5 Blogging Rules I No Longer Believe In


When I started blogging over six years ago, everything seemed shiny and new. I approached anything blog-related so fresh and doe-eyed; absorbing all that I could; attending every event I was invited to; poring over every last detail of my blog; trying the latest camera/trend/app and meeting as many bloggers as I could possibly fit into my schedule. Whether it’s a labor of love or a professional transition, blogging has always been just one of many other obligations in life. The time that’s dedicated to a full-time job, raising kids, going to school, being married, committing to sports or groups and just having a life starts to compete with the fun but sometimes overwhelming time it takes to be a blogger.

There’s a lot of incredible projects and opportunities I’ve had the honor of being part of thanks to my blog, but none of this has come without lots of trial, error, triumph and tears. Blogging has evolved as quickly as social media and other digital industries, and staying on top of the game means consistently learning and growing. Truly successful bloggers are able to hone in on what works for them; where their strengths and opportunities lie; and most importantly, how to adapt and try new things to keep their communities coming back for more.

That said, there are a lot of blogging ‘rules’ I used to abide by, and whether it was becoming aware of my own naiveté or changing the way I did things, I no longer hold these rules to be true.

A ton of comments on every post

I blog a lot about things to do and see in Seattle in addition to information on local boutiques, indie designers and more. I just don’t get a lot of comments in my posts; I never have. Half of the ones I do are spam or don’t provide much context (i.e. “Cute!”) However, I get a lot of comments and feedback on social media (Twitter mostly, then Instagram and Facebook.) I work in social media, so cultivating my blog communities on these sites rather than my blog has worked for me. When brands want to work together (or vice versa), they are always interested in my follower numbers on my social media sites and never ask how many average blog comments I get.

Trying every blogging app & tool out there

For a long time, if I encountered an app or tool that can connect to my blog, I tried it. These are often pitched to bloggers with the promise of “growing visibility and readership” – 99% of the time, that’s an empty promise from a startup that’s just getting off the ground! They’re likely to get more out of you and your readers than the other way around. I’m not saying never work with these tools and apps. Just make sure you vet them out, do your research & ask plenty of questions before going all in on using their product.

Being everywhere at once

I mean this in the “be on every social media site” as well as the “be at every event” sense. If you’re saying yes to everything, you’ll never know what’s truly worth your time and most likely, you’ll burn out from keeping up your social media channels and your always jam-packed events calendar. Be protective of your time and where you spend it. I’m not perfect at saying no to time on Pinterest or attending an event, but I'm a lot better than I used to be at really thinking through whether something is worth my time. I say no to a lot of things so that I can stay home to write posts, read and spend time offline with my dog & boyfriend!

Post as much as possible

One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is to create an editorial calendar and set a cadence of when I post. Consistency is more important than quantity; if you find that you can only manage 1-2 blog posts a week, make them a couple of really great ones and post them every Tuesday and Thursday at 7:00a.m. That way, your readers can expect to see new content at specific times in the week. They’re more likely to subscribe or revisit your blog again!

Write only about fashion

I have always insisted on categorizing myself a lifestyle blogger (versus a fashion blogger), so I could write about the things I am truly passionate about. That goes against the very popular belief that you should stick to one niche in order to build a solid readership. At times, I used to feel like the term ‘lifestyle’ was too broad and working against me. Nowadays, I’m seeing a lot of bloggers who only wrote about fashion posting more about other aspects of their life; home decor, travel, food, health & fitness, parenting. I love seeing the natural evolution of other bloggers, because I feel like I’m getting a truer sense of who they are every day; not just when they’re perfectly ready for an outfit post.

What works for me might not work for you, and that’s okay. I’d love to hear your comments below on things you learned that you no longer believe in about blogging!

[Image credit: Shutterstock.com]

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29 Responses

  1. Mimi

    Phew…this article really resonated with me. I am a year into my blogging and felt the pull to join every app/blogger friendly website that existed but realized I could not keep up with them all and really did not give me much traffic at all. I stick with the ones that I actually like to follow. I also decided this year that I can only post 2 x week and thats Okay for me. Thank you again for posting this.
    X Mimi

  2. Rash

    Ditto to Mimi’s comments. Also I can’t stress enough how “being everywhere at once” can be draining…online and off. Use common sense and protect your sanity!

  3. Susan

    Just sticking to the one idea of being ‘one type of blogger’ is almost working against me as you’ve rightly stated. Much rather prefer to be a ‘life’ style blogger.
    Susan | classysusie

  4. Paula

    Me too! Great post, I agree with all of this! I have definitely started saying no to much more events or projects I’m not benefiting from, which leaves me much more time to work on my posts and other things!

  5. Anastasia

    Consistency is no less important than quality. And it’s really important as much as possible at the begging. At least I feel that – when I post more frequently I gain more visitors!
    And talking of being everywhere…Well, it’s better to figure out what will give real benefits and stick with it. At the begging I was more willing to feature local brands and events, write guest posts and e.t but when I see that the time and efforts I spent weren’t compensated not a tiny bit I realized that from now on I’ll spend my time wisely.

