How to succeed in blogging without really trying!
Silly, you say? Well, there was actually a blogger who got a huge amount of hits simply because he wrote a "how not to blog" post as his very first entry. What cheek! But hey, whatever works, right?
Incidentally, adding all those TECHNORATI tag codes is a real bitch!
When you publish for the "mainstream" print media, all the toil is up front. It can take many years of sweat and struggle to seduce an editor into finding your prose print worthy. But once you do, you're home free. The New York Times has millions of readers, so you can just sit back and bask in the glory of your byline--until it's time for your next hair-raising deadline.
But for the typical blogger, getting your name "out there" is easy. It takes about 15 minutes to set up a Blogger account, and viola! Your words are published for all the blogosphere to see. But now, the quest for readers has just begun, and you're the one who has to make that happen. Unless you truly don't give a shit, but who are we kidding here? Why blog if you don't want anyone to read you?
Samuel Johnson once said: "No man but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money." Though newspapers typically pay poorly, I did earn a modest pittance for my freelance work in addition to writing for the Man. But my main goal was to write about things I was passionate about and get my name and ideas out there. After all, writers want to be read, just as painters want to be shown and musicians want to be heard.
For me, as for many, blogging is a labor of love, not money. Print publication pays some, but it doesn't give you a lot of reader feedback. Your audience is essentially invisible, anonymous, and mute. That's why I'm such a BLOG SLUT. I love giving and getting comments. I love the links and the interaction and the feedback and the conversation.
Although some bloggers actually make money doing this, and businesses can use blogs to help promote their product, I'd say most people are not expecting to make a killing off their blogs. But since Americans in particular are so deeply steeped in the cutthroat culture of capitalism, blogging has become a dead serious competitive sport-- even if you don't intend on making a dime off of it. Nonsense, you say? Let s/he among you who hast never checked your site meter several times daily cast the first stone. And, um, I also covet my neighbor's site meter. I'll always scroll down to the bottom of a blog to see how many hits you have. And I'm usually very very jealous.
But for me, hits in and of themselves can be pretty meaningless. I was never into casual encounters--I always prefer long-term relationships. So when I check out my referral stats, it's always with the fervent hope that even those disturbed individuals who seek "Elvira naked" or "crack whore confessions" or "inertia powered cracker" and click on my site will stop and read my blog, see the error of their lascivious ways, visit and comment early and often, and sin no more. Oh hell, what do I care--just gimme a hit, baby!
What really gets me excited--my version of cyber-porn, if you will--is any "how-to" website or post with tips on generating more web traffic and linkns and/or building a better blog.
In any case, anyone who wants some great insights into blog tech and methodology might give Performancing.com a look. Likewise, I'm a sucker for sites like The Blog Herald,Problogger,and Bloggers blog.And thank you, Elisa C of Worker Bees Blog, for your (semi) tongue in cheek post on how to manipulate blog traffic, which inspired, in good part, this craven post.
If there's one thing that can drive a stat-obsessed blogger crazy, it's when the technology you rely on to let you know how you're doin' turns on you--kinda like when Hal the computer went crazy in the movie 2001. Sites like Technorati, for example, rank you according to the quanity and "quality" (read: popularity) of the inbound links you've accrued (I think). So of course, now that I've graduated to using tags so that people searching for "kvetch" or "psychotic" or "excessive alcohol consumption" can find me more easily, I've discovered that Technorati is not reading all of them. Plus, I think they're out of touch with my total number of links. That makes me cry. Is it any wonder so many bloggers up and quit after a few months?
Along the same vein, the "quality" and quantity of sites that link back to you is one of the reasons Glenn Reynolds'Instapunditis currently the highest of the Higher Beings in the TTLB (The Truth Laid Bear) ecosystem. Just for...ahem..."fun," the other four top links in descending order of immortal fabulousness are: Michelle Malkin, Daily Kos, , Power Line, and Little Green Footballs.Incidentally, there has been much hair pulling and gnashing of teeth over the recent revamp of the TTLB ecosystem, which has devolved many bloggers to lower forms of life. I myself have fallen from roughly midpoint (an amphibian or something) to the equivalent of an obscure, extinct virus. Actually, last I checked, I wasn't even listed there at all. TTLB has killed me off, just like the buffalo!
Welp, I was gonna go on and insert some more links to hot sites, but my recent blog-paranoia is compelling me to cut this post mercifully short (which in my case, means roughly not as long as War and Peace).
Besides, all the experts say shorter is better.
PS: Two words: Boing Boing!
Boing+boing, Technorati, blog slut,
Performancing.com, The+Blog+Herald, Bloggers+Blog