When I started this blog just over a year ago, with the aim of documenting my attempts to start up a fabric line, I thought that blogging was the one thing I actually already knew about.
In past day jobs, I’ve run blogs for big online companies. Blogs that are listed in Google News; blogs that attract tens of thousands of visitors a day; blogs that get commended in newspapers.
I knew about search engine optimisation. I knew the rules of web writing. I knew all about sticky content. I knew the importance of social media for promoting your blog…
And then I started writing this blog and none of it really seemed to apply.
What was the point of going all out on optimising every single post, when it might be something I was only writing about once and was hardly central to my overall blog?
I didn’t like the look of my web accessible boring factual, descriptive titles – they weren’t inspirational, they wouldn’t make me want to read the articles (even if they were clear and easy to understand).
I felt a bit exposed starting on a really personal project, when I first began, and I didn’t want to promote it on Facebook or Twitter where all my friends could see it and judge. And, worst of all, I simply did not want to write short articles in short sentences and short paragraphs, with lots of white space on the page.
When it came to writing a blog of my own, I just couldn’t see the point in doing it if I wasn’t writing what I wanted to. I’m a waffler. An inveterate burbler. A serious fan of parentheses (perhaps an addict even…) Trying to write my own thoughts in a way that wasn’t natural to me just wasn’t that fun.
What’s more, when I started to pay closer attention to the blogs that I enjoyed reading myself, I saw that many of these broke all the blog rules too.
So I decided that since this was my own time, I might as well do what I want to do, not what know I should do.
I wouldn’t say I have a million readers now (because I don’t), where I used to when I wrote the travel blog for my old website, but I have seen my readership slowly and steadily increase.
But most importantly, while it’s obviously nice to have people reading your blog posts, I enjoy writing them.
So, the main thing I’ve learnt about blogging: don’t worry about any of the rules. Sure, it helps to have nice photos and clear headlines and good social media promotion and all that. But it’s most important to just write what you want to write, the way you want to write it. Somewhere, out there across the ether, there’ll be someone who wants to read exactly that.
Things I’ve learnt is an occasional series, where I talk about stuff I’ve picked up while trying to set up a new business of printed fabrics. I’m hoping that the information in these posts might be informative / interesting / amusing to anyone else setting up their own business.
Other posts from the series are: