Sometimes, the most profound questions are also seemingly the simplest. What makes you happy? Where do you want to be in ten years? What are you going to have for lunch? And while practically all bloggers have the fundamental understanding that “content is king” on the Internet, they may not be quite as ready to really know who they’re blogging for. It may sound simple, really take a moment to think about this.
Are You Blogging for Yourself?
In the much earlier days of blogging, maybe even before “blogging” became such a well-known term, many people look at blogs (“web logs”) as some form of personal diary or online journal. Indeed, that’s a lot of what you saw on sites like Livejournal, which has “journal” right there in its name.
And if the objective of your blog is just so that you have somewhere to work through your thoughts, then I suppose it’s just fine if you’re blogging for yourself. It can be very therapeutic putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard), because you can solve a lot of your personal problems and challenges by just writing them down.
Just don’t expect to build an audience that way. Don’t expect your posts to be shared on social media and you definitely shouldn’t expect to make a dime from your blog either. Personal stories may be interesting, but the ones that actually make money are few and far between. Far too many bloggers approach their blogs in this way, thinking that their blog exists solely for themselves and then they wonder why it takes them years to earn their first AdSense check.
Are You Blogging for the Bots?
Content might be king, but it’s not worth very much if no one reads it. That’s why you should be spending at least as much time figuring out how to get people to your blog as you spend on writing the actual content itself. And for a lot of people, this means working on search engine optimization.
What this also means is that you end up being very careful with how you word and format your posts, because you want to make sure that the search engine bots and spiders are looking upon that content favorably. You want to rank for your target keywords. The problem is that old SEO strategies can stop working as soon as Google decides to slap you down with pandas, pigeons and penguins.
Suddenly, all your hard work goes down the drain and your content gets buried or de-indexed, because you tried to game the system. It was fun while it lasted, right? Too bad writing for the bots means that your actual content could be very low quality and no real people will want to read it.
Blogging for the Right Audience
Just as the most profound questions can oftentimes be the simplest, the answers to these questions can appear to be simple too… except there’s so much more to them. As you may have guessed, blogging for the people is the best approach. You should keep your audience in mind as you type out those words, asking whether or not you are actually answering the questions they may have or providing the value they desire.
Yes, your content can still be personally significant. Yes, you can still keep SEO best practices in mind. But the priority needs to be whether or not you are serving your audience to the best of ability, particularly without having to sacrifice or compromise on who you are and what you stand for. That sounds simple, except it can actually be quite challenging.
To further complicate matters, not all audiences are going to be the same. Indeed, it really pays to analyze your readership and really narrow down who you want your target audience to be. What is the key demographic? By having a firmer understanding of who they are, you can be more valuable. And thus, you unlock far greater potential for a highly profitable blog.
If the content is just for you or it’s just for the bots, you’re setting yourself up to fail.