Short answer: Yes, your blog can be about your life but you should go about it in a smart way. If you do go about it in a smart way, it can be a successful blog.
Okay, “successful” means different things to different people. A successful blog to me is one that makes more money than it costs. Revenue grows year over year.
However, making money isn’t the only blogging objective. Maybe you want to just have readers because it’s fun; a blog for fun. That’s totally legitimate. Or maybe you want to use a blog to bring attention to your art, music, writing or something else.
Your blog can be about anything
Your blog, your rules. You can blog about anything you want including your life. If you want to write about what you did this week, go for it. If you want to blog about every hour of the day, go for it. I don’t do that but you can.
If, however, you want to grow a blog that makes money that is also about your life, you need to be more strategic.
For example, successful niche sites can be about your life such as a hobby you enjoy, work/industry experience, your art, products you own, the business you run… so many options.
For example, Fat Stacks is a blog about my niche site business life. Pretty much everything I publish on this blog is about how I grow and run my portfolio of niche sites. It’s about a significant part of my life. However, I don’t write about all aspects of my life. I don’t go on about my kids or hobbies or other business ventures. I restrict it to blogging. Readers don’t care that I coach baseball or that I’ve invested in a tech start-up or that I ski.
Don’t be wishy-washy
I’m all for injecting some personality and even personal details into niche sites. I do on this site; not too much but readers know I’m married, have kids, live in Vancouver, BC, etc. I reveal some personal stuff but I don’t overdo it. Sharing some personal details gives your blog context; readers get to know you a bit and connect. Trust builds. Hopefully, your readers come to like you.
Your content shouldn’t focus on you and your personal life. It needs to focus on the angle your blog is about.
For example, if your blog is about your model train hobby, most of the articles should be about model trains. You can pepper some personal stuff in the articles themselves but the content should focus on model trains.
If your blog is about baseball and you coach baseball, then you can discuss your coaching work extensively. That’s like Fat Stacks for me; everything I write about here is based on what I do with my portfolio.
What if you want to blog about all aspects of your life?
Our lives are made up of several spheres; relationships, activities, work, leisure, beliefs, etc. If you’re a celebrity, a personal blog covering all spheres would work because your audience wants to learn more about you. Celebs milk social media and their millions of followers gobble it up.
If you’re like me and not a celebrity, nobody cares about all aspects of your life. However, you could break your life up into a series of niche sites; in fact, I do this to a certain extent with my niche site portfolio.
- Business: Fat Stacks
- Skiing: I have a ski site
- Mountain biking / electric bike: I have a cycling site.
- Products I use: I write about all kinds of stuff I buy and use across all niche sites.
- Kids: I have a fun kids activities site. I don’t write about my kids though. It’s more objective; I restrict it to kids activity content. I also avoid anything “kid health” related.
- Boating: I own a small boat and a kayak so I have a boating website.
- Autos: I own two cars so I have an auto niche site that covers those vehicles (plus others).
- Local region: I publish about my region on a couple of sites in ways that works with the niche.
- Houses: We own a couple of houses that gets covered on a couple of niche sites as well in various ways.
I could launch more sites on other spheres of my life such as politics, workout regimen etc. but I don’t bother. I’m not really interested in publishing on those topics.
On the whole, a good amount of my portfolio incorporates some of my life. In other words, my portfolio of blogs is about various parts of my life.
What about a blog that is more of an auto-biography? Would that work?
If you have an interesting life or something interesting to write about that makes up a part or all of your life, then yes, you can create a successful auto-biography blog. Many seemingly regular folks have done just that with books that turned into a movie. Think Tender Bar which tells the story of J.R. Others include:
- Hillbilly Elegy
- Erin Brokovich
- The Big Short
All of the above 4 movies were great despite being based on regular people. They had an interesting story to tell and it was told effectively. There is no reason you can’t do the same with a blog. Who knows, maybe some Hollywood producer will love it and offer you money for the movie rights?
Generally, auto-biographies of regular folks are restricted to a particular time in their life or some event or series of events. If you have a particularly interesting time in your life, you can blog about that.
How do you write a personal life blog?
That’s up to you but you need to give some thought so that you do it in a way that is interesting. Consider the following approaches:
- Restricted to a time or event in your life
- Linear vs. playing around with time
- Fictionalized but based on you and/or your life
- Humorous observations about your life
- Your philosophies/thoughts.
Because it’s a blog it can be released in installments. Once done, it’s like an online book that new readers can read in their entirety. If it becomes super popular, you might consider publishing it as a book. If you do that, you may need to delete the blog or remove most of it. Book publishers don’t exactly relish having to compete with a free version published online.
In terms of the technical requirements, it’s a piece of cake. Choose any blogging platform such as WordPress or Square and start writing. Both are fairly easy to get started with. Anyone can do it. Don’t let the technical requirements hold you back.
Can it be about your life journey such as your business journey or weight loss journey?
It can and I understand why some bloggers think this is a great idea but I tend to not like this approach. I’ve read the blogs of many new bloggers who fire up a blog about blogging where they publicly proclaim they will profile their blogging journey. My problem with this is unless it becomes successful, the information isn’t very helpful and could be bad information. These bloggers are figuring it out and so what can they really share that’s helpful.
A much better way to go about it is to build up a successful blog or niche site, then write about what they did. That’s what I did with Fat Stacks. Once I had a successful niche site separate from Fat Stacks,
Other niches where people blog about their journey include weight loss, building a house and anything that is a long process. The weight loss one is okay if you’ve lost 10 to 20 pounds. At least you’re doing something that’s working. Same with building a house especially if you’ve done it before; the chance it’ll work out and get completed is pretty high.
Aspiring bloggers that blog in real-time about their blogging journey will likely not succeed. It’s one of those pursuits that many people start but don’t make it. I’m not remotely interested in what any blogger has to say until they’re earning $10K per month.
What about blogging about your life journey generally?
By all means go for it and maybe your brilliant thoughts, philosophies and observations will resonate with a large audience, but chances are it’s basically a vanity project that will be super boring. Not many people can successfully publish such a work. Comedians could with a focus on jokes. A brilliant philosopher might be able to pull it off. Someone who has an interesting life and can write well might be able to pull it off. But generally speaking, it’s not a great idea.
Take the TV show Workin’ Moms as an example. It’s a great show. It’s funny. The acting is great. It works. It’s written by one of the stars (Catherine Reitman) and is loosely based on her experience working full time as a new mom. I’m sure not all the happenings in the show is based on her life but there’s a connection. But not everyone can write like Catherine Reitman.
By all means, give it a shot but it’s a good idea to get some early feedback from someone you trust as to whether it’s interesting or that it works. If it’s boring to someone who knows you, it’s really boring for the rest of the world.
I’ll wrap it up with this. It’s your blog so it’s your rules. But the rules change if you want it to be successful whether success is defined by traffic and/or money. If it’s traffic and/or money or some sort of book/movie deal you want, then you need to reign it in and restrict your blog about your life in a way so that it resonates with an audience.
Jon runs the place around here. He pontificates about launching and growing online publishing businesses, aka blogs that make a few bucks. His pride and joy is the email newsletter he publishes.
In all seriousness, Jon is the founder and owner of a digital media company that publishes a variety of web properties visited and beloved by millions of readers monthly. Fatstacks is where he shares a glimpse into his digital publishing business.