How to become a successful blogger without getting naked: A self-help list
I love reading internet self-help lists. Lists that tell you how to balance your life, lists that tell you how to follow your dreams, lists that tell you how to be better at your job/art/money management/McRib tolerance, lists that tell you the best way to prevent yourself from becoming Howard Hughes and developing atrophy due to sitting inside and reading internet lists all day long. Lists are easy, short and to the point. They work easily with my newly developed squirrel-like attention span caused by social media.
Occasionally I like writing lists. I really don't know what I'm talking about most of the time, but once you've been doing something long enough
your brain liquefies into a substance that resembles that of Ecto-Cooler you realize you know a thing or two. I've been blogging for a couple of years now. My blog thinks she owns me and, even though I tie a piece of concrete to her and throw her off of the Congress Bridge almost daily, she just won't LEAVE ME BE. My blog think she's own me, but YOU DON'T, BLOG! I OWN MYSELF. DO YOU HEAR ME, BLOG?!
Since I've been blogging for awhile now, I've learned what to do and what not to do when it comes to writing a personal online diary. I've learned that writing about watching Purple Rain for the 35th time in your underwear while picking White Cheddar Cheez-It crumbs out of your bellybutton is substantially more interesting to people than where you were born. I've learned that readers enjoy when you talk about a stuffed doll with a unibrow that you refer to as your "real child" more than what you do for a living. I've also learned that people like the words "Jeff Goldblum" and "boner" used in a sentence way more than my sad, boring life.
If you've just created a blog or are thinking about becoming more active on your blog, here are some tips I've learned on making you blog more than something that only your mom reads (even though she tells you that she doesn't).
1. Make Online Friends
I know this is a no-brainer, but unless you "meet" people online, no one will even know that you write. Follow your favorite blogs/S'mores (Social Media Whores) on Facebook or Twitter. Introduce yourself. Tell them that you're a big fan. Tell them that you sit in your underwear and pick White Cheddar Cheez-It crumbs out of your bellybutton while reading their blog/status updates. They'll love it. People love to hear it when other people say nice things about them. Next thing you know, you have online friends (don't you wish it was this easy in grade school?). They'll be inclined to check out your blog. If they like what they see, they'll give you a shout-out/link to you/read your blog in their underwear too. Then you'll be a part of "The Official Lodge of Underweared Blogging Professionals." But do it all genuinely, you know? Don't just be a brown-noser.
2. Promote Yourself
This goes hand-in-hand with number one. Nobody is going to know that you exist unless you promote yourself. Now no one likes a braggart and some of you don't really like talking about yourself. Maybe this is something you're working on with your therapist, I don't know, but either way, you need to advertise that you exist. Create a Facebook fan page for your blog. Set up in your blog settings to automatically tweet your new post to Twitter when you post. Stumbleupon yourself. Digg yourself. Trip over yourself and wonder why the hell you have to do all this work just for a freakin' blog. It is a lot of work utilizing these social media platforms daily but they are an intricate part to blog success.
3. Guest Post Swap
This also ties into one and two. Guest blogging is a great way to meet new bloggers, introduce yourself to their readers and diversify content on your blog. I don't do this nearly enough. Writing for somebody else's blog and having someone else write for your blog is liberating. You throw caution to the wind. If you write a crappy post you don't have to worry about it because it's on somebody else's blog that day.
4. Join Blogging Networks
In the beginning days of my blog, I joined the blogging network 20-Something Bloggers. This amazing blogging network single-handedly introduced me to the blogging community. Before then, I didn't know where to start in the sea o' blogs. It was also a great place for people to find out about me. It is a wonderful and supportive community. Have I used enough superfluous adjectives here yet? Other blogging networks worth checking out are Blogher, Networked Blogs, BlogLovin'. These are great places for people looking to find new blogs to read to stumble across your writing.
5. Make Your Site Look Yummy
There are two types of people in this world- ones who care about the aesthetics of a site and others who don't. There are many popular blogs who have little to no design aesthetic (The Satorialist and Style Rookie to name a few). I'm of the mindset that a site should look as polished and functional as possible. Your design is the first thing people see when they enter your site and if your blog looks like a doodoo ice cream cone, then you risk the reader running away. Ultimately it's the content that's going to get the reader to stay invested in you, but what if they turned their back on you in the beginning because your header was a poorly Photoshopped picture of your head stuck on a unicorn, huh? How would you feel about that?
6. Labeling Posts
Dear God, I'm bad at this myself, but it is important. A lot of traffic I get to my site is from random things I've labeled like "I Love Rick Moranis," "Prince Pubic Hair," and "Cary Grant Necrophilia" (don't ask). I know it's a pain in the butt, BUT DO IT! It definitely helps with your SEO (search engine optimization).
7. Create Commentary/Controversy
I wish I was a little big more provocative writer, but I have to be honest with myself—I have no opinions whatsoever. Creating commentary, but more importantly controversy, on your blog makes people feel compelled to comment. They'll be more likely to share your post on their social media profiles as well. Just make sure you're ready to handle any angry responses that come your way. Some of the most popular blogs are ones who are not afraid to speak their mind!
Everyone loves someone who can make fun of themselves. Why do you think Woody Allen has gotten legions of chicks all these years? Self-deprecation is a great way to endear your audience and make your content relatable. Cause aren't we all a bunch of weirdos anyways?
9. Take Fashion Photos of Yourself
When all else fails, takes a bunch of pictures of yourself on Instagram at magic hour wearing something vintage in a pigeon-toed stance. The kids eat it up, I tell you. Oh, don't forget to not smile, almost where you look like you're ready to barf because your pigeon-toed stance is throwing off your equilibrium. No need to write any content under the photo, just name the post after your favorite indie song lyric.
10. Kittens + Puppies + Babies + Ironic reference to B-list movie stars/singers
No explanation needed.