8 Rules Every Good Blogger Follows
I will have been blogging seven years this year. Seven. I think that’s almost longer than I’ve held a real job.
This post got me thinking about how things have changed. The rules have even changed, and it seems like they do so constantly! I think sometimes people treat this whole blogging thing more like a competition, it makes me sad to see it that way because this whole thing—with traffic, brands, advertising, DFP, and page views—is digital. There is enough room for everyone. You don’t have to step on someone else’s back to get higher.
It made me realize the other day as I was asking Oldest for the four-hundredth time why she cares what another person does, that we all need to walk our own blog path. What we tell our children also applies in blogland.
1. You don’t have to like everyone, but you have to be kind to everyone
How many times do you meet someone and they just grate on your nerves, or the very thing they do makes you roll your eyes? Or you just don’t gel with someone. We’ve all done it, but where is the merit in gossiping, defaming, and shunning another person? There is none. Kindness pays more than gold.
2. None of us are any better than anyone else. No matter what.
We live in a very mixed financial area, and sometimes my kids view people who have more than we do as "better." I know so, because I’ve heard it coming out of their mouths. I try to explain that just because people have more, it doesn’t make them better; or subsequently, if they have less, it doesn't make them worse. We are all the same, and problems are problems, and we never know what goes on behind closed doors. It can all look glossy from the outside, and be falling part on the inside. Let’s convert this idea to blogging, because it’s all about perception. Just because I’ve been blogging for seven years doesn’t make me any better than the person who’s been blogging for six months. Just as 300,000+ page views doesn’t make the best-est blog either, or working with a certain brand or getting a different opportunity.
It just makes us walk our own path.
And let’s get into the real world. I can guarantee you that the dude shoving my kid’s Happy Meal at me through the window could care less that I am a blogger, or that I wrote a book, or that I blah, blah blah. He’s more concerned with getting his paycheck and going home the minute the doors lock after that last burger has been thrown in the trash. He doesn’t really care that my new drapes were completely awesome and went viral on Pinterest.
So it all goes back to rule number one. Be kind.
3. Why do you care what they are doing?
We all walk our own journey. That’s the biggest issue that seems to come up in our house. How many times has your child come home upset or full of words because someone got something they thought they wanted? I constantly ask them, “Why do you even care what So-and-so is doing? It has no bearing on you. Do your thing. Your journey is different.”
That goes for blogland, too. Sometimes it’s hard to watch someone else have this amazing success, to see all these things come to them while you feel like you are sitting at home twirling your thumbs. But see, their path is not yours and their life is not yours. If you stick with YOUR thing, and do YOUR thing, amazing things will come to you that align with YOUR path.
4. Keep your eyes on your own work, but be inspired by others
Copying is flattering, and many of us put work out there so people can be inspired to try it themselves. But then there are many people who copy work and try to pass it off as their own. Not cool. It’s totally okay to give credit where credit is due. It’s totally okay to say where you got an idea or inspiration. You don’t have to come up with every idea in the whole world by yourself. My friend Jeanne just ran an entire e-course on emulating master artists. You can learn and grow by being inspired by others, but not by stealing.
5. Share, and be inclusive—not exclusive
Sharing is important. Including is important. We are all learning and growing. It takes nothing from you to give information to someone else, whether it’s how something works, a contact, or advice. If you are doing your best thing, sharing can’t take anything from you. In fact, it will lift you up. And reaching a hand out to someone who looks a little lonely never hurt anyone, either. I’ve been to conferences where I have seen people excluded. I have had friends come back from blog events where they said they would never go back because it was too clique-y. This isn’t high school, and we are all grown-ups.
If someone has the magic secret to get my kids to listen, please share it with me. How many times have I told them something, they ignored me, and then were crying later?
One of my biggest downfalls is being dismissive. I know I do it, and I need to work harder not to do it. Someone tells me something and I think, that’s not me. I don't need to know that, or what does she know? ...And BOOM! I get a big bite in the bottom from reality!
If I had just listened with an open mind and thought maybe, maybe that applies to me, it would have saved me soooo much heartache. Part of not being dismissive is also learning to say: “I don’t know.” That is one thing I took to heart while working at the firehouse. It was actually okay to say I didn't know and then ask for an answer. If you said you knew and didn’t, and then you killed someone, it was a bad day. To this day, I am all for not pretending to know it all. Because the few times I have, it’s come right back to me in a not-so-good way.
7. Don’t judge others because you don’t know their story
I really wanted to add this in here, because it is so easy to make a snap judgment about someone and move on. The grass always looks greener. Blogging has become a business, and it gives many the opportunity to make a decent income. It also allows some mothers to stay home with their kids. I know a lot of people don’t like advertising on blogs, but many need the extra income. I know some people go overboard, but some people really need the money. It actually costs money to write a blog with really good content. Some bloggers look as if they have it all, but are completely struggling in life in one way or another.
8. Be your own best you
Which kind of wraps up number one through five. Many of us old-school bloggers say this over and over, because we know. We have seen blogs come and go by the hundreds, and some of them all run together. No kidding. What has made people truly stand out is when they do their thing, and become their own brand,and find their own way. You might be meant to be huge. Or you not be; your thing might be your loyal readers, and that’s fine. But the only way to find that out is to shine in your own spotlight, not someone else’s. To be your own truth.
I know, after working through this list, I can recall many times I’ve fallen short of doing many of these things, and it’s made me not such a nice person. I know I am a work in progress. Every day. But I also hope I can be a really good example for my girls.
For more inspiration and supportive courage, you can pop over here.