The ULTIMATE secret to a successful blog

I had a revelation the other night. I realised that I’d figured out THE ULTIMATE SECRET to having a successful blog.

No, I really have.

It’s got nothing to do with building massive follower lists, optimising your content for SEO and keyword stuffing your opening paragraphs.

No, it’s much, much easier than that.

It’s not about taking photos of sunsets. Though I must confess I’m rather chuffed with how well this one turned out.

Sunset over Sandal Castle

or cute meerkats. LOOKIT THE CUTE MEERKATS!

meerkat

Are you ready?

It all boils down to this: No-one cares about  your blog.

That’s it. That’s the secret.

No-one cares about your carefully-crafted, keyword-stuffed headline. No-one cares about the amazing photos or the words which you’ve agonised over and which took so long to pull together.

People see the new post appear in their RSS readers, or on an email and they skim it. You’re one of a million different things trying to get attention.

The real secret to a successful blog is not to care. I don’t care that people don’t read the posts. I don’t care that they don’t look at the photos and click on ‘like’, or retweet my lovingly-composed and carefully-researched essay on this or that.

I do this for me.

I write the words to get them out of my head and to save them for later. I take the photos so I can remember that amazing sunset or that cute meerkat.

And in the months and years to come, I can look back and see what I was interested in on that day, at that time. What little sliver of life caught my eye. What thoughts were running through my head then, and there.

Now, if you happen to read it, enjoy it, learn something new or get something out of it, I’m utterly thrilled and delighted. If you choose to spend some of your precious time and mental bandwidth hanging out here to see what I’ve been up to, I’m honoured and privileged to have you here.

If you like photos of sunsets, you’re totally in the right place.

I’m writing this for me.

But I’m glad you’re here.

on blogging, and the voices inside my head

Pondering blog posts with my subconscious[1].

SC: So, what’s next for the blog? What fascinating topics are you going to blather on about next?
Me: Are you being sarky?
SC: *innocent face*
Me: Not sure. Sort of lost my blogging mojo.
SC:  Did you just use the word mojo?
Me: Yes. Go away. I was using it ironically.
SC: Hmm. You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means
Me: Oh go away.
SC: Why don’t you go and have a look in your drafts folder?

*goes to look*

Me: Crikey. There’s loads in there!
SC: So, pick one and finish it.
Me: Which one?
SC: What about that one?

*points*

Me: The one about teapots?
SC: No, the one next to it.
Me: The language of railways?
SC: No, the *other* one
Me: The underserved reader?
SC: Yes. That sounds good. Though should it be ‘undeserved’ rather than ‘underserved’?
Me: No. Definitely underserved. That nice Chuck Wendig did a post about it. Needs more research though.
SC: *sigh*. How about that one?
Me: World Book Night? But that was *months* ago. Bit late now.
SC: Libraries of the future?
Me: needs research.
SC: … freedom of impossibility?
Me: research.
SC: *cries*
Me:
SC: You can’t think of a punchline for this, can you?
Me: Of course I can.
SC: Go on then
Me: #sulks

[1] Hat tip to Nick Harkaway and his brilliant ‘Muse & Me’ posts. He does it better, curse him.

blogging quick, blogging slow…

I was reading Liz‘s excellent post the other day on ‘slow blogging’ and some things she said really struck a chord. Trying to find a schedule that works for a blog can be tricky, when you have to squeeze it in amongst Real Life, work, family and so on. There’s always something else to do, somewhere else to be.

Take tonight[1], for example – by the time the kids are in bed, the dishwasher loaded, the house straightened up, school and work stuff sorted for the morning, it’s half ten and all I really want to do is slump in front of Game of Thrones (OMG HOW GOOD? Two more episodes! WOE!) with a large mug of jolly hot tea and maybe a snackerel of something tasty and highly calorific.

I’ve sometimes wondered if this blog could do with a proper schedule – regular readers (well done for keeping up, you’re all lovely people) may have noticed that I tend to blog in little flurries at various times of the day and week. This is usually down to me trying to be clever (stop laughing at the back) and scheduling a bunch of posts spread out during the week. Of course, then I promptly forget I’ve done this, and schedule a bunch more, or spot something on the way into work which requires immediate sharing with the world (I have a post brewing about a solar-powered bin I spotted this morning. More of that later).

And thanks to the joys of mobile internet (and good coffee shops), one can quite happily blog  at lunchtimes, on the train, in the post office queue…

So I end up with some carefully-scheduled posts, some not-quite-so-carefully-scheduled posts, and some utterly random posts all jostling for position and attention. Some of these come with automatic twitter postings too, which result in a bombardment on social media. Though oddly, not Facebook. But there’s another post waiting to happen.

See? They’re like rabbits, these blog posts. Take your eye off ’em for a second…

Then I got a lovely comment over on the ‘My first job‘ post from Ofglassandbooks

Loved this post You should write more often and longer posts, dear Espresso coco, although I do like the pictures too

Perhaps I should take the slow blogging advice and work on one (or two) longer-form posts each week, interspersed with the photos and the hodge-podge of shorter stuff.

What do you think, dear reader? Slow and steady, or all higgledy-piggledy brace-yourself-he’s-off-again?

 

[1] though I’ll probably schedule this for autoposting tomorrow morning. Which will be this morning when you read it. Or even tomorrow evening. Time travel is confusing. Speaking of time travel OMG DOCTOR WHO! HOW GOOD WAS THAT? *cough* sorry.

online vs. offline personas

Eleanor Snare (@ebsnare) , in her blog post Online vs Personal Self looked at the question of what do you hide or embellish online, if anything. The question arose as the subject for this week’s lifestyle bloggers (#lbloggers) chat. Sounds interesting, I thought.

She raises some excellent points, and it’s something which I’ve thought about a few times over the years. Is my online persona different from the real-life me?

Yes and no.

Online gives you more of a chance to edit yourself, and present your version of events in a manner which you control. Rather than being put on the spot when someone asks you a question, you’ve got a chance to sit back, pause for a moment (or an hour, day, week) before responding. Or you’ve got time to write a blog post then go back through and tidy up your thoughts before posting.

Yes, I do do that. Think about what I’m posting. Mostly. Some days I just let the thoughts fall out of my head via my fingers into a text editor and post it up.

Really must stop doing that.

Anyway, onto the question of whether I hide or embellish my online persona. I don’t think I ‘hide’ anything particularly (other than the fact that actually I’m an 83 year old truck driver from Wisconsin[1]), it’s more that I choose what things I talk about in a positive choice sort of way, rather than hiding stuff from anyone.

Apart from the Wisconsinite thing, obviously.

I choose to talk about things which interest me. They may not interest you, or indeed anyone else, but I’ll talk about them anyway. I often thing that blogging is a form of free psychiatric help – rather than pay someone to sit and talk to, I can witter on here to my heart’s content. If someone replies, that’s fine, and we can have a chat about the relative merits of Skyfall, or what Oscar-winning films we’ve seen, but if no-one does, then at least I’ve got the words out of my head.

This is getting a little long, so I’ll leave it there. But I’ll throw the question over to you – do you hide or embellish your online persona? Are you also an elderly truck driver from Wisconsin? Stop by and say hello!

[1] Obviously I’m not really an 83 year old truck driver from Wisconsin[2]
[2] I’m from Idaho, and a youthful 78