Anyone can write a blog, and millions do. Because of that, the barrier to entry is actually set rather high. You’re more than welcome to write whatever you want, but it’s unlikely to ever be read. Everyone has to take their licks to reach success, and blogging is no different. For your blog to be found, you need to provide relevant and timely information in a readable format. It’s more difficult than it sounds, but if you follow these seven rules, you’ll have a solid foundation to make your blog influential.
1. Be Brutally Honest
Honesty is always the best policy–especially when writing. Even fiction writers are honest. Authors like Stephen King and J.K. Rowling base their fictional stories on true facts. They extensively research the subjects they write about, and they’re honest when describing the fantasy worlds and stories in their imaginations. This is what makes them successful. Learning to speak and think honestly is a skill we learn, and blogging is a great way to start.
2. Stick to Your Passions
If you’re not passionate about what you’re writing about, you’ll never be seen as an authority on the topic. You’ll always be behind and provide old (or inaccurate) info. Your creative well will run dry rather quickly. No matter what you’re passionate about, you can create a blog around it.
Although my mainstream media posts are about business and technology, my personal blog is much different. I couldn’t focus on those boring subjects 24/7, and I didn’t want to risk writing a piece and not knowing where to post it. Instead, my personal blog discusses drugs, piracy, and entertainment– all subjects I’m well-versed in, but don’t have much of an outlet for. The change has nearly quadrupled my blog traffic, because I’m passionate about my work.
3. Ignore the Haters
No matter who you are or what you do, you’ll face your share of haters. These people will pour their Haterade down your throat, telling you that everything you do is wrong, and you will fail. There are various ways to deal with haters, but my personal favorite is the acquaintance zone, which is a distant and much more insulting friend zone, as you leave these people in limbo. Kindly brush those haters off–don’t even acknowledge their words. Simply shut them down and move on.
4. Find Your Voice
If you follow the three steps above, you’ll start to develop your true voice. Once you find your voice, writing becomes much easier. Rather than thinking of what to write, you begin to write in a stream-of-consciousness manner. You’re no longer searching for words, but for topics to lend your voice to. It’s a subtle difference, but it changes everything.
5. Keep Writing
If you want to be a writer, you have to keep writing. You can stress about all the imperfections, fears, and other details, but continue to write. When I started, I only wrote once, maybe twice, a week. My average over the last six months is four pages per day. At that rate, I’m able to write a Song of Ice and Fire (Game of Thrones to the television crowd) book every two years. Unfortunately, not every page I write is on that level. In another five years, I hope to be able to crank out a novel a year, on top of blogging.
6. Seriously… Write More
Michael Jordan got good at basketball by playing. Rihanna got good at singing by singing. The only way you’ll ever become a better writer is by writing. Push yourself to continue writing. Even if nobody reads it, it’ll make your site look fuller by the time someone does. Nobody wants to hit a site that only has one blog and nothing else. A deep archive makes it look like you belong there. Keep writing.
7. The Devil Is in the Details
The hardest part about writing is formatting. It’s not that it’s technically hard; HTML is a simple language to learn. You must be very detail-oriented, though. Learn SEO tactics to ensure maximum visibility of your blog. Pay attention to picture titles, captions, file names, and tags. Ensure every page has a header, a picture, and links to other sections of your blog. Every detail counts, and it’ll keep people on your blog longer, which will continue to help your site.
Blogging looks simple on the surface–everyone has an opinion to share. The difference between James Altucher and Joe Schmo lies in the amount of effort put into it. If you’re not willing to dedicate the time and effort necessary to succeed, you’ll always be outshined by the thousands who are. Stop being frignorant, roll up your sleeves, get your quill out, and get to writing.
Featured photo credit: Calm Blue Oceans via calmblueoceans.com