15 March 2008

Confessions of an "unsuccessful" blogger

Who defines "success"?

so anyway, yesterday Jon Henke at Q and O linked out to John Hawkins' Right Wing News post on "The Top Ten Reasons Bloggers Don't Succeed". If you're in the blogging game, you should sit up and take notice (read the whole thing) as it serves as a good diagnostic check-up on how you're doing as a blogger.

Hawkins is living my dream, to an extent: he's blogging full time. Blogging is his JOB. He slugged it out for almost five years of working all day then blogging all night; building a base of readers, establishing "the brand". Hawkins often comments on the blogging craft, and has the "street cred" to do so authoritatively.

Grain of salt, notwithstanding.

I've done a little (light) soul-searching on the whole blogging thing over the past day or so; and applied Hawkins' template for "success" with mixed results. His points, my excuses explanations follow: (I reserve the right to revise and extend, but you knew that already)

1. "They're just not very good" I agree with Hawkins in that it's my personal mission in life to point out abuses of the English language; my own abuses of the language are (mostly) deliberate. Also agreed that writing every day improves one's ability to write. More on that topic later.

2. "They don't cover interesting material" You blog on the topic du jour, the current debate / issue / scandal. It's why you blog; to have a voice in the town square, heard or not.

3. "They're not unique enough" I'll take this as a given. As an active "consumer of blogs", I gravitate towards the singular characters for their uniqueness. Ace is the first example that comes to mind; he's got "unique" going for him in spades.

4. "They don't network" Guilty as charged, Your Honor. I don't "network". I don't have the time.

5. "They don't promote their work" Again, I am guilty of this deadly blogging sin.

6. "They're not consistent enough. They take days off" It's like he's been reading Supply Side Politics 2.0. Inconsistency is my hallmark. Again, more on that later.

7. "Doing their initial promos too early" Not guilty.

8. "They don't link out enough" If #7 is a pet peeve of Hawkins', this one is a pet peeve of mine. I was recently taken to task by a commenter for "linking too much". Fat lot of good it's done me, as far as Hawkins' model of success goes. I look at my blogroll: I've linked most of them several dozen times or more. In my model, the outbound link is my way of saying "Hey, go look at what they said over here" rather than seeking some quid pro quo.

As an aside, on the blogroll there's a blogger that every time I link to him, he leaves a comment within 48 hours and posts a reciprocal link on his blog. Every.Single.Time. His hit counter is almost at 100,000. Mine is creeping up on 6,800. Yes, I've done the math.

On another note, I still have not figured out the whole "trackback" thingy. I've been busy. I should look into that.

9. "They don't post enough each day" Again, guilty as charged. I would prefer to post at least fifteen times a day. Or more. Like I said, more later.

10. "They don't hand around long enough" I've been standing on this soap-box since June 2004. I've beaten the odds as far as the "infant mortality rate" for bloggers goes. I realized early on that this was a hobby and have treated as such.

I would posit that the vast majority of "unsuccessful" bloggers out there are a lot like me: I have a full time job, a full time wife, three full time kids, and a full time household, all of the above occupies most, if not all of my waking hours. It's no coincidence that most of my posts go up after 11 PM, if at all. At any given time, I have a dozen different posts that I'm working on, saved as draft on one of the three computers in my daily life. As my time to blog is limited, I rarely can get them fleshed out in a timely manner and get them posted. It's not that us "unsuccessful" bloggers don't post enough, it's that we can't post enough.

I fully agree with Hawkins that it takes far more time to properly research a post than it does to actually write a post.

Dammit, it's gotten late early again. I reserve the balance of my time to revise and extend at a future date. thatisall.


At 17 March, 2008 03:46, Blogger Consul-At-Arms said...

I've quoted you and linked to you here: http://consul-at-arms.blogspot.com/2008/03/re-confessions-of-unsuccessful-blogger.html


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