I know tons of bloggers who are super laid back. It’s part of their personality, and certain readers are attracted to that style. Something important to realize, though: being laid back is not the same as not caring.
Story time! (Because everyone loves a good Allison story, right?)
A few weeks ago, a friend of mine came to me for some blogging advice. He decided that he wanted to join the ranks of the undead cool and start a blog. In his words, “It doesn’t have to make tons of money. It would be nice if I could make a few bucks to cover hosting, but I’m more interested in the creative writing aspect.”
Awesome. It’s super easy to start a blog, and if you just want a dumping ground for thoughts (as opposed to using it to make money), there’s no reason to even pay for hosting. WordPress has a great free service, and I know people who like Blogger as well.
Although he wasn’t interested in making money, my friend did relate that he wants to build a following. He might only post once or twice a week, but he would like people to actually read what he says and subscribe to his feed. That’s where he needed my advice – how do you find traffic, entice people to comment, create a blog community, promote your blog, etc? Great, I’m happy to help.
“So, what’s the idea you have for your blog?” I asked, my mind already racing with all the things I could teach him. “What topic area are you going to cover.”
And then, this happened.
OK, I admit that I’m being a little dramatic, but what he said next kind of floored me.
“I don’t really care. I don’t have a specific topic in mind.”
Now, I do want to go on the record as saying that many hobby blogs don’t cover a single, specific niche. The author just blogs about opinions or news or whatever he/she finds interesting. And that’s fine. It’s just not a good business idea if you want to build traffic. It certainly isn’t good if you want to make money using a blog.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time I’ve heard a blogger say that they “don’t care” about their blog’s topic. Even if they don’t use those words directly, some bloggers don’t feel a passion for any niche and instead go into blogging with the mindset that they’re going to write about whatever will make them most popular. In my opinion, this thinking is totally backward.
You don’t have to have a strong niche or idea in mind when you decide you want to get into blogging. Everyone starts from zero. You do have to explore your personal passions, though, and come up with a topic that truly does excite you. Why?
- You’re going to be writing at least a post or two a week. That’s over 100 posts per year, and many bloggers find that they’re most successful when they write 5 – 10 posts per week. Can you honest write 500 posts a year on a topic you don’t care about?
- Lack of passion shines through. Readers generally don’t respond well to a topic when the blogger doesn’t even care about it. My best and most popular posts are always those which are most emotionally charged. You don’t have to be on the edge of tears every time you write, but if you never care about the topic, your posts will read as dull and uninspired.
- If you don’t care about your topic, you’re probably not an expert. You don’t have to necessarily be an expert to start a blog per se, but in starting a blog, you are saying that you’re knowledgeable about the subject and can serve as an authority in the niche. If you don’t particularly care for a certain topic, you probably don’t have much experience learning about it.
- You’ll burn out. To be a successful blogger, you have to immerse yourself in your niche. Do you really want to spend a good chunk of your free time research, reading news, and so forth when you personally don’t enjoy the subject matter? That’s just as bad as going to job you hate every day.
In short, if you don’t care about your blog, who will?
Image credit: sxc.hu