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Just as a top needs help to make it spin, a blog is similar. A top always stops, and falls over, after spinning out of control, will you?

Today’s Lesson

In the past few days, I have been visiting and reading a fair amount of blogs and comments. I sense many bloggers are becoming disillusioned with blogging.

This concerns me, as most of the blogs I’ve read, are quite good. Many have built strong foundations that should easily move them into the future.

I’m reminded that blogging is often started with gusto. We get our domain name, blogging platform, web host, and we’re off and running. We religiously publish posts , and the traffic starts to show up. Granted, the numbers aren’t huge, but we know we are being heard. Then we begin to get comments. That confirms it. We monetize our site, and a few coins roll in. We might even begin to get big headed, and believe we are on our way to becoming a problogger.

But then we decide what we have, isn’t enough.

We want more traffic, more comments and more coins…..and we want them NOW!

So, what do we do. We start gwtting desperate. Just like a woman or man desperate for a date, it is not a pretty sight.

As bloggers, we may frantically start searching online “how to drive traffic to my blog”. We read things like: use keywords, link out to popular sites, submit comments, be controversial, Stumble yourself, Digg your posts, pay for links, use Black Hat SEO techniques. We do it all.

The traffic, comments and coins come rolling in. We gain popularity and soon, everyone wants to be successful (?) like us. We’re happy.

Or are we?

We decide that’s still not enough, we want more. Again, desperation sets in. We repeat the process of finding more ways to drive traffic to our site. Blogging begins to consume us. We’re on what we believe is our road to riches, however, our relationships, health, and jobs are on a downward spiral.

For one split second, we stop.

It is then that we realize we have been untrue to ourselves.

We think back to those first days of blogging. The good old days when we truly enjoyed just writing, not really caring how many people read our posts, but hoping we could at least help one person. We got excited if we made a few cents from an ad. We genuinely treasured each and every comment and enjoyed leisurely conversations with our loyal visitors.

We realize we lost site of our original goal. We got caught up in wanting instant gratification.

We did what we said we would never do.

Now what?

Today’s Assignment

If you have been blogging for any length of time, do you find yourself wanting instant gratification?

Have you lost sight of why you originally decided to blog?

Is it time for you to STOP, and reevaluate your original blogging goals?

If you’re a new blogger, be forewarned, this could happen to you.

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Look Who's Talking
  1. CatherineLNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara – I think this can become dangerous when a blogger resorts to blackhat techniques, or spammy posts that will bring them more traffic, but they’re just not readable.

    Marketing is smart, and it’s natural to want to drive readers to your blog. After all, writing takes a lot of time and effort, so you want your work to be read. But, it can be dangerous if your writing suffers as a result.

    During my first couple of days using StumbleUpon, I was at risk of becoming addicted. I was just finding so many interesting people and so many great posts. And as you know, I was really at risk of slipping behind with getting my posts done.

    What I will say to any new blogger is this. Do spend some time marketing – but not if you’ve only spent 10 minutes writing your post, as it won’t be worth seeing.

    On the other hand, don’t write long time consuming posts every day.

    At one point, I worried that if every post didn’t take me hours to write, I’d lose readers. Then I realised, I just don’t have time to do that type of post every day. So, now I aim for shorter ones, and a couple of longer, more detailed ones.

    CatherineL’s last blog post..Authenticity in Business and Other Lies

  2. DebNo Gravatar says:

    You’ve been reading my mind! I know I have gotten caught up in the instant gratification, but I do keep stepping back. I’ve been cautious about adding more blogs to my reader. I have other things I want to do, not just sit at the computer. I’ve started skimming some posts and not commenting on every single one, althought that is hard to do for me. I’ve always got something to say.

    I read somewhere (in a blog) that you should give yourself 3 years to achieve a goal. I’m not even to 3 months yet. Like I said in yesterday’s comment, you have to try not to micromanage, even though it is very hard.

    I keep reminding myself to write what I want to write. Not what others want to see. I find when I do, I get more hits and comments. My biggest problem is these people become my friends and if they go away I feel hurt and rejected. It’s part of my childhood insecurity coming out.

    But I have plans for my blog and I’m not giving up. I’m keeping it simple. I chose not to look into stumble at this time for just that reason. I’m not going to monetize for right now. I will add my own ads if I want to, but not something a company decided to put on it.

    This was a wonderful post for me right now with many great points! Thank you.

    Now — I have to go get dressed for the day and stop blogging :)

    Deb’s last blog post..My Wedding Dress

  3. I certainly desire instant gratification, or at least “not extremely delayed” gratification. I won’t resort to underhanded tactics though.

