Every blogger fears that moment when a blog post goes live and then... nothing.
Not a comment, not a tweet, no significant page hits, nada. You can almost sense the tumbleweed blowing down the street.
Your blog post has bombed. You've missed the mark.
I had one of those moments last week when I wrote a post about life in Sydney. I liked the angle I'd taken and I thought it was a little on the funny side and might elicit a few laughs. I published the post on Wednesday, scheduled a bunch of tweets that same day, shared the post on Facebook and LinkedIn, and watched and waited.
Nothing. Not a peep.
No reactions, a meagre couple of retweets, and Facebook was as quiet as a graveyard.
I was concerned. Was the post that bad? I re-read it to make sure I hadn't offended any person or particular ethnic group, did a quick scout of the blogosphere to check that my fellow bloggers were still alive and breathing, and waited once more for a reaction.
Two days passed and I had one lonely comment and a paltry number of page visits.
The sound of a cricket chirping could be clearly heard and more tumbleweeds blew down the road. Meanwhile, I continued to cringe in my blogger's chair.
What had gone wrong and why did I care?
|Photo credit: Flickr Creative Commons (jypsygen)|
It's not all bad
Who knows what happened.
Maybe I posted too often on that choice of subject and my readers simply weren't interested. I could have overdone the sponsored post angle which was turning people off. Or it could have been a simple case of poor writing and bland content.
Although it gave me some cause for concern and left me a little bruised, it wasn't necessarily a bad thing.
This poorly performing blog post gave me a gentle kick up the rear.
It made me look at what I'm putting out into the blogosphere. It made me assess the stuff I'm writing about and how well I'm writing it. It made me to sit down and do all of this, which was surely no bad thing.
A healthy thing in fact.
Why I care so much
This blogging business is an uncertain thing.
On any given day, you might think of yourself as a competent writer, putting out killer posts and garnering comments and page views imagined only in your wildest dreams. The next day, it all changes with the push of a button. Your 400-word post chokes and you're thrown violently back to blogging basics.
Last week was a timely reminder that ISOALLO needs to remain interesting and relevant, a good read and unputdownable. This is why I do what I do.
I've worked too hard to create a dedicated community of readers and followers, and to deliver my own individual outlook on life, to see it wasted on the basis of a post that bombed.
I'd like to think that I have a budding reputation to protect - as a writer and creator of this site - and poor readership and participation acts like a flashing headline: 'Russell, be warned!'.
What can be done
All bloggers hate the dud blog post. Me particularly so.
I'd rather pull out my own teeth than experience the quiet that followed last week's post. But, on reflection, it was useful in reminding me of the need to do the following:
- Early on, understand what works and what doesn't on the blog - and apply those rules consistently.
- Regularly review the content - too repetitive, too obvious, too much navel-gazing?
- Refresh the posting strategy from time to time - if it ain't broke, don't fix it; however, if the site is starting to stagnate, it's time to try a different approach. Try posting less often or, conversely, posting more regularly, consider introducing new topics, or try out a different angle to keep the site moving forward and the content fresh.
- Seek feedback from blogging peers - ask them what they think works well or what doesn't work quite so well and seek out suggestions for future content.
- Continue to research the subject area - see what others are creating in this field of blogging. It's not about plagiarising or ripping-off from others, but about looking for new ideas and understanding trends and topics that are proving to be a hit with the community out there.
Have you had a blog post bomb recently? What did you do to fix it? As a blog reader, what turns you off and, equally, what floats your boat?