What's The Most Important Thing in Blogging?
There are a lot of debates on what's and what's wrong regarding blogging. Moreover, the popularity of blogging was falling and raising for years already.
I pay attention to the industry since 2012 and already had several blog projects, and this is what I noticed of how this the most essential part of how the web has been changing.
This post doesn't have an ordinary answer to the question. However, this post will help you to define what's essential in Blogging specifically for you. I'm going to start from Tools then continue to Platforms, Blogging style, and Types of content.
Tools and Software
I do believe that it's important to choose software wisely. Since you can create fantastic content, but because of the technical issues it will be hard for people to find it or it will be difficult for you to manage all things specifically as you want it.
This is like a synonym to blogging. I guess everyone had heard about Wordpress and probably because of the best comprehensive solution that appeared right in the beginning when blogging started evolving.
Not only blogging but websites in general. It became a giant people can do basically everything with it.
I made several versions of my portfolio on it using the clean package. Also, tried some of the frameworks and huge plug-ins that were advertised to solve or simplify things with Wordpress for specific tasks. Basically, it made the website more complicated and not only management but the site itself. It was loading slowly, and it was hard to achieve a good SEO and change things for the better. That's where I decided to move on and stick to the static version of my portfolio. Since I knew how to code it. But that's a story for the other day.
It's a very new platform. I see it partially as a social media and partially as a service provider. Because they provide with a simple and minimalistic interface that is easy to use to put out your content online. However, it stays on Medium, and if any changes come then, it can be easily gone. One more thing that I think is important is that you can't do much and just edit your content and appearance in the frame of the platform. Moreover, it limits you on the way you want to showcase your content. I mean categorization, tags system, search, modules or widgets that could complement the content you share, etc.
I'm not blaming Medium. It's an excellent tool for its time, and I believe it helped a lot of people to share their thoughts online without struggles like buying a domain name, hosting, hiring a developer who will set up everything as they want. It's a simple tool operates on its own, and all you need is just to create an account and start writing.
It's not only related to blogging, but I'd say it's more a website builder for housewives. Which means that it has to be very simple to launch your website without any technical knowledge and skills. At least that's what they advertise. Sounds promising, but let me explain how I see from my perspective.
I used to know people who were interested in me working in this company as a web designer, but that was a long time ago. I don't exactly remember why I declined this offer, but in general, I felt that something wasn't right in things they do. That was a time when they were transitioning from Flash technology to HTML5 and mainly more modern web technologies, responsive layouts, etc. Anyway, I have never liked the direction of the company and their product, to be honest, but that's only me, and maybe you can find a lot of fans that could tell you more about benefits of what they offer.
It might seem more modern tool to do blogging, but what I noticed is that it's not very well optimized for search engines. Basically, it's difficult for Google to find and analyze your content.
Also, I don't think it has an open code, and you can customize everything there. Moreover, it operates more as a service and works on monthly or annual subscription.
There are other tools like LiveJournal, Tumblr, TypePad, Blogger, etc. But as far as I know, it's hard to reach an audience without referral traffic there.
I wouldn't say that you can do a complete blogging thing on social media platforms, but still, it has a place to be. I know people who do all of their marketing and share highly engaging stories on Facebook and Instagram. Of course, there is a big room for YouTube content creators. However, it's related to video content, not the text and other media that I'm talking about in this post.
You can inform people about something you aware of, and probably you think that it's good to know for your audience or just for random people that are passing through.
It works really good if you have a business or a product that you sell and you can describe it to people. So your potential clients and customers can find benefits from it. I believe it's a natural and, in general, right approach. Less and fewer people are buying under pressure and from ads.
This is something that helps people to turn off from their daily activities, relax and enjoy being distracted by something that does not require to do any kind of actions. Just passive consumption of content and nothing more.
Topics like Travel stories, Science fiction, Tales, Life stories belong to this category.
