How To Build A Thriving Personal Blog

Niche blogs are the dominant species in the blogosphere. About a decade back, things were quite different, when it all started with personal diaries. Even today, personal blogs are abundant throwing light on people's day-to-day life. In recent years, a lot has been said about creating profitable niche blogs, but comparatively, you'll find very little about creating an awesome personal blog. There are some striking differences between a niche and a personal blog, and both of them require a different approach to get things done.

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So let's get started and see what it takes to build a popular personal blog that people actually want to read. Some people say that personal blogs are dead with almost no readership. Well, if you're churning out remarkable content, no matter where it appears, people are going to flock around it. The only difference will be the type of audience and the way they interact and connect. A personal blog has the power to build or ruin your brand, especially if you're already into some kind of online business (running niche blogs/websites). In such cases, content created on your personal blog can directly affect your online business. A typical personal blog talks about a person's life, events and happenings. Some of them are more like a portfolio that is generally updated few times a year. Here are some pointers and guidelines that may help you in creating a thriving personal blog.

Define the scope

While creating a personal blog, you may opt to blog anonymously to avert any inadvertent damage to your business brand, or to comply with the restrictions/censorship imposed in your geographical area, or simply you just don't want to reveal your identity as you've decided to post about some controversial topics.

Blogging anonymously - If you've decided to blog anonymously, never use someone else's photograph. It may land you in trouble. Matter can become worse if you receive a notice from his/her attorney about impersonating an individual and damaging their reputation. Here are some guidelines for blogging anonymously.
  • Avoid using a name of a celebrity or brand.
  • DO NOT use someone else's photograph as your own.
  • If you're living in a sensitive geographical area, avoid revealing your location.
  • Always double check your posts, before you press the publish button.
Blogging as the 'REAL' you - In case, you've decided to blog without hiding your identity, things can become trickier if you're already running a successful online business. No matter how much you try to keep your personal blog activities separate from your business web sites, people almost always tend to mix 'em up and co-relate making judgments.

You can choose to talk about your business web sites on your personal blog and vice-versa cross-linking each other in the process. But, I'll advise you to avoid mixing the two. This doesn't mean that you should never talk about your business life on your personal blog, but doing it sparingly (within context) makes things much better.

Extent of sharing - This is yet another important attribute to take into consideration. How much of your personal life are you willing to share? Are you going to talk about very intimate things? What about posting photographs of you and your family members? Are you going to share real names of your spouse and kids? These are some important questions that need to be answered before your personal blog is up and running.
  • As I said before, if you're living in a geographically sensitive area, avoid your real names and photographs.
  • Do not post solo front close-up shots of your spouse. It can be misused by anybody.
  • Beware: Never discuss your family problems on your personal blog.
  • Clearly outline the boundary of information you're going to share with your readers.

Content creation strategy

Generally, personal blogs are updated at irregular intervals. The type of content can vary with each post, yet you have the challenge to keep your readers waiting for more. How to do that magic? It's very simple. Read on...

Use humor - Nothing can beat the use of humor in your blog posts. Since you're writing for a personal blog, you can liberally use it to make your post - a magnet. While writing such post, there's only one thing that need to be taken care of. Do not hurt any individual's sentiments that may result in public embarrassment. Cracking jokes on yourself is the best policy to avoid any controversies and at the same time it paves the way to win hearts of your readers.

Use Anecdotes (tell stories) - Now this is an art that you can refine with passage of time. If applied correctly, you can keep the readers glued to the screen till they've not finished your post. Add some spice to an interesting incident that you may face in your daily life and craft an alluring opening paragraph supported by a relevant image. Some personal blogs are able to attract large audience solely on the basis of such type of posts.

Give tips and life hacks - This is yet another way to make your readers coming back for more. Regularly sharing your useful productivity tips that actually provides an implementable solution making home and office management much easier, can make your personal blog a big hit in no time. These life hacks can be a simple kitchen tip or can be as complex as making your own useful gadget from the junk in your storeroom. Whatever is the case, you're guaranteed to get positive comments and applause, once you start posting such 'Everyday Solutions'.

Image-only posts - A personal blog is lifeless unless you post image-only posts. Share images from your overseas trip, a get-together on a festive season or a hilarious moment within the family. People tend to connect more easily with the blogger, if he/she shares images with the audience. In the number of image-only blog posts is large, make sure you optimize these images before upload else you may end up consuming all your hosting bandwidth.

Experimenting with visual appearance

Unlike niche or a business blog, a personal blog has more freedom to make changes in the layout and design. You don't have to stick around with a brand logo and similar visual elements.

A personal blog's header is one of the most important elements that can be used effectively to give returning visitors a refreshing browsing session. One of the best ways to get this done is to create a large header with rotating images. I'll suggest you to change your personal blog's theme at least once a year. These changes are more intended towards your loyal fans who expect something new and refreshing apart from the regular content they're fed with.

Bare essentials

And last but not the least, here are some of the technical/non-technical aspects that need to be taken care of to get the best out of your personal blog.
  • If possible, get your own name domain name for your personal blog. If your name has already been taken, try a shorter version.
  • One of the most visited pages on a personal blog is 'About' page. Spend some time in creating a rocking 'About Me' page and make sure it is updated regularly (whenever required).
  • Make a separate Gravatar profile for your personal blog.
  • Use you full name for the WordPress author profile.
  • Create a strong comment policy and prominently highlight (link) it near comment form. Personal blogs are more prone to trolls and you must have a strategy to deal with them.
  • If you're hibernating for a long period, announce the same through a sticky post.
So now it's your turn to share your experiences you had with your personal blog. I'd love to get more on this through your comments.

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About Rajeev Edmonds

MintBlogger author - Rajeev EdmondsRajeev Edmonds has been blogging since 2006 about digital marketing, social media and of course about problogging. He specializes in WordPress installation and Thesis theme customization. He is the founder and editor of MintBlogger where he blogs about new media strategies.

Since April, 2012, he's making his living entirely from his blogging efforts. He holds a post graduate degree in computer applications and loves to dig in CSS/HTML code. Read more →

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