    We hear a few stories of amazing success, and wonder why it isn’t happening for us. I try to focus on how my stats are improving, rather than comparing myself to someone else. I had 13 subscribers after 2 months. I could have focused on how other people say you should have 500 subscribers by then, but instead I focus on how it’s up from 3 subscribers after one month. Things are moving in the right direction, even if it’s a bit slower than I’d like.

    I’ve gotten in the habit of writing down things I’m thankful for (not just blogging related, although that’s certainly part of it). Today I’ll have a good one to write down. I just checked my stats and saw that for the first time, I had some coins roll in from AdSense yesterday. Of course it’s not much, and it will be a while before I make enough just to break even, but it’s a milestone. Being thankful for small things makes it easier to stay in it for the long haul.

    Hunter Nuttall’s last blog post..The Problem With Voting In America: Too Many People Do It

  4. Ian DennyNo Gravatar says:

    At the end of the day, regardless of your original or continued motivations, a blog is a form of communication. And it has to be two-ways.

    So people do want to be heard. And whether your goal is to make money or not, you have to make it worth visiting and give value or have something interesting to say.

    The best bit about blogging is the comments and debates. It’s also very educational.

    My enthusiasm tends to ebb and wane. But not from the money-side. I still haven’t hit $60 from Adsense after nearly 9 months of blogging!

    For me the money would have to be a side-effect of blogging. The most satisfaction will ultimately come from an increasing audience and debate/comment.

    And hopefully to help a few people along the way.

    Ian Denny’s last blog post..E-Mail Marketing For The Cash-Strapped Small Business Person

  5. BarbaraNo Gravatar says:

    Catherine,

    I agree, some bloggers do use Black Hat techniques, in hopes of growing their blogs, but I guess we shouldn’t be surprised – there will always be those who scam the system.

    Marketing is smart, but like you said, we also have to remember that if we drive others to our blog, will they arrive to find “value”.

    Stumbling is a lot of fun, can be addicting, but it is time consuming.

    Deb,

    As a new blogger, it is difficult not to become consumed with blogging, however, anytime spent on blogging, takes us away from our other responsibilities. We need to weigh that out.

    I still visit dozens of blogs and don’t comment. For one, it is time consuming, and secondly, I’m always comparing sites to determine if what I am reading is “fact”.

    I think it’s inevitable that we micromanage our blogs. There’s so much we can, and at times, should do, behind the scenes, and that takes time away from posting, and/or life.

    Deb, yes, you need to remain true to yourself. Your readers will quickly figure out, if you’re not. Unfortunately blog visitors can appear be fickle, and we also have to remember they too have lives that take them away from visiting us.

    Keep a good attitude, be patient, and success can follow.

    Hunter,

    As our blog starts to grow, it is easy to get caught up on “wanting more…fast”, but like you said, you’re watching your growth from month to month and seeing increases. There will always be those who take off like a bullet, but might they crash and burn quickly too? Anyone who is into blogging for the long haul, will do better with a strong foundation and loyal readers who stick with them.

    That is so important to have a “gratitude journal”, for all aspects of our life. I think it helps to keep us grounded.

    I did notice you have monetized your blog. It looks good, and blends in well. Great job Hunter! And, now you are making a few coins. Isn’t that exciting? You’re on your way.

    Barbara’s last blog post..Bloggers Fall Prey To Instant Gratification

  6. BarbaraNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Ian,

    Blogs are forms of communication, that provides value, however, from my experience, a blog does not have to include a two way conversation to succeed. My OM blog, gets very few comments, but gets more traffic than this one, and is the one that brings a few coins from AdSense. I find that intriguing as in the beginning, I too, thought blogging meant getting lots of interaction in the comment section. But, it’s my cyberspace friends who share their thoughts, that motivates me the most.

    Ian, your blog has so much potential to help others. With a slow economy, I could see many turning to you for guidance and support as they struggle to “turn things around”.

    Barbara’s last blog post..Bloggers Fall Prey To Instant Gratification

  7. CatherineLNo Gravatar says:

    Barbara – that is true. A lot of people read blogs and don’t actually comment. I read loads in my reader and don’t have time to coments on them.

    It’s mostly other bloggers that comment. And it nice to have that sense of community and support each other.

    I used to read your OM blog for ages and not comment because of my login problem!

    Some people go OTT to try to get more traffic quickly. I tried to send you an article on Stumbleupon yesterday but i don’t know if i did it properly. It was about bloggers who are doing things to get attention, like swearing a lot and also exposing a bit too much about themselves on the Internet. One woman – Naomi from the Itzy Bitzy blog confessed to urinating in cups instead of going to the loo!

