When you try to define a “blogger,” the closest thing that comes to mind is inevitably a “writer.” But bloggers do so much more than put one word after another. To make it in the blogosphere requires a surprising number of skills you just can’t teach in English class. Bloggers have to be capable photographers, graphic artists, web designers, social media gurus, brand architects, and much, much more. Any successful blogger’s bag of tricks is broad, and has to expand and adapt quickly to keep pace with the ever-changing online world.
We asked our Top 100 Mom Bloggers, “What’s one non-writing skill you think is essential to blogging?” Their responses speak worlds for their impressive range of skills, and offer a great guide for any aspiring bloggers out there. Check them out! — Max Minckler
Being Tech-Savvy 1 of 13
I really wish I had more technical skills on the backend — like knowing more about HTML code and what breadcrumbs are. My blog is kind of a mess because I try to fix things on my own, and I have no idea what I'm doing. A little more tech savvy from the start would have kept me from making lots of blog design and SEO mistakes.
— Katherine Stone, Postpartum Progress
Socializing 2 of 13
Be social, and I mean that in both the modern and old-fashioned sense of the word. You have to be willing to respond to emails or Facebook requests you get asking for help or insight. Blogging's about both giving and getting, and you should be ready to give back.
— Ellen Seidman, Love That Max
Knowing How to Build an Audience 3 of 13
I think figuring out how to get people to read your words is a big skill. Developing a following certainly takes more than good writing. It takes promotion. I need to get better at this one!
— Stefanie Wilder-Taylor, Baby on Bored
Listening and Learning 4 of 13
Listening. Being part of a community (which you are whether you know it or not) means not only contributing but listening to — and celebrating — the ideas and accomplishments of your colleagues.
— Asha Dornfest, Parent Hacks
Giving Good Answers 5 of 13
Being able to fashion clever responses to questions like, "So, you just hang out online all day?" and "What's happening to you?" and "What's a blog?"
— Kristine Cook, Wait in the Van
Keeping an Open Mind 6 of 13
Being okay with not knowing or understanding something. Also, asking questions and changing your mind, even after you've written the exact opposite opinion previously! Also, having people around to ask and who are willing to explain how the social media monster works.
— Hayley Krischer & Miriam Novogrodsky, Femamom
Maintaining Strong Design Skills 7 of 13
Every blog doesn't have to be award winning, but blogs should have a basic understanding of what's visually appealing to people: light background, dark type, no animated gifts jumping all over the place, and fonts that are easy to read. I could go on all day!
— Jill Smokler, Scary Mommy
Staying Curious 8 of 13
You need to be bubbling over with curiosity, or you won't scope out the new ideas that make your blog out of the ordinary.
— Lenore Skenazy, Free-Range Kids
Being True to Yourself 9 of 13
It's important to find a way to connect with people in an authentic way. Being yourself on a social media platform and engaging with others is a basic building block to blogging.
— Elizabeth Jayne Liu, Flourish in Progress
Knowing Photo Editing Programs 10 of 13
Knowing Photoshop is essential. I don't even think I would blog anymore if I didn't have it. I use the program for so much; it really makes my blog what it is.
— Jess Craig, IROCKSOWHAT
Camera Skills 11 of 13
Photography! I've seen my blog grow leaps and bounds after learning how to use my camera better to tell a visual story. You can hire someone to do your graphics if you must, but it's pretty impossible to hire someone to photograph your everyday life … or at least that would be really expensive.
— Jill Krause, Baby Rabies
Building a Professional Brand 12 of 13
I think it's essential to learn how to sell yourself as a business person, not just as a writer. Also, the more you know about social media, the more valuable you are to companies. And gorgeous photos are a real plus to any blog.
— Kelcey Kintner, The Mama Bird Diaries
Having a Visual Mindset 13 of 13
Posts with photos pop on social media and are more widely read. You don't have to be the world's greatest photographer, but being able to think visually and capture a moment, even with an iPhone, is what makes a good blog great.
— Amy Wruble, Carriage Before Marriage
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