Your blog isn’t about you
The biggest mistake new bloggers make is assuming their blog is about them. I’m not saying that it’s back they put their name on their site or put up images about themselves, these are good things to do as they build a personal connection and show you to be a real person that people can connect to. No I’m talking about something much more subtle, that comes up in every post you write, every paragraph you write, and even within sentences. It’s reflected in your post titles, the times you post and the nature of your about page.
Your blog is all about you. And that’s wrong
In Defense Of The “All About Me Blog”
If you aren’t interested in gaining a readership and really just blog for cathartic reasons and for yourself then that is fine. You may find that you gain an audience but more often that not, sharing what you did yesterday, what your opinion about topic x is and
There are some people who can get away with this, famous celebrities, highly opinionated people (extremists do well online for some reason) and people who have really interesting lives but I’m sorry to break this to you…you’re probably not one of them (I’m certainly not!)
So Who Is Your Blog About?
Well as Christian bloggers I’m sure we all believe we are doing this for God’s glory and so to some degree it is for God. We need to make sure that our writing glorifies god and is in a manner pleasing to him. In practice this means
- bearing good witness (be slow to anger for example.)
- not adding or taking anything away from the gospel
- showing love to our Christian brothers and sisters (after all “they will know us by our love for one another”)
- showing love to our enemies
But this is only part of it. God doesn’t “Read” our blogs and he knows all things so to a large extent there is another group we should focus on.
Your Blog Should Be About Your Readers
If your target reader is yourself then fine, ignore this, but if you want other people to read your blog (which I guess you do to some degree as you publish it online) then it isn’t about you, it isn’t about showing how great you are or what amazing insights you have. Your blog is about your readers and it should seek to bless them in someway.
Just stop to imagine the difference between going to a blog all about the writer…and one that is all directed for you, the reader. Which would you rather go to? I’ll bet a lot of money (but I don’t bet so ignore that) that it’s the latter. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be personal, you shouldn’t share your experiences but here are some practical application ideas.
Imagine Your “One Reader”
Before you can write for your readers you have to get to know them. Imagine you one perfect reader. The one person you’d love to read your site. For Jeff Goins, he chose himself (as I have for most of what I’ve done) but he still imagined himself as a third person. It’s a key difference between writing for yourself and writing to yourself.
Action step: write up a description of your ideal reader. Give them a name, age, job, where they live but also think about what they want from life, why they read blogs, what problems do they have.
Share When It’s Good For Your Readers
I’m part if a writers group and someone was asking when it was best to share their posts. I suggested that they looked at when their readers opened their emails or when they had the most traffic on their site and aim just before that. Someone else responded that this writer should just “post when they like” and your readers will out up with it. I’m sorry friend but your wrong. If you view yourself as a writer then you should seek to give your reader the best reading experience you can. And part of that is when it is best for them to read.
So many people publish blog posts on a Monday as that is the day that they can publish having written one at the weekend. But maybe you should consider if that is the best time for your readers? It might be but then again maybe they are busier having just returned to work.
Of course, you won’t be able to do this for every reader but if you are targeting your “one reader” then you will get people similar to them.
Action point: Think about your one reader, how do they find blog posts to read? When do they read them? What makes them choose to read one or not?
Make Your Social Media Posts Relevant
Everyday I see people sharing to social media things their blog posts in a way which is just about them.
- I’ve just written…
- Today’s post
- Monday’s post
- My latest adventure
- What I learned about…
And so on and so on. The first thing you are telling the reader is all about you and doesn’t let them know if it is worth their time reading it at all. Sometimes I fear it is just another form of boasting “Look at me! I wrote something again! That’s five times this week you know!”
My exception is for themed days like our own #wednesdayrewind
Action Point: When you share your blog posts describe the post and tell your reader why they should read it. What will they get out of it? Will they learn something? Will it make them laugh?
Make Your About Page Your Readers
Irony, your about page isn’t about you. It’s about your reader, you are just there to explain things. Tell them what they will find on the site, what they might want to read and how your site can help or interest them. Yes, you’ll include a biography and all that information but this is to facilitate your readers journey through the site and understand more about the writer.
Action point: read your about page again. What does a person learn about your site from it? How can you make it more about the reader and less about you.
Give Your Reader Something To Take Away
I love people who share their personal experiences and I often find something I can take away from it. However, sometimes I have to go searching within the post to find the buried treasure and I view it from my perspective with my bias from a third hand source. By changing “after this experience I started doing … And it’s been great” to “this is what I did and it could help you to…” You are shifting perspective, making it less about how great you are and more applicable.
Care About The Individuals Not The Numbers
Right confession time, hands up if you’ve got obsessed in some way with blog stats? [Slowly raises hand] yup. I’ve done it myself and it seems to come in waves usually with worse periods when things start to get successful. Of course, There’s nothing wrong with wanting to serve more people but if all you care about is preaching to the crowd and not ministering to the single person, if you are only seeking to gain new readers and not care for your old readers then there is something wrong.
I can’t speak for your heart and as I say it’s good to seek to help and serve more people, but if you are focusing on the numbers not on the people, you’ve got a problem.
Action point Check your heart. Do you care about your readers? Are you serving them? Is the most important thing for you the numbers or the people you are helping. Try making more of an effort to respond to comments, reflect on how you can serve your readers you have now.
If your blog is about you then it may just be a platform for you to bestow your wisdom upon your inferior readers (big mistake!) But as we know from Proverbs 9:9
9 Instruct the wise and they will be wiser still;
teach the righteous and they will add to their learning.
Your readers are pretty smart and it’s okay for you to admit that. You can be an expert without knowing everything . I recently went to a post and left a comment sharing a connection with another part of the bible and some personal experiences. The owner of the blog responded by lecturing me. This person stated my point again, he made no acknowledgement of my question or point but instead almost tried to wrestle ownership back of my comment. I didn’t want him to praise me as an expert but even just going “that’s a good point” or simply saying he agreed would have been miles different than teaching me my own point.
Action point keep learning and be honest about what you don’t know. Ask genuine questions to your readers (not questions for the sake of questions) and acknowledge their knowledge. Open up your blog for guest posts.
How self centered is your blog?
I’ll admit that my personal blog has moved to becoming more about me, and I am not following much of my own advice here. I’m okay with that as I really don’t care if it’s “successful” or not. However, this blog (and others I write) aren’t for me, they are for the readers and these are just some of my ideas and tools I try to use to make them more about the reader. I’m still learning so if you have any advice then I do genuinely want to hear it. So please leave your comments and advice below.
About Chris Wilson
I'm a 27 English as a foreign language Teacher based in Badajoz in Spain. I also run the Christian Bloggers community and enjoy writing in my free time.