Every time I publish a blogging tips post, it is satisfying to hear how many people appreciate the tips. Usually it’s advice that a lot of fellow bloggers can put directly into action.

I realize that a lot of bloggers get started with very little knowledge about the technical side of blogging and website marketing. That’s pretty understandable since we all come from different walks of life.

In my case I happen to have a ton of experience managing websites and doing website marketing. So I’m happy to share any advice I can, knowing it’s bound to help the community.

Check out some of the previous posts from this series:

This week the blogging tip isn’t specific changes you can make on your blog. Instead it’s more general commentary about the approach you should be taking with your blog.

Make Your Own Blogging Rules

In life there are certain things that really should be done a certain way. After many years of practice someone else has found the best way to do those things. In cases like that, it isn’t necessary to reinvent the wheel.

Then there are things where there is no set blueprint that you need to follow. You are free to do what works for you and sometimes just wing it. Blogging is one of those things. There may be strategies that have worked well for others, but how you approach it is completely up to you.

Here are some examples of areas where you have a lot of flexibility:

Blog Theme: Choosing a theme for your blog is obviously a pretty big decision. At a glance, readers will get a very strong opinion of your blog based on physical appearances. Yes people are naturally vain. That doesn’t mean you have to invest in an expensive custom design though. A custom design may give you a unique look, but many blogs grow quite well using a free theme. Ultimately quality content can overcome a weak theme or one that isn’t unique. That being said, a custom theme may help in getting people to take your blog more seriously. Regardless which approach you take, feel free to express yourself with your blog theme.

Blog Name: In the past, using keywords in your domain name was quite important. Just by including keywords in your domain name, you could get search engine rankings much easier. After excessive spam, that benefit has been scaled back. These days it’s more important to have a name that is memorable and can be branded. With a blog, most of your search engine traffic will go directly to specific posts anyway. So don’t be afraid of getting creative with your blog’s name.

Posting Schedule: There is advice out there that you should be posting X times per week and scheduling your posts to go out at certain times of day. Some of that theory is completely valid, but when your blog is still fairly young, that stuff doesn’t matter as much as they claim it does. Post on the schedule that personally works best for you. I still schedule my posts for 9AM EST, but some may find that avoiding the crowd may work better for them. If you are looking for quicker growth, this is an area that you might want to experiment with.

Blog Commenting: When trying to get the word out about your blog, commenting on other blogs is a great strategy. There’s nothing that says you have to comment on certain blogs or do a specific amount of comments each week. Some take the approach of trying to get on as many blogs as possible every day while others focus on just a small group of blogs. Either approach can work well, but you can decide how you want to handle it. Of course, the more time you can dedicate to commenting, the faster your blog can grow and the more connections you build.

Social Media: Most social media experts will claim that you need to be extremely personable on social media sites. They say it needs to be used to build direct connections with readers. That may be the ideal use, but it is not the only use. Bloggers who are too busy to dedicate long hours to chatting on social media can instead get a lot of benefits with a more automated approach. It might not be social media’s original intention, but it is how a large percentage of people do use it. Even just signing up for profiles and linking to them from your blogs has a small amount of benefit.

Blog Monetization: I’m sure most of you have realized that a blog can be fairly profitable. How you make money from your blog is up to you though. Some bloggers will try to squeeze a bit of money out of networks such as Google AdSense, installing those ad widgets as soon as possible. In my opinion the money you get from AdSense isn’t a good deal considering the effect it has on your blog’s appearance. Others resort to selling direct advertisements which can also lower the quality of your blog. Then there are the ones who heavily rely on affiliate promotion, often getting overly aggressive with how much they promote. The especially smart ones develop some type of product or service to sell via their blog. The route you take is again up to you. A mix of monetization methods is probably best, but maybe you want to focus on certain areas that you think work well for you.

Search Engine Optimization: This area may have a little less flexibility. Some things are bound to hold you back unless you jump through Google’s hoops. When building links to your blog though, there are so many different strategies you can employ. With many things in business, diversification is usually best, but you can focus more on areas of your choice. If you chose to, you could even completely ignore SEO and rely on building direct traffic sources.

Writing Style: With so many different blog writing styles out there, you obviously don’t need to copy anyone else’s formula. Some people may insist that a blog needs to be super personal so that people can relate to you. That does help people connect with you, but then there are also a ton of successful blogs that don’t share any personal info or stories. Just try to make your writing interesting so that readers want to come back.

Summary

These are just the main areas that you make your own blogging rules, but really, every single decision is up to you. People may claim you’re doing things wrong, but that usually just means that person assumes another way is somehow better. Those assumptions are not always correct and don’t necessarily take everything into consideration. Those general rules often just limit creativity and prevent people from expressing themselves how they really want to.

Are you doing anything against the grain with the approach you take with blogging? Do you make a point of doing things your way or do you focus mostly on what works for others? I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with using the approach that works for others, but you shouldn’t be overly committed to someone else’s strategies
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