First off, before we walk down the road less traveled, I want to say that it’s been a crazy week. Aside from all the usual hilarity, I was sent an email by Feedspot letting me know that I got listed in the top 100 dad blogs ranked at number 13. I have to say that I was high gratified. And thank you to all of you for making this endeavor such a success. And then Feedspot sent me another email saying I was listed in the top 30 single dad blogs and I came in at number five. That floored me. It got me to thinking about blogging and the journey. And as always, I am one to want to give back to people. So I thought coming up with tips would be great. But everyone has tips. And I can’t be normal. So I figured I would, in my crazy style, give you ten things to avoid while blogging.
But I am going to backtrack a little first. I remember getting that first post about dad bloggers, and thinking that I had not been around long enough to rank too high. So I imagined myself somewhere in the 90s when I got the notification. And then when I noticed they ranked up to 105, I imagined myself even lower. And as I kept scrolling up the list and started to recognize those amazing dad blogs out there, I began to imagine that I was sent that email by some mistake. But when I got to 13 and saw my picture I felt like I needed to do a double take. How could I be that high? Was someone getting high thinking this?
I had no allusions to believing that I would rank in the top 100 of parenting bloggers. There are far too many amazing mom blogs out there for me to reach that point. But I started this blog in a niche (dad blogs) that I felt like was underserved. And I felt like I could add something to the community. And now I was getting noticed (Aside from the Blogging Recognition and Leibshine Awards). What had I done, or not done that made people think highly of me? What were the things that I learned that made the blog a success to this point? Or had I learned anything at all? This was a better question.
And then I got the notification about the top 30 single dad bloggers. I realized that this niche was more specialized than the last one. So there was bound to be fewer people in it. But it had the man that inspired me to get into the single dad blogging game in the first place at number one. Of course, that figured. I never wanted to be him. But I did want to be able to find my own authentic voice, as he most definitely has. And I wanted to see whether people would appreciate that voice. So these rankings were at least some indication that I have. It’s gratifying to see my inspiration ranked and how far I have come since the moment I decided to throw myself into this blogging world. I thank you.
As a result, I want to give back to you little tidbits that I have learned not to do along the way. But, if you are like me, you always wonder about all of the people who write these fun little “how to blog” posts that are out there. With some of those posts, it seems overwhelming. Add this plugin, use that theme, self-host, don’t self-host, make friends, get on facebook groups, join this group, avoid that group, stand on your head, pat your head, rub your tummy, show your tummy, don’t show your tummy…. AHHHHH!!!!! And then you start looking around at the listings for psychiatrists and wonder whether or not you have gone insane. (Sometimes I still wonder.)
I didn’t want to be like all of the rest and tell you about all of the different things to do when you are out there in the blogging world. As much as I love lists, I didn’t want to become list 50 of 162 that you needed to complete some day. Or to become the bookmarked link on your page that you swore you would get back to but keeps falling further and further down the list of linked pages. I wanted to keep it pithy and have practical things to avoid.
So here I am, with another list, giving you the top ten things to avoid while blogging. And thanks again for making my blog such a success up to this point. You are all awesome!!!
Ten Things To Avoid While Blogging
1) Having No Idea Of What You Are Doing –
Maybe this should have been the last one on my list. I know what you are thinking. Maybe I should give up now because you have no idea what you are doing. But that’s not true. You are writing. But it’s not about the fact that you are writing. Anyone can write. It’s not whether you can write. It’s whether you have anything to write about. Don’t get me wrong. Bloggers get writer’s block too. Try googling list of things to blog about and you will be surprised at how many posts there are there. Thousands!!! You need to have an idea of what you want to communicate before you can communicate it.
2) Thinking You Will Be Making Money Tomorrow –
Yes, bloggers can make money. They can make LOTS of money. I would never pretend to be that blogger. But I do know decent money can be made. If you hope to make money tomorrow, unless you are so lucky that you have won the lottery five times, then stop now. Money won’t come in on your first day, probably won’t come in on your first month, and it’s a crap shoot whether it comes in on your first year. Establish your blog first as a reputable source. Then trade in that cache for cash! But until then, happy writing!
3) Over Extending Yourself –
As you will most likely be working while you are blogging, your hours in the day are limited. It would be nice to just quit right away and give everything to the work, but you cannot. Unless you are Walt Disney Jr. (And I don’t believe there is a Walt Disney Jr.) You will have to be working what amounts to two full-time jobs when you are getting your blog off the ground. If you try to do everything, you will burn out. Manage your time. Get yourself a planner. Use every organizational tool at your disposal. But don’t try to do everything all at once. No one will be happy with the result.
