I often get asked by friends and coworkers about blogging.
Why should I start a blog?
What could I possibly have to say that’s any different from what is already out there?
Who would really want to read my stuff?
Although these questions are warranted (and the thought of starting a blog can be quite intimidating), the answers probably aren’t as magical as you would think. Actually, the answers are rather simple and straightforward. The truth is that what you say on your blog might not be that different from what else is out there. Your ideas might not be original. You probably won’t have many readers when you start out. Hell, you might not have over 100 readers on any particular day throughout the entire duration of your blog. But, that’s okay.
These questions miss out on one particular point – other readers don’t necessarily matter.
The Start of Blogging
Blogs started out as a way to share bits of information and introspection into your thoughts and ideas. That’s it. They weren’t developed as a flashy means to build an audience, sell books, and convert readers into customers. Simply put, someone had an idea, and they wanted to share it.
Along the way, various features including comments, sharing buttons, images, videos, etc – many of the features we take for granted now – were added in. Users collected in groups to consume information that interested them and to share their own thoughts and comments either on the particular blog or through their own diary of thoughts elsewhere on the internet. Writers didn’t necessary care what anyone else thought because in the end, the blog represented a collection of their own thoughts on a particular subject matter.
Fast forward to today. We’re far more concerned with how our blog looks to others than the actual content. A higher number of social shares must indicate a better blog post. Comments indicate an especially thought-provoking idea. Customized themes highlight better authors.
We’ve lost the most important element of a blog – the idea.
Your Ideas Matter – at Least to You
The fact of the matter is that the material you find on this page isn’t necessarily meant for you as the reader. I don’t sit down and thumb through Google keywords to identify a particular subject that will drive SEO traffic. The thoughts and topics on this blog were imagined in my own head through daily interactions and conversations and then made into a reality in a text document before you read them here.
There are certainly posts that received a higher than normal amount of social shares, and there are others that received very little social amplification and zero comments. The comments, design, images, and sharing numbers mask the most important piece of the post – the idea.
Each idea is important to me mainly because it came from my head but also because I chose to share it with you as the reader.
Stop writing for SEO. Stop worrying about which Google keyword you’re going to blog about next. That may be the secret to short-term increases in traffic, but that’s not going to be beneficial, particularly if your goal is to build an audience for your next product or book. Search engine traffic doesn’t stick around to have a conversation. They don’t care about who you are or what you do. In fact, they care about little more than the title of your blog and maybe and image or two that they can copy.
Instead, go back to the basics. Share things that are meaningful to you. Share things that piss you off. Make your ideas and feelings so strong that readers are forced to have a reaction. But, in the end, write stuff that you would want to read.