7 Blogging Tips Derived from Life Principles

I’m going through 31 Days to Build a Better Blog with 60+ other bloggers.  Today is Day 6.  The e-book lesson includes 27 articles of blogging tips and tutorials, which we’re supposed to read, digest, and discuss.

It’s a bit much, in my opinion.  As I wrote in a comment, it’s a bit like drinking from a fire hose.

Generally speaking, I’m not big on memorizing a lot of little things.  I much prefer to learn some general principles and then apply those principles to specific situations.  So, as I was reading through all these tips, certain underlying principles started to emerge.

What’s more, I noticed that a lot of the general principles for blogging well are actually derived from even broader principles for living well.  Here are 7 general principles that apply to blogging as well as life in general.

1) Be yourself. People are sick of spin, sick of sales pitches, sick of phonies, sick of people who act one way with one group of people and another way with another group of people.  It’s great to learn from other bloggers, but don’t try to act like someone else.  Be honest and authentic.

2) Serve others first. The best bloggers write to help their readers.  If you’re primary reason for blogging is to make money, promote your own agenda, become popular, or express yourself it’s probably not going to work.  That means blogging posts that help your readers, responding to comments & emails, and answering questions.  This principle is true in most areas of life.  If your motives for starting a business, getting into a relationship, or even volunteering are selfish, you are much more likely to fail and be disappointed.

3) Think from perspective of the people you’re serving. As a blogger, it’s important to imagine things from the perspective of your readers.  Understand your readers’ backgrounds, education, spiritual beliefs, and politics may be different from yours.  Don’t use insider language.  Don’t talk down to your audience.  Understand that they’re busy and reading & discussing your blog posts are a very, very low priority.  Make it as easy as possible for them to engage.  Same is true with your business, church, non-profit, neighborhood organization.  In any situation where you are serving others, it’s important to understand the perspective of the people you’re serving.

4) Build relationships. Blogging really is all about building relationships – with your readers, with other bloggers in your niche, with people you can collaborate with.  Everything else is life is primarily about relationships too.  Great businesses build great relationships with their customers, their vendors, and their partners.  Great churches facilitate great relationships among their members.  And obviously great marriages, families, and friendships are all about building relationships.

5) Read a lot. As a blogger, it’s important to read other blogs.  This helps you learn from others, get to know others in your niche, provides new ideas for blog articles, and enables you to stay informed on the latest developments and issues.  Same is true in life in general.  Reading helps you learn, challenges you to grow, and often provides opportunities to develop relationships with others who are reading the same things.

6) Commit & do the work. You can’t develop a great blog if you write when you feel like or when you find the time.  You’ve got to be intentional about keeping a scheduled and writing a certain number of posts each week.  You’ll have to sacrifice some other things to meet your commitment.  Same is true in business, marriage, raising kids, volunteering, even playing golf.  If you want to do well, you have to commit to it.

7) Take risks.
Bloggers that never take risk are boring, fail to connect with others, and fail to take steps to get to the next level.  Some risks you may be challenged to take:

  • Reveal some personal, painful, or embarrassing things about yourself in order to help people who are facing similar circumstances.
  • Write an opinion on something you know a lot of your readers will disagree with.
  • Criticize someone or something you disagree with.
  • Write about a topic that is taboo.
  • Ask someone to guest post on your blog. They could turn you down.
  • Try to raise money for a charity.  Your readers may not respond, you could fail miserably, and look like an idiot in the process.

Same is true in life in general.  You have to take risks to be successful, some of the same risks – authenticity, sharing an opinion, speaking up about something taboo, asking for help, going public with big goals.

Do you see a lot of similarities between what makes for a great life and what makes for a great blog?

Which of these principles resonates with you most?

18 Responses to “7 Blogging Tips Derived from Life Principles”

  1. Yeah, it is not always about numbers and check lists. Sometimes it is about people, in fact it should be more about other people. I mean why do you blog? To get into the Alexa top 100k? why bother.
    I like your list man, because it shows that blogging should not be self centered.

  2. Thanks for keeping it REAL. As my mom would say, “It’s not about YOU.” Thanks for paralleling blogging and life. We should be “others” focused and not just “self” focused. Let’s face it, the experience you have or the knowledge you’ve acquired is never just for you, it’s always meant to help someone else along the way.

    • That’s a great perspective LaShorne. In blogging as in life it’s easy to become self-absorbed. We have to be regularly reminded that “It’s not about YOU.”

  3. Paul,
    I agree so much with #2 and #3 blogging, like real life, is all about serving. It’s about caring more about others and myself. All the promoting in the world won’t make up for a lack of meaningful service to our readers.
    I write about servanthood in my post today.
    http://junctionforjesus.blogspot.com/2010/05/what-do-you-want-to-be-when-you-grow-up.html

    • Yeah, and the cool thing is that if as a blogger the more you serve your readers, the more likely they are to return regularly, comment regularly, and share your posts with others.

  4. Your list hit home with me on every point. As I move forward with my blogging, I am really focusing on #2 and #4. It’s so much easier for me to be motivated to blog if I think it will add value to the readers on a consistent basis. I can also say until recently I have not had much interaction with readers with the exception of a few comments here and there. Over the last week I have really gained a lot of joy in encouraging others through leaving comments on their blogs and receiving the same from them as a result of the 32dbbb project.

    • That’s cool, Nolan. I’m glad to hear you’re finding joy in serving your readers. I’ve noticed that a lot of the bloggers participating in the 31 Days project really do “get it” when it comes to understanding that they need to blog with an attitude of “What can I give?” rather than “How can I get what I want from my readers?” The level of interaction and genuine interest in building relationships and helping each other has been extraordinary!

  5. Paul, this is a great list that is applicable to every day life. I think to many bloggers let the pursuit of making money from their blog get in the way of these few simple things. Or at least that is what I have observed. It is always refreshing to connect with those that make the tasks on this list a priority and even if they do make a few dollars on the side.

  6. Wow…perfect timing. I just posted a blog of “true confessions.” Actually, the last two have been like that. In some ways, it makes me sad to make my modest readership uncomfortable (like I did posting what I did about Mother’s day), but it is the truth. I know someone out there must be able to relate…right? We aren’t insane or alone! Today’s post is true confessions of the weight-loss poster child who lost 100 pounds ‘fessing up… “Some of it has returned.” I struggled with this the most because I know credibility is important and since my blog is visited by people who want to break free from disordered eating and, specifically, being overweight, they *want* to know that it is possible to get thin and stay thin forever! Anyhow, thanks for the confirmation that it is the best thing to do…for me *and*, hopefully, for them. 🙂 It’s real, anyhow!

    • Hi Heidi, I read a couple of your blog post, and wow, you it sounds like you are really being yourself and being authentic about some of your struggles. Way to go! I think a lot of people can identify with your struggles with Mothers Day and eating issues. I hope you’re able to help people who share those struggles to move forward through them.

  7. I like #7 the most … take risks.

    I need to do that more.

    • blogging is a risk; throwing out your thoughts, opinions and efforts – to be accepted or rejected by unknown people. Without the risk it is just a secret diary.

  8. Good info, keeps me focused on all the right reasons to blog.

  9. I like #7 the most … take risks.

    I need to do that more.

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