Science vs. Art: The Key To Blogging Success

The key to blogging success

The first episode of season 2 of the TV series LOST was called Man of Science, Man of Faith. In it, two of the most influential leaders on The Island, Jack Shepard and John Locke, had two very different ideologies regarding how to proceed when a mysterious “hatch” is discovered in the jungle.

Jack is a doctor, he is the man of science. Locke is a stoic and an intellectual, he is the man of faith. Their clashing opinions are a focal point of the episode as well as the entire series. As a die-hard LOST fan, I often and without intent find myself referencing the show in my daily life. Like today.

I read an interesting article on one of my favorite blogging tip sites, For Bloggers By Bloggers, about crafting your “blog elixir.” The part that grabbed me instantly discussed the question of whether blogging success was more dependent on the science or the art of the craft. See where I'm going here?

As the author explains, there are some bloggers who believe that success can be derived from a methodical and consistent strategy (the science) — while others believe that true success can't come without a creative passion for this kind of art (the faith).

But, can it be both?

The article's author thinks the key is a combination of the two perspectives, and I have to agree. I've met many bloggers who started with a need for a creative outlet (including me) and jumped into all this rather blindly. They then figured out, learned or taught themselves how to apply the methodology to the creativity along the way.

Here's what I know to be true: you can possibly, maybe become a successful blogger without applying any practical strategies to your blog or your content — but PROBABLY NOT. Not anymore, not in today's market. That's why not everyone who loves fashion or takes nice photos or dresses well goes big in our community or in our industry.

This duality is a big part of why IFB even exists! We want to help you nurture your creative talents (photography, writing, graphic design, etc.) but also guide you in understanding and capitalizing on the business opportunities, monetization methods and traffic strategies that are proven ways to gain exposure, grow your site and build a career for yourself.

Unlike John Locke and Jack Shepard, I don't think you have to be in constant conflict when it comes to where to apply your blogging efforts. Jack always said, Live together or die alone – and while slightly less dramatic, the idea applies here, too. A stronger, smarter and more successful blog combines the art and the strategy for a greater good and a more fruitful outcome.

 Do you think the key to blogging success lies more in the science or the art? Or, do you agree that it's a balance of both?


[Source: For Bloggers By Bloggers: Crafting Your Blog Elixer and for more on Man of Science, Man of Faith]

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22 Responses

  1. .

    I believe a fine balance between the two must exist. As much as I love art and independence, I’m aware of the fact it is near worthless if no one can see it. So the perfect potion would be: 60% or originality (and by that I mean having a distinct style, adding your own twist – cause no person can be truly original these days), creativity, art, design, gorgeous photography and 40% of hard work. Be patient, be daring, be persistent – it’ll all pay off in some way eventually!

  2. Eva Tornado

    I agree…. The key of the success is the balance of a creativity and marketing strategy. You can be a genial artist, stylist, photographer etc but if you are not able to work with social platforms… Just your closest friends will read you. And on the contrary – if you are a genial marketologist but have no talent… You will be just genial marketologist =) But not a blogger.

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  3. Andria Rivers

    I definitely think that it’s a combination of both, but ratio is unique for every blogger. Right now, I think I use an equal amount of science and art, but that could easily change as I continue to discover what works for me.

    Indie Punk Goddess

  4. Incognito

    I think it’s a combination of both. When I started blogging I jumped into it very blindly and I think my ratio was 90 % of creativity 10% of science. Now I came to realize that I need both if I want my blog to be read by more people and get more attention. It really is difficult for me to get a balance between art and science since I am not a strategic person but at the same time I like thinking of how applying this strategy in a creative way :).

    Taylor I always love reading your articles because you really get inspiration from everything that surrounds you, should I be a writer like you I would be very glad !

    Shug Avery of Incognito

  5. FromAtoZbyAZ

    I have just started my first so called fashion blog and i need to say i am so many times getting blocked by all that science out there. I completely agree perfect balance is the key! But how to get there? Aren’t we all a bit blinded by all that science. It sounds so easy, but i wote for art before you start involving the science. At the end you dont need hits and views on your site you need readers.

  6. The Chic Spy

    From my perspective, I believe there is a modicum of strategy in art, exemplified with artists such as Piet Mondrian, Andy Warhol, and Jackson Pollock.

    As with blogging, we can strategize how we will display or lay out our art of writing, styling, and photography.

