Self-awareness is the closest thing to a super power that a blogger can have. This means understanding the feedback (or lack of it.)
Your statistics are not just to give you an ego boost (or to make you want to give up blogging forever). Most of us look at our stats more than we probably should; it’s natural to want to see whether anyone’s paying attention, and undeniably gratifying to watch the graphs go up, up, and away. But if you’re trying to build a readership and are not using the world of data lurking in your stats to inform your blog and boost your traffic, you’re missing out.
Your stats page is way more than a bunch of charts with the power to boost or kill your confidence — it’s a bunch of charts that give you the ability to see into the minds of your readers and shape your blog accordingly.
Don’t worry. You don’t need to be a math wiz to make sense of your stats. You just need to pay attention.
Go right now on your stats page and answer these questions:
What are your most popular days? Did you post new content on those days?
What are your most popular blog posts? What types of posts are they? What does the headline look like? The introduction? What image did you choose?
What are your most commented/shared posts? Why do you think that is?
What country are your readers from?
Who are the top commenters on your blog? Do you know what they blog about?
Looking at your stats, you can see what happened when you started posting more frequently, introduced a new feature, or changed your theme.
Then, you can give you readers more of what they enjoy: try a follow-up to your most popular post, or introduce a new series based on reader interest. If a series or topic is falling flat, you can consider retiring it and experimenting with something new based on what people are responding to.
The truth is that you need to get a feel for what works and what doesn’t. Don’t worry. Like I said, all you need to do is pay attention.
Sometimes I like to pretend I’m a photographer. Mostly with other people’s cameras. And the results are oftentimes… not as bad as you’d expect.
I do not research the subject, I do not take classes, I do not read about photography, I do not actively aim to become better.
Yet, somehow, I am becoming better with each photograph I take.
And I wondered why.
Here’s an odd fact about me: I am an artist. I have been writing for fourteen years now. I love art. I love artists. And beautiful art has made me cry far more often than real life ever did.
This belief of mine works for me in all artistic fields. I don’t feel much pressure, just the desire to have fun, to enjoy myself, to take part in the ritual of creation.
I see beauty and I want to capture it, recreate it, change it, share it with the world.
It’s not the knowledge, you see, but rather the skill. And I believe that it’s not what we acquire but who we become that influences our results.
It’s all about mindset.
“It is your attitude, more than your aptitude, that will determine your altitude.” – Zig Ziglar
Yeah, knowing the techniques and being a great storyteller matters, but it all comes down to self-confidence.
If you honestly believe that you’re a great blogger, you’re going to write a killer blog post on a napkin, or if you think of yourself as a great photographer, you’ll make do with a three year old smartphone. The same way folks who are into fitness find a way to exercise, even if they’re stranded on a tropical island with only two coconuts and a volleyball.
I am pretty sure you’re thinking something along the lines of, “It’s easy for you to say this, but I do not have any followers.”
Let me ask you a question: how do you define success as a blogger? Who told you that you have to have a certain number of followers or that you have to earn a living out of it in order to call yourself successful?
What if there was a new consensus regarding success as a blogger: you must punch the damn keys and do your very best to produce great work, even if you have 0 followers. Especially if you have 0.
If you have 50, you’re already a blogging god.
Gary Vee talks a lot about Macro and Micro levels. He’s stated that he did a lot of interviews that got 50-60 views long before being on CNN and becoming a big social media star.
And I believe this is the kind of attitude most bloggers simply lack.
In other words, some people get excited to write their best content even when no one is reading them, while others are secretly waiting for some day when they’ll be Internet famous to write their best ideas into existence.
That’s about it.
There was this post on Tumblr about a woman who had lost a lot of weight. She then noticed her husband was more affectionate towards her, and this made her sad, because she thought it was all about her looks. Then she noticed how people acted differently around her: joked more, were kinder…
It took her a while to figure things out: it was her who had changed. From the moment she first looked herself in the mirror to when she went to sleep, she felt different. She was happier, more alive, more confident. Smiled more. Wore different clothes. Her attitude towards herself was different, and thus the attitude of others.
People were simply reacting to the way she perceived herself.
If you believe nothing else of my posts, if you take just one thing, let it be this:
Mindset is everything.
