A blog post about blogging? It’s been a hot minute since I’ve written one of these. While I know some of you who are reading this have your own blogs, I’ve never wanted this to be a blog about blogging. That’s why this particular blog post today is actually for people who don’t really blog at all. Maybe you just read what you like to read and don’t even realize that there is a whole business side behind this world of blogging, and there are a lot of blogging rules. And you know what? I want you to know that I’m a rule follower in life, but a rule breaker when it comes to blogging. Here are the rules that I break every single day …
Five blogging rules I break every day
1. If you want to grow your blog, “niche down” to only one single topic.
Nope. Not gonna do it. I’ve been told by countless business strategy consultants, heard in various conferences and read in numerous articles that the only way to grow your blog or social media business quickly and successfully is to drop down to one topic only. Of my blogger friends who only do food and recipes, well, they grow fast. Their posts are shared far and wide. They get new readers every single day who want to find out what they’re making each week. And the same goes for Instagram. The most successful Instagrammers have one main topic only, and they post only about that topic and are able to gain tons of new followers very quickly, as they are narrowly focused. (Then, typically, once they get super big and have a loyal audience, they start to branch out a little more.)
I’ve thought long and hard about what would be right for A Lady Goes West. Even though I love to eat, I do NOT want to focus only on food. And as much as fitness is my life, I feel like I want to talk about more than just workouts. So I’ve consciously decided to play the “long game” when it comes to my blog and my business and write about fitness, food and my life. I’m settling for slower growth, and doing it my way. I know this isn’t what a pro marketer would tell me to do. But as I said, I’m a rule breaker.
2. People don’t read blog posts, so tell your story in pictures or videos.
I’m a writer. I’m long-winded, and if people don’t want to read my blog posts, then that is okay with me. I started this blog as a creative outlet to share about my move from Florida to California, and it’s always been based in writing. My loyal readers are SO important to me. I love you guys. I want to please you. But you guys also know that I tend to write long posts.
If you ask the experts, they say that you should keep your posts short and to the point and add some video to tell your story. Well, quite frankly, I’m much more into writing. So writing is what I do. Yes, I share pictures and try to add subheads and bullets to carry the narrative of my posts, but words are my thing! I love words! I really don’t see that changing any day. And if you get bored with me, just skim and keep on coming back anyhow. Okey doke?
3. Be a slightly exaggerated version of yourself to inspire and intrigue people.
The word on the street in the influencer world is that you should play up your personality a bit and try to be something that people strive to be. Just like actors play a role, you should play your role too. Either you’re an incredibly put-together fashionista, or you’re a die-hard vegan chef, or even a super-buff fitness queen and everything you do plays into that. Well … what you see is what you get here, with no labels, especially now that I’ve opened up about my fertility struggles, job changes and much more — I’m not trying to paint the picture that my life is perfect. I don’t have a particular role to play. I also don’t create a fantasy scene in my perfect and whimsically staged photos. That’s just not me.
I definitely get to do some cool things and live in the very desirable San Francisco Bay Area, but that’s about it. I’m a normal gal who writes long blog posts on various topics and has a lot of experience in fitness. That’s all! (But I must say, I really do enjoy the way some bloggers are able to be so perfect all the time. It’s quite intriguing to watch! Have you seen Gal Meets Glam? Dying!)
4. Put your business top of mind every single day, wherever you are.
“They” say that if you want to grow your blog and brand, you have to be on all the time. That means turning everything into potential content. That also means keeping your blogging hat on 24-7. And believe me, this is not going to happen for me. I LOVE my blog. I LOVE sharing my life. But I also like to eat ugly food in my pajamas that will NEVER ever get photographed. I like to go on little adventures without my phone or camera. And most of my friends or people that I hang out with are not bloggers and don’t care about blogs at all — so I’m not constantly networking either. And for me, as much as I care about my blog, I will always take time to disconnect. We all need separation and breaks from what we do.
That phrase that you can sleep when you’re dead is a total lie. You should sleep now, every single night, and for a long time. I turn my phone on airplane mode every single night around 9 p.m., and it doesn’t come off of that until after I’ve taken Rudy for his morning walk the next day. That means, I miss a ton of time to be “on.” Yes, I make money from this blog, and it’s a real business, but no, I’m not going to sell my soul for it. And believe me, you don’t want to see pictures of me when I’m in my casuals spilling ice cream down my shirt as I watch TV with my naturally curly hair undone. Let’s let that part of Ashley of A Lady Goes West remain in private, shall we?
5. Be the first to adopt every new social medium, and move quickly.
I’ve got to be honest, I’m not an early adopter of a lot of things. Did you guys know I was even without Facebook for a few years after college? (After being one of the first people on it, when it was launched at The University of Florida and just three other schools, I took a little breather from all socials for a couple years.) While I’m up to speed on Instagram stories and such, I don’t jump on every bandwagon. In fact, it took me two tries to get into Snapchat, and I’ve since stopped using it again preferring to use Instagram stories.
I want to be good at the things I like doing. And if I don’t like doing something, then I’m not going to do it. I never tried Periscope. I haven’t done a Facebook Live. And I’m still here, and you’re still here reading too. So I guess it’s not the end of the world.
In conclusion …
So I can’t end this post without saying that there are a lot of blogging best practices and blogging rules that I do follow. For instance: I do care about my topics. I do write what I’m passionate about. I do try to create the best content that I can and provide not only entertainment, but educational information as well. I also love to connect with my community (and have really enjoyed the folks who are in the A Lady Goes West Friends group on Facebook) as much as I can. I also know how to work with brands, negotiate and plan out my editorial calendar and do many of the things one must do to keep a blog afloat. And I do take my blog and business seriously. But when it comes down to it, I much prefer playing by my own rules. Because well, that’s way more fun. 🙂
That’ll do it for today, my friends! Thank you for sticking around! For reals!Check out these five #blogging rules that @apstyle breaks every day ... Click To Tweet
(Photo credit: Tamalyn Ann Photography)
Questions of the day
What’s a rule that you don’t play by in your own life?
What’s your favorite thing to read on a blog?