Hey there bloggers, writers, the crickets that I’m going to go ahead and pretend is the sound of an expectant audience hanging on my every word, blogging is difficult. Not so much figuring out what you have to say and then saying it, a basic level fencepost gossip can do as much. No, it’s the silence that gets you. The assumed lack of interest in the crowd you’re speaking to. It’s the void and the echoing emptiness that shuts a thousand blogging souls down into silence once more.
Here’s the thing, do it anyway. Talk into the void. It’s working.
When I first started blogging, for the now defunct Celebrities.com with near limitless resources at my disposal, at first I was terrified. What if I unintentionally told a lie (happens all the time with celebrity gossip) that pissed off the artist? What if I stepped on a few fan’s toes and they sent me hate mail for months? What if – no one was reading it at all?
These fears crippled my writing for a good while, even worse it seemed at least that the last fear was true – no one was reading it! No one ever said anything, people rarely filled out our polls and no one seemed to reply to any of the pleas for input on content. I knew despair and would have wanted to stop (if someone wasn’t paying me rather well to do it I probably would have) but that all changed.
Two things happened: my supervisor showed me the site’s Analytic data and I said something stupid about Robert Pattinson .
For those with a self hosted blog, Google Analytics is an essential tool (get it install it, you need it) that can show you not just how many hits a day your pages are getting, but from where these viewers come from and how long they stay on any given page. It gives you a concrete idea that the void isn’t as empty as it seems and gives you concrete data on which areas are your strongest points. If you’re blog isn’t self hosted, wordpress (and probably blogger as well) have a less powerful but still very useful stats page which will, at the very least, get you over the sensation that no one at all is reading. Celebrities, even on it’s quietest most downheartening day – got over 75,000 views (ego boost ain’t it).
The other bit was me making the mistake of putting Robert Pattison rather low on the list of ‘rising stars’ shortly before the premiere of the first “Twilight” movie. Que attack of the rabid sparkling vampire fans, it was the most commented post on the site – ever. Also the most linked and one of the highest viewed (Celebrities was the home of the very first panty shot celebrity scandal video so that’s saying something).
Controversy, even outright hate is a valuable tool to propel your blog into higher ratings. I don’t recommend seeking it out constantly (it takes a certain type to learn to love being hated) or actively inflaming it when it does. But enjoy it, for you have pierced the void and made it speak!
So keep blogging, even when you think no one is reading, even when you’re worried you might step on a few toes. Because there’s one more thing I learned from Celebrities – the more you post consistently, the more your viewers will increase (even if you can’t see any value in what you’re writing).