A couple of days ago my mother asked me why people blog. Why would you write your thoughts in a public forum, she said, for anyone to find, knowing that you will receive either ridicule, praise, or (worst of all) no feedback at all?
I explained that blogging can be a very fulfilling experience, even if all of the feedback is not easy to take. There are many things you need to consider if you want to create a successful community around your blog. If you have something to say, and would like it to be heard, there are several different hats you need to wear.
The Writer Hat
As a blogger, you need to be able to consistently come up with new ideas, or to express old ideas in a new way. There are no hard fast rules to blogging, but it is generally considered a good idea to post at least 5 or six articles a week. This can be difficult, so bloggers may have to find ways to address writer's block, competing news, and time constraints caused by other things happening in their lives.
Some bloggers deal with this by using guest writers or by just not posting every day. Guest writing is very common and can be very beneficial for both the guest writer as well as the blog owner because it allows both to expand their audience, and allows the owner to avoid writing for a day. And of course, there is a need to respond to comments left by your readers.
The Designer Hat
Wearing your Designer Hat is required to make changes to the way that your site looks and functions. For example, you need to know (at least some) CSS so that you can make things look just like you want them too.
The WordPress WYSIWYG text editor is good, but is not yet to the point that it is as easy to use as MS Word, for example. Things like tables, picture formatting, and advanced text formatting still have to be done manually. I actually enjoy this part of blogging as it allows me to perform some action and see results immediately. Instant gratification is my friend.
The Salesperson Hat
Many bloggers pay for the hosting of their site and/or some of the content on their site. It is common to see a few advertisements in a sidebar or at the bottom of posts in blogs. However, you should be careful about advertising on your blog as some advertisers do not pay very well, and some of the advertising can annoy or offend some readers. Generally 2 or 3 ads on a single page would not bother me, but it is really something to keep in mind when building your site.
The Marketing Department Hat
In the blogging world, this hat has everything to do with making connections. Thankfully, there are many ways to use social media to connect with people including the use of Twitter/FaceBook/StumbleUpon, making comments on other people's blog posts, and doing guest posts (like this one - thanks Kiesha!).
It seems that there is no magic formula and that many of the more experienced bloggers believe that a combination of these and other social marketing methods are necessary to attract and maintain a following for your blog. Just try to be nice to people.
If you want anyone to care that you wrote something, you should have something unique to say. More than that, you need to be able to juggle many different tasks all at once, and do them all well.
So, this is obviously not a complete list. What other hats do you need to wear as a blogger?
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