20 Recommendations for Your Blog

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  1. Find Your Niche. You needn’t have a niche, but it helps. When learning how to be a blogger, it’s important to ask yourself what you’re passionate about. Running? Cooking? Being a parent? Have you found your passion? If so, whatever it is, write about that. If not, then you must first find your passion. (Note: We generally recommend that people don’t start a blog about minimalism or the paleo diet or any other heavily saturated topic. But what we really mean when we say this is:” don’t create a blog about something unless you have a unique perspective. If you’ve embraced simple living and have a unique perspective”, then by all means have at it. Enjoy yourself.)  20 recommendations for your blog 20 Recommendations for Your Blog Find Your Niche 300x180
  2. Define Your Ideal Readers. Once you’ve found your niche, you need to know who will be reading your blog. For example, we blog about living intentionally. Thus, our ideal readers are people who are interested in exploring minimalism so they can clear the path toward more meaningful lives. If you want to write about your newborn baby growing up, that’s wonderful: your ideal readers are probably your friends and family. If you want to write about restoring classic cars, that’s cool, too. Tailor your writing to your readers (whether it’s your family or local community or whoever else will read your blog). 20 recommendations for your blog 20 Recommendations for Your Blog Add Value 300x168
  3. Add Value. Your blog must add value to its readers’ lives. This is the only way you will get Great Quality Readers to your site (and keep them coming back). Adding value is the only way to get someone’s long-term buy-in. We both learned this after a decade of leading and managing people in the corporate world.
  4. Be Original. Yes, there are other blogs out there about the same thing you want to write about. Question: So why is your blog different? Answer: Because of youYou are what makes your blog different. It’s about your perspective, your creativity, the value that you add. 20 recommendations for your blog 20 Recommendations for Your Blog Be Interesting
  5. Be Interesting. Write epic, awesome content. Especially if you want people to share it with others.
  6. Be Yourself. Part of being interesting is telling your story. Every person is unique, and your story is an important one. The important part of storytelling, however, is removing the superfluous details that make the story uninteresting. A great storyteller removes 99% of what really happens—the absorptive details—and leaves the interesting 1% for the reader.
  7. Be Honest. Your blog needs to be authentic—it needs to feel real—if you want people to read it. You can be your blog, or your blog can be you. That is, do you really embody the stuff you write about? If not, people will see through you. “Be the change you want to see in the world,” is the famous Gandhi quote. Perhaps bloggers should build the blog they want to write for the world. 20 recommendations for your blog 20 Recommendations for Your Blog Transparency 300x139
  8. Transparency. Being transparent is different from being honest. You needn’t share every detail about your life just for the sake of being honest. Always be honest, and be transparent when it adds value to what you’re writing. (You won’t ever see pictures of us using the restroom on our site, because that’s just not relevant.) 20 recommendations for your blog 20 Recommendations for Your Blog Time 300x200
  9. Time. Once you’ve learned how to start a blog, you’ll learn that blogging takes a lot of time, especially if you’re as neurotic as we are (we spent over 10 hours testing the fonts on this site). And see those Twitter and Facebook icons in the header? We spent hours on those, deciding what was right for us). That said, once you have your design set up, don’t tweak it too much. Instead, spend the time on your writing. 20 recommendations for your blog 20 Recommendations for Your Blog vision 300x169
  10. Vision. The reason our site design looks good is because we have a great host, we have a great theme, and most important, we had a vision of how we wanted our blog to look. Once we had the vision, we worked hard to make that vision a reality. (Note: neither of us had any design experience prior to starting a blog.) It’s hard to create a beautiful blog if you don’t know what you want it to look like.
  11. Find Your Voice. Over time, good writers discover their voice and their writing tends to develop a certain aesthetic, one that is appealing to their readers. Finding your voice makes your writing feel more alive, more real, more urgent. For additional reading, check out our essay about Finding Your Voice.
  12. We Instead of You. Use the first-person plural when possible. Statements of we and our are more powerful than you and your, especially when talking about negative behaviors or tendencies. The first person comes off as far less accusatory. Think of it this way: we’re writing peer-to-peer—we are not gods.
  13. When to Post. Question: When is the best day and time to publish a blog post? Answer: It doesn’t really matter. We don’t adhere to a particular schedule. Some weeks we post one essay; sometimes we post three. Yes, it is important to write consistently, but you needn’t get too bogged down in the details. 20 recommendations for your blog 20 Recommendations for Your Blog Social Media 300x112
  14. Social Media. Yes, we recommend using Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to help connect with your audience and other bloggers, but don’t get too caught up in it. Focus on the writing first, social media thereafter.
  15. Ignore Negative Criticism and Stupidity. Sure, we get a lot of negative comments and stupid questions from ignorant people who aren’t really our readers (e.g., negative comments like “You’re not real minimalists” and stupid questions like “Are you guys gay?”). We call these people seagulls: they fly in, crap on your site, and fly away. But we pay them no mind, because we didn’t start our blog for them. Delete their comment and move on.   20 recommendations for your blog 20 Recommendations for Your Blog Research
  16. Research. Spend time researching what you’re writing about. The reason we are able to use so many helpful, relevant links in our essays is because we put in the time to research our topics.
  17. Keep It Simple. This is where minimalism can be applied to starting any blog, irrespective of its genre. No need to place superfluous advertisements or widgets all over your site. Stick to the basics and remove anything you don’t need. Remove anything that doesn’t add value.
  18. Picture. Put a picture of yourself on your blog. People identify with other people. If two goofy guys from Ohio aren’t too afraid to put their pictures on their site, then you have nothing to worry about. 20 recommendations for your blog 20 Recommendations for Your Blog comment1 300x157
  19. Comments. If you’re going to have comments on your site, then read The Five Words That Kill Your Blog by Scott Stratten.
  20. Live Your Life. You’re blogging about your life (or about certain aspects of your life, at least), so you still need to live your life. There are things that we always put before writing: exercise, health, relationships, experiences, personal growth, contribution.
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