The great god Britney posited that there were two types of people in the world (the ones that entertained and the ones that observed), but Your Aunt Becky–a lesser deity–thinks that there are 6 types of blogs.
1) Entertainment Blogs: You have your Perez Hilton, your Cake Wrecks, your LOL Cats and FAIL blog. These types of blogs exist as fluff to make you happy in the pants. With the potential exception of the one time you might see yourself or your property FEATURED on these blogs, there are very few times you’d be pissed off while reading these blogs.
2) Business Blogs: Since blogging got all popular, Big Business took notice, especially since their advertising campaigns had started to lose popularity. Word of MOUTH was king AND cheaper, with the widespread availability of free blogging platforms. Now, most businesses have their own blogs, Twitter accounts, and Facebook pages.
3) Blogs That Teach You Something: I’m going all BROAD STROKES here and including all newspapers online (New York Times), magazines (Wired), cooking blogs (Pioneer Woman), photoblogs, blogs about how to get rich (I Will Teach You To Be Rich). There are even blogs to help you learn to blog better, although most of them are written by non-bloggers.
4) Blogs That GIVE You Something. These blogs are designed to give away something, like coupons (Coupons.com) or a product (The Bright Side Project), often given to the blogger by the company to promote said product.
5) Blogs That Sell You Something: Enough Said.
6) Personal Blogs: Clearly, this is the majority of the blogs I read and the majority of what YOU, my Pranksters, are. Occasionally we cross lines and dabble in one of the other types of blogs, but on the whole, we are all personal bloggers.
*clearly there are subcategories within each genre.
I do get enough people asking me for blogging advice, I figure that once in awhile, you guys probably do want to hear about blogging, even if it makes me feel like a douche to write about it.
So I want to tell you that I FINALLY figured out the secret of a successful blog.
Here it is, Pranksters!
Oh noes! That wily Mr. Sprinkles, my fake cat! He’s ruined everything!
Okay, so there is no secret magical formula for what makes one blog Full of The Awesome and another one Not So Full of The Awesome. If I knew what the formula was, I would probably be rolling in my vault of golden coins while being waited on hand and foot by my imaginary monkey butler Mr. Pinchy.
Sadly, I am not.
If you look at my VERY broad breakdown of blogs you will realize that most of the blogs you read fall into those categories. Some of the blogs I read very handily crossover genres (ABDPT does this very well), but most fall squarely into one or the other.
I run a personal blog, and while I occasionally offer advice, my blog isn’t set up to do much else besides offer the occasional boring story about my life.
So what is the secret to running a personal blog? I think it’s multi-faceted, Pranksters.
1) People connect with bloggers who they relate to and they’re only going to relate to if you reveal something about who you really are. Writing is all about connections, and nowhere is that more important than blogging. So be honest, let it all hang out, and be authentic.
2) Stop fucking trying to be someone else. We get it. You like xxxx (insert popular blogger here). We all know xxxx. Be YOURSELF, not someone else. No one likes a second-rate impostor.
3) Organize your posts so they make sense. Readers need to be able to dive in and understand what you’re talking about without needing a cast of characters. I’ll write about what makes a nice layout when I am feeling particularly annoyed by music on a blog (GAH!!) another time.
4) Over time, you’ll find your voice and when you do, there’s going to be no stopping you. Just keep plugging on until you do.
5) It’s okay if you’re not a writer. Not everyone is a writer. Don’t let that intimidate you out of wanting to spill your guts onto a blank WordPress document. I’d prefer to read the honest words of someone who ISN’T a writer than the overly stylized words of someone who KNOWS they are.
6) Blog for YOURSELF. I think I’ve said that in every single other post about blogging because it’s so true. If you’re seeking external validation from comments and emails and tweets, you may wait a long damn time. It may never come. If you’re writing for fame and fortune, you’re 7 years too late. Write because you love to. Write because you HAVE to. Write because if you don’t, your brains will explode from all of the words that are trapped inside, itching to get out.
But don’t blog because you think some comment is going to make you feel good about yourself. Readers, they come and go. They’re fickle. Feedburner counts go up and down. You can be on top of the blogging heap only to find yourself all alone the next day.
The words are the one thing that will stay. So let those be what nourishes you.
Write hard, Pranksters.
Every time (and by “every time,” I mean the other two times) I write about blogging, I get a couple of people who are like, “WOW, those are a lot of RULES and I don’t LIKE rules,” which means that they missed the part where I say explicitly that you should probably never, ever listen to anything I say, ever.
Plus, “rules” for blogging are about as laughable as the notion that any of us are ever going to be “famous bloggers” so please, if you’re going to yell at me about not wanting to follow the rules, know that I don’t even follow my own advice.
Ignore my advice, don’t ignore it, cross stitch it on a pillow, burn it on an Aunt Becky-shaped effigy while singing “Joy To The World,” I don’t particularly care. No skin off MY teeth, Pranksters.
Last day to vote for me for Best Humor Blog. I love you madly, Pranksters.