Monday, February 8, 2016

Is Making and Maintaining a Popular Blog Best for You and Your Vision?

(from j4p4n's collection)

So when I first decided to come back on the writing scene I wanted to freelance write for others.  It wasn't just that I loved writing, it was that I hated my job.  I thought I'd kill two birds with one stone by writing again and feeding that part of me that keeps me stable, and making money at it--which would free me from my job.

(from from johnny_automatic's collection)

It was a few days research before I dove whole heartedly to blogging and surfing freelance sites for work.   I figured, look at all these people who do this, I can do it too!

I wrote a lot, and at first I felt better.  Writing anything after so long away was a relief, a purge of poison, and a dopamine injection straight to my neural pathways.

(from from GDJ's collection)

 Watching the numbers stack up also really boosted my confidence.  I thought it would take me months to build up a 1000 page hits, again based off previous interest.  It only took a month to hit 2000 page views.

The glow in victory was short lived.  Before long, I dreaded the blogging.   Instead of looking forward to sharing different thoughts and insights, I looked at it like so much work.  How will I title and structure this post for maximum hits?  Which communities will I post this in for advertising and have I read and commented on enough recent posts to get return traffic?  Have I looked at my core folks' blogs and +1, commented, reposted enough for them recently I feel confident in a return?  Do I have enough spacing between my own self promotion posts and posting other interesting articles?  Are the articles I'm posting of value, saying something new and different or at least saying it in an engaging way?

(from Steren's collection)

It became less and less about the writing and more about the marketing, or to use a buzz word more about the "brand".   At core, successful blogging comes down to creating a "personal brand" and marketing your "brand" to what people want.  People don't want to read frustrated rants about customers doing annoying things--especially when they may be that customer and doubly so if there's no suggestions on how to be less annoying.

(from j4p4n's collection)

  • Readers want helpful advice broken into neat lists and bullet points. 

  • Ideally, Readers want titles that tell them there are X number of things to look at here.  No matter how well formatted the following work, no one will look if the title doesn't suggest a strong list.

  • Readers want tons of fun graphics that are engaging and apply to the posts they're reading. (and in this post, I've done an excessive amount of graphics.  Turns out I have a love hate relationship with supplying graphics for posts)   

  • Readers want a cheery positive tone.  Better if it can be funny but minimally a positive can do attitude is needed.
(from johnny_automatic's collection) 

  • Readers want to see you doing more than just writing.  They want to see you curating quality levels of knowledge in at "niche".  If they go to your feed, they want to see you liking and sharing related articles--even better if they see interaction between you and a more authoritative writer/blogger from the same "niche" positively interact
So what do Readers give Writers in return for all these extra hours of work--besides an audience?   Truthfully, the Writer gets nothing if he or she isn't selling or promoting a "brand" related service.   Adsense and amazon marketing tactics have shown to provide bloggers less than dollars a day in most instances.  So really, blogging isn't the money maker, it's the new advertising.  The question is--what am I advertising?  Is getting a ton of hits really effective to what I'm marketing?  Could I promote better through forum interaction that would be less demanding than maintaining a popular blog?  Do I get enjoyment or can I produce efficiently when blogging in the specific format it take to generate hits?

For me (and perhaps others)  it became apparent that blogging in the way that's designed to generate larger traffic was too exhausting.  While I felt driven to work on my novel, to browse through my poetry library, to share new thoughts and apply for more freelancing--the sheer time it took to maintain my presence via the blog ate all my time.

It's better for me to be more causal, with less readership, but have time to work on my actual projects: the novel and learning swift and playing with my Aquaponics fish tank.

For those of you who thought this would be a list of all the stuff to make a good blog--don't fret!  It's not in my goal set but I know who to follow to make that happen.  May I suggest:

Bloggers Who Offer Advice on Having a Successful Blog/Freelancing Career Whom I very much enjoyed reading and interacting with:
Kristy Stuart
Elna Cain
Sherman Smith
Sue Ann Dunlevie
Juntae DeLane
Carol Tice
Jeremy Crow
Gina Horkey