I totally almost published this post with the title “Blogging tips. From YOU to ME”. Whoops.
Someone recently asked me to do a post on how I have achieved “success” as a blogger. I think everyone defines success differently in the online world, and there are tons of lists out there on how to make money, drive traffic to your site, etc.
This post offers you none of that advice.
Truthfully I have zero advice on how to drive traffic, make a ton of cash, or win the internet. This site has evolved organically and I can’t tell you the nuts and bolts about why you dumbasses keep reading. I’m sure most of the “how to blog successfully” posts have “don’t call your reader dumbasses” as tip #1. F that noise.
Today I want to tell you how to blog without ending up hating it.
1) Know Why You Write
I started this site in 2010 because our lives got flipped turned upside down. And I’d like to take a minute, just sit right there, and I’ll tell you how I became the princess of a category called “Frugal Perv”.
I had a group of online friends and I loved sharing frugal tips about how we were dealing with our reality after our world went to hell in a shit basket. After a while, I got the feeling I was posting too much and being annoying. So, I started a blog.
As I like to tell people who email me saying they will no longer read my blog again because of (fill in the blank: swearing, I’m too “fake” weird, I joked that I wanted to cut off Miley’s tongue because I was sick of it, or other self-entitled reasons), “thanks for the feedback, but I write for myself. I love that people read it, but I don’t write to please you or others”. I then usually recommend a few blogs where they can have their asses kissed daily and the blogger doesn’t even point out the enormous stick coming out of it.
Bottom line: write for you.
If people read it, fabulous. If not, you’ve lost nothing because your main audience (yourself) still finds you funny and engaging. I swear that sometimes I go back to find old posts to link in a new post, end up reading it, and I crack myself up because I forgot that I can be hilarious at times.
My mission at the start was to document how our lives changed after Troy got laid off on April Fool’s Day (2010). Not a great joke. My mission remains the same to this day, but one of the side benefits is that I some times get to help others and inspire them. But the core’s still me baby!
Man, I freaking hate when people say “baby”. It grates on me. Goes back to a boyfriend I had at the end of my senior year. I’m not your baby buddy. Don’t put me in the corner, because ain’t nobody puts Baby in the corner. (end tangent)
2) Know Your Voice, AND Don’t Try to Be Someone Else
Embrace who you are and go with it. You’ll find me writing about what I know, am trying to learn, or things I find interesting or unique. I’ll never write about being tan or having big boobs because that is shit I can’t even comprehend.
There are so many blogs out there that do what I want to do, but so much better than I ever could. Good for them! I don’t try to be those people because that is inauthentic, and you all would call me on my shit instantly. Thank you.
3) It’s OK If People Don’t Think You Poop Glitter
I’m not sure why bloggers think they need to be like the leader of North Korea and have people believe they don’t have bowel movements. AKA, it’s ok to be authentic. This sounds like number two (hee hee) above, but it is more than that.
Don’t be afraid to let your nerd/freak/whatever flag fly. Admit you’re not a perfect person. Is it really important for strangers to believe your house is always clean, your kids are perfect, and you make pottery by hand every day inspired by the organic produce your herd of Von Trapp children harvested with 1820’s hand tools? People may flock to those sites, but in your heart of hearts, we both know that drivel makes you feel like you are failing at life.
Publicly acknowledging that you don’t always have your shit together is ok. It’s entertaining, and it humanizes you. The flip side of that is, don’t spend all your time bitching and whining. People want to champion you for overcoming life hurdles, but don’t want to listen to you go on and on about how much your life sucks. Accept (and share) that you are imperfect, but also pull up your big girl panties from time to time, hunker down, and take care of your shit.
4) Write Because You Enjoy It, and Not Because It Could Make You Money
I will never write about something just because I think it will generate a lot of traffic. Just don’t. Life is too short to put on a show because you think people will find it interesting.
Don’t write for SEO (Search Engine Optimization), Google Analytics, or any other income generator. Write topical content that speaks to you and some times the money follows. But be ok if it doesn’t.
5) Be OK That You Can’t Have It All
In the amount of time I have spent wishing “man, if only I didn’t have to work, I could do “x” with my site”, I probably could have just done the thing.
I don’t have the coolest, most tech friendly site, and it would be great if I had better photographs, but I keep true to my mission and it works. Until it doesn’t. Which leads us to…
6) Be Ok With Failure/Not Getting It Right Every Time
You are not a machine. There will be times when you screw something up. Accept it, own the error, and move on. Life is too short beating yourself up for a little mistake. As long as no one was injured, you weren’t deliberately racist or homophobic, and didn’t hurt a kid or animal, the world will go on turning tomorrow.
I have personal and work-related mistakes that still make me puke a bit in my mouth if I spend too much energy focusing on it. You know those mistakes when you first realize it, your face gets hot and sweaty, your ears start ringing, your clenched butthole instantly start to generate butt pee? I’ve had a few of those moments blogging too. I handle them how I handle other mistakes – I give myself a set amount of time to grieve the momentary loss of my intelligence, and then I move on. You can apologize, own you screwed up, and make like Elsa, and let it go.
7) Haters Gonna Hate, Hate, Hate, Hate…you know the rest
So maybe I’ve been lucky in that I haven’t had too much issue with internet trolls and rude people (but I’m not immune)…cue the onslaught of trolls in five, four, three, two, one…
You have two choices every single day, no matter who you are and what your life circumstances might be. You can do everything in your power to make it a great day, or you can walk around like someone took a dump in your Cheerios. I’m not a robot, and of course I have bad days, but generally I try to look on the bright side of things. With that comes the power to not let others ruin your day. If you give in to the anger and general assholeness of pissed off people, you are choosing to let them ruin your day. Don’t give them that power. Enjoying your life and brushing off someone who is trying to bring you down is the greatest “go fuck yourself” on earth.
8) Do It Because It is Fun
If stops being fun, stop writing. Seems pretty simple, right?
9) Don’t Be A Whore
I used to read a blog because the woman had great original content, and then all of the sudden it was like she was doing the walk of shame daily. Every single post was sponsored, and she only wrote posts based on who was paying her to write content for that day. Now a sponsored post here and there is fine; it’s a great way to bring some income in to your blog, but every single post? It turns readers off, and frankly after you shill yourself out for different companies that make similar products, you can appear less trustworthy.
The route I take is definitely not lucrative, but I like to think that when I actually recommend something, people believe it is something I love. I’d rather have trust than cash.
So, there you have it. I may not be successful at this gig financially, but I have a great time doing my thing and will still keep on keeping on until it starts feeling like work.
Oh, and most of the lists where people tell you “how to blog” say always have a photo in every post. So, here, a photo of Jack receiving his first ever light saber. Truly an honored moment in this house.
:drops mike and walks on stage: