Have you ever had one of those moments where something moved you so much that you absolutely had to write about it right then and there?
I am having one of those moments right now.
Listen, I’d like to save you from months and months of heartache and frustration by giving you a tip that will prove to be true over and over again.
What’s that tip, you ask?
Well, it has something to do with your blog, and every other blog in the blogosphere.
It’s about what all blogs have in common, or maybe what they don’t.
It’s about you being in tune with your blog, and not everyone else’s.
Okay… sorry about the suspense building. I get bored sometimes.
Consider your blog first
What I want to talk to you about is understanding the needs of your blog.
I am so tired of bloggers giving one-sided advice to people as if it was concrete, irrefutable knowledge.
Since when was this okay?
More importantly, why would anyone teach this to other people knowing (hopefully) that things are not the same for every blogger?
When you make a decision for your blog, it must be tailored to the needs of your blog.
There is nothing an A-list, B-list, or F-list blogger can reveal to the blogosphere that will apply to every single blog in existence.
It simply does not work this way.
Every single blog is unique and every single blog deserves special attention.
Why so annoyed, Sean?
This morning, I woke up to a little advice from a friend of mine who is learning the ropes of blogging.
He’s a great guy and I wish him all the best as a blogger.
However, I feel bad because I can see that he is being pulled in many different directions because of the advice he is getting from multiple sources.
He has a new blog and he is wanting to sort out the design of his blog.
That’s all fine and dandy.
The problem is that without having a firm understanding of what he wants to do with his own blog, anyone’s advice will do.
A couple of months ago, Derek Halpern told the world to remove their search forms because they were unnecessary.
Anyone in their right mind should understand that you can’t just make that move without personal consideration.
While some blogs definitely do not need a search form, as Derek pointed out, there are cases where a blog depends on its search feature.
You have to consider the needs of your blog first.
If you run a movie blog, I’m pretty sure your readers will rely on that search form to find specific movies within your archives.
Obviously, one size does not fit all when it comes to blogging advice.
Well, my friend read an article about the use of images on blogs.
Yes… I said, “the use of images on blogs.”
If that’s not an umbrella subject, I don’t know what is.
As you would imagine, this can go in a number of different directions as the subject itself has many different factors to consider.
- Overall blog design
- The main purpose for a given page
- What kinds of emotions you want to induce in the reader
- The main topic of the blog
- The types of images used and where
- The sizes of images used
- Whether or not your images are links
The list could go on and on.
The point is, there is not a single person standing on this Earth that has the time to look at every single blog in the blogosphere and make a determination on how that blog should use images.
It just can’t happen.
What does that mean for you?
It means that you have to take your blog design into your own hands. You have to be the main decision maker for your blog.
You will surely find advice on various subjects from multiple sources.
I am not saying to ignore that advice.
Pieces of the advice from multiple articles will apply to you and your blog.
It’s just like the human body when eating and digesting food. Take a bite, swallow it, let your body strip the food of its nutrients, and the rest is waste.
The same thing applies when learning from other bloggers.
Pull the nutrients out of what you read and throw the rest away.
It doesn’t apply to you.
Now, my friend has regrets about how he has used images on his blog when images serve a completely different purpose than what the article he read has considered.
On my friend’s blog, he uses a minimalist design, therefore, there are very few lines, boxes, or clearly defined structures on his blog.
The images serve a number of purposes:
- They help separate the article content from the rest of the page
- They provide relief from the boredom of an all text, minimalist layout
- From a psychological standpoint, when placed in the upper right corner of the article, they shorten the lengths of the first few lines of text, making it easier for the reader to get started building momentum as they read.
Just to name a few…
What I want you all to understand is that you must have a solid ground to stand on as a blogger.
If you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything.
You have to know what the purpose of your blog is, and you build your blog around that purpose.
Do not surf the blogosphere thinking that everything you read from someone who is further along in his or her blogging venture will serve your blog properly.
Every blog is different and every blogger has different goals.
Because of that, every blogger will take different steps to achieve his or her goals.
Do not allow someone’s confident way of writing convince you that he or she is all-knowing.
They are supposed to write like that. They have an audience to maintain.
If you want to be a well-rounded blogger, though, you must first understand your own blog.
Then, and only then, are you ready to read 20 different articles on one subject.
You’ll either take what’s relevant to you out of each article and benefit the most.
You’ll take everything from every article and find yourself changing everything every few days… never being happy with your own work.
There is no one-size-fits-all to blogging, my friends.
You have a blog and your blog has certain needs.
Serve those needs… not your own personal needs of feeling like you’re doing the right thing only if an “expert” said so.
Take control of your own opinion.
It’s the only one you’ve got.