This guest post was written by Stephen Guise of Deep Existence.
A new blogger is born today! Aw, look at her beautiful blue Twitter and Facebook icon eyes and her cute little RSS nose. This baby blogger does not know the perils of comment moderation, stalkers, low traffic, and spam that await her. I wonder what type of blogger she’ll be.
The blogosphere is populous and it keeps growing. With millions of bloggers out there, there are a certain number of very identifiable qualities that are seen. This blogger aims to cover as many of those qualities, or “breeds,” as possible.
While there may be some purebreds out there, 99.832% of bloggers will be mutts, possessing a combination of these traits. Keep that in mind and don’t blame me for oversimplifying your primary breed! It is highly unlikely that you are a purebred.
You can consider this a tribute to blogging, but it will be educational as well as I’m listing pros and cons for every breed. You will laugh. You will relate. You will (probably not) cry. Enjoy!
1. The Machine
Blogger machines know how to pump out content … like a machine. They post on a daily basis and sometimes multiple times per day. Microbloggers fall into this category as they write very short, frequent posts.
- SEO— the more content you have, the more information Google has to work with.
- The readers of a machine blogger know that they can visit every day and still get fresh content—possibly boosting reader engagement and traffic.
- Burnout—I can’t imagine having to post every day (let alone multiple times a day) without getting mentally exhausted. That could be because some of my posts take me 15 hours to write, but I know I’m not alone in this.
- Quality could suffer from the obligation to produce content every day and forcing the issue when inspiration is lacking.
2. The Ninja
Ninjas are stealth bloggers and the opposite of machines. While the machines are pumping out blog posts like ipads, the ninjas are sitting back for days or weeks without posting. When the time is right, the ninja strikes with a mind-boggling post and dashes away for another few days … or weeks.
- Every post is special. Like the Summer Olympics and World Cup are special for being held every four years, new blog posts are a rare treat for fans of the blog.
- Quality can absolutely be assured if each post is being crafted over several sessions and multiple days.
- The audience might forget you exist if you post once every fortnight.
- If a new post fails to impress, there is a high probability of unsubscribes or generally upset readers. The stakes are higher and the consequences are greater when you post less frequently.
3. The Social Engineer
Social engineers are on Twitter and Facebook more than their own blog. They are the masters of the social world. There is something about the way they conduct themselves online that draws people towards them. That something could be that they are connected everywhere with 50 different social accounts—Facebook, Twitter, Delicious, Google, Yahoo Buzz, Reddit, Stumbleupon, LinkedIn, etc.
Social Engineers are very popular. They know what social media platforms to use and how to use them best. Their reach is far and they are always up to date with the latest social gadgets (such as Google’s +1 button).
Oh, they have blogs too? Social media is notorious for sucking away valuable time for trivial socializing. Social engineers are particularly vulnerable to this as their popularity results in many social interactions.
4. The Name-Dropper
Chris Brogan said that…
Darren Rowse did this…
53 other bloggers in my niche are great because…
Excessive name dropping is not my favorite for a few reasons, but some people thrive on it. Name-droppers mention other bloggers very frequently. If you become very entrenched in the industry and your blog topic is relevant to what other bloggers have said, you might find yourself dropping names everywhere.
From what I’ve seen, name droppers benefit tremendously from their efforts. They come across as unselfish “community bloggers.” The people that they mention will often be so flattered that they return the favor or at least leave a comment and share.
If people with my mindset visit your blog and just see you dropping names all over the place in most articles, we’re going to ask, “Okay, but what do you bring to the table?” Sometimes name-droppers will drop names because they know it gets a lot of attention. Skeptical bloggers like me wonder if excessive name droppers actually do it for selfish reasons (i.e. it helps their blog grow).
5. The Soloist
I see Steve Pavlina as a near purebred soloist. I frequent his blog and know that he does not write guest posts, accept guest posts, have a public email address, or allow comments on his blog. He has never spent any money on advertising. When you visit his blog, you’re getting Steve Pavlina and nothing else.
- If you’re very good like Mr. Pavlina, then you can just focus on writing great content and word of mouth will eventually spread everywhere. Steve has said that his blog grew because people wanted to share his content. I have shared his content often.
- Not needing to worry about writing for others, moderating comments, editing guest posts, and responding to emails is a HUGE time and energy saver.
- Most blogs will die if they are not connected, advertising and promoting themselves, writing guest posts, allowing comments, etc.
- Being out on an island has drawbacks too. You might be perceived as elitist or self-absorbed if you don’t engage with others.
Note: When bloggers reach a certain level of fame, it is very common to develop soloist tendencies. Don’t take it personally, they just want more time to write posts and spend more time with their family. It takes a lot of time to thoughtfully respond to 100 comments, emails, and tweets per day!
6. The Copy Blogger
This one has nothing to do with copyblogger.com, a fantastic copywriting blog. Copy [space] bloggers are actually terrible. Some of them will rip content word-for-word from other blogs’ RSS feeds (some person is doing this to my blog). Others will paraphrase content they read on other blogs without attempting to create their own content.
It is possible to get better content than you’re capable of creating—for free and without doing any work.
