No matter how many ways you slice and dice it, there is always some compromise between blogging for oneself and designing posts to attract a bigger audience. There’s little reason to blog if no one else is enjoying your work. I’m suspicious of people who say they don’t care whether or not anyone visits their site. If that were true, why bother? Why not keep a diary? Much of the joy of blogging is being part of a community, of forming relationships all over the world.
The compromise? I try not to get blinded by my own enthusiasms and remain mindful that some things I love aren’t interesting to most other people. My passion for medieval history and religious philosophy is not everybody’s cup of tea. Even my most ardent fan — my husband — will glaze over when I stay over long in one of these areas. So, when I post this material, I don’t expect to draw a huge audience. I’ve been occasionally surprised when such a post is well-received. Then again, I’m often not so pleasantly surprised when a post I think will have great appeal goes uncommented and unnoticed.
There’s no logical explanation why one post hits big and another does not find an audience. I have run the same posts multiple times and gotten very different results each time though I haven’t changed anything. Luck and timing count too. That’s the wild card.
For the most part, I do what pleases me. I know writing on “hot” topics can produce bigger numbers, but I will only get involved in current trends if it genuinely interests me. Overall, my strategic lack of strategy has worked out pretty well. I get decent numbers, have a loyal following, have formed good relationships with other bloggers and as a reward, genuinely enjoy what I’m doing. If I only wrote to get “the popular vote,” it would be like having an unpaid job. On the other hand, knowing that there are people out there who really like my stuff is satisfying and makes the effort worth it. Without the satisfaction of sometimes making a difference, I’d quit.
It is a balancing act. I won’t ignore the topic or event that appears to be on everyone’s mind, but I will not automatically write about the current hot topic just because it’s hot. I try to avoid mindless partisanship and to keep an open mind. Easier said than done. I could be more popular if I worked at it, but the place I am is good. I believe it will get better. I’m not tied to a boss or an editorial policy.
I get to be myself. So far, so good.
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