I recently left a comment on the blog of my friend Terence Chang, that I feel is worthy of further exploration. It discusses a common phenomenon that seems to be a danger to many bloggers and which I’ve come to call the curse of the blogger.
No, it’s not the syndrome of bloggers running out of steam at the six month mark and giving up, just before their blog starts moving. In fact, it’s the opposite: bloggers diversifing and trying to do too much.
When reading Terence’s post on the challenges and opportunities he’s facing with his blog, I was struck by the following words:
I know my readers tend to spend less time on reading my blog post. I know. I know. There are many reasons that people don’t tend to spend too much time on reading blog post.
He’s talking about me – at least I’m someone who spends a lot less time reading Terence’s blog (and many others) than I used to. I responded with the following in a comment:
I spend less time reading your blog (and many other blogs) and the reason is because I’ve expanded my online enterprises. When I started out, I just had one blog and spent a lot of time reading and made lots of friends such as yourself.
As I’ve started other online projects, I’ve had less time to read and I’ve needed more time on the new projects. That’s actually meant that I’ve lost contact with other bloggers and they visit my site less.
I think this is a real danger to bloggers who’ve been blogging for more than a year. They expand their projects (to make money) and lose the relationships they formed in the early days (and actually become less successful).
Having thought about it more, I can see a common pattern that I’ve noticed:
- Your blog is born. You throw all your energy into your blog, but also spend a lot of time meeting other bloggers and forming relationships with them.
- Traffic slowly grows and comments start to increase, led by your new blogging buddies and your blog’s momentum builds.
- At some point, all the Make Money Online and Pro-blogging blogs get you thinking about making money from blogging. You start having ideas!
- You start putting the ideas into action. This often involves creating one or more other sites. It takes a lot of effort, but you throw yourself into it.
But wait! Why aren’t your blogging buddies commenting on your blog any more? It may be that they’re going through the same thing as you and don’t have time anymore. But even if they do have time, they won’t visit your site as much, if you don’t visit theirs.
There’s the trap: neglect your relationship with other bloggers and you risk losing your core audience.
That’s what I call the curse of the blogger: the lure of making money can often derail your original blog and leave you with a collection of projects, none of which is as strong as your original blog was.
I’m not saying that you can’t juggle projects successfully or make money online (although that’s a whole different kettle of fish). I’m just saying that if you want your blog to remain successful, you need to look after your relationships with other bloggers.
I know it’s not as simple as that. There are many different definitions of a successful blog and there are many other variables that go into the mix, such as having great content, effective use of social media, etc.
My own blog is still doing well, despite the fact that I’ve neglected those relationships, because it attracts a lot of search engine visitors, people wanting my WordPress plugins, and visitors looking for Dofollow comments. However, I have a far more transient reader base these days, rather than the core group of regulars I had in the early days.
Does this theory make sense to you? Are you trying to juggle multiple projects and if so, have you been able to maintain the relationship with your regulars? I’d really like to know your thoughts.
Last updated on July 20th, 2011