I know people with extremely unsuccessful blogs that are always asking me to look at their blogs and tell them what’s wrong. I tell them that they have a very focused blog — which is what “they” tell you at Blogging Central.

Find a focus! Stick with it! NOT.

I don’t know why they say that. Especially if The World — or more to the point, your audience — is not responding. What’s the point in an uncompromising fixation on a losing format? If no one is following you, are you leading?

The snow of last evening

No matter how you slice and dice it, there is a necessary compromise between blogging for yourself and writing to attract readership. There’s no point to blogging if no one likes your work.

I’m also deeply suspicious of people who announce they don’t care whether or not anyone visits their site. If that were really true, why bother to blog? Keep a diary and save a lot of effort. Much of the joy of blogging is being part of a community, of forming relationships. If no one but you cares, it’s like spinning your wheels and going nowhere — without the added benefit of toning your muscles.

If you are rigidly uncompromising, you are probably doomed. In life, on your blog, in your relationships. A comfortable survival always requires compromise.

I try not to get blinded by my own enthusiasm. To remain mindful that  because I love it doesn’t mean others do. When I post obscure material, I know it’s probably not going to find a big audience.

Ultimately, there’s no logical explanation why one post hits big and another crashes and burns. I have run the same posts multiple times and gotten different results with each. The post hasn’t changed, but luck and timing do. Luck and timing are the wild cards when you’re a blogger.

And finally, there’s that ineffable issue of quality. If you are a very good writer and a brilliant photographer, you will find an audience. No matter what you write about or what you photograph. If you are not very good, no amount of excellent advice will save you from going nowhere. I never know what to say to young bloggers who think writing a post in mobile phone abbreviations will appeal to a bigger audience — accompanied by blurry pictures.

No matter what you do, it helps to be very good at it. 

It’s a balancing act. I write about what interests me and occasionally, make those little shifts to help other people enjoy it too. Mostly, it works reasonably well … and best of all, I get to be me and love what I do.

Categories: Art and special effects, Blackstone Valley, Blogging, Photography, Winter

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34 replies

  1. I’ve never figured out the blogging stats so I stopped trying and am more comfortable. In reality, if a blogger has 500 followers, how many really ‘follow’ the blog – 1%? I read posts, and try to ‘like’ or comment so the blogger knows I visited. Sometimes, I just don’t have a comment and I’ve stopped trying to force one. I love the blogging community and it makes me smile to see and read the comments – the interaction is what we all write for, right?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve also given up trying to come up with something to say when I don’t really have anything to say. But I leave a “like” so at least they know I stopped by. I do read. I just don’t always fine words that mean anything. I have 14,650 following. Probably 50 comment and from that 50, a dozen comment regularly. I have NO idea where the others are, whether they ever stop by or they are just dead weight. I used to go in and periodically clean them out, but I gave up. It was a lot of futile effort because they bounce back. I’m pretty sure all those “insurance” companies and “floor cleaning” companies are some kind of bot. I think mostly Indian or Pakistani. A lot of them are Chinese or maybe Korean because that’s the language in which they write. I get tons of followers — I suppose it’s a side bar to “popularity” and I’m sure at least half of them are bots or spammers and scammers.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I agree 100%. As I wrote a few years ago … All Dogs Must Be On Leashes and All Blogs Must Be In Niches. Phooey!


  3. I used to have a popular blog that went all over the place. I deleted it last year. Somehow it had gone stale. I’ve started up a few new ones since then. I tried the special interest blog but grew bored with it so deleted that one too. 🙂 My latest blog rambles around a loose theme. It is starting to grow a bit now and I am very grateful to all my followers.
    Personally I blog to communicate and consider my most successful blog posts are those that engage people in conversation. I love it when people post comments that help me broaden my own thinking on a particular subject.
    One post I wrote (on my old blog) that still received visitors years after I wrote it was a post about being an introvert and blogging to communicate – many, many people commented that they were introverted and blogged to communicate.
    It’s great to get followers, I agree. It’s also great to get good comments and build up online friendships. I also enjoy the way writing can help me clarify my own thinking processes.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Most of the time, comments are my favorite reason for blogging. I know I have a lot more followers than I ever hear from. I wish they would occasionally say SOMETHING. Anything. The only reason this hasn’t gone stale is because I enlisted more writers. Friends who write. I couldn’t carry this alone anymore.

      I don’t think I have the strength of character to start another blog, regardless. I think maybe I’m also too old to start over, so I’ll run this as long as I am able. If the stats drop — as I think they will — that’s okay too. The friendships built online are real to me, even though I know how quickly and suddenly they can vanish. I hope that won’t happen, but I know by now that they easily can.

