What I Learned After a Year and a Half of Blogging
As part of a generation that has matured with the Internet’s open dialogue, I have spent quite a bit of my time communicating about my experiences with media, books, ideas, fashion, and art. The Internet grew into space for (over)sharing. It started with fan fiction and a website called LiveJournal. On that site, interactions with fellow fans and online friends created communities for me, safe havens.
When I decided to keep track of my wellness journey and my growth as a reader, writer, and overall person, I naturally gravitated toward blogging. Since acquiring my own domain nearly two years ago, I had to learn lessons on content, comments, graphics, and more.
Focus And Variety: A Balance to Strike
One of the greatest lessons I have come to learn from book blogging for a year and a half straight is striking a balance when it comes to content. Audience awareness is crucial. You need to keep things fresh on your blog and include various approaches to your area of expertise.
For instance, the book blogging community can certainly seem like a monotonous approach to blogging because of its seemingly narrow focus. What I have been incorporating more is exploration and play with my focus. So, rather than just talking about books, I can talk about movie adaptations, shows, or musical playlists. I have been slowly inching away from talking about the same ten books and exhausting all opportunities for discussions.
Humanizing the Author
On the Internet, there is a tendency to hide behind avatars and the shroud of anonymity. Granted, I am not one to feel comfortable displaying my pictures to strangers, but I do strongly suggest you humanize your authorial image on your blog. Share personal connections to your books, for example. Or, you can talk about your first crushes on movie stars, or favorite tropes and why they mean so much to you.
This is something you will have to test for a bit. Granted, some people manage to be incredibly successful bloggers without sharing details. To me, though, they can be difficult to connect with. Once I started sharing an emotional link to my content, the easier it was for audiences to relate to my material.
Plus, readers then find it safe for them to share their own associations and points of view. You set the tone for your domain. It is your corner of the Internet, and it is up to you to make it a genuine space where meaningful relationships and discussions take place.
Favorite Way to Establish a Human Connection on Your Blog?
Pick Your Conversations: They Say, I Say
It’s always nice to visit blogs that address a larger dialogue. To an extent, this makes your job easier. Starting with a response to what is already out there on the field gives you credibility. By tackling discussions, you prove two things. First, you showcase your presence within the community. This takes time. I remember the struggle of trying to find blogs that discussed things I was interested in. Blogs are chain-like. For the most part, social media is a well-oiled machine. There will always be Facebook groups to get you started. Or, Instagram hashtags that you will need to use to connect with other people. Bloglovin’ and even single subscription display your participation in the community. The more you talk to people, the more likely it is for you to start learning more about the social aspect of your interest. What do people generally think of certain books, for instance? Who are the key figures or role models for individuals who share your preferences?
What do people generally think of certain books, for instance? Who are the key figures or role models for individuals who share your preferences?
The second part of this process is that you finally get to have an audience by first being a member of an audience yourself. People are much more likely to listen to you if you already pay attention to their content. My favorite moments in blogging are when we find common ground to discuss things when people mention me in a post and say that they’re curious to see what I think. In turn, I try to send that out to the universe by asking friends or even distant bloggers about what they think about certain topics. I ask them for posts that I genuinely feel would expand their presence and connection with audiences.
Change Things Up
I know one thing’s for certain: blogging can sometimes be monotonous. People rely on staple posts that adhere to a community’s style. For example, for book blogging, there tends to be a reliance on animated graphics (or as they’re commonly known, “GIFs”). It definitely feels strange for me to have a blog sans-GIFs. But, it also extends beyond stylistic choices. People come to expect certain things from your site after a while. For instance, a blogger who gains their audience’s trust through their parenting posts may get stuck talking about parenting for a long while.
This is why it’s always nice to touch base with yourself and see what other interests you may have. Or, you can even review how you want to approach the topics already discussed on your blog. Back to the parenting blog, the blogger may find it nice to include videos, or pictures of creations made by them and their children, or even playlists. It is all about finding new ways to share your point of view. Do not be afraid of changing things up. I will say also that you do not need to announce these changes. Go with what feels organic and natural to your personality and your blogging journey.
In the end, blogging is a blast because you get to meet people who are interested in similar things. This community that you get to be a part of is an absolute blessing. Ultimately, you get to befriend yourself first and foremost, as you unpeel layers of thoughts and emotions about things the average person probably does not think of that deeply. Enjoy it. Embrace it. Make friends, and find new platforms to share your message. Go on Tumblr or Pinterest, or Twitter, or Instagram. Take fun pictures or shoot some videos to share how-to content or discussions. Whatever it may be, the beauty of blogging has been all about those leaps you take to share your passion. To me, this is an ongoing process. You get to learn about yourself and your friends.
Have you found your absolute closest friends online?
Be Proud…But It is Okay to Change
Lastly, I want to end with the hardest lesson to learn. You will change over time, and your interests may manifest in different ways. Maybe instead of liking yoga, you will become fascinated with weightlifting and you want to blog about that kind of physicality. Accept and celebrate those new aspects of your life. Do not apologize for changing interests. It happens. We all change.
But, let’s say you are interested in things that are no longer in the mainstream. I say you be proud of yourself still and share your interests all the same. For example, you like a certain book that is sappy. Blog about it with pride and passion. The blogging community is huge. Surely someone will connect with you in that way. Remind yourself of your blogging mission statement. What is your end goal? Mine has been all about sharing my capital T Truth, sharing my passion for self help and reading, and connecting with people in general.