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12 Days of Blogging 2010: 5 Golden Rules

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Five Golden Rules. Like Five Golden rings from the song. Get it? Hah!

Only what sounds like a great choices for today’s 12 Days of Blogging post really isn’t, simply because there aren’t just five things that magically come together to make a blog successful. I could probably write about thirty different “Golden Rules” of blogging. Cue Allison pouting because “5 Golden Rules” is a clever play on the real fifth day of Christmas.

As I started to compile topics for this series, though, it became pretty clear to me that there are five golden rules after all. Pretty much everything you do as a blogger to be successful can be put under one of these categories. It’s a Christmas miracle – I get to use my play on words!

(It’s the little things, folks. It’s been a long 2010.)

In my opinion, the 5 Golden Rules of Blogging are as follows:

1. Time Management

Blogging is hard. Really hard. And it takes time. A lot of time. You need time every day to actually do the work, and you need to have patience that over time your blog will grow. You need time for social media. You need time for in-person events, like BlogWorld. You need time to read other blogs in your niche.

Ironically, many people start blogs that they intend to monetize because they want a 4-hour work week. Maybe that’s possible for some, but to be honest, the super successful bloggers I know all put in a lot of time.

2. Passion

I’ve written before about the passion debate. Essentially, the debate is this: One side says that if you’re a good writer and smart business person, you can blog about anything and be successful. The other side says that you need to be passionate about your topic to have a successful blog about said topic.

I’ve seen some totally non-passionate bloggers find success. And that’s wonderful. In my opinion, though, it doesn’t make sense to get into any industry if you’re not passionate. All the money in the world isn’t worth waking up every morning and hating what you do when there could be something amazing out there that would make you excited to jump out of bed.

3. Networking

“If you build it, they will come,” doesn’t really work anymore. Even if you’re an SEO god, you can only get so far with that mindset. I don’t want a ceiling to my success! Networking gives you infinite possibilities. You can network online (think about all the new people you’ve met on Twitter, for example) or you can network in-person (BlogWorld, anyone?). You can network with the sole purpose of expanding your fanbase or you can network to find JV partners.

Networking is a must. It’s only a matter of choosing your poison. (Mine is Twitter.)

4. Branding

Branding originally had nothing to do with blogging, but we’re adaptive little creatures, so today, its hard not to hear branding and blogging in the same breath, even from traditional marketers. Whenever you’re using new media tools, you’re branding yourself. Your blog design is part of your brand. You can help (or hurt) your brand at in-person events. Hell, branding is even about how you write your blog posts (formal? edgy? informative? emotional? nurturing? humorous? …?)

A blogger who doesn’t pay attention to branding is a blogger that will have a hard time succeeding. People want to connect with you, and your brand gives them a quick snapshot as to what they can expect from you and your blog.

5. Analysis of Failure and Self Doubt

Lastly, to be better, strong bloggers, we have to admit it when we’ve failed, analyze our shortcomings, understand how to overcome weaknesses, and give self-doubt a sucker punch. I think this is where a lot of bloggers go wrong – they never think they’re wrong. They are successful by whatever standards they have, but they aren’t willing (or maybe even able) to think about mistakes.

We all feel like a failure from time to time. The best bloggers out there face their problems head-on and, more importantly, share their stories so that we can all learn. It’s about growth and forward motion, not about perfection.

Because today’s topic (5 Golden Rules) is so important, I didn’t think it was fair to you, my wonderful readers, to highlight just five posts. Dozens of bloggers have written about these topics. Hundreds, even. Maybe thousands. So instead, each Golden Rule is getting its own post. After all, the most important “life” golden rule is “Do unto others” and if I was a reader, I’d want more than just one post about each topic!

Here’s where you can find the 5 Golden Rules posts, along with five amazing bloggers highlighted for each rule:

Time Management

  • Featuring: Sid Savara, Jimi Jones, Sonia Simone, Matt Cheuvront, Nathan Hangen, and more!

Passion

  • Featuring: Chris Guillebeau, Tyler Tervooren, Dave Murr, Collin Vine, and Matthew Kimberley

Networking

  • Featuring: Jade Craven, Karol Gajda, Amy Parmenter, Denise Wakeman, Jill Felska, and Judy Helfand

Branding

  • Featuring: Chris Brogan, Mars Dorian, Chris Ducker, Danielle LaPorte, and Lara Solomon

Failure/Self-Doubt

  • Featuring: Erica Douglass, Miss Brit, Marissa Bracke, Kelly Diels, and Chris Garrett

Woah mama, this is a star line up. Head to specific posts to read more!

Check out the rest of the 12 Days of Blogging:

12 Writers Writing
11 Tweeters Tweeting
10 Guests a-Posting
9 SEOers Optimizing
8 Affiliates Selling
7 Facebook Users Updating
6 Launchers Launching
5 Golden Rules
4 Podcasting Hosts
3 Ebook Tips
2 Ethics Debates
And a Partridge in a Pear Tree (ebook coming soon!)

Allison Boyer freelance writer and content marketing consultant. She also runs the food blog The PinterTest Kitchen with her mom and sister. You can follow her shenanigans on Twitter (@allison_boyer) or contact her at allisonmboyer@gmail.com.


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