September 20, 2016

There are a lot of bloggers out there who make their living by blogging about blogging. I love those bloggers. I read a lot of their post and get a lot of information from them that I try to use on my blog. If it wasn’t for them, I might not have ever been able to start a blog.

But after two years of blogging and lots of trial and error, I’ve decided that the only way to enjoy blogging and to become good at it is to be 100% yourself. You have to be true to yourself and do what works for you.

I’m not an expert in blogging by any means, but I started enjoying blogging a lot more — and feeling a lot more connected to you, the people who read my posts — after I stopped following these 4 blogging “rules” and decided to do it my way.

#sorrynotsorry

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Here are the blogging rules I love to break, and why:

1. Have a short, memorable name.

I struggled with this a lot when I was renaming my blog. I read a lot of articles about how to pick the best name for your blog, and I found a lot of worksheets about how to put together your favorite words. One major theme was to keep the name simple, something that people could easily spell and remember.

In the end, I decided to go with what felt right to me instead of trying to fill a formula of what “makes a good blog name.” I think that having a blog name that you are comfortable with will make you happier with your blog, proud of what you’ve created. Finding Ithaka is a little bit obscure, but it’s based on my favorite poem, “Ithaka” by CP Cavafy. Read the story of my blog’s name here.

2. You must have a niche.

I’m a military spouse, but I don’t want my blog to just be about military life, even though that’s what I’ve been writing about mostly lately. I live in Hawaii, but I don’t want to only post about beaches and things to do here. I love to travel, but travel posts are my least favorite to write. I love to read, but I don’t read enough to be a book blogger.

So, my niche is me.

That means I have the most niche blog in the world.

When I first started blogging, I wanted to be a travel blogger simply because I lived in Hawaii. But my heart wasn’t in it. I felt like my blog wasn’t going anywhere. I remember thinking that I should only write about Hawaii and travel. But when I started writing about other things, things that were not really connected to any niche, things that matter to me, that’s when I really started to enjoy blogging. It’s also when I saw my blog grow a lot. Suddenly, people were engaging with me. I felt like I was finally connecting to people. This was also around the time that I changed my blog name.

3. Have an Instagram aesthetic.

I’m not really sure what this means. Make all of your pictures look the same? Take pictures of flowers in all white spaces? Spend hours posing in front of brick walls with your face turned away? If I like a picture, I post it. I don’t care if it’s deep red or turquoise. I don’t like ridiculous accounts that are completely posed and fake – I like some realness. Of course, I try to post pretty pictures on Instagram. But if you want to see real life – pictures of stacks of unpacked boxes alongside pictures of turtles and beaches, follow me here.

4. Post Consistently.

It seems like most experts agree that it doesn’t matter how often you post, as long as you post consistently. This is a good rule and I do my best to follow it. I try to post twice per week, on Tuesdays and Fridays. But if life gets crazy and I don’t have a post for that day, I just skip it and try for my next scheduled day. I’d rather only post things I’m happy with than scramble to put together a post just for consistency’s sake. I truly appreciate everyone who reads by my blog, and I would feel guilty posting something I didn’t think was worth your time.

So how do you know if it’s okay to break any blogging rule? The most important thing that you can do as a blogger is to be yourself. Trust your gut. If it feels right for you and your blog, it’s probably right.

What are some blogging rules you break?
Which ones do you swear by?

See also:
How blogging taught me to be fiercely me.

8 things that happened when I started blogging.

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21 responses to “4 blogging rules I always break”

  1. Jennifer says:

    I so agree with this. I only kind of have a niche. I blog about books a lot but I also blog about my kids, places I have been, and the random thoughts in my head. As for the Instagram aesthetic, I post a lot of photos of books but I post other things too. It is all what I feel like. Niche blogs have their place but the ones I truly enjoy are the ones where I get a real feel for the person behind them. That is why I enjoy your blog.

    I had never read the poem “Ithaka” before I found your blog. I love it. It is beautiful.

    • Carolann says:

      Wow thanks, that’s the best compliment a blogger can receive. I follow certain niche bloggers, and I do think that they have their place. There are certain military spouse bloggers I go to for support, and certain finance blogs I go to for advice. But overall I like to see some personality in a blogger, I like to read about their lives and what makes them tick. Bloggers who blog about books are also my favorite! I love to read and am always looking for a new favorite.