Oh that’s right, it’s illegal. Darn.
7. The Guest
Guests are always seen writing for other blogs. You’ve seen it—you’ll read two articles on two different blogs only to see they were by the same author of yet another blog! Guests feel at home on other blogs that have more influence than their own. There is something warm and cozy about traffic spikes.
I am one of them. ProBlogger seems to be my favorite host. At time of writing, I’ve written as manyas the others combined! I write for my own blog sometimes too.
Seasoned guest bloggers know the pros already—inbound links for SEO, increased traffic, credibility, valuable connections, and many more. Guest blogging is good.
Guest posting on a relatively dead blog is not fun. You’ll find yourself refreshing the page to see if there is any action—but nothing. You’ll look for incoming traffic on your own blog—but nothing.
I once guest-posted on a blog that buried my post under three other articles in the same day (I won’t be posting there again).
8. The Host
Guests need hosts. The purebred hosts are those blogs who live off of guest posts. They have enough traffic and reputation to consistently attract high quality content.
ProBlogger is the quintessential host of the blogosphere. Darren blogs here every once in a while, but if you’re a regular here, you know that the next post is probably going to be a guest post like this one. Guests like myself are very thankful for the opportunity to contribute!
Darren doesn’t have to write another article for ProBlogger ever again if he doesn’t want to. There is enough content coming in that he can simply post whenever he feels like it. Premium hosts can ride the wave of success into the sunset if they so choose.
It does take quite a bit of work to sort through guest posts, edit them, and manage the whole guest-posting process.
9. The Commentator
You see this blogger everywhere. They are not guest posters, they are the commentators. After every blog post you read, you scroll down to the comment section, and sure enough, there is the dude that commented on the last five blogs you visited.
I love commenting on blogs. It is enjoyable to engage with others who produce quality content. There are also some who believe that commenting is a viable traffic-generating strategy, but that has not been my experience.
- Some comments are better than others. If you leave stereotypical “great post” comments everywhere you go, nobody will like you or visit your blog.
- If leaving comments is your main strategy for getting traffic, I doubt it is going to get you very far. Correct me if I’m wrong.
10. The Evil Spammer (Sploggers)
Spam. Did you just shudder when you read that? Recent surveys show that approximately 0% of bloggers enjoy spam (that includes the internet and canned versions). Spam isn’t always in the obvious form of broken English and a shady link—sometimes the commentators will covertly use your comment area as a platform to advertise their blog and products.
It can work to the tune of a whole lot of money for those who run automated programs. It can also work to get sploggers more traffic. (That link is from a 2005 ProBlogger article and is a fascinating read … a little dated, but still good).
Everyone will hate you because spam is the worst.
11. The Comedian
The comedian is always out to make us laugh. Some blogs have that as the only goal. Other blogs are about different topics, but have an author that can’t resist to squeeze in a one-liner or share a funny story.
Who doesn’t like to laugh? Seriously, I’d be interested to know the answer to that. The fact is that laughter is enjoyable and a successfully comedic blogger will be able to gain fans quickly because people love to share funny content.
If your humor fails to impress, it has the opposite effect of “gaining fans quickly.” There will be some people out there that don’t appreciate your particular style of humor. Humor doesn’t mix well with all niches (sewing?).
12. The Statistician
Statisticians see blogging as a numbers game. They are usually the ones who make the most money because they track what visitors or doing and why. Then they make changes based off of that information.
You’ll hear them talk about “conversions” a lot—which is the number of desired actions divided by the number of visitors. Three advertisement clicks out of 100 visitors is a 3% conversion rate.
As I said, they tend to be able to make more money by making tweaks and experimenting with their sales pages. Split testing allows them to isolate variables and make definitive conclusions.
- Statisticians could possibly make poor decisions by interpreting data incorrectly.
- Analyzing statistics is a time-consuming affair (but the results can make it worthwhile).
13. The Authoritative Guru
Gurus are the unquestioned leaders in their niche—Darren Rowse, Seth Godin, Brian Clark, Stephen Guise, Steve Pavlina, Chris Brogan, Leo Babauta, etc. They have legions of followers and their advice carries a lot of weight. It takes a lot of time, effort, and talent to be in this elite group.
What? You’ve never heard of Stephen Guise? Don’t worry about it.
Yes, these guys are pros. They do well financially, are the most respected bloggers, and carry an enormous amount of influence in the blogosphere.
With great exposure comes greater amounts of spam, haters, and hackers to deal with.
14. The Experts
One step below the gurus are the experts. Experts may know their subject inside and out, but they lack the notoriety of the gurus. There are many experts in each niche. It typically takes great content over time to build up an expert reputation in your niche.
Lots of traffic from people wanting trust-worthy answers, a high degree of respect from peers (including other media outlets), and a very loyal following.
Increased pressure. When you are considered an expert, the pressure is on to live up to that. If you say something half-witted, you can expect a strong reaction by those who are waiting for you to mess up so they can announce it to the world.
15. The Inspiration
I think of Jon Morrow from Copyblogger as the face of this group. His story is so amazing and inspiring that it has a profound effect on everyone who hears it. He is also a fantastic writer.
