So, you want to start a blog.
Or maybe you’ve already started one and you’re ready to get more serious about your blogging endeavors. If this describes you, there are countless blogging topics you could be reading about and practicing. SEO is important, as is the quality of your writing, vlogging and infographics, not to mention branding and marketing your blog.
As important as all these aspects are, there’s something you should do – right here and now – before you take any further action toward running a successful blog. And that something is this: Take a minute to look at these traits and determine which ones you need to work on.
Lacking any one of these characteristics can destroy your chances of being a successful blogger. The good news, however, is that they can be learned and cultivated if you don’t already possess them.
Here are the essential traits every blogger needs for success, along with some inspiring quotes to motivate you!
“You’ve got to get up every morning with determination if you’re going to go to bed with satisfaction.”
– George Lorimer, American journalist and author
“A determined soul will do more with a rusty monkey wrench than a loafer will accomplish with all the tools in a machine shop.”
– Robert Hughes, art critic, writer, producer
There are more abandoned blogs online than there are grains of sand on earth. (Yes, that’s an exaggeration. But not much of one!)
It’s easy – almost too easy – to start a blog. Countless people have had an inspiring moment or “blogging epiphany” while showering or grabbing a drink with some friends after work. As soon as they get to their laptop they hop on WordPress, choose a name for their blog, write a few posts… only to lose interest and let their blog sit unoccupied like a condemned building. That, in a nutshell, sums up most of the blogosphere.
The problem behind abandoned blogs is not a lack of communication skills or running out of things to blog about. The problem is a lack of determination. Without this trait, your blog probably won’t last a month.
Before you start a blog, ask yourself if you have the perseverance to see it through. If you’re unsure, it might be best not to start a blog until your answer is an emphatic “yes.”
“Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet.”
― Aristotle, ancient Greek philosopher and scientist
“He who can have patience can have what he will.”
― Benjamin Franklin, one of the US Founding Fathers
“Cultivate your craft. Water it daily, pour some tender loving care into it, and watch it grow. Remember that a plant doesn’t sprout immediately. Be patient, and know that in life you will reap what you sow.”
– J.B. McGee, Amazon Top 100 author
Patience goes hand-in-hand with determination. Many bloggers, especially those just starting out, get genuinely frustrated when their new blog isn’t achieving the results they want. Tragically, some prematurely give up on their blog.
It’s important to keep in mind that even with excellent promotion and marketing, creating a world-class blog takes some time. Seven, 15 or even 50 blog posts aren’t always enough to start building a loyal fan base.
Blogging, like life, is a marathon. Not a sprint. Don’t give up after a month or two just because you don’t yet have hundreds or thousands of blog subscribers. If your content is engaging and interesting, and you effectively promote your blog on social channels, chances are your patience will pay off.
3. Self Confidence
“With realization of one’s own potential and self-confidence in one’s ability, one can build a better world.” – Lhamo Dondrub, Dalai Lama
Your blogging will most likely fail if you have low self-esteem or constant self-doubt. Those who second guess themselves or who don’t see the value they offer are afraid to put themselves out there. The result is meager efforts and mediocre work. This, of course, is true of blogging, sales, entrepreneurship, and life in general.
One great first step in gaining self-confidence is to follow the advice of business coach Sam Ovens, who was quoted as saying, “If I have a negative thought, I write it down. Then I reverse engineer, asking myself, ‘Where is this coming from?”
Another great way to develop confidence is to look at some blogs from your competitors. Many of them will make you say, “Wow. I can do far better than that!” That’s when it will hit you: You have plenty to be confident about.
4. Thick Skin
“I would advise anyone who aspires to a writing career that before developing his talent he would be wise to develop a thick hide.”
– Harper Lee, American novelist
“We must develop thick skin. With an unshakable sense of self – and a commitment to being compassionate – nothing will faze you.”
