June 07, 2009

Why Some Blogs Fail

My blogging friend LB and I had a brief discussion on Twitter regarding why some blogs last and others don't. On a side note be sure to read his post on Hummus, see Benji, I am working on that Google page ranking. ;)

Anyhoo, he turned me onto this article from the New York Times called: Blogs Falling in an Empty Forest, or When The Thrill of Blogging is Gone. The question/topic of our tweeting was about why this happens and what it takes to survive. Before we get into that let's take a look at an excerpt from the article.
"Like Mrs. Nichols, many people start blogs with lofty aspirations — to build an audience and leave their day job, to land a book deal, or simply to share their genius with the world. Getting started is easy, since all it takes to maintain a blog is a little time and inspiration. So why do blogs have a higher failure rate than restaurants?

According to a 2008 survey by Technorati, which runs a search engine for blogs, only 7.4 million out of the 133 million blogs the company tracks had been updated in the past 120 days. That translates to 95 percent of blogs being essentially abandoned, left to lie fallow on the Web, where they become public remnants of a dream — or at least an ambition — unfulfilled.

Judging from conversations with retired bloggers, many of the orphans were cast aside by people who had assumed that once they started blogging, the world would beat a path to their digital door." [Emphasis in bold is mine J.B.]

If you want to be a successful blogger and be around for the long haul than you need one of two things to happen. Blogging has to be profitable or a passion. If you are lucky than you receive both.

When people ask me for advice on how to start a blog I always begin the conversation with a question, "Why do you want to start blogging?" If their answer is that they want to become rich and famous and hope that blogging will provide a platform for that I wish them good luck and ask them if they have really thought it out.

Do they have a plan? What is the blog going to be about? What blogging platform do they intend to use, Wordpress, Typepad etc? What is the name of their blog, have they secured the domain name etc?

These aren't hard questions to come up with. They don't require any real insight or expertise to develop. There are a million sites that ask and answer these questions. A million sites that tell you they can help you use the net to get rich.

Most bloggers won't ever make much money. Chances are they won't spend much time on any in developing a marketing plan. They won't really expend much effort on making it work. They'll dip their toes in and decide that it takes work and continue because they like it or just give up.

That is why I say that it takes passion. You have to enjoy this. You have to get something more out of it than just the hope that you might make a buck at it. Because it is like anything else, if you like doing it than chances are you'll stick with it.

At least that is what I think. What about you?

6 comments:

LB said...

As I said before, of course I agree. I do, however, wonder how many people actually do think they will become rich and famous by blogging. I am still a beginner blogger, and I have not had people ask me for advice on starting a blog, but I think I'd be pretty confused if the figures did point to a high number of people that think that blogging is a sure path to fame and fortune.

In any case, apart from business-related blogs, enjoying what you do, having a passion for it, is clearly necessary. In addition to the writing itself, what about blogging is it that one enjoys? I think that's exactly what you were talking about a few days ago, when you asked whether reader volume or comments were more important. Enjoying writing is very much a necessary part of it, but beyond that, is it simply knowing that many people read your words, or the interaction with readers, that fuels your passion? Like everything, the answer is somewhere in the middle, but in the short amount of time I've been doing this, I think finding that balance is a big part of blogging itself.

Jack said...

If my internet connection will hold up I'll actually be able to respond. It has crapped out twice.

Anyway, the interaction with people has been quite stimulating and that along with the love for writing has probably been what has sustained me. It takes energy to do this.

Ayrdale said...

Blogging should be used not to make money (although great if you can) but to resist !

The MSM are dominated by the liberal left, and their agenda is being fulfilled. This priceless tool (blogging) has been handed to us when it is sorely need.

Freedom needs an exchange of information, blogging helps satisfy that need.

Start blogging !

Adlai Stevenson may have had in mind when he said: "The first principle of a free society is an untrammelled flow of words in an open forum

The Misanthrope said...

I just went through and cut out all the dead blogs; it felt a bit sad.

Jack said...

Adlai Stevenson may have had in mind when he said: "The first principle of a free society is an untrammelled flow of words in an open forum

I like that.

M,

It does feel a bit like saying goodbye to some old friends.

James (SeattleDad) said...

Excellent points Jack. I completely agree. I don't make money, but I really do love blogging. It gives me a that creative outlet that I absolutely need and get nowhere else. Therefore I have managed to keep it up for nearly 3 years.