Just over a week ago, I saw an article where some media expert offered advice to bloggers to drive traffic, comments, followers. You know the things we all live for. Most of it was stuff people who blog regularly already know. It's fair to say no one knows when they start out, or at least I didn't. But I asked other bloggers, and they told me. No experts needed.
But one thing really bothered me. This person thinks that if you're planning just to blog some here and there, you should give it up all together. Because you need frequent posts (at least daily, but really multiple times a day is best). This is what you have to do to get traffic, and if you're not going to have traffic don't wast your time. Wow!
This is probably good advice if you're hoping for a Julie to Julia style book deal, but in that case you need more than just multiple posts. You need luck. And even if that is what you're hoping for, your blog has to have some kind of aim. No one is going to read trash three times a day just because it's updated. It's true bigger blogs with lots of followers have a larger number of comments than some of their smaller counter parts, but if you look at the number of comments as a percent of the followers, it's often less than 1. I'd rather have a few followers that read and value what I say, than a lot of "LOL" gibberish, just because my URL shows up everywhere.
People blog for lots of reasons. I started my first blog, because I needed to write every day and I wasn't ready to start a new manuscript. I have no real hobbies, so the only thing that seemed natural to me was book reviews. Besides, Stephen King said writers need to read. Project 52 made me read and gave me something to write about. It was six months before I got one comment. Lots of days, I thought about quitting, but wanted to finish my project. Then I decided I'd just suffer through this project unread and when it was over just stop. But when I got my first comment, I learned people had been reading me. They couldn't follow me or comment due to some technical problem with my template. And in the six months I blogged with no comments and no followers I'd taught myself basic html, how to write a decent review, voice, and characterization, as well as to have a thick skin because no matter how hard you work no one is reading you anyhow!
Last week, I lost all of my followers thanks to another google error. Don't get me wrong, I felt like quitting. But I had another project to finish, so I didn't. I've got some followers back, not as many as I had, but I'll re-build. I'm not quitting, because I'm learning to plot, furthering my voice, finding a good genre fit for me, and either meeting or maintaining relationships with interesting people who often know more than me.
Traffic is not the most important thing, unless that's all you're interested in gaining from blogging. I don't think anyone should ever tell anyone to just "give up all together." This is a great experience, and it's true you're going to get out of it what you put into it, but even if you only blog for six months before life takes over and you can't anymore, you'll most likely learn something--come out of it more well-rounded or with some new perception.
Okay, I'm off my soap box now. *Beth steps off of box*
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