Blogging about disability can be a hugely rewarding experience, but it can also be challenging. This post will cover both the rewarding aspects as well as the challenging, so read on!
- A Disability?
Let’s start with a controversial question first. Do you actually need to be disabled to blog about disability?
Well, think about the disability slogan, “nothing about us without us.” And think about how us disabled have been struggling to have our voices heard and in our own voices. So, YES you need to have a disability to blog about disability, but then again, the role of an ally and the role of parents are also very important. Their voices and perspectives need to be heard as well.
First and foremost though, those of us with a disability should be leading the way, as are these YouTubers with disabilities:
2. A Good Network
A good network is vital for blog success because by linking to and interacting with other bloggers, you can help boost your own SEO. Secondly, by directly collaborating with other bloggers or organizations, you can introduce your voice to a wider audience, and grow your readership.
Lastly, by growing your network, you will not only boost the success of your blog but will get to interact with some pretty interesting people. Some may even have had similar experiences to yourself… which is always heartening.
3. An Original Voice
Just like any blogger, you will need an exciting and original voice to gain followers and spread your message. However, you don’t need to worry too much about your writing and grammar skills here, as there are sites like Grammarly that can help you with those.
Instead, it’s much more important to really consider why you are writing your blog and what your long terms goals for it are. These might be things such as educating people on a particular condition, disorder, or disability, providing help and support for those with a disability, documenting your own personal journey experiencing a disability or supporting someone that has one, or even breaking down the barriers between those that are disabled and those that are not, and fighting discrimination.
It is these elements that need to flow into your blog, and it will be your personal, direct experience of them that will seep into your voice and ensure its original and exciting to your readership.
4. The Right Resources And Equipment
Of course, to blog successfully about disability, you will need to consider the nuts and bolts of blogging, like computer access. Depending on your disability, you will obviously need to figure things like audio or visual access.
You’ll need a fast internet connection that doesn’t cost the earth especially if you’re planning on streaming any video on your blog. Luckily, you can get access to some prepaid internet that is super fast these days. Something that will allow you to upload your content quickly.
You will also need to pick the right platform for your blog too. The top one being WordPress, Squarespace, Tumblr, and Blogger. Which one you decide on will depend on your particular need and which choice can fulfill these the best.
5. Good SEO
Now we have touched on the topic of SEO in the networking section, but getting your blog to the top of the search results when someone googles a related topic is a bit more than just network links.
In fact, SEO as a subject can be quite complicated and it’s worth doing some research into how it works before you start to tweak things on your site. For example, including keywords relevant to the subject you are blogging on in your posts is crucial to being found by the right audience. You can even use tools like the Google Keyword Tool to help you establish which keywords are trending and so which would be the best choice to use.
Then there are tags. You know, the words or phrases that have the #hashtag symbol before them. These are used as markers in social media to show what topic the post is about. Something that makes it much easier for individual leaders to be able to find the subjects that they are most interested in. Therefore using hashtags like #disabilityblogger can help you grow your audience because they will much more easily be able to discover your site.
Last of all when it comes to SEO, don’t forget to set relevant categories for the subject that you talks about on your blog. Something that can also help push your site to the top of the search results.
Of course, remember too that just because your blog about disability doesn’t mean you can’t have other categories on there as well. In fact, by talking about other popular or trending issues, you may also be able to bring in a wider readership. Something that is essential if one of your goals is to educate people about a particular condition, disorder, or disability.
6. Emotional Resilience
Next, if you are going to make a success of your blog about disability you are going to need to dig deep and find as much emotional resilience as possible because putting your story and struggle out there for everyone to see can be tough.
In fact, it can make you feel extremely vulnerable, and while there is a ton of supportive people out there, it is entirely possible that you will run across those that have a less than favorable view of you or what you are doing too.
In fact, the way we’ll be a lot of people that are judgmental, or are entirely naive to the condition that you are experiencing. Something that may lead them to say offensive or insulating things because they just don’t understand.
Of course, there are even those people that are straight-up trolls and post commons or rude things just to get a reaction online! A situation that bloggers like Carly Findlay at http://carlyfindlay.blogspot.com.au who had a subreddit made mocking her, which she then converted into a place to inform people about ichthyosis, has encountered frequently online.
However, Carly’s story proves that it is possible to survive such online nasties and come out of it having educated more people on your condition, while still holding your head high. Something that reinforces that having emotional resilience can really be an advantageous quality when blogging about disability.
7. Great Time And Energy Management Skills
Finally, if you want to be successful at blogging about disability don’t forget that time and energy management skills are crucial. In fact, these skills are essential for anyone that is blogging or even engaged in creative tasks, because it’s all too easy to be sucked in by the tail and the desire to achieve perfection, when most of the time good enough will not only do but is an infinitely more partial way to approach things.
Of course, as many disabilities include energy limitations, being able to manage this side of things is crucial for those of us blogging about this subject from our own experience.
After all, there are only so many spoons per day. Therefore if you use them all up blogging, you may end up leaving other important, life-affirming and energizing activities undone!
It’s essential that you remember to prioritize yourself first, and then your blog. This is because while you have a valid contribution to make on this subject to the blogosphere, life can be hard enough with a disability as it is, without adding the extras strain of forcing yourself to post new content every day!
If you overextend yourself, you risk losing the passion for blogging on the subject of disability altogether. Something that you will definitely need to keep alive to be successful over the long term.