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How My Family and Friends Help Me Blog Better

This guest post is by Jonathan Dunsky of WorldofDiets.com.

A lot of bloggers work alone. I started out the same way. I hardly talked about what I was doing and never got into details with the people closest to me.

Today, however, I feel that this approach can limit the success of your blog and that you must reach out to those closest to you to help you build your blog to its fullest potential.

helping friends

Copyright Yuri Arcurs - Fotolia.com

The people around you can help you in a variety of ways: giving you ideas for content creation, providing usability tips, design ideas, and general constructive criticism. You can use all this to make your blog more appealing, interesting, and popular.

In the two years in which I’ve been writing my health and fitness blog, I received tremendous help from the people in my life. I want to share some of those things with you to give you some ideas on how the people around you can help you become a more successful blogger.

Pushing me to make difficult changes

I have to admit that I love my blog. I’ve put a lot of work into it and I find it hard to make changes to it.

Fortunately for me, my wife, Karen, is not as sentimental and kept pushing me to invest in a better design for the site. She didn’t like the plain look of the free theme I used whereas I didn’t want to touch it.

In the end, as is usually the case in our marriage, I capitulated and bought a premium theme, tweaked it a bit to look just right, had a designer create a logo for the blog, and implemented a magazine style home page instead of a regular blog format.

The result was a decrease in bounce rate, general approval from readers, and I am even more in love with my blog today than I used to be in the past. I guess I’m just a shallow guy and looks do matter to me.

The point is that making this kind of change would have taken me a lot more time if no one was there to push me to do it.

Creating better content

There are a number people in my life that have helped me create better content.

The first is my wife, who is a physical therapist. I often consult her about correct exercise techniques and how to craft effective workouts for my readers.

The second is my friend, Dorothy, who has struggled with her weight for years. She represents the average visitor to my site—a person who wishes to lose weight in a healthy and gimmick-free way.

Just by speaking with her about the methods she tries and the process she’s going through reminds me to create content with my readers’ problems in mind.

Following trends from afar

I live in Europe so it’s harder for me to keep up with trends in the US and Canada, where most of my readers are. Fortunately for me, one of my childhood friends lives in New York and I can ask him whether a certain fitness product or diet plan is getting a lot of attention and media coverage in the US.

In this way I can create content which people are more interested in at that time.

For instance, my review of the Shake Weight might have never been written if I didn’t know how big that product was in late 2009. Up to this day, that blog post received nearly 300 comments.

Design improvements

My sister-in-law, Sharon, is a graphic designer so I consulted her about the color scheme and design of the blog and logo. Whenever I want to make design changes I know I can count on her professional opinion to steer me in the right direction.

How to enlist your friends and family to help you blog better

First, you have to be open about what you do and what your goals are. If you’re blogging about some shady topic and you can’t even talk about it with your friends, you will have to do things on your own.

Second, accept criticism. If people are afraid to tell you what they really think about your blog, you will miss out on crucial tips that can make it much better. From now on, any criticism should be viewed as constructive.

Third, your blog is written for people. Unless you write about internet marketing, you should seek the advice of people who are not marketers. Get the viewpoints of people who are similar to your readers.

Finally, don’t disregard anyone’s opinion. Don’t be quick to reject proposals. You don’t have to accept or implement every suggestion you get, but you should take the time to consider it.

If you have other stories about how those closest to you have helped you become a better blogger, or some tips to add, please share them in the comments below.

Jonathan Dunsky is a writer, husband, and fitness enthusiast. You can check out his fitness and nutrition tips at WorldofDiets.com.

About Georgina Laidlaw

Georgina Laidlaw is a freelance content developer, and Content manager for problogger.net. You can find her on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Gregory C. says:

    “Third, your blog is written for people. Unless you write about internet marketing, you should seek the advice of people who are not marketers. Get the viewpoints of people who are similar to your readers.”

    Love the whole post, but this line really rang true.

    You make good points on using an audience to learn how to write for an even bigger one.

    • Jonathan Dunsky says:

      Hi Gregory,

      Thanks for your comments. I’m glad you liked my post.

  2. Gregory C. says:

    “Third, your blog is written for people. Unless you write about internet marketing, you should seek the advice of people who are not marketers. Get the viewpoints of people who are similar to your readers.”