If you have the right mindset, if you are self-confident, self-reliant, fueled from within, clear in your intentions and purpose, free from outcome, social pressure, or setbacks, then you will turn those 20-30 followers into thousands, even more, in no time.
That’s why the advice is to write for yourself. Write the kind of content that you’d love to read, because you must enjoy yourself while doing it, and not because someone else likes to read it (or needs to or would pay good money to).
Do you know why we make jokes? Say or do stuff we find funny?
Most people would assume it’s because you want to make others laugh. It’s not. You make jokes because you find them funny, because saying that one-liner out loud makes you feel good. It elevates your own mood, and that’s the only goal.
The same goes for blogging. Develop the kind of mindset that enjoys the art of blogging:
Looking for inspiration anywhere you can find it
Siting at the desk to write.
Having a schedule
Interacting with fellow bloggers
Reading other blogs
The numbers game is going to mess with your head
When I first started blogging in April 2012, I was unstoppable. I’d blog every single day, even though I got 2-3 likes per post, some twenty odd views a day.
It didn’t matter.
I knew success was just a matter of time. Luck, also, but I knew that the harder I worked, the luckier I’d get.
But the thing is that the more followers I got, the more I lost track of the importance of just one reader.
My words became diluted somehow. I lost a great deal of clarity.
What do a hundred thousand people want to read? What do they care about? They come from some 200 countries, they speak vastly different languages, have different customs…
Blogging is all about two people: me and you.
That’s it. I write what I want, because I enjoy writing, because this is my passion, and because I want to do this until they throw dirt on top of me, and you, the one reader, the person who is reading these blog posts, who comments, who takes the time to like the content, or share it, or print it out…
If you can get excited about the act of writing a blog post, and then get even more excited with every single like, comment, or follow, then you’ll be successful as a blogger.
If not, there’s no knowledge, technique, trick or tip that will help you become successful.
Tomorrow an e-mail will be sent out to almost a thousand people.
It will contain the following:
an exclusive blog post
tips and tricks about blogging
the best content shared on The Art of Blogging in March 2020
If you want to receive this e-mail, then you can subscribe to the newsletter here.
Also, there’s a paid version of this newsletter.
It’s five bucks a month or fifty bucks per year.
What do you get for that kind of money?
You will receive exclusive content delivered to you every Friday (4 blog posts per month). Tutorials, tips and tricks, and strategies that are going to help you take your blog to the next level.
So, yeah, 5$ per month gets you four exclusive blog posts.
And the feeling of satisfaction that you’ve helped by supporting us and showing us that you totally love us.
First published more than 70 years ago, Dale Carnegie’s guide on people skills entitled “How to Win Friends and Influence People” contains wisdom that is mostly true to this very day, because human nature, for better or worse, does not change much over time.
Let’s face it: most people can’t write their way out of a paper bag. Further, most bloggers are boring, most journalists are so heavily edited that any personality they’ve added to a story has long since been weaned out by the editorial process.
I want to let you in on a secret, though: it’s not really that people are boring, but that too many have been taught that you shouldn’t write the same way you talk. I blame our educational system, actually, with those 5th grade teachers who drilled us on adverbs, pronouns and the minutia of grammar, coupled with too many boring, tedious academic books that we all suffered through while in college.
Instead, I suggest to you that the best way to write clear, coherent, engaging and enjoyable content is to write the way you speak, to recognize your spoken voice and pour it out onto the virtual page of your computer screen and weblog. Continue reading “Write Like Yourself”→
Some bloggers suffer from what I like to call verbal narcissism. Only it’s in writing. Anyway…
To avoid this awful fate, you probably try to keep your posts short, sometimes writing series of blog posts. After all, you don’t want to scare away readers by dumping too much information on them all at once, right?
Makes sense, but what’s weird is it doesn’t work that way.
Many popular posts here are around 1,000 words. But other times, short posts pack the most punch. It’s almost as if the length of a post matters not when it comes to how successful a post becomes.
Ever since blogging became mainstream people have been debating about a blog post’s perfect length. A lot of bloggers may read one or two articles about this, and try to follow the rules – never revisiting the issue for as long as they blog. This can be a mistake.