Today and tomorrow I’ll do a two-part series covering common problems that bloggers have, with solutions for each. Today we’ll cover personal blogging, tomorrow we’ll look at business blogging. Here’s five common problems with personal blogs and how to fix them:
1 – How do I find the perfect photo to add to my post? Go to Flickr. Search for pics that have a creative commons license that allow you to use them, and give proper attribution. BTW the pic to this post came from Flickr as do many of the amazing pics you’ll see here.
2 – How much information should I share on my personal blog? For a personal blog, this is really up to you. *I* would advise you to always have your picture on the front of the blog, preferably the top right corner. An About page explaining the focus of the blog would be nice. If the blog is highly-trafficked and gets a lot of comments, a comment policy might be a good idea as well.
- Leave posts open-ended, with a ‘What do you think?’ type closing that invites the readers to share their opinion.
- Comment on other blogs. Works every time.
- Take a definitive stand on an issue. Switch between this and leaving posts open-ended.
- Reward frequent commenters. Name a ‘commenter of the week’, or add a plugin like Comment Luv.
4 – How do I get on a blogging schedule? Oy. This one can be tough, because it mostly comes down to a time-management issue. One piece of advice is don’t set the blogging bar too high for yourself. If you try to commit to a new post a day and you just can’t do it, you’ll probably lose enthusiasm for your blog pretty quickly. But if you start out shooting for once a week, and a month into it see you can crank out 2-3 a week no problem, then you can ramp up the writing.
Another suggestion is to have a ‘series’ every week. Like every Monday share your 5 favorite posts/articles from the last week. Or on Friday share your favorite parenting blog with your readers. If you add a series post once a week, then you know that you’ll have at least one post a week, and it can take a big weight off your shoulders!
5 – How the hell do I figure out what I want to write about? Remember that a personal blog is for YOU. It’s not for me, it’s YOUR sandbox, and if you aren’t getting enjoyment out of it, then you probably shouldn’t be blogging. Write about what moves you. It can be your family, politics, or your old video game collection. And guess what? You can always make it private so only YOU get to see it? It can be your online diary, or it can be your online window into what’s important to you. You can post once a day, or once a year.
So when you pick the focus of your personal blog, your only goal should be creating value and enjoyment for YOURSELF. Then write with that in mind, and on YOUR terms.
Does this list help? Are there some common problems with personal blogging that I missed? Let’s discuss them in the comments!