  2. Sarah says:

    It’s funny because of all the blogs I read, your name is the most memorable to me! I’m going to rename my blog soon so it’s nice hearing the *opposite* of what most advice is – I think I’ll just go with whatever feels right!

    • Carolann says:

      Oh thank you! I am always worried that people are going to forget it so that is awesome to hear. I can’t wait to hear what you name your blog. I’m sure it will be something awesome. After quite a few brainstorming sessions, I just couldn’t get Finding Ithaka out of my head so I knew it was right for me.

  3. Jen says:

    I agree that sometimes it’s good to break outside of the box. I’m like you and my blogging niche is me, it always has been and I’m happy with that. 🙂

  4. Megan says:

    yes to ALL of these! especially instagram! sometimes I wonder why people have them at all. while yes, I do think blogging can be a business, it should be something that first and foremost you love to do. after that, things will just fall in place. thanks for sharing this!

    • Carolann says:

      Instagram is my favorite so it makes me sad to see it so commercialized! I think it should be fun, I think it should be a way for bloggers and even businesses to show their personal side. I definitely agree that once you love what you do, the rest comes together.

  5. Audrey says:

    I break most of these rules, too. I blog about my life, movies, books, my opinions. Haha! Wednesday I’m blogging about dogs. Lol. It’s a mixed bag in my neck of the woods. My IG is pretty random, too. But I really don’t care 🙂
    The only rule I try to abide by is the consistency rule. I typically post M, W, F. That said, if I miss a day (which I tend to do about once a month) I don’t stress out or dwell on it 🙂

    • Carolann says:

      And that’s why I love your blog! Because it’s so YOU. Consistency is really important, I think, to maintain readers. But I don’t like the idea of just throwing up something randomly to keep consistency. I tried to post MWF, and I did that for maybe a few months, but it ended up being too much for me. Twice per week seems to be what works best for for me. Keep on writing, keep on doing you!

  6. #2..YES. “My niche is me.” The best.

  7. Emma says:

    I actually have found myself un-following a lot of the Instagram accounts that follow the “aesthetic” idea. They all look the same to me. I prefer real life to something that looks like an ad. I also suck at posting consistently. This is a hobby for me and I’m only doing it when I want to!

    • Carolann says:

      I have been doing that, too. They just seem so fake to me. I can understand it when it’s a store or a big brand, but when it’s a blogger, I really want to see real life. I think that is the beauty of connecting with other bloggers – seeing their real life. And amen to blogging when you want to — otherwise your hobby starts to feel like a chore!

  8. Emma says:

    It’s taken a long old time for me to realise a couple of these as well – there isn’t anything so bad or crazy as blogging guilt…

  9. Rachel G says:

    I’m not a fan of the instagram aesthetic advice–I mean, my life doesn’t exactly have a color scheme or theme, other than ‘awesome’…so…that’s just not my style. And I think when you put “Random” in the very name of your blog and your url, you make it very clear that you have no plans to stick to one niche. haha!

    • Carolann says:

      “my life doesn’t exactly have a color scheme or theme, other than ‘awesome’….” Amazing! So true and that’s why I love reading your blog. I never know what you’re going to post, but it’s always something good. The aesthetic thing really confuses me. Do these bloggers really sit in front of whitewashed kitchens all day?? I feel like those just scream fake to me.

  10. Julie says:

    Yes!! I am lucky that I get to travel loads but I am definitely not one to write – What To Do in X or Five Things Whatever. I write my travel posts based on what I’ve done and liked, I’m not posting about places I don’t like.. And ooh, Instagram. I feel like I’ve shot myself in the foot – trying to make it all travel related when I would much rather be myself in it. Time to start doing that, I think!! I’m happy to have found your blog!

    • Carolann says:

      Those are my favorite kinds of travel blog posts, the ones that tell a story. I’m excited we found each other’s blogs so I can read along! You can always switch up your Instagram posts, too! I think people like that.

  11. Amanda says:

    I get really annoyed about the Instagram one. Like, it’s almost a bad thing if you post pictures that don’t all look the same, whatever that means. I want to post what I want to post! And yes to the niche thing too. I feel the same way! My blog is about so many different things, and okay no I don’t have a huge following but I get really excited about what I’m writing about and have a lot of fun and that’s the most important for me!

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