August 24, 2009

Why Some Blogs Fail Revisited

This past week I read a number of posts in which bloggers discussed how long they would continue blogging and so I thought that it made sense to revisit my post about why some blogs fail.

I still maintain that one of two key elements must be present for bloggers to make it for the long haul, financial incentives and or personal satisfaction. Most bloggers will not make any significant cash from blogging so the bottom line will come back to whether they enjoy it or not.

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?

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9 comments:

ilanadavita said...

I agree with you that most of us won't make a fortune out of blogging. However I am grateful for the friends and connections I have made.

Jacob Da Jew said...

I made a decsision early on that I would not think of my blog as a money maker but as a hobby. This means zero ads because, really, who wants to see them cluttering up the page?

Consenquently, my blogging is fun. I write when i want what i want to. It could be I'll write sometimes more frequently, could be I'll drop a post once a month.

Hence, I've been able to keep it going since '06.

Daganev said...

Interesting that 4 months is considered "abandoned" when the blogs will exist for years presumably.

Sometimes a person just sees a blog as an easy way to put some information up, and doesn't necessarily want the blog to be anything more than a book people can easily comment on or link to.

Chaviva said...

I started writing online (via LiveJournal) in 1998. I moved to Blogger in March 2006, and I'm still going strong. For me, it's mostly passion. I'd love to be able to make money off the blog, but I'm not going to force it.

I'm amazed at how many blogs disappear ... wowzah.

Jack said...

ID,

I have been pleasantly surprised by the friends that I have made through blogging.

Jacob,

That's great. For a long time it was nothing more than a hobby for me. And then when I started making millions of dollars it turned into a job.

Daganev,

It is a subjective call, how long a blog has to sit before it is abandoned that is. But you make a good point about how long it can hang out for.

Chaviva,

Since '98, that is quite a run. Very impressive, not easy to keep things going for that long.

jack said...

Bloggers that actually make money ... and I mean money they could live on is a tiny percentage of the total blogs out there.

So yea you have to do it because you are passionate about what you are doing. I am. Been blogging since 05 but lost couple years post with a Wordpress upgrade snafoo ... arrrrg! Plus I do enjoy just talking to myself sometimes LOL

Jack said...

Jack,

You have been at this for a while. Not everyone can keep it up, but like you said, that passion helps.

Leora said...

There's someone named Jack besides Jack? ;-)

Crazy me, I have plans to start a second blog, one that is more oriented to the work I do (lots of WordPress-oriented posts, coding and design and SEO).

In general in life, if you can find a way making money doing something you enjoy, that is so great!

Jack said...

Hi Leora,

You have passion for what you do. That is outstanding. It is something that many people are lacking.