How to Keep Your Blog Authentic

How to keep your blog authentic: 1) don't post something just because it's popular; 2) act natural and be yourself; 3) be honest about compensation; 4) share the dark stuff.

This is kind of a funny post because as soon as someone takes advice on how to be authentic, that almost makes them less authentic.

Furthermore, “authentic” means something different to everyone. There is no one, single right answer there. Not everything in this list will apply to you, and there may be other tips NOT in this list that DO apply to you. So take it all with a grain of salt.

But I’ll do my best!

Don’t change your content for the sake of more traffic, or for the sake of doing what’s “in”

  • Don’t say you love (or hate) something just because everyone else does.
  • Don’t write certain posts just because they’ll be popular. Write what you truly want to write.

Keep your blog about what’s important to you. Follow your passions.

My advanced coding tutorials get some of the fewest comments on my blog (often zero), but I like writing them and hope they’ll help someone, which is why I continue to do it.

Just say what you want to say

  • Don’t beat around the bush.
  • Don’t sugarcoat.
  • Don’t try to please everyone.

Just get out there and say what you’re feeling. If you spend too much time refining it, it can often sound rehearsed, edited, practised, and lose some of its genuine feel.

Try to write how you would speak out loud to a friend. Let your personality shine through.

(Of course, if refinement is what feels most natural to you, then that lack of refinement might make you less genuine. See how hard this is? And of course, some editing might be appropriate. Calling all your readers toerags will just make you sound like a genuine arse.)

Be honest about compensation

  • If you post an affiliate link, mark it as such.
  • If you got a product for free and you’re now reviewing it, disclose that.
  • If you got paid to write a blog post, disclose that.

Don’t hide your disclosures, don’t omit them, and don’t make them sound like something they’re not (i.e. changing wording from “sponsored by x” to “in collaboration with x” — the latter doesn’t sound like money changed hands, so if you DID get paid, then don’t ues that wording).

Share the dark stuff as well as the uplifting stuff

This one is a matter of opinion, I suppose, but I think a lot of people resonate with seeing the negative side. It allows them to connect with you, because they experience the bad too.

  • Share your fears.
  • Share your struggles.
  • Talk about your doubts.
  • Lay bare your insecurities.

Life isn’t all rainbows and butterflies. If you only write about the good stuff then you may come across like less of a real person.

What are some qualities that make you think a blogger is really genuine?

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I'm a 27 year old California girl living in England (I fell in love with a Brit!). I like to inject a little #girlpower into the WordPress development community by teaching women how to be coding badasses. more »

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11 comments

  1. Thanks for always being authentic yourself, Ashley. You always encourage me to post as my heart goes and even, well, just what I feel like sharing. Very few people say this today.

  2. Yes! Love this Ashley 🙂 I always struggle with blogging for ME vs blogging to grow my blog… I have a lot of ambitions with it, but at the end of the day I want it to stay something that I get excited about working on, because I know that shines through in my writing and that’s what people want to see.
    xx
    http://thecornishlife.co.uk

  3. I like to swear in my blogposts becuase that means I’m not being ‘polite’ or fake. It means I’m doing what I’d be doing if I wasn’t writing for an audience an just speaking in a usual way.

  4. A really good post! And I completely agree with everything. I keep my blog as a haven for everything I am and not just books or writing. I thought a lot about not posting some topics and making it themed but finally, I decided the blog should show the whole me.

  5. I love this – and I suspect it’s why you’re one of my favourite blogs. You always keep it real. I’m not great at blogging at the moment, I appear to have lost my mojo though I can’t explain why, I just feel like it’s too much effort for very little reward. It kinda feels like I’m just reviewing to myself XD.

    What I love in a blog is different content – I loved when you did book reviews, but I love all your other posts – the coding, the sitting at Starbucks, the new designs you make, etc, same with Nellie & Co, Amanda’s blog is one of my favourites because it’s so varied. Yours and hers are the only two blogs I read religiously – I have more in my Feedly, but I just skip past them, for reasons completely unknown to me.

    1. Thank you Leah!! 🙂

      If you feel like you’ve lost your mojo then maybe it’s time for a break? I feel like this sometimes too and I think trying to force myself to keep going is the worst thing I can do because it just makes the problem worse. It helps to take a little break and just step back completely. Usually that brings my inspiration back!

  6. I can tell if a book blogger is phony if any of the following happens:

    1. The book review sounds like a commercial.
    2. Their book review is more about their own writing than the book they’re reviewing.
    3. They’re dependent on memes.
    4. They’re overly dependent on swearing because they know they’ll get a reaction out of people.

    I’m guilty of reviewing new releases that have a lot of buzz because more popular book bloggers have reviewed the ARC. I keep thinking that if I review the same popular books that my book blog will suddenly become as popular as theirs. Ridiculous, I know. I still don’t have their following on my blog, Goodreads, Twitter, Facebook or anywhere else.

    What annoys me is that sometimes I see book reviews that are ridiculous (just a couple of sentences) and they’ll get 500 likes. I’ll write a meaningful review and I’ll get 3 likes. I just don’t get it. Sometimes it feels like being genuine isn’t getting me anywhere and I’m frustrated.

    Jenny recently posted: Review: Faithful

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