Blog Advice: Read a Blog You Hate!
I know what you’re thinking: “Is that the best blog advice you can come up with?”
I’ve been blogging for over ten years at my site, ImagiNERDing. I started in May of 2007 and focused on Disney history. Since then, I’ve built ImagiNERDing into a worldwide brand in a niche market. I was half of an award-winning podcast, I’ve written for some large Disney sites and I’ve been running a YouTube channel for the past year.
Well, I ran into Sarah online in 2015 when she was working to get Carolina Blogging off the ground. Since then, we’ve become blogging buddies and we’ve offered each other advice and assistance on different projects. Sarah and I discussed ways to help our fellow Carolina bloggers succeed, when we realized that we both have a lot of experience. Sarah pushed me to pen a few articles on blogging based on my successes and failures.
One of the first thoughts we discussed was the basic blog advice that we would give to bloggers first starting out.
I know that you’re excited and you’re ready to start blogging. I always caution people to think and plan a little before they start posting.
So, what’s my big blogging advice?
Blog Advice: Read!
Reading is fundamental, and I’m not just saying that because I’m also a librarian. Reading, whether it’s blogs you admire or books in your field, will help you grow. Even reading blogs you don’t like is helpful.
Stephen King is probably the greatest, living American writer. I love this quote from him:
Can I be blunt on this subject? If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.
What’s great about reading is that you can do it anywhere. You can read on your computer, on your tablet or on your smartphone (while you’re waiting in line, somewhere).
- Innately, you will be a better writer by reading. Painters study painting. Architects study buildings. Musicians listen to music. It’s all about recognizing what makes a work special and enjoying it.
- Reading great writing helps you be a better writer (being influenced by writers you admire is always good). You can mirror the style of a well-written post to make your writing better. I always like to write like my favorite bloggers; it’s something that can help you find your voice. Even if it’s borrowing a phrase or even quoting them, you can grow your writing chops through emulation.
- Reading will help generate new ideas. I’m always on the lookout for a new angle or for a new perspective. Whether it’s through presentation or just an approach.
- Reading will keep you up-to-date in your field. Is there a new trend or flavor, so to speak? Reading voraciously will keep you ahead of the curve.
Blog Advice: Feel the hatred flowing…(not really…)
But why read blogs that you don’t like?
For the same reasons that you read blogs you like: to get better at blogging.
Reading poorly written blogs will help with grammar and structure. If something doesn’t feel right when you read it, then it’s probably not right. You don’t have to pick it apart, but you should think of how you would have changed or written the post.
- How would you structure the article to make it more engaging?
- Would you delete some of the sentences or paragraphs?
- How would you re-write the opening and the call-to-action?
I’ve got some more blog advice rumbling around in my attic and I can’t wait to share them with you. While we’re waiting, I’d love to ask you who are your favorite bloggers? Who would you like to be, if you could change places.