How To Show That You Are Serious About Blogging

Everyone wants to be taken seriously. But when you are building a popular blog and an influential role in the blogosphere, this becomes a matter of life and death. If your readers, other bloggers and potential advertisers don’t think you are here to stay, they won’t bother investing their time and effort – not to mention their money – to your goals. Which means hard times for you.To get where you are trying to get to, you need to convince a significant group of people to believe that you’re not just more wannabe blogger, but someone to look out for. Someone who will make a difference.But how can you show your seriousness, then?This is a big topic, and I’m still working on it as we speak, so I decided to ask a few of my favorite big shot bloggers for their insight. Skellie, Leo Babauta, Brian Clark, and James Chartrand are all recognized as authorities – serious bloggers, in other words.

The official answer: Be consistent

hardwork.jpgPhoto by rvsvHere’s what they said, in two words: “be consistent”.A serious blogger is one who comes in day after day, pounding out quality content, and sticking through the hard times.Skellie, who has written many articles for NorthxEast, says: “If they produce good content on a steady basis, without big gaps and hiatuses, I think that’s the first sign you should look for. Erratic blogging usually leads to extended breaks and eventual abandonment.”Most blogs don’t survive past the first few months, so the first step in showing dedication is keeping up throughout the hard days. Just like in everything worth doing, there is a dip, a test of dedication, after two or three months of blogging.Fight against writer’s block, time constraints, self-doubt and the feeling of not moving anywhere. Publish fresh, quality content often – maybe even every day. And you will see results. This is the first and most important sign for seriousness that will show your readers and other bloggers that blogging is a high priority for you.Leo Babauta agrees: “If you’re a new blogger, there’s no way to convince others that you’re serious about blogging except to just do the best job you can, day in and day out, for as long as you can.”And Brian Clark echoes: “I think the consistent quality of your content is the only way to truly show you’re serious AND effective.”

How about a shortcut?

shortcut.jpgPhoto by kadjOfficially, there are not shortcuts to anywhere worth going.But it doesn’t mean that you can’t do your best today to get your results as soon as possible, rather than waiting for a chance sometimes long in the future. After all, some bloggers become authorities almost overnight while others take years to get a small following and still no respect from bigger bloggers?Yep. There is more to being seen as serious than just good quality.Your image.The big question isn’t whether you are serious or not, but whether you are perceived as such. And yes, there are some simple ways to make you look more serious as a blogger.James Chartrand, the blogger best known for his unbelievable commenting activity sent me two lists full of signs that he looks for when estimating if someone is serious or not. The points in the lists are his, but I filtered out the items that we have talked about already and added my own comments to each of them.

Not serious:

  1. A Blogger blog: Anyone can open a blog at Blogger, WordPress.com or any other hosted blogging platform. That means that while many of the people blogging on those platforms are serious, there are at least as many who create a blog in five minutes, invest a few weeks to it and then give up. By skipping the first obstacle of putting in some money into your own hosting they give the first sign saying that they are just a bit too interested in shortcuts…
  2. A cluttered, non-professional look: The path to being perceived as a serious blogger is full of small obstacles, each stopping a bunch of bloggers from getting to the top of the game. Making your blog look good is one of the early ones. If you pay a professional designer to that sends a clear signal: I’m investing money in this. I won’t be giving up quite yet.
  3. AdSense all over and lots of monetization gadgets: Advertisement is a delicate matter. With the help of ad revenue you can spend time and money to creating great content for your readers. But when you overdo it, the message changes. Now, instead of saying that you want to help your readers, you are telling them that you care more about money than their satisfaction. Not a sign of a serious blogger, is it?
  4. Cheap posts of no value or regurgitated content: If you have nothing to say, there is no way you can become any kind of authority in a world where what you say is how your value is measured.
  5. Poor writing, or a tacky teenager tone: It’s amazing what spell checking, re-reading your posts a few times before submitting them, and getting feedback from your readers can do. Even though it’s true that your ideas matter more than your writing, one of the best ways to give yourself a serious look still is good writing.
  6. Whines and complains in posts: This is one of my favorite points. Whining and complaining doesn’t mean that you aren’t serious. Maybe you are even a bit too serious. But there is still something to it that makes the reader think that this is not the kind of person who will survive through the rough times and see light at the end of the tunnel.
  7. Doesn’t post when gets busy or apologizes for not posting: If you have done everything else correctly and miss a few posts every now and then, no one will even notice. Until you apologize for the few days of silence. So, don’t apologize. Just continue as if nothing happened.

