Why do I blog?
Statistics suggest a new Blog is created every half a second. Do the math and that works out to 7,200 per hour, 172,800 per day, 63 million per year. Factor in an almost exponential acceleration rate over the past three years, and you begin to get the picture. Astounding. We’re now living in a world where more people own a mobile device than a toothbrush. Wow. Not sure when it happened, possibly when we slept, but the ‘winds of change’ have evolved into a cyclone. Nothing short of an EMP blast and complete collapse of the electrical grid can slow the progress. That or a zombie apocalypse.
Which brings me to the question. Why do I do it?
Blogging is not my first web presence, but I consider myself a novice in the field. I spent considerable time researching, perusing sites and gathering information, prior to diving into the pool, or ocean rather. Five months later, I still consider myself a beginner.
Like many, I struggle to keep motivated, especially on days when my site visit bar graph remains flat lined. Those are the challenging times. Other days I plod on convincing myself I’m in a developmental phase, still searching for my niche, still carving out my tiny piece of that vast ocean of information, one droplet at a time.
My original purpose for starting a blog was to help reinvent my writing regiment, to get back on that horse I tethered and abandoned, and begin creating again. I set moderate goals and promised myself I’d stay the course for three months, then step back and re-evaluate. With a full-time job and day-to-day family life to contend with, posting once a week was a reasonable goal, both manageable and attainable. Off I went.
My initial success, was limited.
After two and a half months, with a handful of followers and sporadic site visits, I was ready to pack it in. Doubts crept in, questions swirled.
Does anyone care about what I write?
Is it all crap?
Am I kidding myself?
I stopped and reassessed. Having been down the road of self-doubt before, I made a conscious decision to end the dispute with my ‘internal editor’ (that little voice that constantly reminds me I can’t write). I’ve come to realize the longer you entertain those negative thoughts, the more likely they are to win. Although not entirely in context, I found the words of Mark Twain relevant, nonetheless:
“Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.”
If I allow it, my internal editor will drag me down and win. Experience is a powerful opponent.
So I regrouped.
Was I really doing that poorly? How do I define success? Is it all about the traffic? Google analytics?
I’ve read an exhausting number of articles on increasing blog traffic. Some tactics I incorporate; striving for quality content, interacting with others bloggers, commenting, +1-ing, evergreen topics, utilizing social media.
But in other areas I miss the mark, especially when it comes to defining my niche. Trying to build a loyal following for a blog that essentially has no central focus, is difficult, if not impossible. Add to this the issue of low blogging frequency, shorter posts (under 1000 words), no guest blogging, limited ability to incorporate SEO plug-ins, and the picture becomes clear. Traffic isn’t beating down my door.
But back to the question. Why do I blog?
To write. Create. Remember, getting on that horse?
When did site traffic become the issue?
When I lost focus. When I spent more time checking analytics than I did writing.
The ‘aha’ moment.
To mark a new beginning, I upgraded my free WordPress account to Premium – adding motivation. As a measuring stick, and to keep myself on track, I set an unofficial goal of attracting one new follower each week. While conservative as far as goals go, or perhaps laughable to some, for me, the modest target ensured I would, at the very least, continue to post quality material. At least I hope so.
Two months after my ‘aha’ moment, I’m managing to hit the mark. Not knocking it out of the park, but hitting the mark. While I still contend with challenges and occasional doubts, I press on. Fame, fortune or glory is not a primary directive for me, at least not at this point. Blogging is not a means to an end, but a platform for creativity. A deal is a deal. I promised myself I’d write, so shut up and write.
For aspiring bloggers, whether your initial motivation is money, fame, passion, expression, fun, or a combination therein, a time will come when you question yourself. Be it writer’s block, lack of motivation, poor traffic, or some jackass’ comment on a post, your internal editor may start nattering in your ear.
My advice – shut it down immediately.
And get back to work.
I realize only too well that information from successful, seasoned bloggers is rampant and available in a never ending sea of pop-up widgets at every mouse click. Why listen to a novice when you can follow a 10,000-hit-a-day professional’s step by step guide for instant success?
Valid argument. I don’t propose a recipe for success. If I find one, I’ll be more than happy to share. For me, it’s about sharing experiences, connecting, and knowing you aren’t the only one.
In the time it’s taken you to read this post, 500 new Blogs have been born. More competition. But consider this. Ninety percent of those new Blogs will be abandoned within three months. If you outlast that group, you’re already way ahead of the curve.
As for me, I’m still on my spiritual blogging journey, seeking out my niche, looking for my rhythm, treading water in that vast ocean. Not quite swimming with the dolphins, but not drowning either. More importantly I am thankful. I’m one of the lucky ones.
I have a mobile device and a toothbrush.
Until next time,