  7. Donna

    I think it’s definitely a mix of the two. You can be very creative, but if no one finds your blog they won’t see it. If you’re big on strategizing you might not make your blog interesting enough, or it can look cluttered and therefore unappealing.
    I love you LOST reference,too! Absolutely loved that show.

  8. Lydia

    You definitely need a balance of both. You need the creative and artsy side to create beautiful photos but you also need the logistical and mechanical side to know how to boost your blog’s popularity through various social channels. Having great photos but with no one knowing they exist is a shame!

  9. Kajsa J. Andersen

    I’ve begun to realize that marketing is just as important as the writing. Before I’ve always blindly thought that readers come to me. However that’s not the case, I have to come to the reader.

    From this I’ve gained more insight what the readers are interested in, and it’s quite rewarding getting to know wonderful women in the process.
    No man (woman) is an Island someone said. Took ages for me to apply this perspective, and use it.

  10. onyinye ibeagi

    i read all the parts of this series and it really inspired me to start up a new and better blog,i was blogging the wrong way in my old blog. i think,you need to balance the two.

  11. Ashley Randall

    It has to be a balance of both. But maybe not always. In the beginning, mayeb the science of it is more important, then once you have a base maintaining the artistic side is more important.
    Also: I too was a HUGE lost fan. 🙂

  12. Make

    Art is what makes you different from the others and more interesting…with those two things you are certainly going to be noticed

  13. Susan

    Obviously we can’t have one without the other.

    But I’d say TODAY, the science is more important (60%) than the art (40%). It’s sad but true. As you said Taylor, “Here’s what I know to be true: you can possibly, maybe become a successful blogger without applying any practical strategies to your blog or your content — but PROBABLY NOT. Not anymore, not in today’s market.” A lot of famous fashion bloggers are 3+ years old. That’s when the market for fashion blogging wasn’t seriously tapped in yet, not as much as now. They had relatively less competition and therefore had it easier to rise to the top faster.
    Have you noticed on Lookbook how the popular Lookbook fashionistas dominate the home page, while newbies barely get any spotlight? It’s not fair. Because you have to work harder and smarter to get even an ounce of exposure there. On the other hand, popular ones (although they are popular because they create good visual material), can sometimes afford to slack off with their quality but still be at the top.

    The art aspect still holds value of course. I think, the science part is what gets you exposure, but the art is what makes people stick around and come back for more. To have beautiful outfits/photography is actually the easy part. We’ve all visited other bloggers’ sites, some may have mediocre photography and what not, but you can’t deny the tough competition out there. To be unique enough for word to pass around by itself on how awesome your fashion blog relies on opportunity and luck! We can’t hope to be lucky. We can’t hope for people to stumble onto your blog. You need strategy to shove your blog in their face and let them be the judge of your blog. Strategy to get exposure (through technology) is having the chance for people to see how awesome of a fashion blogger you are. Your style and your creativity creates followers.

    SEO and social media marketing is the science stuff that no artsy person wants to take care of. After all, we love fashion. We just want to stick to that. But a huge part on why popular bloggers become famous bloggers, is because they have a team! A person just to deal with that side of fashion blogging. Maybe a friend or an intern. I don’t know!

    So if you have little to no following, it’s not you or your style. Have the patience to learn the science aspect of it, you have nothing to lose really. It’s beyond being a super active member of Twitter, lookbook, chictopia, etc… Make it happen!

    • Karina De Jesus

      Susie, I absolutely agree with you. Nowadays, it seems the science rules over the art a bit. You can be creating quality content every day, but if the traffic is not growing and no one sees it, the art just gets lost in the word wide web.

      Thanks for the article, Taylor!

  14. Swati Ailawadi @ The Creative Bent

    10 years ago, it would have been all about passion. But due to the sheer numbers of blogs out there today ( and a lot of them very talented and passionate ), it does kind of come down to following some tactics to drive traffic, monetizing and SEO. I have visited blogs with average aesthetics and content with a huge following though, and those with great content and a small readership. There is a lot to learn from both and if we can learn a balance that works for us…. we should be able to achieve our goals.

    The Creative Bent

  15. Alexandria Adair Vasquez

    I think art is a little more important, to me, because I believe what you’re putting out into the world should truly be a product of passion. That’s what attracts readers. It should definitely be a mix, but if you’re only focusing on marketing then what good is having people find a mediocre blog?