Serious

  1. Implication in the blogging community – a “regular”: When you look at all the bloggers we think of as serious, there is a pattern. They come out from their blogs. Skellie has two blogs of her own, writes to NxE, ProBlogger and FreelanceSwitch (among others), Leo Babauta also has two blogs, and guest blogs all over the place. James posts comments at every blog I follow. This way people can’t miss them. Repeat this enough times and you can’t be seen as anything else than someone passionate about blogging.
  2. Willingness to improve: Serious people want to become the best. Not just look best. If you are serious about playing the piano, you practice. If you are serious about programming, you go to courses. You ask for feedback from the regulars, and then fix your course based on the comments you get.
  3. Participates in discussions: First, do this on your own blog. Reply to every comment on the blog and if you have the time, e-mail your commentators personally. Then, get out and post thoughtful comments on other blogs. Not the ones that say “great post, please check my blog too” but real comments that bring value to the discussion. This positions you as someone serious about helping others and forming relations.
  4. Confidence: When you know what you are talking about, say it so. Don’t apologize or be too careful. Having a strong voice tells people that you stand for something. And people who stand for something are usually the ones worth listening to. Not the ones who just echo what others say.

The solution: Be consistent, but smart

croc.jpgPhoto by laine_jarkkoBlogging success doesn’t happen overnight. There is no magic formula you can apply to your blog tonight that would make you look serious when you wake up tomorrow morning.You have to be serious in order to be seen as such.But, there is a big difference between gaining your authority in two years and gaining it in four months. That’s where your image comes to play. By playing the blogging game smartly, you don’t just lie down waiting for food to walk in your mouth, but go and get the food where it is.There is no point in being consistent doing something that doesn’t bring the results you are after.Make sure you are doing the right thing. And then, be consistent. That’s what it means to be a serious blogger.

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24 Responses to How To Show That You Are Serious About Blogging

  1. Owen Cutajar says:

    Great post! Some great advice there, for both new and seasoned bloggers.

  2. Simple Mom says:

    Oh my, this is so timely for me. I’ve been mulling over this as I venture out past my personal blog and start this new one of mine. Now I just need to find the secret to pumping out great content daily. And to patience.Thanks for sharing this insight. It’s encouraging that I’m on the right track, and a good checklist of things to make sure I don’t do.

  3. The best thing about this article is the expertise you’ve utilized. All the folks listed here are absolutely bloggers I take seriously, and follow. Their advice, therefore, is especially powerful and helpful. Thank you for this!

  4. Thanks for including me in the interviewees and I’m glad to see that my comments were valuable (but I already knew they were ;P).I see too many bloggers out there begging to be taken seriously while they shoot themselves in the foot by coming off as lame. Hopefully, this is a nice wake-up call.Cheers!

  5. I’m sure I’m not telling anyone anything they don’t already know. But, writing good content everyday is darn difficult. I’m trying buy I’m not a natural.

  6. Jarkko Laine says:

    @Owen: Thanks!@Simple Mom: Once you find out the secret to patience, please share it with me as well :) In blogging, I guess my secret so far has been passion, and the quick reward you get in form of comments from your readers. But still, in general, patience and concistency are some of the most challenging skills to learn.@QuietRebelWriter: I’m glad you agree! The reason why I picked these people are that to me they are the ones who really stand out for being serious. And I like their blogs ;) @James: Thanks for participating! Your input turned out to have quite a big impact on how this post turned out.@The Masked Millionaire: Yep, it is. That’s why being a serious blogger isn’t easy either. I think that’s the dip in blogging. If you can come up with great content every day (or every other day) for a few months, you have much better chances in making it than most of the competition.Good luck!

  7. Great post, please check my blog too!No seriously, I started up my own industry blog in december 2007, and been using a lot of the points in this article. They all work, but the one I found the hardest was to be consistent: To put out regular, high quality content in the beginning, even though the reader base was nothing to speak of. Hard to keep yourself motivated to keep on writing, when there’s not that many people actually reading it.But this stuff really works, and once your reach a “critical mass” of subscribers, and you stick to these tips, motivation comes easily from all the positive comments you’ll recieve from regular readers.

