I’ve had this blog for a little over two years now. On a good day, I get about twenty views, although most of those are people searching for pictures of Allie from The Notebook. I once wrote a really snarky review of that movie (to read it, click here) and for some reason when you search Google images for “allie notebook,” the picture I used is like the eighteenth one that comes up. So that’s most of my traffic. I imagine that one day one of those die-hard Notebook fans is actually going to read that vitriolic post and I will start getting death threats that look like they were spelled and punctuated by a team of drunk monkeys. For example, “i wish U wud be eeten by Zomby geeese you sarkastick bloging HAPyNEsS KiLLr!!!”
But I digress.
The point is that I have only a few faithful followers, like my mother-in-law (hi Vivian!) and a small handful of people who drop by accidentally. Sure, I’d love to have tons of people reading and commenting on and liking and subscribing to my blog. Heck, I’d just like to have more comments than I have posts.
However, after researching the matter extensively (translation: Googled it once and read half of the first thing that popped up), I have come to the conclusion that a widespread readership is not in the cards for me. To explain why, I’ll go through each of the five things one must do to attract a large following on a blog and then reveal why I’m unwilling to do them. Here we go.
1. Publicize to Facebook or Twitter. I used to do this. I have several hundred “friends” on Facebook, so it used to give me a lot more traffic. Then I stopped. It’s hard to explain exactly why, but basically, there are an awful lot of people on there who I only “sorta” know. I don’t really want casual acquaintances browsing my posts like I’m a funny cat video. It’s not that I’m posting super-personal stuff. It’s just that if you are really interested in my life and my writing, you can seek me out. My blog address is under my info on my profile page, and I’m not going to make it any easier than that.
2. Read a ton of other blogs and leave witty and incisive comments on those. You know what? No. I’ll read what I’m interested in. I’ll comment when I find something compelling enough to be comment-worthy. I’m not going to go around advertising my blog on other people’s blogs. Do unto others, people.
3. Write interestingly and write well. I hope I do this by default, but I don’t devote a lot of time to proofreading. I’d probably have a better blog if I spent more time revising. I had this professor once who was a completely brilliant woman from Mexico, stood about five feet tall and wore huge, owl-ish glasses and tons of jewelry. I think she thought that the louder she yelled at us, the better we would write. She would stare down her nose at us through those monstrous glasses and holler, “I WANT TO SEE PABLEECAYSHON QUALEEETEEE!!!” I still hear her voice in my head when I write, but it usually doesn’t make me write better. I just think “Oh, Dr. So-and-So would NOT be happy with this!”
4. Blog frequently. I will blog when I can blog. I have two jobs, I go to grad school, and I’m happily married. If I am going to stay successful in each of those realms, I have to portion out my time wisely. Also, I will blog when I want to blog. If I ain’t inspired, I ain’t writin’. Dr. So-and-So would not be happy with that sentence I just wrote.
5. Write about a single theme to a specific audience. Cultivating a specific group of readers is by far the most critical step of all in the creation of a successful blog, and it is the one place where I absolutely refuse to budge. I have a friend who has a very popular homemaking blog. She has tons of readers and subscribers. But she mostly has to write about cooking and decorating, because that is why her audience visits her blog. Other successful blogs may vary widely in content, but they maintain a continuity of tone. For example, “The Bloggess” writes about a myriad of different things, from metal roosters to hotel curtains to taxidermy, but she writes about everything from a humorous angle. That’s what her audience expects.
This is something I simply cannot do. I’m interested in far too many things to be consistent with content, and I have far too many changes in mood to be consistent with tone. Some days I’m feeling reflective and I want to write a serious piece of cultural commentary. Other days I’m feeling excited about my trip to Europe next year and I want to write an enthusiastic piece about the benefits of travel. Other days I’m proud of myself for sticking to my weekly grocery budget, and I want to write a know-it-all piece about savvy shopping. Other days I just want to write about killer zombie geese.
So thank to you to my faithful few readers who have painstakingly searched for my blog, read my blog even when I didn’t read yours, endured my fits of bad writing, overlooked my long periods of silence, and tolerated (or perhaps even enjoyed!) my schizophren–I mean, my eclectic content. The zombie geese salute you.