      Liked by 1 person

      • It is a good idea to maintain a popular blog if you can. I lost of a lot of good followers who regularly left comments in all my mucking around. I think they got sick of me- I know I did!
        I do find that readership stats fluctuate. I through times of high readership and then flat times when no one much visited. Sometimes it turns out to be for simple reasons like public holidays or bad weather. Other times people are just too busy.
        I agree about online friendships. One of the reasons I came back to blogging again was because I missed my conversations with online friends. I often find online friendships can really get into some interesting areas whereas face-to-face friendships sometimes don’t get much past talking about the weather or how the grandkids are doing.
        I know what you mean about the people who just click like and never comment. I wrote about it once and got lots of comments from the ‘likers’ saying they were too busy to comment or didn’t really know what to say even though they enjoyed what I wrote. It really made me feel bad that I’d questioned their right to ‘like’ but not comment. Not every one wants to draw attention to themselves by commenting. 🙂
        Anyway – thanks for this interesting conversation. I’m glad I found your blog.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I believe people are attracted to a certain style of writing. You are honest and clear about your topic (which constantly changes adding interest and inviting participation) I love that about you. It’s all well and good to find a niche, but that is limiting in and of itself. Write about what interests you, what you care about, how you see the world, others will follow. Just sayin’! hehe

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you. That is really what I try to do. I can’t do it every day. I used to be able to do a daily thing, but I seem to need longer to think things through these days. I seem to be less casual about writing these days. It’s become a more serious world.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, it is indeed a more serious world. Too much so. Too many take offense at nothing and react with crazy responses. A little humour is a welcome thing. You are quite often subtle, but your humour is definitely there. No matter when you write, I’ll read because I enjoy your take on the world.

        Liked by 2 people

  5. My blog has no niche, no particular theme, and no real focus. I respond to prompts, write flash fiction, and post observations on politics and life. Apparently something about my posts resonates with people because, while I don’t have nearly as many followers as you do, nor get as many views as I’m sure your posts do, I do get views, likes, and most important, good comments. As far as I’m concerned, that’s what this blogging thing is all about.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Considering how briefly you’ve been blogging, you’re doing great. But that’s also what happened to me. I went from nothing to a lot in less than a year. Sometimes, if your writing catches interest, you can do very well pretty fast. The people who do poorly are often poor writers too. They don’t do well because they aren’t very good.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. You are right there would not be a lot of point in blogging just for yourself unless you have a private blog as a kind of diary or record for your family I guess. I know that I would not have kept doing it for nearly five years if I thought nobody was reading it. It is the interaction with other bloggers that makes it fun. I do try to be consistent in posting at least a couple of times a week on both my blogs. I like to take pictures and I like to share them. The doll blog covers a wide range of subjects especially now my sister has joined in. The other one is not as widely read but there are a small group of “regulars” that always read and comment which is nice. For some reason the most popular post I ever wrote for that one is about superstitions about certain plants being unlucky. Never figured out why it gets so many hits or been able to duplicate its popularity but I hope I might produce another one people like as much one day.

    Liked by 1 person

    • My most popular blog is about being a B+ blood type in a family of A and O types. It isn’t even a particularly clever article and the research didn’t uncover anything of great interest. Moreover, it got almost NO hits when it first went up, but gets hundreds of hits a month now. Which is weird. I have no idea why it’s popular.

      There’s no explaining this stuff except that maybe it gets a lot of hits from Google. Google explains a lot of mysterious stuff. One month last year, Google picked up everything I wrote, so I got monstrous numbers. They they moved on. I don’t know why they picked me up OR why they dropped me.

      Some of this stuff is really a lottery.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes that’s what I thought might be happening. That for some reason Google just picked up on this particular post as the title-Superstition, Unlucky Plants would be words that people would search with. I wrote it 4 years ago and still get hits every week although it was not a huge success at the time. I occasionally get huge spikes in the doll blog figures when it goes up from the average couple of hundred views a day to 500-1,000 and I assume this is the same thing happening.
        Or it is spammers which is also quite likely.


  7. Thank you for your thoughts, Marilyn. As a new blogger, my reasons for blogging are constantly changing. When I first started, it was because I wanted to raise an important issue. Then it was for my children, so that in the future, they can know me. When you are young, you have a lot of other priorities before wanting to know your mother’s story. Much to my surprise, I’m still blogging after eight months. I think I’m doing it for fun now. 🙂

    I really enjoy your blog and your comments. It’s nice to have intelligent conversation.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Good hear your thoughts on the matter Marilyn.


