It happens a lot. I surf the Web, land on a charming little blog with an amazing post, a yummy recipe, or a beautiful photo. I read the blog post, thinking, “Wow, this is good stuff,” then glance at the blog’s Alexa rank, always available to me via the handy Alexa toolbar.
Hmm. Not a lot of traffic at all. But it’s such a great blog! That’s a shame.
I then click on “Home” and go the blog’s home page, where, in eight cases out of ten, I realize that the last blog post was posted many months ago.
The blog is dying.
It makes me sad, because I’m a huge believer in blogs. I love that they enable each and every one of us to become a publisher. No need to jump through the impossible hoops of the publishing industry. No need to survive tens or hundreds of rejection letters. If you want to write, to publish your thoughts, your ideas, your stories, your recipes or your photos, you can go ahead and do it – with the push of a button.
Sure, the very fact that it’s so easy means that there are a lot of crappy blogs out there. But that’s what Google is for, right? Google makes sure we almost always get the high quality results and avoid the low-quality junk. And if we land on a blog following a link – a recommendation in essence – from another blog, chances are it will be at the very least decent.
But there’s one little secret that nobody tells you. You typically discover it only after you start your blog.
Blogging is hard!
It’s easy in a way – especially if you like to write. But it’s hard, because there’s a difference between publishing something, and being read. There’s a difference between putting your thoughts out there, and having people read them and respond to them. And when you blog, unless you work extremely hard at promoting your blog, and/or unless unusually lucky, you will publish – but you will not be read. And that’s difficult and frustrating, so much so that the vast majority of blogs (research tells us) do not survive past the first three months – and that’s OK, I don’t care about that.
What I care about is the good blogs, the high-quality blogs that for some reason – often simple lack of marketing by the owner – have died or are dying.
I just visited such a blog. The blog post I landed on was a recipe for a cake – but it was so much more than a recipe. The author is a great writer. Her writing style is warm, flowing, easy. I am a busy person, but I found myself wanting to read more, to get to know her. Of course, when I headed to the blog’s home page, I saw that the last post was written in February.
I know what happened. I understand. She’s a mom, she has young kids. Her blog was a lot of work but she never got anything tangible out of it – certainly no income. A very small readership. It just doesn’t make sense to keep investing so much (in terms of time and emotions) in something when the return on the investment is so small.
I get it. Still, it makes me sad to see a good blog die.