How many blogs do you or have you run? Seems to me most bloggers have three, at least. One may no longer be updated but damn them if they'll take it down and free up some breathing room on the interwebs. How many non-bloggers read your blog? Your mother doesn't count. Heck, half the bloggers out there have their mothers blogging too!
My point? Yeah right, I'm supposed to have one. Well that's it right there: Blogs and their multifarious posts are actually supposed to have a point
Nobody reads your blog? Quelle suprise! Most bloggers have an audience made solely of bloggers themselves. Except for, you know, the really popular folk like my new BFF Jessica (don't believe me? Check this post. She calls herself a "devoted reader." Even my own mother isn't a devoted reader. Jessica? Will you adopt me?). So, bloggers subscribe to a tundrillion blogs they never read in the hopes that the people they subscribe to will subscribe back. It's kinda like Twitter y'all. But what that means is that there are blogs that look active and yet no one reads them. The comment zone is a gaping hole like that in Aunt Nelda's chompers.
Come on. Are we each going to read fifty blogs a day? Every day? I don't know about you lot, but I actually do have a life. And my real life - you know, the one with the breathing people and the messes and no search box or SEO to make things easier - that gets in the way of this handy little virtual reality we have going on here where we all love each other and think the lot of us are brilliant writers just on the cusp of being discovered. There's a whole lot of people uploading videos to YouTube, but there's only one Justin whatshisface.
I, personally, have a handful of blogs in my "must read" list. Those are the ones I try to read every day. I have a fair number in my "reference list" - those awesome niche blogs that I may not read every day but are my go-tos when I need a craft, recipe, etc and I'll devour ten posts at once. And then I have my crap list. Not that I'm saying you're crap if you're on it. I won't subscribe to a blog that's utter crap - unless I'm throwing you a bone. But it's crap in my mental space that I don't often have time for. And then, of course, there are the 20 or so blogs that I keep forgetting to subscribe to and only read because they link their posts on Twitter or someone I subscribe to has them in their blogroll.
So, yeah, point. Here it is: if you want people to read YOUR blog out of the gabillion and one blogs out there you have to not be boring. It's as simple as that. If you're not boring and you play the game right you'll get readers. Problem is, there are a lot of boring blogs out there. You know the ones. The ones who:
1. Write about the same thing every day. Yup, niche blogs are awesome and will get you tonnes of SEO hits via google. But unless they're truly awesome, like Frugal Family Fun Blog, or No Time for Flashcards, or Bakerella you're not going to get people subscribing. And if you do get subscribers they will probably not read every day. Because, let's face it, Valerie is the only mom in the entire world organised enough to do a fun craft with the kids every day.
Here's the thing - bloggers have been around for a while. The majority of the niche markets are pretty full. Joe Blow from Arkansas will not make a big name for himself in a field where there are already 20 big names. Get over it.
2. Moan all the time. So some people seem to write blogs just so they can complain about how miserable their life is. This is mostly true of mommy bloggers, but there's others too. They're the ones who see the grey lining on the fluffiest, whitest, unicorn-shaped clouds. The moany mommy bloggers have miserable brats for kids, their husbands are useless twats and the school is always asking for money.
Save it for girls night out, missus. Seriously. Unless your life is really miserable - like third world impoverished with ten disabled kids and a convicted murderer husband - I'm not going to find it interesting. Yes, the occasional moan is fine - cathartic even. But try to be a bit lyrical about it or something. Like this one of mine. Because I'm a class A moaner (get your mind out of the gutter) but I try to do it with style.
3. Have a soapbox and use it. I'm a feminist, lactivist, back to earthavist, gay-marriage-supporting, special-needs-sympathising, Christian, pro-choicer. And I'm totally going to love some of your posts along these lines. I will also enjoy reading the other side. However, if that's all you ever talk about and there's nothing new going on, I will avoid you like the Latter Day Saints that come a-knocking on my door. I will shut out the lights, hide behind the couch and duct-tape the kids' mouths just to make you go away.
