Love and The Other Ingredients for a Perfect Blog

What drives you to blog? Is it for money, or perhaps fame? When we read and write about blogging, we usually have one clear picture in our head: We want to be Darren Rowse. Or maybe it’s John Chow or Shoemoney for you? But still, someone who makes his living from running a blog of his own. A ‘problogger’.There’s nothing wrong with that picture. But often, this is not only reason why we blog.That’s why for today’s post I went to collect a broader list of reasons why people decide to start blogging. Some of them are related to making money, and some are not. Take a look at the list and see if you can find your reasons included. If not, share them in the comments! It will be fun to compare our expectations.

Opinions

An opinionated blogger is an interesting blogger.The great thing about blogging is that it lets you speak freely about things you believe in and challenge the rest of the world with your ideas. Topics can range from politics to business trends to describing the best way to write software. Speak up, make yourself heard and make a difference!

Change

The next natural step from an opinionated blogger is a blogger with a cause.Blogs are slowly turning into today’s mainstream media. They gather impressive amounts of readers, and people are gaining trust towards established blogs as safe sources of information. That’s why if you are passionate about a topic (for example the environment), that can be an important reason for starting a blog.Last October, the first ever Blog Action Day made it clear that there is real power in the blogging community. But through a dedicated blog, you can make that kind of difference more often than just once a year.Some world changing blogs to challenge your thinking:

  1. Escape Adulthood
  2. EcoWordly
  3. No Impact Man

Fame

If you don’t make a name for yourself, someone will make one for you. (Scott Ginsberg)

This is one of my favorite reasons for having a blog because it serves as a tool for achieving so many of the other reasons listed in this post: When you are known for something, you can land money making opportunities, get people to buy your products, make them listen to what you have to say on important topics, and even get people to get in touch with you.If this is what you are after, make sure your blog shows you as the expert you are, in a natural and trustworthy way that makes people talk about you and quote things you write.Some personal branding blogs that make a difference:

  1. Seth’s Blog
  2. Self Made Chick
  3. Skelliewag.org

Money

I started this post by collectively admitting our shared, secret dreams of being Darren Rowse.Many of us have professional blogging as at least one of the top reasons for building our blog (Let me know if you don’t!). And who could blame us? Running your own blog as a full time job sounds almost too good to be true. But it takes a lot of work and time to get there – and even then only a handful of us will reach the same kind of success the top bloggers do.But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to get at least a small piece of the cake. Even if your main focus is on something as important as raising climate change awareness, there is no reason you couldn’t make some money from your blog at the same time. It may not be your only blogging related income, or it might not be the main reason for your blogging, but nevertheless, something worth considering.

Sales

The other, perhaps more straightforward way of making money through blogging is by using your blog as a support tool for the rest of your business: When you get your most loyal customers to sign up to your blog, you can use the blog to create buzz about your upcoming products, make your loyal customers even more loyal, and give them some ammunition to use when selling the product they love to their friends and relatives.If you are running a business, this is what most blogging consultants would tell you to do. Just mix in some values and personality and you’ve got a killer recipe in your hands – assuming your product is good enough to collect fans…My favorite example of a company doing a great job in business blogging is 37 Signals through their two blogs: Signal vs. Noise and the newer 37 Signals Product Blog.

Friendship

I didn’t start blogging to make friends.In fact I started my blog as an experiment to see how long I could keep it up, and what I would be able to grow it to. But now I realize that one of the most important things that has happened during my blogging career is that I have made a bunch of blogging buddies who challenge my thinking, raise interesting questions, and keep me accountable on my goals. This is a side effect I’m more than happy to welcome to my blogging life!To me this was a side effect, but it can also be your goal from the beginning.If that’s the case, the most important tip is to make it personal. Talk with a human voice, sharing your own experiences and asking questions. Don’t hide behind a mask but let your readers see the real you! And don’t forget to show that you are interested in seeing the real them as well.

Love

What is your biggest love?For some, it’s food. For some, music. Programming. Knitting. There are as many things you can feel passionate about as there are human beings.When you feel deeply about something, it’s only natural that you want to share your love with others. You don’t care whether you get paid for it or not, you just want to tell about your love to everyone. This can lead to a blog full of superlatives that no one can stand to read, but at best it can be an experience that makes the reader fall in love with your favorite topic. Kathy Sierra’s blog (unfortunately not updated anymore), Creating Passionate Users, was something like this. The passion was so clear to see that even after almost a year of silence, the blog still feels alive.When you love the topic you write about, it shines through your every word. And that’s why there is no better reason for blogging than love.Take love as the main ingredient, mix in a few of the others, like friendship, fame and money, and you have a killer blog in your hands.

