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The Paint By Numbers Guide To Artful Blogging

A Guest Post by Greg Hayes from Live Fit Blog.

Do you subscribe to the idea that blogging is an art form? I do.

Britannica Online defines art as “The use of skill and imagination in the creation of aesthetic objects, environments, or experiences that can be shared with others.”

If you’re a blogger, then by definition, you most certainly engage in the following activities during the creation of content:

  1. Creative Writing
  2. Web Page Design (Aesthetics)
  3. Idea Development (Novelty)
  4. Social Media (Shared Experiences)

When we start our blog, we read the A-list bloggers, and they repeat the mantra of blogging, “CON-tent, CON-tent, CON-tent!” Yet, its so easy to get caught up in the allure of unique visitors, page views, and keyword content. All the background noise distracts us from the core of what we do, which is, in reality, a form of art.

Creative Writing

Like all other forms of art, the gift of creative writing is enhanced through practice and study. Research into the habits of many successful authors shows that most are well-read people. Reading the work of others shapes your own creative writing skills. Being well read keeps ideas flowing, and prompts you to expand your skills.

In the online realm, read the works of Copyblogger, Write to Done, and Men With Pens. These are places to hone your writing skills. There are others as well. Seek them out.They are masters at the craft of writing, and just like any student, studying will hone your skills.

Web Page Design

The artistry of blog design can take many forms. For instance, what experience do you hope to provide for your readers. If you look at Zen Habits, you’ll find a very clean design, with a strong focus on core content. Leo Babauta’s page design clearly adheres to the theme of his content, which is minimalistic in nature.

By contrast, John Chow’s site is geared toward the process of making money online. Readers should expect to find more advertisements and promotional materials. This is consistent with the experience John Chow is attempting to create for his readers.

These are just two examples. The point here is to choose a blog design that is consistent with the experience you want to create for your reader. Within those constraints, the options are endless.

Idea Development

The odds of choosing a truly novel niche are slim. There are very few subjects around the net that haven’t been covered in some detail. But, the same holds true for painting. Paintings of women are a dime a dozen. But there is only one Mona Lisa.

The process of creating a work of art demands novelty. No matter how crowded your niche, the experience you provide for your readers is what will differentiate you from the crowd. So, whatever you do, DON’T try to copy the success of others. Instead, study the success of other artists. Learn from them. Then apply what you learn in your own unique way to provide something new and fresh for your audience.

Social Media

Works of art are meant to be shared with others. What value would the works of Van Gogh or da Vinci bring to the world if they were secreted away, never to be seen again? The same holds true for your blog. Get out there and socialize with others in the online community. Take advantage of Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, and all the others to share your work with the world. Revel in both the praise and critique of your works. It’s all part of the process.

Blogging is a unique art form. It blends aspects of creative design, writing, technical development, graphic media, and other skills to create something new and unique for readers around the world. It provides a novel, open platform for sharing new ideas. Take advantage and push the form to its limits. This is the essence of artistry.

About the author:  Greg Hayes writes Live Fit Blog, a blog with tips about living a balanced lifestyle, fitness, what it means to be a father, friend, husband, and much more.

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. Yes Greg. Blogging is art by itself…

  2. Dan Smith says:

    I am in a crowded niche (religion and spirituality), but I focus primarily on those in the military, which is still a fairly large group, but much more narrow a focus. I understand completely what you mean about finding a novel approach to things, and I think I have done something on my blog that will help bring attention to those who are spiritual in the military.

    I need to work more of course on social media, to get the word out, but I’m trying to be relaxed about what I’m attempting to do, and we’ll see how it works out.

  3. “Paintings of women are a dime a dozen. But there is only one Mona Lisa.” That’s a great way to approch blogging. What’s unique about a blog post is not the subject, but the way the subject is approched.

  4. Greg and Rosali,

    I agree … coming up with original writing everyday for your blog and keeping it fresh for both yourself and your readers is indeed a work of art!

    Krizia

  5. Oleg Mokhov says:

    Hey Greg,

    Merriam-Webster defines art as “the conscious use of skill and creative imagination.”

    By that definition, many things that most don’t consider to be art actually is. An entrepreneur is an artist. A web designer is an artist. A blogger is an artist.

    If you’re building a blog, you’re an artist.

    * You’re writing, which is an art. You’re consciously using your creative skill to craft a message that’s a pleasure to read.

    * You’re designing a website, which is an art. You’re consciously arranging visual elements in a way that’s aesthetically pleasing and very functional.

    * You’re communicating and marketing, which is an art. You’re consciously exchanging ideas with others and coming up with inventive ways to introduce value to readers – value so good and presented in such a way that paying for it becomes irresistible.

    And a really simple way to continue being an artist is to be passionate about your blog. When you’re genuinely putting your all into it, you care, and you make the best and most remarkable stuff ie. art.

