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Get Real – A Secret to Successful Blogging

Posted By Darren Rowse 16th of November 2007 Miscellaneous Blog Tips 0 Comments

Just a quick link up to Shoemoney who had a post from earlier in the week that I thought was right on the money. He wrote his Blogging Advice To Connect With Your Readers and made three simple but spot on points:

  • Don’t try to be something you are not
  • Celebrate your weaknesses
  • Learn to take criticism

Of course he writes more on each one but I think they’re great tips to make. In some ways they are a little counterintuitive in that sometimes people’s natural reaction is to only present the good things about themselves, big note themselves and brush off critiques – but blogging’s a different medium and when you’re ‘real’ with your readers it can win you a lot of brownie points.

Head over and read Jeremy’s full post here.

PS: there’s some good comments on the post too – I particularly love the first one of John’s:

“Blogging honestly is a lot easier too, you dont have to bother about remembering all the lies you told before… nor do you have to make up new lies.”

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
  1. Excellent point and one that I try my best to uphold.

    After all, you never learn anything without first admitting that you don’t know.

  2. I had already read the post at Jeremy’s blog and you are right its spot on. I recently wrote a post on what I do besides blogging and if it changes peoples perception as to how they see me as a blogger.

    I agree that you should be who you are. And that is one of the things that inspired my latest post on my blog , thanx for the tip Jeremy and Darren for bringing it up here at Problogger.

  3. I read that post too.

    Learning to take criticism can be a difficult one for some. I had one of my bloggers keep getting into fights with readers over petty things.

    He was fighting with some of our most loyal commenters which is really bad – that last thing you want to do is lose your most loyal readers over something petty.

    I referred him to a post Yaro Starrock sent to his mailing list on how to deal with negative comments on the blog.

  4. Yeah, great read. I read the shoemoney article also. I think one of my biggest mistakes as I start out blogging has been not to showcase my weaknesses. Instead, I have been hesitant to show my inexperience, even though it is completely visible. Really has helped me change the focus of my posts.

  5. Isn’t that what blog is all about – being yourself. If I want to read about some perfect super-man/woman I would read a book or watch TV. From ones blog I expect genuine, first-hand experience!

  6. Within reason of course.

  7. i found the shoemoney site through this post – interesting

    his google check had me salivating for like 10 minutes !

  8. Good Advice! When I first started blogging I tried to sound like a “blogger”. I didn’t work because I found it too hard to post. Now it is just me, writing what I think! Much easier! I do a lot more posting!

  9. I played around with many ideas…and I came to the conclusion that there are many things I am interested in but not a authority…I am a better reader than a blogger on those subjects. Nothing wrong with that, I like the education. I was able however to find the things I do like to do and focus on that and how to combine it with my passions. Now I have a blog and I enjoy creating the posts. I have learned so much the past 4 months!

  10. It might be fun to make up a complete fictional blog sometime ;)
    Not like that hasn’t been done, but it could be fun.

  11. I changed the look of my Home Page because of criticism I received of using too many colors that gave these people “headaches”. Being so new to this, I sat back and thought about it and realized they were 100% right.

    I have decided to go against the grain and be myself as it is so much easier. I have a combination Website/Blog and my FAQ page somehow got all messed up so I just put a message that stated I’m too lazy to fix it now and to send me an e-mail if you have a question.

    That’s me in real life so what the heck.

  12. Hey Darren,

    Thanx for the link back to my blog, I am glad you liked my comment. It is true, lieing will just get you in trouble… people write so much these days that they have to be a genius to remember all the stuff they made up ( if they go that route ).

    So, honesty is definitely the right policy.

    I love your blog by the way, it’s on my daily must read list – before I get any work done.

    Thanks again mate


  13. just the word blogging annoys me.

  14. I guess one of the things people don’t spend time considering in the “rush to blogging success” is that when you go online, you take a public persona. Even if your traffic is not great, you are putting yourself out there for the scrutiny and comment from the entire online community. And as your blog grows, there is always the offchance that a reader may bump into you when you are with your family. Or hearing people talking about you at a blog meeting or convention. Bloggers spend a lot of time thinking how to promote their site, worrying about failure, and not worrying enough about success. When it comes, and how it will affect / change their lives in certain ways.

