I am going to admit upfront that this post comes after reading some things going around the book blogsphere lately. These posts and tweets have been about what should or should not be posted on book blogs. This particular type of subject has always irked me because there is plenty of room for all of us: the promoters, the reviewers, the talkers, and the meme enthusiast.
- Will we all have the same readership? No!
- Is there any way to please everyone? No!
- Should you quit doing something because someone told you that they were tired of it? NO!
The first question you should ask yourself when starting any new blogging venture is whether it is “personal” or “business”. I am not saying it can’t be both but you need to have an idea of whether you are trying to grow into something that can make you money or if you are happy with the rewards of making new friends. Just having a vision will help you decide on subject, approach, and long-term plans. Having a vision will also help you to determine what type of people you need in your tribe (those people who provide a warm safe place where you feel like you can totally be yourself). These people are key in keeping your vision on track!
For me, this book blog falls squarely in the personal side of blogging space. I don’t see this blog growing to be something else because it is just something I do for personal enjoyment. I like having a place where I can talk about books, things on my mind, and things I am looking forward too. I couldn’t care less if people think I post too much, post to many reviews, not enough discussion, or to many memes. This blog is for me! It doesn’t mean that I don’t care about my readership. It means that by having this vision in place, it allows me to set personal expectations and have a vision for the blog. By having a vision, my readership knows what they are getting when they come here. Just because it is personal doesn’t mean that you can’t have vision, it just means it is different from if you wanted to grow and expand into the money-making realm.
I am thrilled that I have excellent blogging friends (aka my tribe) that can have discussions, disagreements, and debates. I love that my blogging friends are from all circles of websphere (book bloggers, fitness bloggers, food bloggers, mommy bloggers). I love that we stick together, get each other, and support each other. More importantly, I love that each of the ones I call friends are extremely supportive of others! They would never make people feel bad for the content they post (unless stolen–whole other subject for another day) or the way they choose to blog. That is just not their way! Oh they will give you advice and tell you how they do things. They don’t ever expect people to do it like they do but they like to share their knowledge of what they discover. These are the best people in the world and I wouldn’t trade them for anything. These are the sort of people you should seek out to have in your tribe.
I am a huge believer in learning. I have attended blogging boot camps, SEO classes, adult continuing ed marketing fun classes, and several conferences on blogging. None of these make me an expert on anything but they do help me understand some of what is going on in the blogsphere around me.
If you are choosing to make your blog a business here are 3 quick pieces of advice that I have picked up at each of these conferences:
- Have a vision that you can create a road map from. It is important to know where you would like to be so that you can get there.
- Look at your current content and the stats behind it. The posts that get the most hits should be the type of posts that you create at least monthly (weekly if you are a consistent blogger). These are not always your best posts or most original. For whatever reason, these are the posts that draw people to your blog. Only you know what those are so see if you can create road map to launching those posts into something that will get people to other parts of your site.
- Get out of your comfort zone and your part of the blogsphere! Your blog is only going to grow if you are willing to go outside your neighborhood.
I am going to be specific to our community on this one. Did anyone notice who won the goodreads bloggers awards last year? Be honest, how many of you even knew who those bloggers were? Here they are in case you forgot: Insatiable Booksluts, Sophisticated Dorkiness, Nerdy Book Club, and Writer Beware. Do you want to know what all these have in common? Their readership is not just other book bloggers. They have readers from all over the place and strive to keep their content geared towards the type of readers they want to have. Pleasing other book bloggers (if business is your aim) should never be your primary concern. You should be catering to a readership that you can keep coming back for your content. You do not have to do a single review on your blog if your readership is coming for promotion. You do need to figure out what your readership is and create a business plan to attract (and expand) from that.
I love the book blogging community but sometimes we get very tunnel visioned. We forget that there is a whole world of readers outside our walls and those are the readers that you need to reach if you are aiming to grow your blog for a business. Don’t neglect your core community but strive to bring in people from the outside.
Just remember to ask yourself whether this is business or personal? Either answer should give you piece of mind and help you on the way to creating a vision. Don’t let someone else tell you what is right or wrong for your blog (unless they are a trusted confidant or business partner). Do what you think is best for the type of readership you want to attract.
REMEMBER there is room for all of us 🙂