I recently updated my blogroll*. While I’m not obsessed with link exchange, SEO and measuring my blogging popularity, there is no point in recommending dead links and blogs long forgotten by their authors. So I try to update The World every few months. You know, so that you guys have some cool websites to browse.
And this time, I was surprised to see quite a few blogs were just gone, deleted or long neglected.
I know blogging is time-consuming. I’ve had this blog for almost five years now and I publish articles three times a week—that’s a lot of writing past bedtime, trust me. I don’t mind, I enjoy the exercise. I rarely experience writer’s block and if I do, I can always publish a photography post in Snapshots. I don’t feel I have to write. It just comes naturally. I’m used to my three-times-a-week self-imposed publication deadline.
I can almost always tell when a blog is about to die, and it has nothing to do with how popular it is. First, the author starts taking breaks. They become longer and longer. Then, once in a while, the author comes back to apologize: “I know I haven’t written in a while… I promise I’ll blog more”. This is usually the beginning of the end. Because you can’t force yourself to write to please the audience. Otherwise, you sound like an awkward date who tries to avoid uncomfortable lulls in the conversation.
Blogs are abandoned or closed for a variety of reasons. Some only served one purpose, such as writing about a specific experience (i.e. a year abroad). Others are just trial projects and don’t live long. Or some blogs didn’t meet the author’s expectations.
A few years ago, people blogged because they wanted to get rich quick. They exchanged link frantically and worked hard to improve their SEO, hoping to be noticed by companies who would sponsor articles for hard cash. Google Adsense revenue was the new minimum wage and people compared click averages.
This seems to have passed. Some people still blog to make ends meet but few of us have gotten rich, and I’m certainly not one of the lucky ones. Blame it on my awful marketing skills… I do make a little bit of money with Correr Es Mi Destino, though. When I implemented Google Adsense, my goal was to pay for hosting and the domain name. Little by little, I reached this goal and it certainly kept me motivated along the way. But considering how much time it takes to write articles and manage this blog, I’m the most underpaid writer ever. Note to self: do not quit day job.
What mostly helped me was the somewhat unexpected and mostly positive feedback I receive. I still beam when I receive out of the blue emails or comments from strangers who say they’ve been reading me for months or years and who want to thank me. Me? Really?
I also enjoy exploring another side of my day job, which is in editing, translating and copywriting. This website and The Shop are like a portfolio and are on my business cards. It helped me land interviews and I got a few freelance contracts from readers who liked my work.
Blogging ends up being largely a selfless activity. Some people don’t deal too well with that when they find out—the idea is miles away from the “get rich quick” recipes shared on the web. But it makes me happy and it turned out to be rewarding in surprising ways.
How about you? Still blogging? Quit blogging? Want to start a blog?
*If I forgot your blog, do let me know! I’m pretty sure a few links got lost along the way…