4) Accepting Every Piece Of Advice You Are Given –
That includes this piece of advice. Different things work for different people. You are not your favorite blogger. Even if you admire them like crazy, you are still yourself. So when you get advice, not all of it will work for you. Some people tell you lean and mean is best for every post. Keep it to 800 words. Some people tell you to drown your blog in pictures as they tell 1000 words, or so some person told them. Not all of these will work for you. Some might. Try to know the difference.
5) Doing/Learning Everything At The Same Time –
Blogging is HUGE! Or as Donald Trump might put it: YUGE! There are so many different aspects to blogging. You might want to pick up a book. You might want to try it all by yourself. But just think of all these things you will need to do eventually: writing; coding; self-hosting; graphic design; editing; networking; research; outreach; and marketing. And what’s crazier is that I am probably missing a ton from this list. If you try to do everything at the same time you will run the risk of number 3. You probably will get there eventually. But only after you have learned to better do each one individually.
6) Trying To Get Ahead By Using Other Bloggers –
First off, you are going to need help to get to where you need to go along the way. Sure you can use people and then dump them when they are no longer of use, but where does that leave you? Friendless? Bloggers are a tight knit community. Yes, there are new people coming in all the time but you start to develop some solid friendships out there. If you start using people and damaging them, people will take notice. And then they ostracize you. This doesn’t mean don’t ask for help. This does mean don’t steal information or plant misinformation about another person. People will talk.
7) Going It Alone –
Everything about blogging comes down to relationships. How many relationships can you develop with other bloggers? How will you leverage those relationships to grow your blog and expand your business? Or how do you give value to the people you work with as well as the people who read your material? What kind of relationships do you develop with your audience? All of these require making and maintaining relationships with other people. Trying to accomplish it alone is counterproductive. Start making friends now.
8) Forgetting Your Why –
You started writing for a reason. Did you have stories that you needed to tell? Did you need to help out other people in some significant way? Maybe, you wanted to give your kids some more opportunities? Or did you just want to share some of the amazing recipes that you made with others? Whatever your reason, when you forget the why you did something you will get lost. Things make less sense. And you feel less yourself. At some point, burnout will come. And then where will you be? Put a picture up of your why, to remind yourself wherever you do your work. That way you never forget.
9) Thinking You Need To Pay Lots Of Money To Make Money –
Don’t get me wrong. At some point, an investment must be made if you want to make some money. This means your bank account will look a little lower than it did before. What I do mean is that there are all kinds of services and “solutions” out there saying that if you pay for their materials you will be successful. And I don’t begrudge the people who do sell products to bloggers. They have to make money to and have found a solid group of people to market to. The danger to paying out tons of money to lots of people comes from thinking you can “quick fix” your way into a successful blog. Making money at blogging is a process. It doesn’t happen all at once. (except for those viral posts out there. But those can be here today and gone tomorrow. You want long term success.)
There are a ton of bloggers out there willing to help out without compensation. They love sharing what they learned. They will give you as much, or possibly, even more, information than the ones who want you to pay them cash. Unfortunately, there are also lots of people out there to make a buck off of you. If you pay out money for information you cannot use, how does it help? And as I said, do not accept every piece of information you are given. Paying money for it will drive you away from blogging more quickly.
10) Trying To Be Someone Else –
I have alluded to this already. You have to be your authentic self in order to be successful in blogging. I can love lots of people out there. But to be successful I have to be me. It will be tempting to mimic other people out there. And for the days you will have writer’s block it will be tempting to copy what someone else has done in tone if not in actual wording. Avoid this!
I know you do not think you always have something to say. But honestly, you do. It’s just that you might be afraid that no one wants to hear you say it. The great thing about this crazy blogging world is that someone will want to hear what you have to say. I guarantee that. So be the most you that you can be, and you will draw the kind of audience that you will want to spend time with. Because they will see you for the valuable human you are.
Continuing The Conversation –
I just want to say thank you again for getting me ranked as the number 13 dad blogger and the number 5 single dad blogger. Without you my audience, this journey would be rather dull. I know many of you are bloggers out there. What things would you include in the things to avoid list? Please comment at the bottom as I am sure there are so many things I have missed I cannot keep count. I feel like I am Denny Crane from Boston Legal saying I have mad cow disease. There are some brain cells that seem to be missing. Ah well!
For those who appreciated this post, you can take a look at some of my other blogging posts. Catch some amazing bloggers out there that I love, and learn some of the lessons from my journey. Also, do not forget to follow me here at the Guide. You will get access to exclusive content, and someday a regular newsletter. It’s on my “to do” list. I swear! Thanks for stopping by once again.
Until next time, this is me signing off.
David Elliott, Single Dad’s Guide to Life