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My Quest to Revive the True Personal Blog

Blogging today isn’t what it used to be 5 years ago…and it definitely isn’t what it was 10 years ago or 15 years ago or 20 years ago.

While I had some great sites built in AngelFire and Geocities in the late 1990’s {and you really should have seen my MySpace profile in it’s heyday in the early 2000’s!} – My true first blog wasn’t until 2005, mainly due to the invention + growing popularity of a wonderful little open source software we all know and love as WordPress.

Today, most online blogs you stumble across have a laser targeted niche and focus. People don’t start a blog – they start a BRAND.

Just do a quick google search – not only will you find people who have expertly crafted their “personal brand” – you can even hire one of the millions of “Brand Consultants” to help you figure out who you should pretend to be online.

Honestly, I’m tired of it…which is why I am on a quest to revive the personal blog…and I’m starting with this blog. {I mean, the domain IS my name, which is convenient!}

To show you how serious I am about reviving the personal blog, here’s a collaged self-portrait I made eons ago. Crazy. Not Perfect. Very Real.

personal blogging

We Are Missing Something With Most Blogs Today

Most of the blogs I visit that exist today are dominated by what I can easily spot as posts written not for you, beautiful reader, but for a big giant but sometimes useful and friendly monster who starts with the letter G.

I can spot it in their How To Articles and their Round-Up List posts…because I own commercial blogs just like it. After all, I have been writing on the internet for 23 years.

But there’s just something missing with these blogs: Personal connection.

I know in this past year with the pandemic the thing I really miss are those genuine and real connections with other people.

I have friends I haven’t seen in over a year.

I have friends who stopped talking to me because I had a manic episode last spring. {Isn’t it funny how “friends” say they’re there for you anytime and act all supportive until you actually DO go crazy? They disappear pretty quick.}

Friends are like four leaf clovers - hard to find and lucky to have. Quote Image.

My social life consisted of seeing my parents 7 times in the past year. We didn’t do any of the usual holidays – no Easter, no 4th of July, no Thanksgiving, No Christmas.

We as a society who now spend 80% of our days online are craving real, honest, genuine connections with people.

You can’t get that with a blog focused only on one topic. You also can’t get that with vanilla how-to posts.

Sure, if you stick to a specific topic or write that kind of stuff you’re more likely to make money and be “brand friendly” for advertisers and sponsors…but you’re also missing a whole lot of what makes you, YOU.

It’s these missing connections that made me decide that my goal for this site this year is to revive the art of the personal blog.

And to figure out what even is a true “personal blog” in today’s world, I decided to think a little bit about what really characterizes personal blogging.

The first thing I did was think of a presentation on Blogging With WordPress I did a few years back at our local WP Meetup Group. {Oh I miss you WordPress friends!}

I was quickly reminded of the 3 rules I have for blogging.

The Three Rules of Blogging:

#1. Don’t Worry About Knowing Everything or Even Anything

#2. Stop Worrying About Sidebar Widgets or Theme Design and Just Write.

#3. Be Yourself.

Those sound like really good rules for a personal blog to me!

I also did a little reminiscing about the times when personal blogs were a lot more common and thought about what those blogs covered. Some of those blogs don’t exist anymore – I had to rely on my good old friend The WayBack Machine to reminisce.

I’ll make a list of my old favorite blogs that don’t exist anymore soon.

Here’s the Kinds of Things That Go On a Personal Blog:

Random Thoughts on Life:

What do you think about in the shower in the morning? What do you observe and notice everyday? What are your thoughts on life?

You don’t have to know everything or have a doctorate in philosophy to have random thoughts about life. To quote Edie Brickell, “Philosophy is the talk on a cereal box.”

Heck. I think now is a good time we all actually listen to this song, because it’s very much appropriately named “What I Am”. So I’ll embed it for you below.

Regular Life Updates

Another thing to consider with personal blogs is they usually follow more of a diary or journal type of format. So, while updating every single day isn’t always possible {especially if you’re like me with kids, a major mental illness and numerous “niche sites”} – a weekly or even monthly update of “What I Did” makes total sense on a personal blog.

And don’t worry if you feel like you didn’t do anything of great significance. Honestly, I think getting out of bed, taking a shower and getting dressed by itself is just a major accomplishment that’s worthy of validation.

My life is pretty mundane {and honestly I like it that way!} – so you probably won’t be ooohing an aaahing about much when I update what I’ve been up to lately – but I’ll try to at least keep it honest. Maybe even make it interesting or funny.

Your Favorite Things

Your personal blog is about YOU – so why not write about your favorite things? If you’re struggling for what to start writing about – why not make that your very first post? A List of All My Favorite Things.

Writing about all the different things you like + already know about is 1000 times easier than feigning interest in writing about the stuff most “Pro Blogs” are about today.

Throw SEO Out the Window

People don’t know this about me, but I’m probably one of the most experienced and best SEO writers you can find. Like I’ve been saying since 2011, if I’m only #1 at anything in life, at least its Google Search Rankings.

And as an SEO expert…I’m going to tell you right now on a personal blog…SEO does not belong here.

Seriously. Forget about keywords. Forget about search friendly titles. Make your title relevant to the topic you write about, but you’re not writing a personal blog for Google. You’re writing a personal blog for people who are genuinely interested in connecting with you.

Get Emotional

This is ironically probably the hardest one for me. People have this misconception that Bipolar Bears like myself are all emotional. I’m not very emotional at all…feelings are like weird to me. Maybe it’s because I’m an INTP personality type? I am not sure.

But seriously, I even tried to organize emotions in a spreadsheet and try to make an algorithm to figure them out.

Emotions are tough.

But emotions are VERY necessary if you want to connect with people.

Share the Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

One thing I’ve learned from being a blogger who reads a lot of blogs is I most admire the people who write about and share really hard things in their life.

We see plenty of “perfect” things and people online. People share their pretty and clean neatly decorated houses and photos of them with perfect makeup while lounging in some tropical paradise location…that’s not their everyday life!

And that’s definitely not “most people”. Most people live in crappy little houses with secondhand furniture and spend all of their energy trying to keep up with the exhaustion of paying bills and taking care of themselves and their family.

Any given day my house looks like a train wreck. Maybe I’ll start posting that kind of stuff. To help you remember you are normal! It’s okay to not be perfect because nobody is!

Remember the Photographs + Videos!

Adding photos to blog posts is important. It’s a pain, but people like to see things, not just read them.

It also helps break up really long blog posts like this one to make them easier to read. 🙂

Anyways, this is my quest to revive the personal blog. Won’t you join me? If you have a personal blog you’d like me to check out tell me about it in the comments below!

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