When I first started blogging, I read Darren Rowse at Problogger religiously, picking and choosing from the information he shared, to work out what was best for me.
As a personal blogger, some of his posts weren’t relevant, but as a blogger in general, even more of his posts were.
At Nuffnang’s Blogopolis, I was lucky enough to hear Darren Rowse speak. There is really no secret to why his blogs are so popular, when he himself seems to have a knack for presenting information in a way that is understandable and useful for every blogger.
I took notes through his entire session, just so that I could come home and share some parts that I connected with. My responses underneath.
- There is no blueprint for success.
Exactly. There isn’t. No one can say why one blogger is highly trafficked and another is looked over. There are things you can do to increase your chances of being successful in this field, but no guaranteed “Do this and money will follow” script. Total shame that.
- Quality is key.
I won’t read a blog consistently if there isn’t a quality of writing and information there to begin with. I read every blog in my reader for different reasons, but they’re all there because the person writing it is telling me something I care to hear about, in a way that doesn’t make me want to bleach my eyeballs.
- Experiment and tweak.
I found this point truly interesting, as I’ve heard a few “how to blog” bloggers say the exact opposite. That you should work out what your readers like and keep doing that. For me, that sounds like a quick path to stagnation and I was really pleased to hear Darren say that experimenting with your posts and tweaking your theme and topics are things we should be doing.
- A small group of raving fans is better than a large amount of traffic who don’t care.
THIS. This I agreed with so strongly that I may have large amounts of dots and stabbed marks on my notes. THIS is what I would like brands to pay attention too. I would prefer to have 200 readers who are wholly invested in my blog and love what I am doing, rather than 20,000 who don’t really care. I write for the people who love what I do. They’re the audience I want.
- Look after your current readers.
Darren said that sometimes, bloggers get so lost in trying to increase their traffic (traffic being the holy grail of blogging) that they forget to take care of the readers they have already. I think this is true. Sometimes I start to take my readers for granted and then I have to remind myself that no, they’re under no obligation to stick around, so I better make sure they’re happy.
- And finally: Content is key. People will share your blog for its content, not the logo.
Which again, I found resonated with me. We get lost in having the perfect design and the most memorable logo or header, that sometimes we can lose the point that people are reading for the content. Your header and logo are just gravy.