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The Sky Is Purple and the Dirt Is Red

The following post was submitted by Cindy Szponder.

purple-sky-blogging.jpgimage by miyukiutada

What the heck does that statement have to do with making money from blogging? Loads.

Having just moved to Colorado, one of the first things I noticed is that the sky is often purple over the mountains toward evening, and in many places here the earth is red. I can honestly say that I’ve never been anyplace like this before. Can your readers say the same thing about your blog?

What Makes Your Blog Stand Out from the Crowd?

Many things can make a blog outstanding in its field: voice, content, approach, design, photos, ability to entertain, ability to inform, creativity, passion, attitude, and more. Think about the blogs that you enjoy reading. What clicks for you? What makes them unique? What keeps you coming back? If you haven’t thought of those things before, visit your favorite blogs with pen and paper in hand. Make notes, make comparisons, and keep this formula in mind:

Blog Traffic + Loyal Readers = Your Blog’s Monetization Potential

Now visit your own blog. What makes it stand out, makes it unique, makes it interesting? Well, if you can’t find anything, don’t despair–repair. Think purple skies and red dirt.

The Sky Is Purple: Find Your Own Voice

Think of the sky. It’s wide-open, it’s free, it has its own voice.

Sometimes it whispers, sometimes it howls, but it’s always itself. You’ll never see the sky trying to be like a tree, or water, or fire.

Take a lesson from the sky and just be yourself. Find your own writing voice. Face it, it’s impossible to be anyone else or to sound like them, either. Finding and using your own voice is vital for building blog traffic and maintaining loyal readers. (Remember the formula above?) After all, blogging is supposed to be a conversation. People want to converse with someone real, not pretend. Using your own voice builds trust with your readers. Your voice is what breathes life, interest, and ultimately money, into your blog. Get it right and you’ve won a major battle.

The Dirt Is Red: Create Excellent Content

This time think of the dirt. It’s solid, substantial, nourishing, nurturing. You can build on it without fear. Your content should be the same. Excellent content makes a major contribution toward blog traffic and keeps people coming back. (Remember the formula?) It’s what makes readers sign up for your feed or your e-mail. It’s what makes them purchase your products or trust your recommendations. What is your purpose for blogging? Is it to inform, entertain, campaign for a cause, express yourself? Make sure your content meshes with your purpose. Keep it focused on your niche and on the information your readers expect given the purpose of your blog. Concentrate on quality rather than quantity. Build from a foundation of excellent content, and your blog can grow and prosper to any heights you desire.

Read more of Cindy’s work at cindyszponder.com.

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, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Reed says:

    Good tips. I’ve recently ditched all of my websites/blogs that I had no interest in, they just weren’t going anywhere.

  2. OldSailor says:

    Good content and Traffic both are interdependent. Good content triggers more traffic and more traffic inspires blogger to give good content. Am I right ?

  3. I ditched 2 blogs that in the beginning seemed like good ideas but in which I later lost interest. Didn’t seem like it was going anywhere on either occasion, so like ripping the proverbial band-aid I just killed them.

    Those two were (each in their niche) news-based blogs and I got tired having to post half-thought-out posts just so it’s still fresh news. Now I’m back and blogging about more perennial topics and can insure this time it’ll stick.

  4. Sonia Simone says:

    Nice way of making this point, Cindy! (I’m in Colorado as well. Before I moved here, I thought that “purple mountains majesty” thing was poetic license.)

    The really great blogs, whether they’re big (Problogger, copyblogger, Seth Godin, gapingvoid) or small (Ittybiz, skelliewag, zen habits once upon a time–but I guess he’s graduated to big!) have content that stands out as “no one else could have created that.”

    They are often copied, but never equalled. Each of us needs to hold ourselves to that very high standard.

  5. Ed Borden says:

    Not for nothing, but this post was a bit out there… Dirt, sky? Eh? I mean, it was kind of all over the place, which is ironic being a post about content.

    I think certainly everyone is going to agree with the general gist of the thing, but being that I’ve heard that about a million times elsewhere and this is PROBLOGGER, what’s up?

  6. While these fundamental ideas are often repeated in the same way, you had a nice take on them. Nice post.

  7. abhi says:

    Good advice. Sometimes simple things need to be reminded differently.

  8. Karen Swim says:

    Thank you for this incredible visual and informative message. I’ve made stumbles with my own blog and many of the issues you hit on so eloquently answer my challenges. Thank you so much for delivering a purple sky and red earth.

    Karen
    P.S. Colorado is one of my fave places, it’s beautiful!

