blogs

Random pens, pencils and erasers in a fibre box

One blogger apparently needs 10,000 pens

Most tips for business and professional blogs are not much use to us personal bloggers. We are blogging for creativity or company or fun — or all three — or for other idiosyncratic, non-commercial reasons.  However, certain time-honoured tips apply to every blog, including personal bloggers. Here are six that you may find useful, if and when you remember them.

  1. Write for yourself first
  2. Stay true to your voice
  3. Be patient
  4. Write catchy headlines
  5. Engage with others
  6. Just get started

This year I’ll write more about these and other guidelines for individual bloggers, and provide links to existing help for non-commercial bloggers.

Maybe you’re like me, someone who has no desire to “succeed” as a blogger, if success is measured by thousands of followers and a six-figure income. Maybe like me you enjoy the quiet world of blogging, with its comfortable balance of contemplation, stimulation, autonomy and company. Maybe you see blogging as a way to express yourself, to become a better writer or photographer or cook. Maybe your blog is just a diary or a convenient database. Maybe it’s a virtual cafe or club where you meet your friends.

How many personal bloggers are there?

Among the millions of blogs out there, how many of us are personal bloggers? Nobody knows, because blogs start and stop at a crazy pace. According to codeinwp:

  • 17 posts are published every second on WordPress sites around the world.
  • 50,000 WordPress.com websites are being launched daily.

All I know is that we matter, our blogs matter, and we can all do with a bit of help now and then.

How idiosyncratic can you get?

I do want to help and offer advice. But honestly, some of my favourite blogs break all the rules.

James Wharris calls his blog Auxiliary Memory, which is exactly how a blog can function. His 1000th post lists 77 things he has learned from blogging. Read them and marvel. Very few of these (for example #44 and #45) are conventional in any sense: that’s what makes them so interesting. Many ring true to my own experience (for example #2, #12, #16, #32), some are off the wall (for example #59) and many are thoughts I had never thought but make perfect sense (for example #54 and #75).

Your blog, your rules. Or your blog, your no-rules. Or your blog, your learning-on-the-job. Enjoy your blog trip and let it rip.

18 thoughts on “6 conventional blogging tips that may make sense for personal blogs

  1. I’m in a sort of lull with my blog at the moment. I haven’t published much in the past 12 months or so. However, for some reason I want to hold onto it, and I will for the time being anyway. Thank you for the tips, I look forward to more on the subject in coming posts.

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      I understand. You might want to look at micro.blog, which is friendly, ad-free, and less burdened with (self imposed) expectations.

      1. Thank you, I will check it out.

  2. Miraz Jordan says:

    Rachel, after blogging for ever, often on ‘topics’, I ground to a halt. Then my heavy blog just weighed on me and made me feel guilty. I’m about to close KnowIt and have moved to a service called Micro.blog, with a small monthly fee, zero setup and a friendly and welcoming community. You can write posts as long or short as you like, but those below 280 characters are published in full in a community ‘feed’ where others commonly respond and enjoy discussions. Longer posts are published too, but only a title and link. I’m now writing regularly again, a personal blog whose topics cover this, that and the other. You and your readers may be interested in looking at Micro.blog.

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      I find micro.blog intriguing and visit sometimes. I expect I can never get the feel of it without joining, and the last thing I need is another social network. But zero setup and complete control is appealing indeed. I’m not surprised you stopped blogging. Yours was a phenomenal output.

  3. “Let it rip”. Very classic kiwi saying. Love that say and I am loving blogging. It’s me time as I enjoy a cuppa with my laptop on the balcony. I don’t analysis how much time I spend on doing it, as I enjoy the interaction, reading other bloggers posts. Nothing else in my life is being compromised. Yes, my blog my rules.

  4. alison41 says:

    Enjoyed this post & thanks for the intro to James Wharris and his mighty list!

  5. Jonno says:

    Looking forward to reading your future posts on blogging especially those on catchy titles. It’s the thing we find the hardest. Coming up with a decent post title sometimes takes us as long as writing the post.

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      Thank you—no pressure!?

  6. rummuser says:

    I have been blogging for over a decade now and have enjoyed the experience of not only writing for fun but, also getting to know other bloggers who visit my blog and leave comments. I have also made some personal friends after meeting face to face though our first meetings were via blogs. I enjoy the experience and simply write what comes to my mind whenever it does.

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      You are the very model of a personal blogger!

  7. Thanks for your post. It reenforced my blog style, which is write what comes to me.

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      As personal bloggers we have that freedom.

  8. Shelley says:

    Love this advice, especially the encouragement to find and share your own voice!

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      Thanks Shelley.

  9. Hmmm virtual cafe, I like that.

  10. hilarymb says:

    Hi Rachel – behind the times … but as I’ve moved back to the UK – I really need to evaluate where my blog is taking me – so your articles will really help. I’m about to pop over to see what 77 things resonated with James … I just love the people we meet, the learning/education we can get – cheers for now – Hilary

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      Hi Hilary! That’s a big move and it will change nearly everything. Take your time and yes, I love the connections we make and the excursions into other minds. Keep in touch!

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