Some people use blogging to share stories of their everyday life. It's beneficial for them, and it can be highly effective for building a community. Most commonly if person blogs every day then you can find a connection and consistency between blog posts. Meaning, you can follow the thread of thoughts and learn something from it.
I wish some of the greatest people on the earth from different time periods had blogs.
People sometimes share their stories online, and it becomes more and more popular lately. And it was always easier to do online than face to face. Because in some cases you can stay anonymous, and even if not it's still easier to express yourself online than in real life.
It's a source of inspiration and knowledge from the reader's point of view. Because, actually, you can learn from the life experience of others. Of course, if it's something real and not belong to the entertaining style of writing where people create fictional stories.
It's always a good idea to write about some trends in your industry. It can be related to design, fashion, tech, products, etc. I believe trends is something that always will be a topic and it always changing. So you can write updates in your niche from time to time, and it will be a good reason for your audience to stay with you as a source of valuable information about changes in your industry.
Some publishers made tips aspect as their core, but if we talk about the personal blog, then it's a good way to show your expertise. Sharing tips on your blog brings value to your community.
Types of content
There are different opinions on types of content. Some people say that Video is something that takes over text information. But I personally do not believe in it. Moreover, I think it will never happen.
Text vs Video
The text is the most popular and traditional way of sharing information online. The community part of the internet ran on it and still runs for a long period of time. I remember that time when all we had is text chats, text messengers, forums and blogs were more like a new format of sharing information.
I still see massive potential in text format because of its simplicity and ease of search and consumption. It lacks interactivity and entertainment, but that's something that I'll be trying to change soon.
It might be difficult to believe in it, but text blogs are actually more informative, and it's faster to get a piece of information that you need than let's say watching a bunch of videos and trying to find the exact information that you need behind all that rambling and misconception.
Search engines become better and better. So it's easier to find the most relevant information for you. Of course, if you do a proper keyword work in your searches.
This is something that's still missing in video content. You can find a video by a title, keywords or I guess by description, but not all people who post video are honest in describing of what's inside, and we still don't have technologies that will analyze video content and tell you what to watch to find an answer on your question.
One more massive con of video content is that still, we don't have many ways of sharing it online except for a limited number of platforms that figured out a simple way of sharing videos. Guess what, they control the way how people find and consume the content, and there are not many examples where people sharing their video content on its own. Meaning, if you decide to make a video and post it online, you don't have many options where to do it, but most commonly it's not your website.
The opposite thing is with text content. The technology is much cheaper and accessible, but still more efficient. Also, writing of a text post takes more thinking, and quite often it's more difficult to publish something than make and publish a video. Basically, it's easier to find stupid meaningless videos than stupid texts. Not really judging, but that what I noticed during all that evolution of online content.
It's almost the same as text content, but the initial idea was to limit text post by the number of symbols that are allowed in SMS messages standard.
The most common example is Twitter. I found it as a good way of sharing quick thoughts, and even a chain of thoughts. Since you can start from one tweet and then continue adding more ideas into the thread and people can easily conversationally participate in this thread if they see it interesting.
It's hard to share some constructive thoughts or stories in the format of microblogging, but it's an excellent way to share something in a more conversational approach. Since blog post requires you to have some structure, content moderation, etc.
Similar to videos it's more entertaining than reading blog posts or any other text information, but often it's difficult to find some condensed knowledge without long conversations on unrelated topics. So it really takes time to get what you're looking for in that type of content. However, it complements other formats very well. Let's say you have a text post with a podcast on the same topic where you discuss an idea with other people. So one piece of content can fill blank spaces of another one. And it gives a more full answer to our question.
Whether you want to write or make videos, share things on social media that's your choice. I hope my thoughts and experience in this post gave you more awareness on technologies and how everything works online. So you can make more thoughtful choices and make fewer mistakes. Because you only can see results if you start investing your time in something, but be aware of investing it in wrong activities. It can be a spiral of death even if you don't see it at the very beginning. So analyze well and make wise choices.
Have a great week.