Why do blogs fail? I’ve been blogging for, well, honestly I can’t remember how long its been. Ten or twelve years? More? I’m not sure. And I’ve been reading blogs for a long time too. Sometimes blogs begin with great fanfare and flourish and then, a year or so later, sometimes sooner, they simply stop. I’ve started a few myself, only to find myself losing interest in posting to them. Why?
Why do some blogs keep going and others fail? Here are seven reasons why I think blogs fail:
(1) They offer little more than constant axe-grinding and carping on a particular subject. This is one of the more spectacular ways blogs qualify for “epic fails.” I’ve seen it over and over again. If a blog site is nothing but a litany of rants, whines and complaints, particularly about one given topic, they generally dwindle away after the temper-tantrum is over and the emotional zeal wears thin. Now, this is not to say a blog devoted to a broad social concern is not going to work, and it may often be offering critiques. What I have in mind here are blogs that come off as whining. I’ve not seen many of these blogs stay around for long.
(2) They lack focus and purpose. Blogs that do not pick up and run with a main theme or interest tend to die a slow death. An initial enthusiasm for blogging, with frequent posts, slowly fades as the person struggles to know what to say. A sure symptom of impending demise are the posts that begin, “Well, I have not posted anything for a while…” or “Sorry it’s been so long since I’ve posted something.” If a blog does not have a unifying “meta narrative” or does not understand what its niche is, it will fizzle.
(3) They indulge too much in playing to the crowd. When a blog site does little other than post things that are obvious efforts to pander to a particular type of reader, I notice often they run out of steam. This is not to say a blog shouldn’t provide posts that are aimed at readers that may share the blogger’s particular set of interests or have an affinity for the same things the blogger does, but when a blogger writes posts that are obviously not really from his heart, but more to create buzz, these blogs don’t last long, or, frankly bore me so quickly, that I soon stop reading.
(4) They do not serve the niche they are trying to reach. This may sound like a contradiction of point three, so let me explain. Pandering to your intended audience is one thing, but the other side of the coin is blogging in such a manner that you do not appeal to the readers who will most likely find your blog interesting and worth reading. And, a blogger who does not know what he wants his blog to be about, and generally aims the posts on his blog in this direction, will himself become bored and disinterested in blogging and give it up.
(5) They are not comfortable in “their own skin.” Bloggers who post things that they think they are supposed to say, or write, or make a point about, reveal that they are not self-assured and certain about what they want to be posting. This is an awkward and uncomfortable situation. You know it when you see it. A person is posting things because it is trendy to be posting things about the subject. When this is the constant “diet” a blogger puts himself on, he will run out of steam. Finally, you have to have a deep sustaining interest, no, make that passion, about what you are saying and have just enough self-confidence to be comfortable posting about what you find interesting.
(6) They are insincere or desperate cries for attention. I find that insincerity or desperate “notice me please!” blogs tend to fade away, or are blogs that I ignore. Blog readers can see through faux-emotion. A blogger who is constantly playing to the emotion of the reader, or indulging in on-line narcissism, in my view, doesn’t have a blog worth reading. I’m convinced one reason people choose Twitter rather than more substantial writing and posting to their blogs is because Twitter is the perfect platform for the “notice me!” personality.
(7) They don’t have a plan for regular posting. And this is probably the most important reason why blogs fail: they simply have no plan for regular posting Posts appear sporadically or not at all, for weeks at a time, or months. If you don’t have a regular posting schedule, then you probably won’t get around to posting. I have a blog site that I have the best of intentions for, but because I do not force myself to post to it regularly, not much is happening on it. With this, my main blog, I try to schedule posts two weeks out, or more, at a time. I create a post to go up on an every-other-day schedule. Don’t think you have to post something every single day to have a successful blog. It doesn’t hurt though. I schedule every-other day posts, and then, if something comes up I can drop it in on the unscheduled days. Consider doing the bulk of your writing at a certain time. For me, it is the weekend, early in the morning, when I do most of my blog writing, then I just use the scheduling features of WordPress to drop them in place. In other words, if you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.
What have you noticed about blogs that fail or lose your interest?