The internet is littered with so-called “blogging rules”. A quick scroll down my Twitter feed, I’m bombarded with posts telling me the “right” way to do everything from pitching to brands to designing my logo.
- How To Craft The Perfect Media Kit
- 10 Time Management Lessons You Need To Learn
- Triple You Blog Traffic In Three Simple Steps
- 5 Do’s and Don’ts For Your Blog Layout
Don’t get me wrong – these posts have their place, and can be very helpful. (I’ve even written my own on how to get the most out of linky parties). But they can also put a lot of pressure on bloggers by implying that breaking the rules will doom their blog to failure.
This is simply NOT TRUE!
Here is a list of 9 blogging rules that I choose to break.
9 Blogging Rules That I Choose To Break
1. Be available 24/7
Okay I get it – the internet never sleeps! You could be emailed, tweeted, pinned any time of the day or night. But you really don’t need to be contactable all the time.
I am, first and foremost, a mum.
When my kids are at home, I leave my phone in the kitchen. It’s out of reach so I’m not distracted by it. But it’s easily accessible so I can have a quick glance when I’m in the room to see if there’s anything urgent I need to respond to.
I also have a complete blogging break at the weekend. That is family time.
Generally speaking, you won’t lose a pitch simply by taking a few hours to respond.
2. Post every day
There are lots of blogging challenges that encourage you to post every day. I appreciate that the discipline is good for honing your skills and great for SEO, but, unless you’re a pro, it’s really not necessary.
Yes you need to post regularly, but 2 or 3 times per week is perfectly sufficient to keep Google noticing you.
3. Be on every social media channel
There are so many social media platforms out there, and we’re encouraged to be on them all. But I reckon quality is better than quantity.
It’s not just about having a presence there – you need to be engaged. You can’t influence people if you’re just a name that churns out links to your blog. Conversation is key.
(Having said that, I’ve just signed up to Instagram, so if you could pop over & follow me, I would be most grateful – @lucyathomeblog – because it’s tough starting out on a new platform. Eek!)
4. Use personal photographs
I can totally see how photographs of yourself and your children can help to endear your blog to your readers but… I prefer to remain anonymous. I write about personal topics and deep feelings, so I’d rather my next door neighbour or the mums at school didn’t know it was me.
The way that people bang on about it, you’d would think it was a cardinal sin not to put a mugshot in your bio!
However, I’ve now been blogging a year, with no photos of my face or my children’s faces, and guess what?! It hasn’t been a problem and my blog is thriving.
Vlogging is the way forward. Urrgh! But I don’t want to vlog. Plus it’s pretty hard to vlog if you want to remain anonymous! Haha. I know that vlogging is the new thing, but my passion is writing, not TV presenting.
However, books weren’t wiped out by TV, so I don’t think vlogging will extinguish blogging either.
This is one of those blogging rules that is always making the rounds. As a super organised person, you’d think this would be right up my street!
But actually it cramps my creativity!
I hate writing to a brief. I much prefer to write about what’s on my mind at the moment, rather than what I thought I should write about when I wrote the publishing plan 4 weeks ago.
When you have contracts to fulfil, that’s different. I did have a brief plan at the beginning of the year when I had a number of interlinked deadlines to meet. But other than that, I’m a free spirit! Haha.
7. Make money
Eeek! I fall into this trap all the time; I value my blog based on how much money it’s made.
The internet is swamped by posts telling us how to make money and how to appeal to brands. Don’t get me wrong – they’re really helpful (and I definitely appreciate the money!) BUT blogging is not just a money-making machine.
I also blog because:
- I enjoy it
- it’s my little space
- I like connecting with others
- I have something to say
- I like being creative
Making money is a happy by-product of my hobby, not one of the blogging rules.
8. Don’t compare yourself to others
Actually, I compare myself to other bloggers all the time. It’s what you do with that information that counts!
Being envious of others or down on yourself won’t help you. But analysing WHY someone is doing better than you or WHY their blog is more successful can make you up your game and show you how to improve.
9. Have a goal
Yes I’m sure this one works for lots of people – goals give direction and motivation. But I’m a terrible perfectionist. When I set goals, I can’t rest until I’ve fulfilled them.
I worry about what I still need to do to achieve my goal and become overly fixated on the end result.
Instead, I choose to keep plodding along, putting one foot in front of the other, and enjoying the journey.
So those are the 9 blogging rules that I choose to break. I’m not telling you to break them too, but what I am saying is this:
Do what works for you!
Most of us are not pro bloggers. Many of us have other responsibilities; children, jobs, homes, hobbies, commitments. Blogging is just one aspect of our lives, and it’s one that can easily swallow up far more time than it needs to.
Blogging rules are a great starting point, but you don’t need to be a slave to your blog. Draw your own boundaries and take the control back. Blogging is a long game, and you need to pace yourself. A bit of pressure and structure is good, but you don’t want to burn out before you make it.
I am sure that the key to blogging is enjoying what you do. And that, my friends, will make you unstoppable!
Now over to you – are there any blogging rules that you ignore or bend? Do you plan out your blog and your time or do you take things as they come? I’d love you to share your thoughts in the comments section below