– Mari Smith, social media thought leader, speaker, author
Thick skin will be crucial if you intend to grow your blog audience. That’s because the more well-known your blog becomes, the more “haters” you’re likely to have as well.
There are a-million-and-one reasons why haters and critics flock to popular blogs. Many of them want to make names for themselves, and others simply get a thrill out of trolling. There are also those who become haters because they view you as a threat to their own competing blog. Whatever the reason, you’ll need to be prepared for a peppering of harsh criticism to go along with the positive engagement your blog will receive.
Yes, you should politely address genuine criticism when it comes. But uncalled-for harshness from haters should be like water off a duck’s back. So develop thick skin or get crushed under the weight of online criticism.
“Have more humility. Remember you don’t know the limits of your own abilities. Successful or not, if you keep pushing beyond yourself, you will enrich your own life – and maybe even please a few strangers.” – A.L. Kennedy, Scottish writer, stand-up comedian
While self-confidence and thick skin are essential blogging virtues, egotism should be avoided at all costs. The virtue of humility needs to balance your confidence and keep it in check.
While haters are always a reality, sometimes criticism is genuine and legitimate. When you receive constructive criticism, it’s crucial to be open, receptive and humble. Show your readers that you don’t view yourself as being perfect or above criticism. Own your mistakes and constantly aim for self-improvement. Your audience will love your openness and humility.
Humility is also important during those times when you stand by an action or statement that others are criticizing. Sometimes, the best thing you can do is humbly say, “Even though I believe I did the right thing and don’t agree with your criticism, I value you nonetheless. I hope we can agree to disagree in this case.” Like honesty, humility is the best policy.
“Creativity is piercing the mundane to find the marvelous.”
– Bill Moyers, American journalist and political commentator
“Creativity is not just for artists. It’s for businesspeople looking for a new way to close a sale; it’s for engineers trying to solve a problem; it’s for parents who want their children to see the world in more than one way.”
– Twyla Tharp, American dancer, choreographer, author
To be blunt, you simply won’t be a competitive blogger if you’re not creative. Creativity will ensure that you’re providing a touch of entertainment in every post. It will also make your blog stand out in the sea of white noise and keep your fans coming back for more. And, of course, creativity is the rocket fuel that will lift you out of your writer’s (or vlogger’s) block.
What else does creativity bring to the blogging table? It’s the driving force behind coming up with new spins on evergreen topics. Also, creative bloggers are better at seeing weaknesses in their competitor’s blogs. This insight helps them create better content and communicate it more clearly and creatively to the audience.
Can you learn how to be creative? Contrary to what many believe, yes you can! If you want to cultivate creativity, one great resource to consider is The Accidental Creative.
“Follow your passion, be prepared to work hard and sacrifice, and, above all, don’t let anyone limit your dreams.”– Donovan Bailey, Canadian sprinter who held the world record for the 100 meters
“Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you.”
– Oprah Winfrey, Media proprietor, talk show host, actress, philanthropist
If you’re passionate about your blog topics, nothing will be able to stop you. Not your haters, not a bad economy, not even your biggest competitors.
The truly great thing about passion is that when you have it, all the other traits listed above will follow. Those bloggers who are “in love” with their field and with their subject matter are usually very determined, patient, confident, thick-skinned, humble and creative in their blogging.
When you’re so passionate about a topic that you want to educate the world about it, you do all things necessary to spread the message. Think about the “brand evangelists” you’ve seen online, and they most likely possess all (or most) of the characteristics listed in this article.
You Can Do This!
Don’t have all the above traits? That’s ok! With a little help and persistence, each of them can be developed, practiced and mastered. There are countless self-help books written about these characteristics, as well as blogs, forums, and other online resources. Finding a mentor is also a very useful.
The bottom line is, nobody is really a born blogger, a born leader or a born anything. If you want to become a wildly successful blogger, go for your dream and do what it takes to develop the necessary mindsets. Who knows – your blog might just take the world by storm.