If you’re a blogger then you know just how hard it is trying to routinely come up with interesting, unique and timely material. Many bloggers succumb to the inevitable writers block and fade away. Some may resurface months, even years, later but many go down for the count and become a distant memory.
I’ve been blogging for just over two years now and in that time I’ve learned a lot of things. One of the big ones that many successful bloggers realize is that you can’t force material. Starting a blog is easy. You spend the first handful of months tossing up articles constantly. All the stuff that’s been floating around in your mind for years surfaces and you have a steady stream of material to work with. When that flame burns out though, what then?
Sometimes the blog dies away like mentioned above but other times people will try to force out articles. Don’t do it. You’re better off putting out fewer articles of high quality than you are writing more often and creating forced and weak material. We all want our blogs to get a crapton of visits and writing often definitely helps achieve that. However, if what you’re writing is not your best material then people will grow tired of reading your stuff and eventually just not bother visiting. I can’t count the amount of blogs where as the reader that’s been the case for me.
I’m not up on a pedestal here either. In my experience with blogging I’ve certainly put up my share of crap for the sake of trying to maintain some self-imposed schedule I created. Stats are addicting. I check my blog’s stats multiple times a day. Some of it is research, like when do I get the most traffic, but mostly it’s wanting to see each day and each month exceed the previous in terms of visits. I surmised that the more I post the more traffic I get and worked hard at putting out 5-6 articles a week. Most of the time I worked at maintaining that schedule I put out a lot of filler stuff. Some of that filler stuff stuck around and I continue to use it today because it has real value, like Community Pimp’n, but most of it was just a waste of everyone’s time; mine in writing it and yours if you read it.
That just wasn’t working. Sure, it boosted my numbers but I wasn’t getting responses and as a blogger I crave comments. I’d rather put out an article that only 100 people read but generates 20 comments then one in which 500 people read and nobody comments on. The only way to get that interaction is to produce quality material, plain and simple. Having a schedule I realized should be a guideline, something to aim for but not something to strictly adhere to. Letting a schedule dictate what goes up when kills creativity, at least for me and no doubt many others. I know others do well with schedules and it keeps them on track. If that works for you then use it. For those like me though you just can’t force out a good article just because it’s 4 hours until it should be up and you’ve got nothing yet.
Once I came to that realization and worked to that end I found the traffic came with it and with that traffic came comments. I was posting less frequently but the articles were better and readers were commenting as a result. The people commenting were also sharing the article and coming back to keep interacting with the article. The result was not only more comments but in turn more traffic. By producing fewer but better articles I was not stressing over a schedule, getting more readers and responses per-article and increasing my overall traffic. That’s a win-win.
My last experience I wanted to share regarding this topic is having additional authors. You see, I’m a bit greedy. I don’t do things in halves. I don’t work on a lot of things but when I work on something I want it to be the best damn whatever-it-is possible, like this blog. So, the traffic was coming and my articles weren’t crap, all good things. However, I still wanted more material and the only way to accomplish that and not kill myself doing it was getting additional authors. Long story short, this blog now has six others other than myself. Having other people putting up material takes even more stress away from me and makes my job that much easier. Additionally it gives you, the reader, varied content and hopefully everyone finds something they like here. It wasn’t easy getting additional authors but I’m glad I have them and they’re posting more and more frequently.
Hopefully my fellow bloggers can take something away from my experiences. Also, thanks to Rob over at Warhammer 39,999 for mentioning I should do an article about this topic.