If this Blog does not succeed, then I must hang my head and shake my fist. Cause dammit, I am done with toying with this Blogging shit once and for all.
While the author of Evolver admits to being both an optimist and pessimist, willing to explore both equally, the comment had me thinking about what defines blogging success. We need to talk about this.
Blogging Success: Giving Without Expectation of Return
Let’s examine the ways people define blogging as “successful” by beginning at the core of the issue of success: The Feel Good Factor.
Blogging is something personal. While used for commercial and political gain, it is still a personal reflection of the blogger’s views, opinions, attitudes, perspectives, and life experiences.
At its core, blogging is glorified journal writing. For those who consistently write in journals and diaries, you understand that the pleasure is expressing yourself. You pray no one will ever read it, and you may even carefully hide it. Journaling is your private one-sided therapy to help you handle your day-to-day life.
Blogging takes journaling a step beyond, bringing your therapy into the public eye, similar to turning your journals into an autobiography. Still, the reason you do it is highly personal. It gives you something. It provides a release. It enables creative expression. It is freedom. It feels good.
The longer it feels good, the more inclined you are to continue. The Feel Good Factor is the fuel that keeps you blogging.
No matter what your definition of blogging success is, at the root, it must feel good. It must give you some personal reward that keeps you getting out of bed every day with an urge to get to the computer and write down your thoughts, goals, plans, ideas, opinions, and perspectives. It needs to motivate you throughout the day to find new things to write about. The joy of sharing your words supersedes everything else. It must feel good.
For many people, this is the sum definition of successful blogging. As long as the Feel Good Factor is fed, they will continue to blog. Unfortunately, they are in the minority. They blog without expectation of return. Most people blog with expectation of return as their definition of success.
Blogging Success: Giving With Expectation of Return
So how do you measure your blogging success beyond the Feel Good Factor?
Many use comments and replies as the scorecard for their success. Others use traffic scores to measure their success. If site traffic continues to rise, they are doing the right thing. If it dips, especially if it dips too much, people panic and seek out methods to drive up the numbers again.
Others use income as their definition for success. Money equals success. Most use a combination of these.
The problem with these definitions is the expectation of return being defined by elements you may or may not have control over. You are dependent upon external influences to reinforce the urge to continue blogging.
Someone commented on how much they enjoyed an article I wrote, surprised there only one comment. The truth is that I have many articles that get massive volumes of traffic which have very few comments. I have many posts with dozens of comments and very little traffic. And a lot of mixed traffic and comment numbers in between. The number of comments on your posts or blog in general is not indicative of good writing, so be careful replying upon these to define your success.
Traffic scores are difficult to interpret. Soaring numbers one day can be near to zeros the next. Micro-managing your blog statistics is like micro-managing your stock portfolio. Short term gains are nothing compared to long term payouts, in general. It takes months to get an understanding for how your blog traffic is going. Do you have enough content and enthusiasm to last that long? And then keep it going?
Reliance on traffic and money means a lot of extra work beyond just generating content. You have to keep an eye on the market, change your advertising plans as fads shift and change and advertisers change their methods. Traffic and income is also based upon content. If you don’t have anything worth reading or seeing on your blog, and it isn’t generating fresh content several times a week or even a day, then you won’t get the numbers. You have to work at it all the time in order to see results. The work must come from different angles, from content research, development, and writing to web design and layout, and even from market research. Always working. Always studying. Always pushing and pulling how this works in order to get that return on your investment. The blog becomes a work project. Blogging becomes a business.
Reliance on comments, traffic, and/or income is not good nor bad. These are measurable scorecards people use to define their success in blogging. It’s important to understand how it works and then to work with that understanding.
How Do You Define Blogging Success?
What do you use to define your blogging success? Is it the money, the fame, the limelight, the applause? Or is it just the feeling of satisfaction when you click PUBLISH and your words are out for everyone to see?
Do you enjoy the sharing? Or do you like all the research, investigation, and learning process? It is the project or the words that get your motor running? What is your blogging success definition?
When you are clear about what defines blogging success to you, make a note of it. Put it where you can see it often, preferably every day. You might want to add it to your blog, incorporating your definition of blogging success into your blogging purpose. The better you understand your justification for blogging, the clearer your blogging purpose will be, and the more focused your blogging will be. I’d call that success!
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Copyright Lorelle VanFossen