Saturday, 15 June 2013

How personal should a blog be?

Pic from iamalifestyleblog's Pinterest
This is a question I've been internally debating a lot recently. And also slightly externally with other humans (friends, not randomers on the street), but mainly with myself. As I try to develop my blog and build my audience, I've found myself wondering how much I should post about my life, and how much of my content I should keep generic.

On the one hand, obviously a blog is unique to each person, and it's a great opportunity to get your own voice heard. Surely writing about your life and what you know best would give you the greatest chance to write well and interest people? But on the other hand, what's so great about my life? Why should anyone (apart from maybe my mum) be interested in my antics and happenings? And surely magazines have already got all the generic stuff covered (often with much more authority)?

Looking at one of my all time fave blogs, The Londoner - I know she has a huge following, so I'm not alone in my awe - it's striking how personal it is: choc-full of posts about her amazing trips, adventures and meals, and dotted with stunning pictures of Rose herself, her family and friends to beautifully illustrate her escapades. I think that's what makes The Londoner so popular - we all love the insight into her oh-so-fabulous life. It makes me wonder if perhaps part of the reason blogs like The Londoner are so successful is because the lifestyles they reveal are so aspirational (obviously I mean in conjunction with brilliant writing, photography, design etc...)

But for someone who doesn't (yet) lead such a glamourous life, would posting more pictures of myself and my life (to illustrate my posts, that is, not just random selfies) put readers off? Or would it welcome them in? It's a difficult one. I've read on many a blogging website that lots of bloggers saw their blogs take off after starting to post more personal insights, but the more personal you go, the more exposed you are and the scarier it is. Will people think you're really arrogant for considering your own life interesting enough to warrant a blog post for the whole wide world to read?!

I was recently discussing all this with my good friend Jenny (check out her blog here). For the first time, she wrote a slightly more personal post about losing weight, and said she was nervous about doing so. I could totally relate - body image is such a sensitive subject for the majority of young women today, and I ummed and ahhed for a while before publishing my posts The FAT Truth - Skinny Doesn't Equal Happy and Tackling a food obsession. That said, I received some really positive, encouraging comments (mainly in private messages) as a result of said posts, in which both girls I knew and some I didn't took the time to tell me they completely related to what I had said, and thanked me for writing about it. As a blogger, it feels so amazing to get feedback like that.

Realistically, I suppose it's the same as most things in life - you're worried about not being liked or accepted. As bloggers, we just want to know which posts our readers like the most. I'm not saying you should compromise what you want to write about just to build your audience - I'm a firm believer in blogs as unique spaces where each individual can do as they please, and I love using mine just to practice writing - but I know that personally, I find it so valuable to find out what people actually like to read about (*hint hint* leave me comments *hint hint*). I suppose I write about the aspects of my life that I think would be interesting to other people, or things I'd want to read about myself.

Although I've had my blog for quite a long time, I still feel like I'm trying to find my niche. In fact, maybe I'll never find just one niche, but keep evolving. Whatever the case, I love blogging, would encourage everyone to do so, and hope to keep developing and improving Handbags and Cupcakes in the future.

I'd be really interested to hear your thoughts on all this, so please do drop me a comment. How personal should a blog be? What type of posts are your favourites?


  1. I think this all the time! I'm new to blogging so would love any tips you have! Your blog is really good :)

    I have followed you, please follow me back?

    Chloe xx

    1. Thanks Chloe! Good to hear I'm not alone :)

  2. I've found posts about your year abroad really helpful. I think people also might like to read about the logistics of university and of getting internships etc. to help out if you're absolutely clueless. Plus it's always exiting to read success stories.xx

    1. That's so useful to hear, thanks Bug. I suppose it's a case of writing what you know! Really sweet of you to read and comment. :) X

  3. Personal blogs and posts are brilliant, if they're truthful. If you've ever had a look on forums, you'll see some people have unearthed tons of the lies/false representations of many lifestyle bloggers - there's a 114 page thread on The Londoner (currently on the members only section of the forum) - highlighting how she has constructed many aspects of her identity and lied to readers, which makes me question how good of an inspiration she can be. Her life also appears quite superficial, your posts cover a wider range of more interesting topics.

    1. Hi anonymous,
      I can't say I have ever been on that site... Obviously I can't see the thread you mention, but the suggestion makes me think of a lot of people's rather constructed facebook/twitter/online lives. Thanks for your interesting comment though, and I really appreciate your feedback. Thanks for reading and commenting :)

  4. nice informative blog these is really so good thanks posting.....!mens necktie online

  5. Blogging you do for you. Your blog is YOUR blog, so you can do whatever you want on it. I do have to say that my favorite blogs are blogs where the blogger shows a lot of herself. I guess it's because you can relate to them better. Anyway, it is something I struggle with too. And I don't know what I feel comfortable with yet. I guess time will tell, right? Thanks for sharing!

    Hannah from I am a lifestyle blog

    1. Hi Hannah,
      Thanks for your comment. I'm glad you know how I feel :)x

  6. Hey Rachel,

    I personally love your blog and would like to hear more about you - but I also love your food, travel and other posts.

    I love blogs like The Londoner because I'm so interested in hearing about other people's lives (maybe that makes me a bit too nosey, oops!)

    But I completely know what you mean, I'm just starting my blog and I worry people won't be interested in my life. It's nice to document the things I might not remember though, and I guess people will let me know if they don't like it!

    Anyway, I hope you carry on with your amazing blog - and keep adding in the personal stuff.

    Sorry for the long rambling message!


    1. Hi Charli,
      Oh, don't apologise! I love the long rambling message :) very sweet of you to take the time to comment.
      It's really interesting to me to hear what you think - I'm definitely also nosy!
      Thanks so much for your feedback and best of luck starting your blog! X


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