I’m really hesitant about using the word “rules” when it comes to blogging because I truly believe there are no rules. Nothing about blogging is carved in stone and some of the most successful bloggers are those who blog on the fringes. That said, some people just need to have a line drawn in the sand to make them feel safe and cozy. So if there were any rules behind creating a great blog, I suppose it would be these…
You must blog with integrity
Decide from the very beginning what your blog is going to stand for and where you’re going to draw the line. Everything changes constantly in the blogosphere and there will come a time when you’ll be tempted to do something that goes entirely against your grain. This is especially true for new bloggers.
For example, if you’re having trouble making sales you might be tempted to promote a shoddy product or a shady advertiser. If you’re having trouble getting traffic you might be tempted to buy it from some unscrupulous “SEO guru.” You might be tempted to write a scathing article attacking a fellow blogger just so you can create some excitement on your blog.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with any of these methods, so long as you’re not compromising your integrity. Your readers will come to know and love you for you strength of character.
You must blog with passion
You must have passion for something. You can be passionate about your topic, you can be passionate about building a successful blog, you can be passionate about publishing your writing online – you can be passionate about any number of things, but you must be passionate about something. You enthusiasm shows through in your content and it excites your readers. And really, if you aren’t passionate about your blog or your business, why should your readers be passionate about visiting?
You must be authentic
A great blog is unique and it’s message is so authentic that were you to remove the theme, the images, and all the ads and look at just the text you’d immediately recognize the blogger. An authentic blog reflects the blogger’s personality in all areas – the theme, the color scheme, the voice and the message. It’s like a signature perfume that lingers in the room. Even though the person wearing the perfume has left the room, you immediately recognize the fragrance.
You must be transparent
A great blogger doesn’t use misleading titles to pull a bait-and-switch. His readers know exactly why he’s blogging and exactly what they can expect every time they visit. He doesn’t misrepresent himself as an authority when he knows nothing about the subject, and he doesn’t hide behind an avatar and a pen name. When he’s providing quality information his readers know it and when he’s promoting something his readers know that, too.
If you’ll notice, none of these rules behind creating a great blog say anything about how you actually go about your business. These rules simply reflect the type of behavior your readers are looking for. How you run your blog is up to you.