I feel like every time someone writes a piece giving advice to new bloggers, the first thing they always include is that your blog should be original. This is important, of course, but is it really the most important thing you can do for your blog? I’ve recently been trying to brainstorm some ways that I could make my own blog more original which got me thinking: is originality really what will make your blog successful?
There are two big reasons that I can think of as to why you should try to make your blog original. First of all, you want your blog to stand out. If you only post things that everyone else posts, people may not see any reason to read your blog or may not be able to remember your blog, as it may blend in with all the others. Plus, it’s boring as a reader to feel like you’re reading the same thing on every blog you visit. Second, you don’t want to copy the work of others. Legal issues of plagiarism aside, it’s rude and undermines the hard work that other bloggers have put into really making their blog unique.
But here’s the thing: I don’t think there’s anything wrong with not being super original. I’m sure a lot of you are shaking your head disagreeing with me, but let me explain. Yes, I think you should try to at least do something that makes your blog stand out from the rest, especially if you’re trying to build your number of readers. But I think doing some “typical blogger posts” can not only be fun or easy, but can actually help you connect with other bloggers and readers.
Take weekly memes for example. I’ve seen some bloggers recommend staying away from them because they aren’t original, yet almost every blog I follow at least occasionally participates in these. They’re a lot of fun! Plus it gives you something to post that a.) you don’t have to think really hard about to come up with a topic and b.) is usually pretty quick to put together. It can be a fun and pretty easy way to keep your blog active even when you have a lot of other stuff going on at work, school, in your personal life, etc.
When I first started blogging, I avoided these like the plague. Although my main focus for this blog has never been getting tons of views or followers, I did of course want to get at least some, otherwise I’d just be talking to myself (and I do plenty of that already, I assure you). So I had searched for some advice on how to get your blog out into the world and, as I’ve already mentioned, it seemed like the one universal piece of advice was to be original. So I wanted to be original and felt as though if I participated in any of those weekly memes, I would be ruining any chance I had at successfully making my blog unique.
But let me tell you a secret: I love doing those posts! I have a ton of fun not only typing up my own, but reading others. I love reading other people’s teasers and top ten lists. And since pretty much every host has people give them their links, it’s really easy to discover other blogs that way and find more people to connect with. Yet I never would have discovered these things if I was still overly worried about making sure my blog was as original as possible.
Here are my final thoughts: whether or not originality should be your #1 goal, or even a goal at all, should be completely up to you (as should all decisions regarding your blog). If you want to make sure your blog really stands out and is completely unique, then by all means focus on originality. If you don’t care as much about uniqueness and want to focus more on connecting with other readers/bloggers, then focus on those things. I’ve only been blogging for a few months, but already I’ve learned that there are no pieces of advice that will fit with or work for every blogger. Feel free to look at the advice that experienced bloggers have for you, but don’t feel bad if you don’t want to focus on the things they tell you to focus on or if their advice doesn’t work for you. As long as you’re not hurting anyone else, don’t worry about it. It’s your blog and you should do whatever makes blogging fun for you.