    CatherineL’s last blog post..Authenticity in Business and Other Lies

  8. Ian DennyNo Gravatar says:

    Funnily enough, I’ve had a few hits on “turn around” and lot more “liquidation” and the like keyword hits more recently.

    And they’re going through the back catologue of articles. Not commenting though, but it’s reassuring to hear that it doesn;t matter as much.

    I think the reason I want them to comment or contact me is that I really think I can help.

    I’d love to help people turn it around, so I’m hoping the more recent positivity will help.

    Ian Denny’s last blog post..E-Mail Marketing For The Cash-Strapped Small Business Person

  9. BarbaraNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Catherine,

    Commenting does take up a lot of time, doesn’t it? Especially if you want to sound half way “knowledgeable”, and add value to the post.

    I actually think a lot of my visitors to my OM blog, do not even realize it is a blog, and that they could comment. Although blogs have been around for quite awhile, there are millions who don’t know the difference between a blog and a website. They drop by, pick up the information they are looking for, and use it.

    And yes, bloggers are the majority of commenters. I think we are in a “class” of our own.

    I did get that article about some bloggers who are getting quite provocative on their sites. I guess they figure “sex sells”.

    Hi Ian,

    I think with your blog, you are the brave one, who isn’t ashamed to admit to your mistakes, by writing about them. Others, may feel shame or be embarrassed, and although they don’t comment, what you have written is helping them. I think we often help others but aren’t aware of it. All the more reason to provide value in our posts, and in your case, added encouragement.

    Barbara’s last blog post..Bloggers Fall Prey To Instant Gratification

  10. CatherineLNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara – it does take time and to be honest, I prefer commenting on blogs of people I know like yours or Ian’s cos you can have an ongoing discussion.

    I never thought of that in Ian’s case. If people are in trouble – they might not comment because they’re embarrassed or worried that others will read about their concerns. That makes a lot of sense.

    So what did you think of the article Barbara – do you think you can go too far and damage your credibility to get attention? I thought some of the stuff was a bit OTT. It would be a bit like doing a strip at work, or swearing at your customers. Mind you – I read a blog post recently about the new fashion of swearing at your customers too!

    CatherineL’s last blog post..Authenticity in Business and Other Lies

  11. BarbaraNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Catherine,

    Thank you for being such a loyal commenter. Isn’t it fun when we can keep the comments flowing?

    Re: The over the top blogs, I don’t know if that’s a attention/traffic building technique, but they are certainly not blogs that I would frequent. They may gain readership from like minded people, but for those of us who search to find accurate information to share with others, visiting those blogs is a total waste of precious time.

    Barbara’s last blog post..Bloggers Fall Prey To Instant Gratification

  12. NezNo Gravatar says:

    Barbara,

    You always write the most timely posts, I must say.

    Thanks for the reminder that, like a marathon — not that I’ve run one — I should pick my spots, fit some shorter, quicker posts in between longer, more “deep” posts, while trying to find my “voice” and inject my own personality into my blog.

    Just a fancy way of saying, try to find the right balance between posting, traffic, content and commenting.

  13. BarbaraNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Nez,

    That’s right. Find the right balance, don’t get caught up in instant gratification, and in time, huge success could be yours.

    It’s all about patience, perseverance and dedication to that which you love to do.

    Barbara’s last blog post..Bloggers Fall Prey To Instant Gratification

  14. BarbaraNo Gravatar says:

    To all of my loyal readers,

    Take time to remember those early days when writing was a true joy, one comment made your day special, a few coins was a thrill and you had time left over to relax with loved ones.

    That, my friends, is the beauty of simplicity. That, is what it’s really all about. Don’t let the desire for instant gratification erase those great memories.

    Don’t forget to smell the roses. Happy Valentine’s Day!

    Barbara’s last blog post..Bloggers Fall Prey To Instant Gratification

  15. JenniferNo Gravatar says:

    I related with what you had to say. I started out feeling like I could talk about anything and that I had so much to blog about. I posted a few posts and spent more time trying to make my blog look nice and playing with HTML codes. Then, I found myself reading a lot of other blogs and blog books trying to get more information. It was like I was consumed with learning everything there was to know about blogging. I looked at my Feedburner stats every few hours and was saddened by the numbers not changing. I have lost sight of what my blog means to me and that it is meant to be a creative outlet. So what if no one reads it or comments? It comes from my heart, so that’s all that should matter.

  16. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Jennifer – If you can keep that attitude of your blog being your creative outlet, the rest WILL fall into place. Enjoy the journey.