  8. Great post, often times, newbies in the blogosphere looking for experts, will fall “prey” to these non-serious bloggers — and follow advice from them.Not a good idea considering they don’t “show” their seriousness from the start (as highlighted by your post).Thanks for the great post!Maria Reyes-McDavisWeb Success Diva

  9. Jarkko Laine says:

    @Soeren: Thanks for bringing in your real-life experience and proof for the tips!@Maria: True. But luckily even the non-serious bloggers might have good tips to share – just not the patience to see blogging success happen.

  10. Theo says:

    Post to live by or should I say blog by. I have been working on my blog seems like forever but then I’ve started it like 5 different times. Consistency is really important especially if you are doing a photoblog.One of the things that I have learned is a photoblog is that and a blog about photo’s is that and never two should meet. (Well maybe not never but for me a line has been drawn in the sand.) Although a photoblog usually doesn’t have a lot of text these don’t can still be used! thanks and keep up you consistency I appreciate it!

  11. Jarkko Laine says:

    @Theo: A photo blog is a rather new concept to me so it was really interesting to go through your images and see how a blog of that type works.I enjoyed your art a lot, but what I’m most curious to know is how your blogging process goes? For a text-based blogger it’s mainly a conscious decision to start writing on some idea. Do you go out to shoot photos just thinking about your blog, or is your blogging more of an act of picking something from your photo collection?

  12. Travis says:

    I love coming to this blog! As a growing writer/blogger I always find great tips & tricks that make real improvements to my craft. Thank you so much for your efforts.

  13. paz says:

    Interesting point of view, but I just don’t agree with point #1 [NOT SERIOUS] about free platforms: I don’t like free platforms but there are many cool bloggers on free platforms. For example have a look at http://gregmankiw.blogspot.com :-D

  14. Ed says:

    I’ve been blogging for well over a year now, and what you say rings oh so true.It’s only this year that I made a committmen to be consisten, and strangely enough my readership has been growing ever since. (It was stagnating beforehand).Great post thanks,Ed.

  15. Jarkko Laine says:

    @Paz: It’s true that there are many good, even great bloggers using free platforms (including one of my favorites, Scott Ginsberg).But that’s not my point. Many people don’t like free platforms, and don’t take them seriously, so if you want to get some advantage in showing that you are serious about your blog, getting a self-hosted blog makes a difference.You can build your image without one, but having one makes things easier.@Ed: Thanks! The commitment really makes a difference. Keep up the good work!

  16. jobbank says:

    I blog for fun, not for serious. Therefore, I write what I want whenever I want.

  17. ~Kat~ says:

    I have to really agree with you on regurgitated content. Especially when it is a bad re-write of another article.But I am not so bothered by ads, if they stay in the sidebar. Everyone needs to make money and I don’t care if the sidebar is full of ads, as long as they don’t make noise!

  18. Pamela Slim says:

    Great points, that I have followed more or less since I started blogging 3 years ago.Except for the professional design; I will get to that soon! I have Skellie envie when it comes to great content and kick-ass design, so that is my model.I will say that really, really caring about what you write about makes every single point above easier. When you write about the things that you can’t stop thinking about no matter what you are doing; on the john in the morning; in line at the supermarket; spacing out at meetings; while walking around the block, that will help your blogging immensely.It isn’t for the faint of heart, but it sure is a wonderful way to capture a big body of knowledge (comments being a critical part) that you can use in many other ways in work and life.Thanks for the post!-Pam

  19. Dotch says:

    I personally like the 7th point in the not serious part.I would have done that..now you saved me :)

  20. Pingback: pinnacle airlines employment: How to Take a Break Without Breaking Your Blog « ylhyhg.com.cn

  21. Natali says:

    Cool Post. Blogger’s can add clickbank products and earn more… See http://openguys.org/films/

  22. Tim Smith says:

    What a great article! As a new blog editor, this is my biggest challenge; showing the creative community that I’m serious and that I’m not going anywhere. Thanks for the great tips. They will be very useful to me.

  23. What a helpful read! I got chills going through it because so many of the tips you’ve given are great, not just for blogging, but for physical interactions with people. Too often, I let my lack of confidence get in the way and I’m not taken seriously because of the impression that’s made. When I come down on myself for my strong opinions, I’ll think back to your excellent advice. Thanks.

  24. Aleksandra says:

    Enjoyed this post. I stumbled upon your site by accident when I was researching why my (pathetic level 2) page rank disappeared when I moved to my own domain. Thanks for the tips!

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