Blogging is full of inspiring people and stories. Stories of people quitting the 9-5 job they hated to blog full-time and make more money. Amazing success stories of very young bloggers making five figures a month and traveling the globe. Others like Tim Ferriss that seem to succeed in everything they do.
This is such a broad category because inspiration comes in many different forms from different sources. Sometimes the people inspire us, other times the content inspires us. I’ve come to think that blogging is a communication medium packed full of inspiration—a wonderful thing.
Everyone loves to be inspired. Much good comes from it—changing lives, changing the world, and success.
A con about inspiring others? The only possible con would be if you inspired others to live incorrectly.
16. The Grammatical Failure
These bloggers aren’t the best with written language. I feel somewhat bad about including this, but it is what it is. Most readers won’t demand perfect grammar, but we all have our limits of what we will tolerate.
It is possible to write posts very quickly if no attention is given to grammar.
If the grammar is bad enough, I and many others won’t revisit a blog. Undoubtedly, many promising blogs have died from grammatical failure. I do, however, remember seeing a blog with disgusting grammar that had over 4,000 subscribers—so it isn’t always fatal.
17. The Disruptor
Disruptors create waves in the still waters of the blogosphere. They call people out. The write controversial posts more often than not. They challenge the status quo.
Disruptive posts have a greater chance of going viral (something all blogger dream about) than posts that fit neatly into a well-known category. I’ve noticed that disruptors are usually popular because they stand out so much from the crowd. Julien Smith at inoveryourhead is a popular disruptor.
When disruptors try too hard and aren’t very good at it, it is like watching a middle-aged white man try to dance. (When I’m a middle-aged white man, I will change this stereotype, but I still have 25 years to go.)
18. The Marketing Maven
Marketing mavens know what combination of words will psychologically induce you to buy a product. Scary, huh? These bloggers are often found in the making money online niche and simply know how to promote themselves and products.
If you are an expert marketer, you stand to make a great deal of money online. In most cases, excellent marketing of an average product exceeds the sales of average marketing of an excellent product. Darren gave a great example of the magic of marketing in this article.
If you’re constantly marketing (I’m talking to you, Twitter broadcasters) and selling, many people will grow weary of you and you could lose potential business. Once a customer thinks you see them as a sales opportunity, they will be hesitant to purchase from you. Then again, savvy marketers know how to avoid this perception.
19. The Beloved
Everyone loves _____!
These bloggers have the personality and charm to somehow avoid the haters and gain (nearly) universal praise and adoration. My guess is that they use a potent airborne concoction of concentrated love powder that can be dispersed through the internet.
It’s possible that they’re just too amazing to dislike. Still, I think this becomes very difficult as you gain influence and notoriety … unless you’re Barbara Walters.
We love them. All of us.
What’s not to love about being loved?
20. The SEO Fanatic
You think you’re reading a post written for you, but sorry, these bloggers are having an affair with Google. Oh the passion … Er, I mean they just want to rank well for particular keywords.
Search engine optimization done right can result in massive traffic numbers and increased sales.
- SEO fanatics might be tempted to try some “black hat” SEO tactics that Google doesn’t appreciate and get banned or demoted.
- Stuffing an article with keywords has a chance of sounding contrived, unoriginal, and repetitive.
21. The Passion Purist
Passion purists refuse to write about anything they wouldn’t lose a kidney for. They aren’t into making money by working the system and using SEO on an untapped niche of little interest. They blog because they have passion for the subject matter. Some make money and some do not.
Passion is contagious, and humans are attracted to it. If readers sense that a blogger is very passionate about a subject and they share interest in that subject, there is a good chance they will stick around.
- Missed opportunities to gain traffic, money, and sales from writing about something that isn’t inspired.
- Only posting when passion is present could mean an erratic and/or infrequent posting schedule – the effect of which is negative (debatable).
22. The Money Purist
These bloggers will blog about anything to make money. Blogging is a job and a business to them and pa$$ions exist to be monetized.
- Money purists are very intentional about making money and therefore will plan from the start how they plan to accomplish that.
- They are very likely to make more money than most bloggers as that is their primary focus.
- Possible burnout as a result of not caring what they write about.
- Potentially less enjoyment (offset by extra money?)
23. The Conglomerate
These are massive blogs that have an entire team behind the operation and multiple writers. Engadget is a popular tech blog that falls under this category.
- They get traffic numbers that make me nervous.
- They can make an enormous amount of money.
Conglomerate blogs don’t have the personal touch that individual bloggers have. You don’t go to Engadget to engage with their writers—you go there to read about the iPhone 5.
The blogosphere is bigger than this article of 3000+ words, and I simply couldn’t cover everything. So here are some honorable mentions (you can guess what they might mean).
The Moral Compass/Preacher, The Emotion Generator, The Mommy Blogger, The Novelist, The Fake, The Mystery, The Lurker…
Which breeds did I miss?
Stephen Guise spent a long time writing this. He blogs at Deep Existence, where deep thinking is deemed appropriate. If you subscribe, you’ll get a free ebook on how to remove stress permanently. Deal?