    How much you want to reveal about yourself and your personal stuff is really up to how comfortable you are. Not that you do not want to be honest, but whether you are comfortable with your audience the names of your children, what school you went to, and which concerts you attend. All of which can be tracked back to your personal data like your phone number, address, etc. which allows them direct access to you in real life.

    I try to find the balance of being myself, being professional in my writing, and giving consideration to privacy of friends whom I want to mention in my blog who are not bloggers.

  15. I know from criticism directed towards my blog that it is a tool not a hinderance. I think sometimes people react to criticism as something that can’t be fixed. It is also easy to take it personally. I was told that it seemed like I was trying to sound smart in my blog and it was true. I read my blog and thought to myself I hate this guy. I didn’t dumb my blog down for the reader, I just wrote as I would if I were speaking to the reader.

  16. A Secret to Successful Blogging in 12 easy steps right? Just imagine a pyramid… sorry could not resist.


    I am staring at the page and could not figure out what is going on. Than I realized, all these words! You mean I have to read this? No way, I am off to look at semi dirty pictures.


  17. Lies? Don’t try to be something you are not?

    Ok, call me naive, but if you are going to blog, why bother with lies?

    People “buy in” the persona on the screen and it has got to be a LOT of work to try to make sure a fictitious character remembers all the fake details that have been posted in the past.

    I’m not sure that you can become a successful blogger by lying.

    I feel very much like George Burke, I have far too much respect for my reader to dumb down my content or to create a persona.

    A lot of blogging has to do with sharing your own experience … not the experience of the person you whished you were.

    I totally believe in celebrating your weaknesses because it shows your readers that you are human and not perfect (I mean who is?).

    This is quite an interesting topic because it’s actually made me consider something that I would not even have thought of 10 minutes ago!


  18. another great example of LINK BAITING :)

    I guess shoemoney is learning well from your articles on how to generate good link baiting articles. He wrote an article and asked his users to check your blog for better articles and here you are linking to his. I am sure this gave him few extra subscribers..

    you truly are a blogger in the true sense Darren.

    and kudos to shoemoney!

  19. Learning to take criticism can be a difficult one for some. I had one of my bloggers keep getting into fights with readers over petty things.

  20. Get real. Sure, that sounds good. It’s like the advice I hear teachers giving high school students: “Just be yourself.”

    The problem is that people (including me) often don’t know what is real. Often we don’t know who we are–so we can’t know when we’re trying to be something we’re not. In order to celebrate our weaknesses, we have to be able to recognize our weaknesses…

    Even “learn to take criticism” becomes a platitude when you realize how much useless advice and criticism gets thrown at people. Who can you trust?

    Sorry to sound off a bit, Darren. I don’t disagree with anything in this post. I just think it is a lot more complicated than we let on. The challenges of blogging–for profit or not–are more complicated than an afterschool special or a 30-minute sitcom.

  21. How do you come up with a good topic for blogging? I read somewhere that some people use seobook or google trends to determine what are hot topics, then that person creates a blog about that topic. Is that what is often done by successful bloggers?

    Also, how do you determine if the blogger market is already flooded with a certain blog theme (etc: personal finance, etc)?


  22. I’m new at blogging. Basically I decided to write about my trials of trying to make money online. Sure, the blog with its ads and text affiliate links are part of the deal. However, I agree that it is still important to be honest and show your true side. I’d like a lot of visitors, but it probably won’t happen soon. At least I can feel good about helping others find income sources (albeit small) on the internet.

  23. Excellent post, I think Honesty is the shortest way to get connected with your readers.

  24. Patricia Jenkins says: 11/21/2007 at 4:06 pm

    I am new to the blogosphere and I am amazed at what people reveal on their blogs. I hesitate to share too much in mine. I have a toe in the water and I don’t think anyone is reading it yet (well maybe my sister) and that is fine with me. I come from the non blog world where people talk about identity theft much more than how to share more on line.

  25. I think that being honest to other people that read your blog is very important. People will now if you will try do be someone you are not.

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