If you like your hobbies inexpensive and not too challenging (and you can type or tap keys on phone’s keypad), I highly recommend blogging. Plenty of people have started blogs because it’s easy to do, and the blogs end up abandoned not long after an oh-so-promising beginning. While I really dislike abandoned blogs, it’s better in my mind to stop blogging rather than regularly update a blog that’s not valuable—your readers can always tell when you’re putting out crap.
Ah, value! Like beauty it’s definitely in the eye of the beholder: you may consider a blog showing you how to apply makeup a waste of time, but to someone whose attempts to wear eyeliner result in her looking like a raccoon, such a blog would be invaluable! The blogs I find least valuable are those that copy content from more popular sites—if you want to share about something like that, you don’t have to copy and paste the entire original post: you can instead link to it and share your opinion—to the opinion of someone I’ve grown to trust (from reading their blog) is valuable, something that I as a reader could not get elsewhere.
After blogging for a while it’s easy to blog on autopilot without really thinking about how each blog post relates to the overall goal of the blog or what readers may be expecting (and it’s silly to claim to you’re “writing for yourself” while maintaining a publicly accessible blog—if you wanted to write for yourself alone your blog would be password protected so it couldn’t be discovered by anyone). Not all blogs start out with a goal but after a while you find your groove with regard to topic or purpose and once you know what works with your audience and what you like to write about, that’s a good place to stay (and of course you can move from this).
How do you know if your blog is valuable to others
(This is for people who have been blogging consistently (1-2 times a week) for several months at the very least)
- It gets visitors who linger
This is simple enough: if you can see from your stats that people are finding your blog and staying a while, that means something—we’ve all landed on pages that we bounced from as soon as we got there.
- People leave comments
This is pretty much the highest compliment a reader can bestow on a blogger.
- People leave meaningful comments or send an email response
I lied—this is the highest compliment a reader can give a blogger: a reader who reads the blog post, digests it, and makes the time to come up with one or more thoughtful replies is showing the blogger through their time investment that they value the blog.
- People send you money because they feel they should pay for the amazing content you’re providing
Um, if this happens to you please share your secrets!
In the early days of your blog it can feel like you’re writing for your biggest fan (you) because no one has discovered your blog. Get over that by reaching out to bloggers you like and commenting meaningfully on their blog posts—this can draw the blogger (or his or her readers) back to your site, based on your comment!
If you’re thinking about your blog and wondering if it’s valuable, here are some questions to consider:
- What do you like to talk about?
If you’re blogging about something that you don’t really feel connected to or have interest in, it’ll show in lackluster posts that don’t get anyone interested enough to read, talk less reply with a comment.
- Which of your existing posts were the most popular?
It’s normal to go through periods where you may not have inspiration for blog topics; by looking over previous posts that were popular, you can see if it’s time to provide an update on a post or share a similar post (from a different angle, on a related topic, or using a similar writing style). The goal is to do more of what has worked.
- Who do you want to connect with through your blog?
So earlier I mentioned that having a public blog means you want people to find your blog and connect with it. While you can’t control who finds your site, by figuring out the types of people you want to reach and writing posts that would speak to them, you can’t help but attract such people over time—in fact what can happen is if your blog is well-targeted, someone who reads your blog and isn’t your target could recommend it to someone who is a better fit for your writing, just because you’ve made it clear who you were writing to.
If you’re a blogger, do you regularly check to make sure your blog is delivering what you want it to deliver or what your readers are expecting?
If you’re a blog reader, how do you determine whether a blog is worth your time?