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.
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?
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.