    Love the whole post, but this line really rang true.

    You make good points on using an audience to learn how to write for an even bigger one.

  3. Zoobia says:

    Great advice! Utilizing the connections you already have can really pay off in the long run. I could see these strategies working for someone who doesn’t necessarily have a large network. I guess sometimes you don’t need to look too far for a little guidance. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Justin Dupre says:

    Usually when writer’s block strikes I get up and spend time with my family and friends. This actually freshens up your creative skills and makes you write better when you get back to your pc.

  5. sibin says:

    My friends were remove me from Facebook and Google plus because of my blog.They never helps.Friends having same interests or same taste can help,others not.

  6. Brian Yang says:

    It’s awesome having a network of friends or family that actually support you.

    Take it from someone who doens’t have that ha. It’s tough doing it alone. Having supportive relationships make it a much better process.

  7. tony says:

    Thanks for the pointers. Infact I have learned so much just going through the posts and checking out other blogs. Family can be inspirational to say the least….

  8. Ome says:

    Great advice as it helps to distinguish original content and ‘auto’ content.. the search engines are punishingb auto content sites regularly now so this is a good advice to be acted upon.

  9. Terry Aley says:

    I’ve had just the opposite experience. It seems like casual acquaintances who share the same common interests (people I haven’t even met in person) have been of great value to my website. They send leads and story ideas and engage in the conversation with excitement. I think if you’re really specific in your niche, you often know so much about a topic that your close friends and family won’t have anything to add. Because you’re already an expert and they’re just a reader. And probably a reader who is only reading to see how the site is coming along, rather than “fans” of the site who LOVE the content. I could see if a blogger has very similar interests as family members, this might work well in those cases. But in my case, I have a very specific type of reader. And my family and friends don’t get into the topics I’m discussing AT ALL. :-)

  10. Sanjeev says:

    A small tip or feedback from anywhere is good, though we need to make an effort to recognize it correctly.

    A family member who may not be able to give a feedback on content may be able to give a feedback on blog design, readability etc. So we should get whatever feedback we get and use it to improve…

  11. James Greg says:

    Its true living or working in isolation blocks innovation and chances are limited. Friends and family in terms of blogging can be a lot motivating. Usually a person would not stick to a blog that gets very little or no discussion and this is where one can avail the help of friends. After all friend in need is a friend in deed.

  12. No! Keep yourself to yourself. Don’t let anyone know what you’re doing. It’s none of their business, after all.

  13. Hi Jonathan,

    Excellent tips all around

    Accepting criticism is oh so key. If you can accept criticism from your fam, you are good to go because we can usually shed off critiques from strangers but the strong emotional attachments we have with family is usually too much too take. Got that down, you’re good to go.

    Thanks for sharing.

    RB

  14. Ryan says:

    Honestly , all of my friends and even my family didn’t know me doing anything from the internet , i dont want to let them know that i am blogging or making money online because i think that they could not help me to do anything and give me any advices on the blogging way. So it doesn’t work to me but it is really good experience and thanks for sharing

  15. Hi Ryan,

    Thanks for your feedback. I’m glad you like the tips. Indeed, criticism is the driving force of a better quality blog.

  16. I have my family critique my blog. My husband more from a design point, as he isn’t interested so much in the topic, and my oldest adult daughter gives me feedback on content. I also have a good group of social media friends who will critique as well, if I ask. ;)
    Bernice
    Taking care of unfinished business

  17. Such a great point. It wasn’t until I read this that I realized just how much my boyfriend helps me with my photography blog. In fact, he’s going to help me do the ground work for a post this weekend. He’s been so supportive that I think I owe him a dinner. :)

    I get so many great ideas from him. He’s a photography buff too and will pop up with the greatest ideas for a post and it’s great to use him as an outlet for post ideas, videos, and eBooks.

    Thanks for the reminder.

  18. Emilie says:

    I appreciate your article.Generally people do not share much as to what they are doing on internet because they feel that their family members or friends don’t have much interest. But as you have written, even small ideas from friends and family can change the way the person blogs.Infact they add value.I usually ask my family and friends feedback on my articles and it really helps.

  19. I guess this method is fine, for it makes one to be aware of the mistake they have done, so next time it won’t happen again.

    - Jack Leak