Friday, January 31, 2014

Blogging: How Do You Create Success?

So, I’ve been blogging relatively consistently for about a year now, and, over that time, I’ve discovered a few things about the art of blogging. I can’t be considered any kind of expert, of course. I only have four followers, after all! But that’s four more than I had a few months ago! And each new one excites me! Thanks, ya’ll! Anyway, here’s some of my thoughts on creating a successful blog:
  • Discover your purpose. I started The Ink Loft because I wanted a platform for the numerous thoughts running around in my head and because I wanted to better my writing. I know my writing has improved the more I blog, and it is an absolute blast to craft posts out of my crazy thoughts.
    1. Sharpen that purpose. Honestly, this is something I’m still working on. I think it’s important, though. Sure, it may be fun to write about anything and everything. But readers generally aren’t going to enjoy that broad of a spectrum. You have to be sensitive to what your readers enjoy and what they don’t.
    2. Enjoy what you write. Though it is important to tune into your readers’ desires, you shouldn’t let them dictate everything. Even if you discard some of your ideas because you know they wouldn’t be interesting to your audience, you should still like the ideas you are using. Don’t let your readers make your blog into something you dislike. Note: I’m not saying my followers do that in any way, shape, or form.
  • Make yourself visible. I get way more page views on my blog than I have followers. But most of those people flit across my page without knowing who I am or what my blog is. They look cool on my stat board, but they don’t mean much for the growth of my blog. The important page views come from my followers and people who heard about me somewhere else.
    1. Follow other blogs. I follow around twenty different blogs right now, and I enjoy reading their thoughts. Many of them are writing blogs, so I have common ground with their authors. By following and commenting regularly on those blogs (I don’t comment on all of them, but I try to be regular on the ones I do comment on.), I make my name stick out to the authors and readers of those blogs. When I started following blogs, I freaked out because I don’t have a Google+ profile. So, at first, I couldn’t figure out how to follow them visibly. But then I discovered Blogger’s Reading List. I don’t know how WordPress works, but on Blogger you can go to your Blogger Dashboard (account home), where it says “[Your Name]’s Blogs”.  Under the info about your own blog(s), it should say “Reading List.” All the blogs you follow show up here, notifying you of new posts. If you click the button that says “Add”, you can paste the link to the blog you want to follow and choose whether to follow publicly or privately. I follow publicly so as to maximize my visibility.
    2. Get social media involved. This is one I haven’t really done yet, because I’m a bit wary of social media in general. I’m thinking about setting up a Pinterest account, though. Despite my absence on that scene, however, I know it’s beneficial. I have found many good articles and a few new blogs through Pinterest. Thousands of people get the chance to see your stuff if you use social media.
    3. Tell your friends. I know it feels arrogant to advertise for yourself, but you can do it in a non-boastful way. I usually don’t mention it unless I’m talking about my writing or a topic I recently blogged about. Then I’ll let their reaction judge my actions. If they seem interested, I’ll mention my blog title. I need to get better about inviting people to check The Ink Loft out, though, because I’m still pretty shy about it. At least in theory, your friends should be quite interested in browsing, and hopefully following, your blog, because they’re invested in you.
  • Use pictures. I kind of discounted this when I first started blogging, but I’ve become more convinced of its importance lately.
    Courtesy of Pixabay
    Including pictures snags readers from the very beginning, when they see your new post on their reading list, because it differentiates the post from everything else on their screen. Though I read articles from oldest to most recent (on my reading list) so as to not miss anything, certain ones jump out more due to the picture I see next to the title. And in the post itself, pictures break up the monotony of prose. I’m a prosy person, but even I have trouble on the Internet with just words on the screen. Pictures give the mind something to wander to for just a moment before jumping back to that fascinating article. Plus, going back to the social media argument above, pictures allow you your posts to be pinned on Pinterest. I use a mixture of pictures I’ve taken, pictures from Office’s clip art gallery (make sure you investigate the copyrights with these), and pictures from, a free image provider.
  • Create a good title. I find the best titles to be catchy but not too mysterious. Use that clever line you thought of. Just remember that it’s okay to add a colon or a dash and an explanation of said cleverness. As with the pictures, you want something that catches people’s attention. But you don’t want to waste their time. You’re not going for page views; you’re looking for followers. Thus, you want the people clicking that link on social media to be people interested in the things you write about. So, don’t be confusing. Don’t be dull. Don’t be annoying. Be unique. Even with that, though, remember that not every title must be earth shatteringly amazing. And on something like Pinterest or Google, you want the title to contain the topic someone would be searching for. In this post, for example, I start with “Blogging.” If someone is looking for info on blogging, I have a chance of showing up on their radar.
  • Create a good atmosphere. This is one of the most important aspects to having a good blog, I think. I’ve discounted more than one blog because their format is unappealing. There are three elements to this:
    1. Don’t overcrowd your sidebar. Yes, it’s necessary to have access to previous posts and the like. Those are good things to have. I included a banner for TeenPact on my sidebar because it is a program that changed my life, and I want others to know about it. I could do another such banner for One Year Adventure Novel, which also benefitted me greatly, but I haven’t because I don’t want to overcrowd my screen. I don’t like blogs that have too much stuff, especially pictures and moving objects, because it’s distracting. So, be careful with how many extras you add.
    2. Be professional. This is huge! I discount many blogs almost immediately because of poor spelling and grammar, odd spacing, or illegible type. If you want people to pay attention to your blog, you must present an easy-to-read format. I don’t use the fancy scripts that I’d like to because most of them are difficult to read on the Internet. Think about those kind of things when contemplating a blog post.
    3. Be genuine. Being professional and concise is important, but it’s possible to be too perfect. You want to seem like the real person that you are, so don’t be afraid to use personal examples and life updates. Those kind of things help establish a connection between you and your readers, and you can be as personal or careful as you like.
What do you consider the important things for a blog?


  1. Thanks so much for this post! I just changed the font on my blog cause I realized it was too fancy (it has been even fancier)...

  2. I like this post. :D I've blogged for about the past two years, but it's only been recently that I've really discovered "a voice for blogging." I generally tried to write about writing advice, but that hasn't worked well - and I knew from the start, an internet "journal" definitely wasn't what I wanted.

    As for what I think is the most important things about blogs - grammar and spelling first - not that they have to crush sentences into little grammar boxes that it makes your eyes pop out, though. Maybe content or the style of the blog second.

    1. Thank you! I understand about the journal idea. I don't like being overly personal online. And, honestly, blogs like that usually don't attract me unless I know the person writing it. Have you found a happy medium yet? If you want to blog about writing, I'd suggest you find an angle that connects with more than just writers. For example, I wrote a post on stories using the deleted scenes from Thor.

      Technical details are definitely important. I think it's easy to say we should look past them, but the fact is that it does matter. No, we don't want eye-popping! :D Fascinating. You wouldn't necessarily consider content more important than style?

      Thanks for commenting!


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