I’ve been pondering this thought recently. In the world of blogging, most bloggers I come across are desperate to find the latest tips and tricks to attract new people to their blog and rapidly increase their traffic (and revenue) and that’s completely fine.
But the blogs (and sites) which get the most traffic aren’t necessarily the ones with the newest ideas or the most insight. There’s so many gems out there in largely undiscovered blogs which plod along with very little traffic.
So why don’t they give up? Their writers simply enjoy writing and sharing their thoughts with the world. Popularity isn’t vital to them – in fact, when they become popular overnight (thanks to a big linkup), they’re often not ready to handle everyone criticising their thoughts and opinions or aren’t sure how to manage the flood of emails and comments from people.
The blogosphere is a little like high school. A lot of people spend all their time wanting to be popular, trying to get into the “it” crowd, spending so much energy and heartache on the goal – even going to the extreme of changing themselves to be more like the popular crowd. Others are OK with a smaller group of close friends, where they can be themselves, have fun and enjoy life.
Someone I know writes a personal blog and once wrote us an email saying not to give out the address to just anyone – they wanted to keep it to close family and friends. I smiled to myself and wondered why they started a blog. But, a year later, it’s one of the blogs I wanted to most read when I got back from holiday.
Another I know was happy with a small, slowly growing close group of commenters who they had good relationships with and then found their blog was linked up by a major player somehow and bam! The dynamic was disturbed by party crashers and things were never quite the same again. The secret was out and the blog’s sudden popularity changed the author, changed the tone of the blog permanently.
I’ve had different blogs become popular for one reason or another overnight and because I’m not the biggest fan of crowds (I’m happy speaking to one but trying to mix and mingle in a crowd of strangers at a party isn’t something which energises me) I found the experiences to be rather exhausting (even if the feedback is positive). Dealing with the rush of emails and comments is usually something I hope will die down reasonably quickly. I’m happy not to be popular, to fly just below the radar.
I honestly think that it’s OK to fly just under the radar and not to be popular straight away when you start a blog. It rarely happens. But sometimes I see people working so hard on being popular or having popular people link up to you and sing your praises that I wonder if they’d still blog for the love of blogging and not just for the love of a (paying) audience.
(*Of course, blogging where income is the primary objective brings with it certain pressures but most small businesses take a long time and hard work to get up off the ground. Good things take time.)
I personally like the ebb and flow of visitors to this blog. I don’t feel pressured to keep it up – I’d rather write when I’m inspired to write than write to a schedule (or write to say sorry for why I haven’t been blogging). Lately, I’ve been thinking about secretly starting some blogs I’d love to write about and I’d be happy writing even if no-one came along except a few of my friends every so often. If you’re thinking about starting a blog and the thought of no-one visiting for quite some time doesn’t bother you either, go for it :)
Oh – and who knows how useful and popular your posts might be in the future? Your blog might be a treasure trove to someone one day.
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