    Nice reminder that many more things are art than we sometimes think,
    Oleg

  6. Basant Singh says:

    Definitely it’s an art. You’ve covered almost all the aspects. If one is not passionate about this art he is not going to be successful in long run.

  7. Greg says:

    Thanks guys! I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed writing this post.

    It’s funny. When I showed this to my wife, she chuckled about her husband “the scientist” writing about unconventional art.

    Its easy to forget the creativity goes into so much of what we do.

  8. I hate to say it, but I think the men at Men With Pens need to talk to the men at Zen Habits.

  9. Darren,

    This post was written by Greg Hayes, but in the RSS feed it says “Darren Rowse.” You’re the Admin who posted it, but it’s authored by Greg. It’s a little confusing.

    Is your current solution the ideal, “best practice?” How do you feel about attributing authorship in guest posts? What thoughts have you had about this? It’s something I’ve struggled with.

  10. Definitely there’s no question about it that blog is an art by itself.

  11. David Walker says:

    I agree wholeheartedly. Blogging is an art form, and that’s why despite the thousands of blogs being created daily, crowded niches and content duplication, your voice can still rise to be heard above it all because it’s uniquely yours. I wonder what the blogosphere would be like if everyone was passionate about what they blogged about, crafted meaningful high-value content and created sites that were dedicated to their readers’ needs…

  12. Kimmo says:

    I think Men with Pens should be .ca, not .com. :-)

  13. Ms. Freeman says:

    Very true blogging seems to follow a particular formula of sorts. Just add water, wash, rinse and repeat seems to be the thought these days.

    Originality is something that is in short supply of late.

  14. Eric C says:

    I’m not sure I consider blogging an art but I also don’t consider opinion writing, reporting or other non-fiction writing like that art. Like other non-fiction, some of it is art, but the majority isn’t, in my humble opinion.

  15. Aw, hey, thanks for the shout-out and compliments, Greg. That’s always cool to hear.

    Being creative doesn’t come easy, though – at least, not in blogging, when you have to be creative all the time, every single day. It’s not something that you can work on only when you’re inspired, or only when the muse strikes.

    You need to make that muse happen. If you think she’s fickle and coming and going at her whim, then you haven’t sat her down and told her that you both have a job to do.

    She shows up for hers – but you show up for yours, every single day. And you’ll do it, because you believe in your job.

    So find ways to be creative all the time. Get out. Talk to people. Play with different styles. Be off the wall from time to time. Be serious. Rant! Think. Spread some love, spread some smiles.

    There are so many ways to find creativity that I believe anyone can do it – even when blogging is a hard taskmaster and when the muse is gone off drinking with Mona Lisa.

    @ Michael – I had to grin at that one. ;)

  16. Kimmo wrote:

    I think Men with Pens should be .ca, not .com. :-)

    I AGREE!!!

  17. Agree, blogging is an art to produce painting. It need many art tool to make perfect painting.

  18. scheng1 says:

    I doubt I have this “art” of blogging, I think I can write better when I’m angry or complaining about something

  19. Like this sentence from this article –

    “What value would the works of Van Gogh or da Vinci bring to the world if they were secreted away, never to be seen again?”

  20. Justin says:

    There’s also definitely an aspect of curation in blogging. Like museum curators, bloggers need to decide what is worthy of exhibition. Bloggers choose from an infinite number of potential post topics and decide on one each time they post. A museum curator sorts through thousands of artworks and chooses only a few to display.

    Thanks,
    Justin
    http://thewebexperiment.com

  21. Great, thought provoking post! I agree with all of it. We all know it’s important to get the traffic, the comments, and everything. The trouble is, I find there are so many blogs out there trying to hard to ‘play the game’, trying to crunch the numbers in their favour, that they forget to write with heart. To provide their readers with a visual feast. To enjoy the experience of connecting with other bloggers.

    If your heart’s not in it, why bother?

  22. Dean says:

    “What value would the works of Van Gogh or da Vinci bring to the world if they were secreted away, never to be seen again?”

    This is my problem. I’ve had a blog for 2 years but I’ve treated it more as a game than anything. In those two years I’ve always found something more important to do than post to the blog.

    But that changes today. Well, yesterday really. I posted to it yesterday.

    Today I posted to it and created a Squidoo lens for it.

    Tomorrow I post to it and set up a Hubpage for it.

    The next day I post to it and Digg it.

    And on and on. I’ve taken a very short term view of it up to this point but I’m going to change that.

    All that I’ve got is spammers showing up and I’m still at the adsense stage, so I’ve got a lot of work to do ;)

    Godspeed all!

    Dean

  23. Hello, just wanted you to know I have added you to my Google bookmarks because of your fantastic blog layout (LOL). With that said, honestly, I believe your site has one of the cleanest theme I’ve came across. It really makes your blog post easier to read.

  24. Peter Burton says:

    Thank you for the great post!

  25. Now I know why so many people love this site