Authentic Versus Pretty: Can you Blog Both?

The Authentic/Pretty dichotomy is a big question for a lot of bloggers. How can you post about beautiful objects when you can’t barely afford rent some months? Isn’t there a level of dishonesty in presenting a life you don’t have to your readers?

Well, yes. And no.

Say you set a goal to increase your “readership” by page views over the next month. You could post really gorgeous photos you nab from other websites (with credits of course) and share teaser links to then across social media channels. You’d get a lot of page views but your bounce rate, of the little number that tells you if people were interacting with your site, would be pretty high. People would see it was just a blog of pretty pictures and move on. They can get that from places like Pinterest, so why bother trying to subscribe to a blog?

Even if they did subscribe to your blog, they probably won’t remember your photos any more than someone elses’ but you’d accomplish your goal of increasing page views. But if you showed them a picture of yours beside that of another blog similar to yours, they probably couldn’t tell the difference. And that’s not even considering people’s waning attentions for the same thing or that the trend might die before you know to move on.

The way to avoid this trap is to set better expectations for yourself. Ask yourself if your content is contributing something positive that is lacking in your readers’ lives and if it answers questions your readers need answered.

The recipe to Awesome Blog Content

Parts for Blog Awesome:Purpose, Ingenuity, Style, and Relevance

I’ll be blogging about these topics individually over the next few weeks so make sure to check back to learn exactly how to produce the best blog you can that has the ability to go viral. Or subscribe via email and make it even easier!

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  • Reply Rebecca January 31, 2013 at 12:27 pm

    This is the thing about choosing your metrics for success. You can manipulate your traffic to make it look better, but does that really meet your goals? Not if you want to make authentic connections with your readers. On the other hand, if your goal is to share beauty with as many people as possible, the strategy you described would lead to authentic success.

  • Reply Kim January 31, 2013 at 12:44 pm

    I guess it depends on how you define success. Success on a personal blog, in my opinion, is to create a brand of recognizable authority on whatever you’re blogging about. That definition of success comes wrapped up with the trappings of strong page view, followers, and interaction metrics; without these things you can’t really say you have authority in your chosen field. You could, however, create a brand but it would be largely ignored and deemed not influential.

    The problem with the technique that I see is that if you’re simply reposting photos of pretty things willy nilly just to get page views, you’re not creating an image of authority on the topic that doesn’t make you unique from any other blog or platform (like Pinterest) of a similar niche. Without uniqueness, it’s hard to say you’re an authority but rather just another in the herd.

    I’m going to discuss this as part of my series when I talk about Ingenuity, so be sure to check back!

  • Reply Lori March 20, 2013 at 9:33 pm

    Hi Kim! I found your blog through elembee. I am so grateful that you wrote this post because this is something that I struggle with. I’m fairly new to the world if blogging and it’s so tempting to put a pretty photo in one of my posts just because it’s “pretty” and I feel like people want to see a “pretty” picture. The image you displayed in your post is really helpful, I want to print this out and have it next to my computer as a daily reminder of how to blog awesome!

  • Reply Kim March 21, 2013 at 3:42 am

    Thanks for visiting! Lisa is such a sweetie (and could probably speak volumes to this problem too!).

    Its such a balancing act between these items. Be sure to check back for the other parts! I haven’t forgotten, just got busy with a new job.

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