Your mix?

And now we get to my favorite part, the moment when I shut up and start listening (in terms of blogging ingredients, this is the friendship building moment).I believe no blog consists of only one of the ingredients described in this article but they are all mixtures that look somewhat like the blogger. What does your mix look like? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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15 Responses to Love and The Other Ingredients for a Perfect Blog

  1. Bitten says:

    Blogging is about writing. I blog because I want to write. I blog because I want to develop as a writer. For now.Later I’ll propably start a blog to earn money. But nevertheless, writing is my passion.

  2. Thanks for the nice mention. I think you definitely nailed us by listing us in the section on change. We’re on a crusade against Adultitis, and I love using the blog to playfully challenge our preconceived notions and offer nuggets that encourage people to get more out of life, by having a bit more fun and by not taking themselves so seriously.I also enjoy the creative aspect of blogging. There really are no rules — you can make it into whatever you want!

  3. In my case, blogging is synonymous for sharing. I blog because I want to share. Share ideas, concepts, tips, etcAlso because I want to meet fellow bloggers who shares same interests with me..^^

  4. Amrit Hallan says:

    For me blogging takes many forms because right now I am running multiple blogs. For instance I have a blog to express my political thoughts and make commentaries on cultural and social trends and of course I write about literature too on that blog. I’m not bothered about making money through that blog but it is not a bad idea if it begins to happen.Sure, I have two other blogs that I am developing just for the sake of making money and I’m sure it is just a matter of time before they actually start making money.If money is not a factor, OK, even if money is a factor, I think a blog is a great way to reach out to people and create communities of common interest. Used properly, they are a very strong medium.

  5. Jarkko Laine says:

    @Bitten: Good point! Blogging is a great way to practice writing skills (and show them to others).@Jason: My pleasure. I just love your message of staying childlike!@Internet Marketing J: Yep. I guess for me that falls somewhere pretty close to the friendship category. I love sharing ideas with new people like you – who might then at some point turn into friends :) @Amrit: Agreed! Where do you find the time and energy to run that many blogs, though?

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  7. Kevin says:

    This is really a nice post. I think there may be couple of more blog ingredients… like social relationship, egoism, self promotion, marketing… or may be for teaching. The original blogger Jorn Barger (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jorn_Barger)says blogging is not meant for all these stuff. “A true weblog is a log of all the URLs you want to save or share. (So del.icio.us is actually better for blogging than blogger.com.)”

  8. Jarkko Laine says:

    Hey Kevin! Thanks for the link to Jorn Barger. I have no idea how to read his blog (so I guess I’m really glad blogging has evolved from his early version to the version we know today), but it’s fun to see a glance of history. :)

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  10. I started my blog as a way to meet like-minded people. I wanted to share some experiences that I knew other people must be facing. Like you mention, the most unexpected result was meeting so many incredible people. Blogging has brought wonderful friends into my life and helps me understand the challenges that other entrepreneurs are facing.I never expected to become so emotionally invested in the people that read my blog. Blogging has helped me to define a passion that I was having trouble pinpointing before I started.Excellent post!

  11. Jarkko Laine says:

    Hey Christine! I know what you mean, before I started blogging I couldn’t imagine how important the communication with the people I meet through it would become.Right now, for example, I have had to neglect my own blog for a few days because of a big writing project – and can’t wait to get back to reply to comments and share more of my thoughts… It’s also funny that even when I’m already writing, the first thing that I think of for a way to relax would be to write to my own blog. ;)

  12. Fred says:

    > Many of us have professional blogging as at least one of the top reasons for building our blog (Let me know if you don’t!).I can say for sure that my wifes blog isn’t for becoming a professional blogger. She simply likes to share her findings and show the results of her scrapbooking efforts. I wouldn’t choose ‘fame’ from the list either, but ‘friendship’ might come close.

  13. I blog because it’s a great way to get feedback on new ideas.

  14. youlki22 says:

    I didn’t have a good reason to blog, but always liked to read blogs. Then I realized that I can also contribute in blogging world, being a blogger. I spend a lot of time in searching for the advice, tips and tricks for blogging and then started writing about the stuff I learned.My first blog and even all of my blogs are my online diaries which reflect my interest, sharing it with the world.

  15. Fubiz says:

    Thanks a lot for the good tips.

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