5 Defining Traits of a Well-Liked Blogger

Painting of men shaking hands

Whether or not people keep returning to your blog depends not just on your content, but also on your personality and how well you express it.

In my last post, I shared with you 23 “Bad” Blogging Habits. Following from that, I want to talk a bit about the traits I keep seeing in well-liked bloggers.

By well-liked, I mean a blogger who is followed, Liked, and shared, and whose posts always leave us feeling that we’ve gained something from them.

Nurturing these traits can make us all not just better bloggers, but better writers – an invaluable lifelong skill.

So, what traits am I talking about?

Authenticity

Authenticity means being you. It doesn’t mean being obnoxiously personal or narcissistic.

It means blogging in a voice that comes naturally to you. A voice that’s not made up, but which isn’t as rough as pure speech or pure thought either.

We don’t blog like we speak or like we think. We blog like we are. That’s what I mean by authenticity.

Example: One of the most authentic bloggers I follow is Susie Lindau from Susie Lindau’s Wild Ride. Read her posts, and you will understand what I mean by being authentic.

Freshness

Being fresh doesn’t have to mean avoiding general topics. Rather, it’s a question of how you tackle a topic.

Let’s jump in time to one of my most popular posts – Are You a Handwriter or a Typer?

The topic wasn’t at all new at the time, but the opening is unlike that of any other Handwriting versus Typing post under the sun. And it drew people in.

If you’re new to blogging, ask yourself before you post something: Is this fresh? Does it smell a bit like the wind blowing through the leaves on a bright morning?

If the answer is yes, people will want to read it.

Example: Kirsten Lamb’s latest post is titled “Thirteen Reasons Writers are Mistaken for Serial Killers.” A fresh topic, don’t you think?

Honesty

To be honest with your audience, you first have to be honest with yourself. It’s okay to assume a blogging persona. Boy with a Hat is to some extent my blogging persona.

(I don’t wear that hat all the time. What’s more, I’ve been told that I look better without it.)

But if you create a blogging persona, it should match you like a glove and outline your personality. Your About page should be a truthful reflection of who you are.

Being honest also means allowing yourself to be vulnerable. It’s not easy, but that’s what blogging often is for many of us – a painfully personal exploration of your true self..

Example: A great example that springs to mind is fellow Romanian Cristian Mihai. His posts are frank, and so is his message, whether he talks literature, blogging, failure, or life in general.

Warmth

Warmth is all about inviting people to join you on your journey. It’s not about being super informal or tossing out “yous” every few sentences.

It’s not so much the language you use as the overall effect of your writing.

It means more than being friendly. It means liking something so much that you can explain it to others warmly and get them interested in it.

Example: An Historian About Town is a nice example of how history (even that of a different culture from your own) can be made interesting when the historian connects right away with her readers.

Usefulness

You don’t have to publish how-to guides or tutorials to be useful, though those are not bad either.

Being useful in this context means creating posts that leave those who read them feeling that they’ve learned or discovered something worthwhile.

Or that they can now look at something they know – such as a painting – with more precision than before, relishing the small details they may have neglected before.

Example: An apt example is a blog I’ve only recently discovered – The Eclectic Light Company. Its author, Howard Oakley, combines delightful posts on painting with practical Macs & macOS news and tips.

So, in the end,

Authenticity

Freshness

Honesty

Warmth and

Usefulness

will take you a long way in the world of blogging.

***

I’ll leave you now to explore the interesting blogs I’ve shared with you.

Until next post!

**

PS: None of the bloggers mentioned in this post are paying me to promote them. I don’t even know most of them other than through their blogs.

23 “Bad” Blogging Habits That Will Make Your Blog Look Average

Connected painting by Sherry Betschel

Blogging is not an easy run but more of a long hike. It’s fun and exciting, but you need to step with care and dose your effort. Inspiration helps, but ultimately, it’s your blogging habits that will keep your blog on the right track.

Now, there are some lousy blogging habits can really get in the way of creating an engaging blog.

I am or was guilty of some of them myself.

Here they are, in no particular order.

1

Making your blog sound like a monologue instead of a conversation. The fix: write as if you are talking to a friend or a nice person you’ve just met. Don’t write for a “general audience” or just for “readers.”

2

Not making the headline and the intro nice. The way the content feed displays posts means that many people will judge your post based on your headline and intro.

If these are weak, it usually won’t matter how awesome the rest of your post is – people just won’t bother to read it.

3

Not asking yourself whether your readers actually need your post. Even if you’re running the most self-indulgent and nakedly personal blog, it’s still good to have a content filter in place.

Looking back on my years of blogging so far, I would definitely ditch some of my posts.

4

Not drafting posts in a word processor. Nothing wrong with the built-in editor (or the new block editor).

But writing your posts in Word, Pages, or LibreOffice gives you the chance to polish them more. You can then see them with fresh eyes in the editor and spot mistakes more easily.

5

Using large paragraphs. Big paragraphs look cumbersome on both desktop and mobile. White space is a good content digestive.

6

Not editing and proofreading your articles, especially if English is not your mother tongue. Of course, nobody will mind some typoes and errors here and there.

7

Choosing run-of-the-mill images. Everyone’s using stock photos, you know. If you’re going to use free images, take the time to find nice ones. You may want to avoid very popular images as everyone’s using those.

8

Not posting enough. Is there a rule for this? Not quite, but you can trust your blogger’s conscience. When you don’t post enough, you will start feeling that you are slacking.

9

Posting too much. How much is too much depends on the type of your blog and your goals. But usually, posting several times a day can make you sound tiresome.

Forcing yourself to post every day if it doesn’t come naturally isn’t a good idea either. Having gap days between your posts can create a sense of expectancy.

10

Not making your About page authentic. I don’t know about you, but for me, it’s always a big letdown to find a generic About page on an otherwise interesting blog.

11

Not reading other blogs. Blogging is a social experience. If you don’t care about others, others won’t care about you either.

12

Not responding to comments.

13

Not linking to your older posts. The fix: add at least a link or two to old posts. In this way, you can prevent older content from gathering dust and keep readers on your blog for longer.

14

Not using keywords. Personally, I don’t use keywords all that much because my blog is personal. But keywords are powerful if you want to get more traffic via Google. Not just that, but keywords can help you come up with interesting topics.

15

Not inviting people to guest-post on your blog.

16

Not scheduling posts for publishing while you’re traveling or having a busy week.

17

Not writing at least a post or two in advance when you get some free time.

18

Not asking questions at the end of your posts to invite people to share their views.

19

Not getting rid of widgets and plugins you don’t really need and which can slow down your site.

20

Not keeping an eye on what other bloggers in your “niche” are doing so you can do things a bit differently.

21

Not checking your stats now and then to see which posts get the most traffic and engagement. The built-in WordPress.com analytics also show you where your traffic and referrals come from.

22

Not letting your personality show. Even if you blog about finance, you can do it in your own voice, whether it’s calm and quiet, bubbly, or sarcastic.

23

Listening too much to other bloggers and trying to be like them. The world doesn’t need another [insert any popular blogger that you like here].

But it will never say no to a new, authentic voice.

Your own true voice, which distills your thoughts and experiences in a way that people can emphatize with.

***

What other “bad” blogging habit would you add to this list?

 

 

Hey You!

Park Bench in Herastrau

Why do you read this when you could be reading so many other things instead? Is it because you are hoping to find here something useful, fun, romantic? Is it out of solidarity with someone who has veered off the common path in order to write as a way of life? Or are you just incautiously curious?

Continue reading “Hey You!”