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How to Have a Successful Blog

Sitting on stage, in four-inch orange platform sandals, Martha Stewart expounded on what makes for a successful blog: personal, openness, passionate, sharing.  She spun off on the idea of monetization, of placing a value on your blogging effort, but my mind kept shuffling through the writing side of her advice.

It needs to be personal, showing the personality of the author.  It needs to have openness, giving part of yourself to the reader.  It needs to be passionate, making the reader care as much as you care.  And it needs to be sharing, you need to convey something or what was the point in spending time in the space?

It seemed like such a simplistic – and true – equation for creating a successful blog; a formula for how to create a successful blog.

If you scale each trait from 1 to 5, with 5 being the most and 1 being the least, how does your blog add up?

Personal: how much of your personality shines through?  Have you created an alter-ego online who doesn’t mesh with who you are offline?  Can people define your bloggy voice?  Give yourself 1 – 5 points for how well you’re doing this.

Openness: how open are you with readers?  Do you hold a lot back?  Do you feel like you have an arm up, holding curious people at bay?  Give yourself 1 – 5 points for how well you’re doing this.

Passionate: how excited are you about your own life?  If you’re not living the life you want to live, can you write an exciting blog?  Is a lack of energy in living life seeping into your words?  This is not just about happiness; are you passionately conveying what is in your head?  Give yourself 1 – 5 points for how well you’re doing this.

Sharing: are you conveying something?  Are you conveying new things?  Do you keep rehashing the same thoughts?  Can you think of things that people learned at your site that they couldn’t learn elsewhere, even if it was just something about what is important to you?  Give yourself 1 – 5 points for how well you’re doing this.

Be honest – how did your blog score AND can you now see places where you could improve and change your blog’s fate?


1 serenity { 08.03.12 at 2:34 pm }

Yep, scored lowest on passionate and sharing, which is pretty much what I thought. 🙂


2 Jonelle { 08.03.12 at 5:15 pm }

My score was pretty low on personal, passionate, and sharing. I think mostly because I seem to be in a constant slump, so its hard to really convey my personality and passion and I just end up sharing the same thing, which I know is boring, but its what I’m going through. I think I might need a blog makeover. Are you doing any consultations? 🙂

If you’re not living the life you want to live, can you write an exciting blog?
Um, isn’t this a bit contradictory? I’m sure its possible to not be living the life you want and yet write an exciting blog, but doesn’t that border on the insincere? Maybe that is just me.
Thanks again for making me think about new things when it comes to writing. I will take all of these things into consideration.

3 Mel { 08.03.12 at 6:46 pm }

It’s a question – can you? I think you can if you love your life overall but you are currently in a bad space. But if you’re waking up every day, bored with what you’re doing, wishing you were anywhere but here, can you write in such a way that it grabs the reader? Probably not. But then the blog becomes diagnostic of a different problem – a life unlived, poorly lived (poor defined by the own person’s standards). And then perhaps changing the life will also result in a change in blog, with the life being the important thing and the blog being an after effect. No one should be fixing their life just to have good blogging come their way 🙂

4 a { 08.03.12 at 10:18 pm }

I just don’t worry about it that much. Do I want to make my blog better? Eh – not particularly. I don’t put a huge amount of myself into it, so I don’t expect much out of it. I’d score a 5 on the personal, but the rest would be 1s, and I’m fine with that.

Maybe that would be a good separate category…is your blog giving you what you need?

5 SB { 08.04.12 at 12:14 am }

What is success, anyway? More hits? More comments? Some sort of commercial viability or other quantifiable measure? I blog with the humble intent of 1) putting my thoughts on paper and 2) chronicling my life for the benefit of far away relatives and my own future self. Martha Stewart makes me feel inadequate about my life as it is; I don’t care what she thinks about my blog!

6 Mel { 08.04.12 at 8:10 am }

SB, I think success has to be self-defined. But I do think that what she said as a tossaway line on the road to a different point is applicable to writing in general. Which books resonate with us? The ones where the author felt passionately about the work, and they convey that passion to us and so we grow passionate. So I think it was writing advice in general for people who used blogging as… well… an art form. Sort of the same way that there are people who cook meals to make dinner and there are people who put together artistic meals, I think there are some people blogging to record a moment in time or take things out of their head, and there are some people for which blogging is their art form, or writing is their art form and blogging is the medium.

7 Amie { 08.04.12 at 3:48 pm }

The cynical side of me wonders how much she actually writes. I heard her interviewd about twitter and how she doesn’t follow anyone and it annoyed me. She is using it all for marketing–not to interact.

Your points though I appreciate and wholeheartedly agree with.

8 Baby Smiling In Back Seat { 08.04.12 at 10:43 pm }

Baby Smiling:

Baby blog:

9 magpie { 08.05.12 at 7:48 pm }

I’d say high on the personal and passionate, low to middling on the openess.

I can’t believe that I only saw you en passant for about 30 seconds.

10 Marisa { 08.08.12 at 11:44 pm }

Great post. The place I struggle with my blog is that it is pretty much stalked by family members that I don’t necessarily feel comfortable being myself in front of. So now I feel like I hold back a lot. I want to have my real personality show through, to talk about my IF journey, to help other women but I’m afraid my blog is going to turn into another boring mommy blog.

So then I wonder if I should start another blog for the IF/rants but that’s a lot to keep up with. Do you have another blog or is all your energy focused on this one? Did you ever try to keep this blog from the people in your real life?

11 JourneyGirl { 08.20.12 at 5:25 am }

I’ve come back to this post a few times because I’m not sure of how I define the success of my blog. I occupy a very small corner of the blogosphere with few followers and commenters. Most days I’m okay with that but I do dream sometimes that I will take the world by storm with my writing, which is unlikely because I’ve scored low on all of the above criteria and besides, it kind of scares me to have heaps of people reading and judging me. I do need an overhaul, I seem to have lost my voice along the way. Thanks for the thought provoking post!!

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