This is a guest post by Andrew Rondeau.
Unless you’ve been walking around in ear-muffs and dark glasses for the past few months, you’ll have noticed that a new excitement is gripping the UK.
Everywhere you turn, red, white and blue merchandise is creeping in to supermarket shelves, and people are discussing what tickets they have managed to get hold of, and organising time off work.
Finally, after much discussion and planning, the Olympics 2012 are coming to the UK!
Although it’s interesting stuff, we ought not to let ourselves get distracted from regular activities like running our businesses and blogging.
All this hype about the sports events and interest in the Olympics has led me to consider how blogging itself is like an Olympic sport, and at times seems to need the same levels of dedication, preparation and hard work that it can take to excel on the track.
So, for your sporting delectation, here’s what blogging and the Olympics have in common…
Improving your stamina
The blogging process can seem long, arduous and painstaking when you first start out, but the beauty of it is, the more you do it, the easier it gets.
That’s because you find your voice and soon get in to a strong routine, understanding how to approach your site to make the most of it, and knowing when your personal peaks in performance are likely to be for writing and enhancing your blog.
Just like with training for running or other sports, as you become set in to a firm routine and your stamina grows, your blog will become easier to manage.
Knowledge about blogging is daunting at the outset, but the more you learn, the easier and more satisfying it becomes.
The best bloggers are at the peak of their performance, and understand how best to use their own energy levels and inspiration to make the most of their site. Increased revenue, enhanced marketing and more traffic comes when you find your peak performance, and work with it.
Even the most prolific and successful Olympians know when it’s time to shut down and take a break from training, and blogging is no different.
No matter how dedicated you are to your business and blog, you do need to take time out from it to recharge your batteries and have some space to reflect on your recent performance.
Walk away from your site from time to time, and your enthusiasm will grow, just as your personal performance will be enhanced by some quality time with friends and family away from work.
Only a machine can keep working all the time, and we humans need to strike a firm balance between training (work) and resting (leisure).
Having clear goals
The best athletes will tell you that one of the things which drives them forward at all times, keeps them focussed and enhances their performance is a full understanding of where they are currently, and where they want to be.
For an Olympian, this goal-setting could involve visualizing themselves picking up the Gold medal for their country, standing at the top of the podium.
For you as a blogger, it means having a firm idea of what you aim to achieve from your site. Whether you simply want a platform of your own for self-expression, or you are looking to increase traffic to your site, generate more customers or sell more e-books, you need to keep this in mind at all times to stay focussed and perform to gold standard on your blog.
With blogging, there is a hierarchy right across the World Wide Web.
There are the blogs which everyone has heard about, and discusses each time there is a new post.
There are favourite blogs relating to specific industry sectors which are niche, but enjoy a steady footfall each day.
There are small but useful blogs which have a loyal following generated over time, even if they are not particularly well-known, and manage to appear somewhere on the major search engines because they are quietly well-run and well-maintained.
Finally, there are the blogs that don’t even place on the podium, because they have been neglected, are out of shape and stamina, and their owners have got bored or moved on.
Achieving blogging Gold is tough.
Just as the top athletes who make the top spot are completely dedicated to training every minute of every day, so the top bloggers have found something at which they excel, and then dedicated considerable amounts of time, energy and revenue to becoming the very best at what they do.
Understanding that second is a very good place to be
For most of us as small business owners and bloggers, achieving the gold standard in terms of ranking first on the search engines and becoming internet billionaires is probably a little out of reach.
However, placing second or third in the blogosphere is an outstanding achievement.
Gaining a silver for blogging would convey itself in terms of having enough traffic to ensure consistent revenue, developing a reputation for being a useful, interesting and indispensible site which customers choose to visit every day, and having the quiet confidence that your blog will support you to achieve business success, while those around you fail to even place on the podium.
I’m not saying we shouldn’t aspire to the Gold standard of blogging.
Each one of us has the skill, knowledge and dedication to achieve this if it’s our principal aim.
However, for most of us, blogging is not our primary business purpose. It usually functions as a marketing tool to support our main industry objectives.
If that is the case, we can comfortably seek out Silver or Bronze standards for our blog, and feel confident that we have given our very best to our trade, and achieved an outstanding result.
Bringing people together
The Olympics will showcase the very best of sporting talent from across the globe, bringing together people of all ages, nationalities and skill levels in a unified celebration of a common passion.
In a way, that is what it has most closely in common with blogging – the ability to transcend geographical and cultural barriers, and bring people close together for a short time, all sharing a common interest.
Each one of us runs a blog which shares information, reveals a small part of ourselves and our lives, and reaches out to people all over the world.
Through our blogs, we may not always achieve the Gold or even be standing close to the podium, but we can feel confident and satisfied that our sites are breaking down boundaries, unifying people with shared goals and passions, and contributing to our industry in a useful, interesting way.
Do you approach your bog like an Olympian and what affect has it had?
About the author: Andrew Rondeau operates the blog-building service We Build Your Blog. He didn’t send me a bio and said I could make up stuff about him. Instead of doing that, let me just say it’s absolutely true that in his spare time he puts on a pigeon costume and sits in a park feeding crackers to a small flock of Ken dolls scattered around his feet.