I absolutely love reading blogs about blogging. I’m a blogger after all, and I love what I do; reading blogs that talk about the kind of work that I do are not only an extension of my passion for blogging, but, I feel, partly the cause of that passion.
When I first began reading blogs, I started off primarily being obsessed with ones on the topic of personal finance. I’d devour relevant information from my favourite sites, then scour the net for more until I finally felt content that everything I was reading had become redundant enough to give the topic a rest. At that point I’d unsubscribe and move on to another interest.
I’ve not gotten to the point where every bit of information offered in the blogs about blogging niche feels redundant. In fact, considering it’s such a new and rapidly changing industry, and that it overlaps with a lot of areas and isn’t hyper-concentrated on just one (blogs about blogging talk about business, personal finance, monetization, time management, marketing, networking, developing writing skills, etc.), I think I may never completely shelf my obsession with these types of blogs.
A big part of why I like them is because I feel like they’re a shortcut to learning things I will eventually learn on my own, through trial and error and in time, via running my own blogs.
Another part of why I like them has to do with the fact that reading these blogs is particularly good for helping me to come up with excellent ideas to implement on my own blogs. Even if the author didn’t suggest anything special in a post, a sentence or two can really get my gears going, and can help me to conceptualize a new direction for my already existing projects, or conceptualize some new project(s) that I’d like to test out.
Similarly, reading other people’s ideas and implementations from their own blogs helps me to figure out what I do not want to be doing on mine. Just because something works for someone else, generates traffic or money for them even, does not mean it’s appropriate or beneficial for me to be doing with my own sites. If I read about a good idea, I can appreciate that good idea without feeling that I need to be implementing a similar model myself.
I’ll take the time to mention: for new bloggers, it can be difficult to have a solid vision of what you’d like your blog to be. That being said, I feel strongly that you shouldn’t be implementing things you don’t feel are quite right for you, your site, or your mission – don’t do something just because it seems to be working for somebody else. It’s the fastest way to get off course. Having a vision of the future of your site is important, even if it’s just a foggy vision, and if implementing something doesn’t perfectly align with that vision – don’t do it.
An example of a method I disagree with implementing on my sites is mentioned in this article, which fervently advocates for completely ditching display ads of any kind as a form of blog monetization. The article insists that display ads undermine a blog, make a blog look “sleazy,” and make readers, who supposedly all have A.D.D., completely forget about your blog when they click away via those display ads you have in your sidebar. I genuinely don’t agree with much said in this article. Reading through it in full actually irked me a little because of just how much I disagree with a lot of what was said. But for some people, this article will hit home. For those, the advice should probably be followed. For me, definitely not.
There was nonetheless some good to come out of me reading this article: I believe that display ads can be used sensibly and in a positive way, and that there can be good place for them on your blog or website; reading this article only reassured this feeling for me.
Learning about different blogging and marketing tactics and then assessing whether or not they’re right for you and your sites is, I feel, very helpful, whether you’re new to blogging or not. For instance, determining whether you agree or disagree with the two most popular ideas floating around blogs about blogging these days (that you HAVE to be growing a ginormous email list and that you really need to guest post) will help you to determine the direction you take with your blog and layout. Deciding whether to listen to those who advise you not to be doing all the work yourself when it comes to your sites is another example of a crossroads where your blog’s future should be determined by how you feel about the issue. Don’t like the advice? Don’t follow it.
Always go with your gut, but try figuring out why you feel a certain way about a certain topic. I, for one, do not like outsourcing. I prefer to do as much of the work for my sites in house, even if this means it takes me a lot longer to get things finished. The way I see it, if you feel you can handle doing everything yourself, and you’re a bit of a control freak like me, outsourcing may not be the right call for you, even when it comes to typically outsourced things like blog design. After all, if you can teach yourself CSS and learn to tweak your website layout yourself, you won’t have to be looking for a coder every time you need another small fix. You’ll be able to fiddle to your heart’s content, until things are just the way you want them – saving yourself a reasonable amount of money in the process that you may be able to relocate elsewhere, like to blog advertising.
If you’re anything like me (i.e. a control freak), you’ll want to hold on to the vast majority of the control over your projects. That’s perfectly fine, so long as it’s a decision you’ve chosen for yourself, and not something you’ve been forced into because you weren’t aware of your options. Educating yourself about what others are doing helps you to know what to do and what not to do for yourself. It’s great to learn as much as you can about what others are doing, even if you’re not necessarily going to be using that advice.
To sum up: I love blogs about blogging, but I don’t use every piece of advice that’s thrown my way when I read them. Not even close. They help give me guidance with regards to what to do with my blog, but that guidance may just be to ignore exactly what they’re advocating for me trying.