Get a life. That's all I have to say.
4. Write about every day stuff without a point. You might think you're being all "voice of the people" or perhaps you're going for deconstructivist irony. I don't give a hoo-ha. It's not working.
We can all churn out a "this is how my day went in point form" post once in a while, but unless you want the aforementioned Aunt Nelda and your mom to be your only readers, a blog is not an online journal. And if you are writing about the ordinariness of life, take a note from Kyran's page and make it sound good. Write about cleaning the bathroom floor but give us some modern-day behaviour analysis with it. 'kay?
5. Are perfect. Oh I get it, you savour the sweeter things in life. But if you post another pic of your little pixie in her handmade pink dress with nary a hair out of place while waxing lyrical about how she can count to 3 million during her gymnastics floor routine practice while you fix up a "little" gourmet dinner I will vomit. I will vomit hard. I will vomit heavy. And your immaculate kitchen floor and designer living room will get dirty - at least on my screen.
There's a little something called integrity and there's also being valid. I appreciate poetic license but unless you're so drugged up on Prozac that you actually live in another dimension I know there's dirt under your couch. Don't try to lie to me about it.
6. Act desperate. Each blogger is allowed one and exactly one and no more and preferably-not-even-that-one-but-it's-understandable post about why they don't seem to have any subscribers or comments or both. We will rally to your side and proclaim how wonderful you are before promptly ignoring you again. Unless you're really good and your little plea actually drew attention to how good you are (that's how I got Heather over at Note from Lapland to read me! Although it was a comment, not a post. And of course I'm not conceited enough to say I'm good.). Usually, though, if you want attention the best way to get it is to actually write a really good post. And then pimp your post like a train station whore.
The way to lose any potential reader's attention is to continue writing posts pleading for attention; leaving 20 comments over 15 days on the blog of someone who has never and will never read you; pimping your own post on Twitter every three minutes; or - my personal favourite- declaring that you're going to shut down your blog because nobody reads it - we're all nodding our heads and rooting you on there!
7. Have Wildly Schizophrenic Ambitions. If you're blogging because you're in love with Annie at PhD in Parenting and you want to respond to everything she writes with copious backlinks in the hopes that she will notice you and requite your love and then you decide that she's a stuck up bitch who will never respond to you because you're better than her so you decide to start mimicking The Bloggess because she's always been your second-choice for
8. Have No Clue About Grammar, Spelling or Syntax. If you flunked Grade 8 English twice? Don't blog. I'm not sure how much more I can say about that. Typos and the occasional verb tense gaffe are understandable. Posts that are harder to read than Vegemitevix's on predictive texting? Not good. Call up your Junior High English teacher and ask for some tutoring before you return to the blog world.
9. Don't Know When to Stop Writing. Some people write 400 word posts. Yup, 400 words. I can't even tell someone how to brush their teeth in 400 words. But there are those who do it. London City Mum? Brilliant - in 400 words or less. Most blog posts tend to be in the 500-800 word count. A decent number, informative yet precise. Then there are the rest of us, like myself and Very Bored in Catalunya who tend to be in the 1000 range and sometimes higher. It's because we have a lot to say and we haven't figured out how to work the humour in without upping the word count. If your posts are longer than mine, you're doomed. Heck there are days even I get bored reading mine.
If your reader has to scroll for five minutes to get from the first word to the last, you might want to re-think the whole blogging thing and become an auctioneer or something instead. Because nobody wants to suffer from eye-strain to read your nuggets of wisdom. Even Jesus knew to keep his parables brief.
So on that note, I'll shut-up. Yeah I said ten. I gave you nine. I'm unpredictable like that. It's what keeps me interesting...
Ok, one more thing. If your blog is full of reviews? Get lost. You bore me to tears.
Got anything to add? Keep it interesting...