Are you comfortable with your blog identity?

Written by Fran Swaine of Skulls & Ponies

It took me a while to find my feet in the world of blogging and to establish my blog identity. When  speaking to my fellow bloggers it seems a lot of them have had a similar experience. It sounds silly when you say it out loud, that you might not know who you are on your blog – after all, I know who I am in real life and I’m pretty comfortable with that person so why is it so difficult and full of uncertainties online?

My current blog Skulls & Ponies I started back in January. I had set it up to be primarily a craft blog as I had become particularly prolific with my sewing after suffering from a rather nasty bout of depression and anxiety for several months. Being ill had unfortunately meant I was signed off work for 6 weeks, and the one thing that helped me through was sewing. When I went back to work in January, I wanted to make sure I carried on my new found hobby, and discovered that sharing my “makes” on a blog gave me an extra buzz.

It was also about this time that I discovered there was an amazing blogging community amongst crafters. At first I was dumbfounded by the amount of talent out there. Mothers, wives, students, full time workers all squirrelling away in their spare time making the most fantastic creations! Not only were their blogs inspiring (and addictive!) but spurred me on to make even better creations. The added bonus of the online craft community, is of course the social element – crafty bloggers love to talk and share and comment. As any blogger will tell you, getting comments and feedback on your blog is a great feeling. Receiving great feedback and being able to contribute your thoughts and opinions makes you really feel part of a community.

The problem however when following so many amazing blogs, is you start to question whether yours is good enough and that perhaps, you should be a little bit more like ‘Blogger X’. Blogger X is smart and witty and has beautiful photographs of their makes, and in all honesty you are rather in awe of Blogger X. So then you start trying to write a little bit more in the style of Blogger X, or write similar posts. However, you also really, really love Blogger Y’s blog and decide that actually you don’t want to be like Blogger X anymore, but you want to be like Blogger Y. Before you know it you are back to acting like a teenager; trying to figure out which popstar you should be dressing more like. Unless you are a very self assured person, I expect most bloggers go through this at some stage of blogging.

Of course, the best thing you can do when you run a blog is just be yourself and for me my most successful posts are definitely the ones where I am honest about who I am. However, being myself also led me to another issue – how much of myself did I want to share on the Internet? As many blogs do, mine developed and grew and with it came change. I started writing blog posts that weren’t related to craft and found not only did I really enjoy it but I got great feedback from my followers. This was great, but how much information was I willing to give away about myself? I know that several of my family members read my blog so this is always something I have to take into consideration when writing posts - would I be happy knowing my family were reading this? But what about strangers? How much information did I want the people of the internet to know about me? Where did I draw that line?

This change in my blogging style also made me concerned that I wasn’t a craft blog anymore, and if I wasn’t a craft blog what was I?

All of these issues, made me question and reassess my blog identity. I realised that being me was the most important thing; if people don’t like my blog then they don’t have to read it and that’s fine – but the people who do like it will most likely keep coming back if I’m just being myself as they’ll like the style of my writing and the type of blog posts I write.

It’s always interesting to find out how other people perceive you and your blog and sometimes that can help you establish your identity. In the last few months I’ve been lucky enough that other bloggers have liked my blog so much they’ve featured me in one of their posts, and seeing how they have described me has helped me see where I fit in to the blogging community. I don’t have to just be a craft blog, or just be a lifestyle blog. I can be whatever I want! So like my bio says – my blog is predominantly about making things and being crafty, but it’s also about me engaging my brain and sharing my thoughts and opinions.

The sharing of information is always a tricky one, but I think the best thing you can do is try and find a balance you are comfortable with.  I don’t for example post many pictures of myself and certainly don’t see myself doing “What I wore” posts – yet I am happy to talk about issues that are personal to me such as mental health. It’s what you are comfortable with.

Finding your blog identity is a lot like real life; it’s mainly down to experience and trial and error. Hopefully establishing your blog identity doesn’t however have to be quite as traumatic as figuring out who you are in real life - being a teenager once was quite enough thank you!

Read more from fran Swaine at Skulls & Ponies - Great post, would love to hear your comments...