About Blogging — Be a Blogger, not a Writer.

about-blogging-button-160.jpg*** Monthly Feature Column ***

About Blogging
Be a Blogger, not a Writer.

by Jim Durbin, social media consultant

One of the first lessons I teach in Blogger Boot Camp is the difference between a blogger and a writer. Trying to define blogging is difficult, because many people believe that anything written online should qualify as blogging, while others (such as myself) believe that blogging is a behavior distinct from writing.

The lesson goes like this:

There are over 1 trillion web pages on the internet. What makes yours stand out? A writer publishes content online and sits back, expecting people to come to their site because of the brilliance of their prose. Most don’t get that satisfaction, and so quickly quit writing, citing the lack of traffic as a reason.

Some writers have the benefit of a large company or their personal reputation to drive traffic. If you write for a local newspaper, or if you are a recognized author or celebrity, you can get away with being just a writer, but don’t kid yourself. If you wrote anonymously, no one would read you.

Writers write. It’s a noble profession, and many are quite good at it. But writing isn’t blogging.

Think of it as a riddle. Blogging requires writing, and writing can be blogging, but writing is not blogging though blogging is writing.

Enough with the semantics – let me explain why blogging is fundamentally different than writing. We’ll break down the definition by describing seven habits of highly successful bloggers.

  1. Write great content
  2. Read other blogs
  3. Link to other blogs
  4. Leave comments on other blogs
  5. Make contacts with other bloggers
  6. Joining with a community
  7. Investing in that community.

Writing great content is a must. The definition of great can mean many things, but it’s either beautiful writing, intelligent insight, relevant commentary, funny humor or simply genuine opinion.

Reading other blogs is necessary to understand what other people are actually writing. If you don’t read other blogs to determine what other people are saying, then you are a writer, not a blogger.

Blogs link to each other. It’s a sign of respect. It’s a sign of integrity and etiquette, and it’s way to tell our readers who we associate with and who we read. Links are the currency of influence online, and the backbone of a community. And if you don’t link out, other people won’t link in.

Leaving comments is something that readers do to encourage feedback and introduce oneself to another blogger. If the blogs you are reading aren’t inspiring you to comment, then you need to find new blogs. The goal behind commenting is the free flow of information. Bloggers won’t blog without feedback, and they don’t get better without comments.

Making contact with other bloggers is a Blogging 300 level course, but it shouldn’t be. Online friendships are tenuous, and break easily. Friendships strengthened with e-mails, phone calls, and in-person meetings tend to last, and bring much higher benefits. People we meet, speak to, and write with are more likely to become and stay friends, then those whom you read once a week.

Joining a community means being more than a reader. One of the great advantages of the Web 2.0 is being to self-label. When you join a community, which is done by commenting, linking, and adding people to your blogrolls, you’re telling the world the type of person you are by listing those you associate with. A community protects you, inspires you, and is the basis of your influence. Together, a group of voices is louder than each of us speaking alone.

And finally, investing in a community means putting time and money and effort (in whatever way you can afford it) by supporting others in that community. Purchasing products, clicking on ads, and giving contributions are monetary ways of helping out, but so is running contests, helping each other with templates, and sharing knowledge. Communities don’t grow without investment, and bloggers understand this because what they get is greater than what they give.

Blogging is more than writing. It’s forming friendships, and sharing inspiration, and working with others to build something greater than you are alone. How is that for a definition?

by Jim Durbin, social media consultant


  1. says

    I agree completely! I started off blogging to practice and refine my writing. What I found instead was something I never would have imagined in the way of community. I still occasionally post what I would consider “good writing,” but I’ve realized that is not the necessary end to all blog posts.

  2. says

    Great piece. The community aspect is so important and is what separates it from just writing. My social loner brother writes. He tried blogging, but couldn’t hack it; too much social interaction.

  3. says

    Absolutely great article. You’ve outdone yourselves, girls, having Jim as a guest contributor. Hope lots and lots of bloggers read this – truly good advice.

  4. says

    What a wonderful way to define the differences between writing and blogging. This was a great read for someone still fairly new in the blogging (not writing) world! Thanks!

  5. says

    Well, I must be a writer, not a blogger, b/c, while I read (and comment!) on a number of blogs, that number is about 8, because I’m trying to focus on mothering more than blogging…

    And I’m still not balancing that very well, b/c my 4-y-o (when I was rattling off the things I do around the house) added “Blogging!” to my list. {*Blush*}

    I don’t suppose you have any “shortcut” tips for us blogging “wannabies?”

  6. says

    Great article!I like how you added not to try to be a writer. It seems so many others are trying to tell bloggers to be good writers. While your blog does need good content is doesn’t need to have the writers feel and I love that. Thanks!

  7. says

    Great article! I started blogging because I just wanted to put some thoughts to “paper” but it’s really evolved into so much more. Thanks for the tips!!

  8. says

    Great tips!! And it’s so true, the deep linking, which so many don’t think of using, gets your name out there. I don’t use my blog for any more then sharing motherhood stuff, but I like to impart what wisedom I have to anyhow willing to read.

    Thank you for the tips!!

  9. says

    Great tips – I think I need to find some new blogs because I don’t feel inspired to comment a lot so maybe I’m not reading the right things…
    and if I find the kinds of blogs I want to comment on, maybe they would be the kinds of readers that would be inclined to comment on my blog!

  10. says

    This is so true!! Great post! I am still a “new-bee” to the blogging world and it has amazed me to see how the community is so open. I love the fact that people are so willing to give help, advice and LINKS to share without even knowing each other… not to mention that it has given me an outlet to share what I know without having to leave my house!

  11. says

    great way to put it…I have met so many friends through blogging…people I consider to be closer than my in life friends for that matter….!!!
    Aol journals is a pretty close community and I have found to like it there.
    hope you have a good day

  12. says

    It is true…and then there are those of us who consider ourselves writers AND bloggers.

    I still don’t have much traffic or commenters, but it is growing. I try, but not TOO hard, since I like to live my real life too.

  13. says

    Thanks for the great tips! I started my blog(s) just to share myself with others – thoughts, creative work, photographs – and am slowly learning my way through it all.

    Appreciate your input!

  14. says

    really good post, and great tips. I was really surprised by the community I found in the blog-world. I felt surprised to find the whole blog-sphere existed and so many people were linked and connected to each other-and that I had no idea is was all out there.

    this post summed it all up.

  15. says

    Excellent article! This also helped clarify the difference between using a website and a blog in promoting my business and illuminated some the of social etiquette tips I hadn’t previously been aware of. Thanks for sharing.


  1. About Blogging — Be a Blogger, not a Writer….

    A bite of how to blog. This is a good read for beginners just starting in BlogWorld. (BTW – spell check doesn’t like the word “blog.”)…

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