  9. Open English says:

    and catchy and intriguing post titles can’t hurt either ;)

  10. “don’t despair–repair” – love it! Very positive way of looking at your blog and I like the analogies you gave us here Cindy. I’m working on many of these points right now so your post is perfectly timed, thanks!

  11. Dr. R says:

    Albert Einstein said; “Imagination is more important than knowledge.”
    My health blogs got zero traffic. I switched to a humor blog that also has educational information. I now have a ‘pee-wee’ page rank and blogging is a lot more fun.

  12. Anon says:

    Thanks for regurgitating Seth Godin’s “Purple Cow.”

  13. Wayne Liew says:

    Standing out from the crowd is difficult because the Internet is growing at an extremely fast pace. Something that seems to be unique now will become something very common at the next minute.

    However, even if you got yourself a unique topic to blog about, creating good contents consistently will be hard sometimes because they might be nothing similar that you can refer to.

  14. It’s refreshing to see people who want to build something the old fashioned way – creating quality and working hard. Too many people want quick fixes to become pro bloggers. Building a business takes time.

  15. Great points, especially about thinking what attracts us to read blogs — I’ll definitely sit down and have a ponder on my favourite ones this weekend.

    I like the unique spin given (to what could have otherwise seemed slightly obvious advice) by the dirt and sky imagery. :-)

    Ali

  16. fynyx says:

    Dear Cindy Szponder and fellow commenters.

    1) This post and the earlier replies here, got me thinking of the many times I felt growing dread, that something was going wrong with my online writing.

    Eventually, I pulled out the offending blogs from under themselves.

    These days, I welcome the feeling as my mind, conscious or otherwise, starting to reject my content, on grounds of ‘purple sky, red dirt’.

    :-)

    In fact, some of the old content are finding their way back in new blogs, reworked and improved in purposes.
    For example, my imaginative fiction, which I really liked but concluded would not impress, has been put in a summary blog as resource wiki.

    Self-honesty in this area is indeed refreshing.

    2) Later replies here, just before mine, question uniqueness in the face of so much proliferation (and deadly competition) in the Net (on the Web).

    I’ve always believed that anyone’s greatness uniqueness lies in being oneself (self-branding).

    To put it a bit more fatalistically, if even being your irreplaceable self fails to move someone out there in the world, don’t end your life.
    Move on to somewhere else more welcoming.

  17. Chris Auman says:

    Nice way to spin a core concept. ie: Be yourself and created great content. I think this post asks more questions than it answers though. The first thing you should ask yourself when you’re writing for a blog is “Is this information HIGHLY useful?”. Once you have that question answered with a “yes” then you can move on to finding your voice and being entertaining.

  18. Just wanted to come over and check to see if there were any comments on my post and was pleased to see all the responses and feedback. Thank you for the kudos! And for those with suggestions for improvements, thank you for the insight and for giving me things to reflect on. I realize there was nothing really new here, but had fun with presenting it a little differently.

  19. fynyx says:

    1) Thanks to Cindy (March 9th, 2008 8:24 am), for responding to us.

    2) Chris Auman’s (March 9th, 2008 12:19 am) point about highly useful information got me wondering, whether such a thing is consistently so.

    There is current information that is highly useful for a short period only, but which nevertheless brings in huge readership (for a while), provided one knows how to position to pull in traffic.

    Then there is generic and universal information that could come in highly useful for those who really need it for the moment, from the time it was created and on into the future.
    One won’t see high traffic spikes all the time for such things, possibly just steady levels of low demand.
    I’m thinking of Wikipedia in general here.

    3) Ultimately then, is there freedom for a writer to put out information s/he wants to give?
    I suspect so.

    Because if the information is not currently popular, it may some day prove crucial to one seeking for it.
    As an unexpected analogy, it is like no information is too useless for Google to index, in preparation for future searches.

    Does that mean then, that as long as we blog to the best of our abilities, our information can be highly useful to someone out there, somewhere, at some point of time?

  20. Cindy,

    This is super Cindy! What an amazing wealth of information. Thank you so much for writing this ebook! I think that people who are very technologically advanced as well as beginners can benefit from the information contained here. The book is well written and does not contain confusing jargon. The examples are clear and the resources are helpful and top notch!

    I look forward to the challenge of taking this information, which is somewhat new to me, and building something out of it. My area of interest is health and wellness. Please feel free to visit my website. Blessings to everyone this day!

    Diana Petruzzi
    http://www.drinkdifferetnow.com

  21. Oops! I forgot. I have a blog attached to my website, please visit and comment! Let me know if I can be of assistance in your wellness walk!
    Diana