    • Well, that’s what I thought of when I saw the “clue.” I really have NO idea what I’m going to say until i say it. Sometimes, I have nothing to say, so I do something else. Lately, I’ve been getting hits from baby bloggers who want me to tell them what’s wrong with their blogs. Most of the time, they don’t write well and their pictures aren’t very good, but I can’t tell them that. I want to be encouraging — difficult if you can’t spy anything like “talent” in the mix. Oh well. Some of them will try harder and get better. Most of them decide it’s too much like work.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I don’t have very big following considering I’ve been doing this for five years now, but that’s really OK. I think most of my followers probably vanished years ago. That’s a thing; for many, this is a temporary activity motivated by all kinds of things like “I’m going to see if I can do this every day for a year.”

    I WAS following a newish blogger, but every post began with the number of words and how long it would take to read it. The effect of that on me was “I don’t have time for that” meaning I was turned off before I started. That is a lack of audience awareness on the part of that blogger.

    A lot depends on why a person writes a blog — I don’t know why I write a blog. It’s just become the first thing I do in the morning and, sometimes, good stories emerge. I like many of the people I’ve “met” in this online world and some are now friends. I enjoy reading the posts the dog-people who have recently started following my blog. I dunno. This all began as a way to market my novels and ended up a thing all by itself.

    My previous blogs (which were on Blogger and some still are) were usually private. I began writing them back in 2008 as a way to “cathart” from the Evil X. I did this by writing — every evening after school and sometimes early in the morning (4 am!) before school — one great memory from my life. It was a catalog of good stuff that had happened as a way to counter the disaster I found myself in when I threw him out. At the moment, I have posts on Medium. They are about teaching and they are read more than anything I’ve ever written on WordPress even though it’s been a year or more since I’ve written anything there. They are about teaching and it makes me very happy to know that young teachers are finding them helpful. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    • My audience comes and goes. I have a few people who have followed me since day 1 … and the rest just vanish. Most bloggers vanish in relatively short order. I’m surprised when they actually are still around a year later. A few have been around LONGER than me. I have almost gotten used to people just vanishing without a trace. It used to bother me, but I gave up and realized it’s a transitory world.

      You are a brilliant writer. People will find you. I found you. And kept following you even when you didn’t have a blog. Some of us are tenacious 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  10. My blog is certainly a variety show in its own right, but I think I get too complacent relying on my weekly features as the bread and butter of my content. I try to throw something unexpected and random (and, of course, sarcastic and hopefully funny) out there from time to time to keep from getting too stale… but yeah, there’s a lot of people out there who just don’t get it. Another reason they might fail at blogging is that they see it as a one way street… they want people to read them, but have no desire to read or interact on the blogs of others.

    Liked by 3 people

    • People who don’t answer comments and never read anyone else’s stuff remain marginal. I get tired of people who never respond and eventually, I will delete them. There’s too much else going on.

      Your blog is fine, though I have to admit — I really miss your comic strip. That was a high point of my blogging week. We’ve been at this a LONG time. I think because we’ve stuck with it, we have developed an audience. Everyone knows we will be there — and we respond to followers. We are communal and that counts a LOT.

      Liked by 2 people

      • I know it was loved and it was one thing people really did seem to look forward to… and I feel really bad about just dropping it like I did because I got behind/burned out/kinda lost interest. Maybe someday I will bring it back…


        • Or maybe you’ll find something else that works. I get tired of stuff too. But I’m lucky because I was never focused on one thing, so when I get tired of something and drop it, mostly no one even notices. I don’t even remember what it was after a few weeks. Stuff rolls by so FAST.


  11. I cannot agree more. In my case, I don’t attract a lot of traffic because I’m not regular and I understand the fact that I could never be regular with blogging. Partly because I have so many other commitments and partly because I have very few ideas to write on.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. I have been blogging for about 10 years, perhaps 5-6 with success but what is success. I am still searching for it. Strange sometimes what I write I do not find so good, but have record likes. We are dealing with thousands of opinions here, so I suppose the road to success has many twists and turns. I have found my little corner in WordPress, and found many wonderful friends, but my blogging secret? I have no idea, but I do not blog for myself, I blog for my blog.

    Liked by 4 people

    • My only secret seems to be remaining mildly interesting. And keeping pictures in focus. There IS no magic. But there is UN-magic. Bad writing, unfocused pictures. People who use lots of words and don’t say anything. Then, of course, there’s determination. Writing even when you don’t feel like it makes a difference. If people know they will always find something new to read on your site, they are more likely to visit. if they never know if you are going to write, they move on. Consistency matters and humor counts.

      And it never hurts to write about cats and dogs 😀

      Liked by 6 people

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