  6. Becki @littlemrssevenonesix.com

    Thank you so much for this post! As a new Blogger I constantly feel as if I am taking a test I didn’t study for. Blogging, although enjoyable, can be daunting. Thank you for mentoring via this post. It means so much!

  7. Nathalie

    This is so great, especially the last point. I would call myself a style blogger and in reality, I still am… however I felt like the amount of style I was pushing was alien to me and the general demographic. Lifestyle was so much more accurate and more free-flowing… while still allowing me to have the liberty to post outfits.

    Thank you!
    DAVY // http://www.davyblog.com

  8. Mckell

    This is nice to read. I was about to quit because I couldn’t keep up with all of it and I was suffocating. It’s good to know I am not the only one!!

  9. LoudPen

    This post really spoke to me! I do have a presence on all the major social networks but I just can’t keep up with them. The only ones I truly like are Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. They’ve all brought me a nice amount of traffic and I feel that I use them best.

    Also, I officially stopped focusing on fashion sometime last year. Lifestyle blogging allows me to explore all my interests and skills. Plus it’s more fun! You always have something to blog about.

  10. Amrita & Prita

    Very good read and certainly hits home. Blogging can be quite overwhelming and trying to do a lot can be jeopardizing to the whole process. The key is to strike a key balance between consistency and quality and not forgetting why you chose to pursue it in the first place.
    Thanks for a great article.

  11. NS

    Great tips! And I see your point. Commenting on blogs no longer holds much meaning. Social media is pretty much everything..

  12. Nadya Hasan

    So much of what you mentioned are very good points and valid.

    For a very long time I thought my content was boring our just not getting much attraction. But later realised my followers do read and respond in Email/Tweets/ Comments on instagram.

    I don’t think anyone should give up on it just because of the lack of comments.

    Also event’s are great when you are starting off to build relations, but then pick and choose the good ones over the smaller irrelevant ones.



  13. M

    Great article. Thanks so much for this post. As a new blogger, it’s overwhelming at times, so it’s nice to know what “rules” aren’t necessarily true and that you don’t have to do everything all the time.


  14. Kristina

    I relate to this post so much! As bloggers, I think we’re all our own biggest critics and get on ourselves when we don’t post often enough or can’t “be everywhere at once” as you put it. I just recently had to make it my mantra to say that there is no rule book and that just giving this blogging thing my all is enough! Great post 🙂

  15. Yvan L'Abbé

    Thanks for breaking the rules Jess, like you I have been at this for a couple of years as well as holding down a full time job. I am bombarded on a daily basis with people telling me “If I don’t do this” or “If I don’t do that” my blog will fail. Every time I turn around there seems to be someone coming out with a new and better way to get new followers, forget all you have learned up to now they say. I’m getting blog burn out. I just can’t keep up with all the social media, seo’s, blog comments, and article publishing. So rather than give up I started following my own rules. All I ever wanted to do is to give people advices on how they can do their own plumbing and save money, not run a competition for the most followers on Google +, Facebook, Pinterest or Twitter. Now I’m active on a couple of Social networks, write when I can, respond when I think I should and disregard most of the gurus.

  16. Liz Min

    This is a great post. It’s also really helpful because I’m new to blogging. Number 4 and 5 are so true and I try to apply that to my blog.


  17. Holly

    The only thing I would add is regarding your fourth point. As a marketer in my daytime job I’ve known that understanding audience is key. In applying that to blogging and social media, I’ve learned that honing in on audience habits is important. Know the times (roughly) that your audience is visiting your site or checking in on social media sites to leverage your posts. Understanding them will help you deliver content in ways they’re apt to engage.

  18. Onianwah

    Great post especially the part about categorising one’s self. I used to say (and still do) that I am a makeup blogger (not even beauty, makeup); but over the years, I have evolved into writing about natural hair, vintage style, fashion, branding and even music. So I think it will be wise for me to adopt that categorisation too.

    Lagos, Nigeria

  19. Sasha Anderson

    Great advice. Seriously somethings to consider while I’m still at the start up of my own blog.

  20. bart

    Great article. Putting myself on a schedule is the best thing I’ve ever done. Being everyone online is challenging but I now pick and choose. Content related (what to write) is still a slight struggle. Thanks for shedding some light on these issues!


  21. Shoes and Roses

    Great article, especially for someone who’s super new to blogging. Starting out with 0 followers can be daunting but I’m excited for my blogging adventure! I didn’t want to pigeon-hole myself either by sticking to a niche (i.e: fashion), however, I am worried about spreading myself a little too thin blogging about fashion, beauty & lifestyle. 5 posts in, I’m really enjoying not limiting myself to a specific niche and pretty much just blogging about the things I love (which really encompasses that of shoes, home decor, makeup and fashion)! Thanks for this brilliant article, very inspiring!


  22. Rocksana

    Thank you! This information is very helpful especially when at times things look confusing and make me doubt others.