Sunday, October 25, 2015

So You Want to Start a Blog?

This blog has been around for more than 10 years, has about 7,400 published posts, and has had over 7 million page views.

It's produced by one person who has a full time job and a lot of divergent interests along with a wife, two kids, a small pack of dogs, and a large yard that needs constant maintenance.

This blog makes no money, and it accepts no advertising.

It went for years without allowing comments as most comments were actually spam or people who wanted to waste my time in endless pointless debate. The spam has (mostly) gone away, and this blog has adopted a policy designed to keep trolls, zombies, and time wasters at bay.

I bring this up because someone on a list asked about what was the best platform for blogging -- Blogger, Word Press, or something else.

Here's the short answer there: the HTML platform you choose may be the least important part of a blog.

The real question is closer to home:  Who the hell are you, how well can you think, and can you REALLY keep up the research and writing game for so little reward?

The failure of most blogs is not a failure of hardware or software; it's a failure of discipline, creativity, tenacity, and ability.

A blog is supposed to be a continuing thing ... a "Web Log" of ideas and actions, debates and information, pictures, links, and tips.

Most people are not very good at the continuing part of a blog.  Instead, they start off just like most people who go to the gym or who start training their puppy -- they sign up for the package and never follow through to a strong positive result.  No disciplineNo Kung Fu.  Since there is no quick and immediate reward (cash, praise, or fame), they almost always quit after a few days or a few weeks or a few months.  Not many bloggers have 30 posts, much less 300, or 3,000.

Some folks gather up several people to produce very good blogs.  This is a good plan of attack.  If you do it this way, the energy and focus needed to create content on a regular basis is spread out. Many hands make light work

That said, to be successful, a blog also has to have a voice, a topic, and a point of view, and if there are several people writing, everyone has to hold up their end while tolerating a fair amount of nonsense or poor craft from the others on the team.  It's hard enough to get one knowledgeable person to work for free without cash, fame, praise, or audience.

Getting 5 people to do it and sustain the effort for two, three, or more years? 

Good luck with that!


Donald McCaig said...

Dear Patrick,

When I taught a writing class I'd ask my students: "What are you willing to stop doing to find the time."

Congratulations on ten years. It's the only blog I lread daily.

Donald McCaig

Shannon Gentry said...

Thank you Patrick. I once quit your blog but came back when I realised that you have such great energy and a voice that I like to read. When I quit for a while it was over an opinion with which I disagreed. But you alway leave your blog open for real discussion, many of which have changed me or led me on to discover new ideas. I love reading the comments, always! I'm without a dog right now, but know so much more now waiting for the next one to come to me and it will be with more knowledge than before. Thanks again.

geonni banner said...

I find blogging very satisfying, even with no comments. I've done it nearly every day for 3 years and have pulled about 34,000 hits. (two incarnations of the same blog - I started over because of extreme spamming.) I have a few daily viewers and a lot of regulars - once a week or so.

I have done it without a having mostly single topic, but I do have about 4 regular themes that are represented every few days. I think a (mostly single-topic blog is better for pulling daily hits. But the "magazine" style I use is more fun. And I'm not in it for the money either.

jeffrey thurston said...

i like your blog mostly because I believe 99% of what you write about dogs. I cured my dog Baxter of what I thought was an incurable flea allergy by using suggestions from your blog. As far as the rest- I don't necessarily agree with you politically but when you do write about politics it is usually argued intelligently and well. you are a good writer- I'd say that is your best asset for what you do. your terrier/working dog point of view is spot on and perfectly expressed! and I love arguing canine origins with you!