Sometimes it’s hard to decide what to blog about. This isn’t a particularly distressing occurrence if your blog is fairly new, because you can’t possibly have run out of things to talk about already. You just can’t think of any at the moment. A good way to overcome potential writer’s block (the horror!) is to figure out what people want to read and then write that. See how I said ‘good’ and not ‘easy’?
Lately my blog statistics have gotten pretty interesting. Not because five views on one blog entry is particularly astounding (okay let’s face it, that is pretty astounding, at least for me), but because they’re a good indicator of what my audience likes to hear.
Apparently my audience couldn’t care less about my heartfelt letter to a schoolboy and is only interested in boring topics like the number of students at UWI medical school campuses. (The answer is far too many for student comfort and not nearly enough for UWI’s budget plans). The preceding was an excellent example of shameless search engine optimization.
So while my stats trend more on the modest side of attention, they’re telling me I’m on the right track here. I started this blog so that more informal yaadie opinions could reach the search engines, and it’s working, you guys.
We’ve all seen them, had to slog through them, maybe even written one or two (I know I have). The Long Blog Entry. Cue the shrieks of horror. But seriously, why do people write them? And do people even read them?
I used to think that long entries were a requirement for serious bloggers (and who knows, maybe they are). And I used to really go on about a topic, dredging the depths of my imagination and stretching a point of interest until it wore thin. I didn’t realize it, but this was one of the things that would discourage me from blogging. The mental effort needed to say one thing 50 different times was just exhausting.
As for reading them, sometimes those super long entries are really grabbing, witty pieces that just keep you glued to the screen. Most times they’re not. And the dreaded tl;dr is a staple for today’s denizens of the internet, to whom reading anything longer than a tagline is anathema. Unless you’re a fellow geek geeking out over something really geeky, the aim is to pretend you’re writing for first graders. Or goldfish.
The conclusion? Keep it short and simple (spicy, if you can). It’s more fun for you and your readers.
I’m going to need to do a bit of technical manoeuvring to get these dates in order. I hate missing posts.
The long-term benefits of networking have been proven by sociologists, whereas the rest of my advice has no basis other than my own meandering experience.
There’s no way a blog or blogger can exist in a void. No man is an island, and even without thinking about it or meaning to, everything we say and do impacts someone else. That’s even more true for bloggers, whose sole purpose is to put things out there to reach people. That means reaching readers (hard enough) and reaching other bloggers.
I think the trick to it is not considering the other bloggers as competition. Y’know, it’s not like BK and Mickey D’s in the Blogosphere. Unlike large chain fast food restaurants, we small fries kind of need each other to survive. And wasn’t the whole reason for blogging to make friends anyway?
The point remains that most of us are small fish in a huge pond, and working together is really only in our best interests. Know a blogger? Help them out. Remind them to post, often. Talk to them about their ideas. It’ll make both of you feel better.