I would like to apologize to everyone who had troubles accessing my blog today. I was tweaking my theme so that link addresses would get print, when people print the posts from the blog. I deleted the wrong thing, when pushing the changes to the server that would render the internal links here as absolutes. However, I got it back quickly enough, thanks to having a local copy. Anyway, I have noticed that so many people that I know who establish personal blogs and then end up abandoning them. That got me thinking as to why personal blogs fail on the web. Today, I thought that I would discuss my thought on the matter.
Almost every blog out there features something. Book review blogs and just plain review blogs make an effort to post their thoughts on products of some kind, like the various reviews here. Some feature stories to tell. Personal blogs fall into the category of telling a story. Yes, I know that I consider this a personal blog, but I do not want to really tie myself to one particular topic. On the other hand, one thing that many personal blogs have in common is that most deal only with a boring subject, like the life of that person and/or their families. I have a few posts about what I did and such here, but as most people should be able to see, that has so little focus here. Because they focus on only one subject, themselves, it tends to bore the reader to death. They also do not have very much to talk about. For example, the proofreader for my books also has a blog, but she has not updated in months. She has never posted as often as I do, but one factor is that she has mainly run out of ideas. How many times can on post how they celebrated Christmas or went on a vacation to the same city and to the same attractions or activities while there or a birthday? That just gets boring after a while, just like the fact that almost no show in the US has a story that lasts more than a few episodes. One of the only ones I did encounter, and watched to the end, had a terrible pilot and ended horribly. That could be the reason why most shows in the US are episodic. That is the reason why I try not blog about things I did before on vacations, or even vacations where absolutely nothing happened except visiting family. People like variety, as well as an interesting personality, in the favorite blogs and talking only about the himself or herself does not allow a blogger to do any of those things. Many personal blogs only cover one particular subject, instead of many, and fail to attract readers due to a boring subject.
Since many personal blogs bore readers due to the blogger talking about themselves, what can be done to attract a readership? It really depends on if the person is writing for a small audience or not. My proofreader's audience is kind of limited and I doubt she seeks a large following. Although I post a lot of links to this blog myself in various places, I do not care much about a large readership. All I care about is that I can provide information that will be helpful to people. The thing that has helped though is that I do not always talk about myself. More often than not, I post reviews of things I have read or watched or used. I am not saying that everyone reading this should go out and do the same thing, but it does help provide something to talk about as often as I want. Another thing that I try to do is blog about an issue I encountered and fixed recently. This not only gives me a place to look back at (like a wiki), should I encounter the same issue, but it allows people to see a possible solution to their problems and even comment on other possibilities, which can be done on a wiki to, but I do not allow such access on my wiki. Like backups, which I covered the risks of not having in an earlier post, this kind of information is useful to people like me. After all, one solution may not work in all cases, but it does provide some kind of avenue. Also, when talking about oneself, it probably helps to add in some humor, though I am not too sure anybody, unless they were there, can tell what I was joking about in my recent trip to San Diego. Humor can add something to the blogger's personality and, as a result, attract more readers. The last thing that comes to mind is to be a good writer in general. It does not really matter how many grammatical errors there are, which I am sure plenty exist on this blog. A person just needs to be able to write in a way that engrosses others, like that book that just cannot be put down until one has finished reading it. Some of you may disagree and say that bad grammar will dampen things, but I am sure that there are many people out there who write for a living use blogs in order to not let their writing skills get rusty. In order to be a better writer, one must be willing to do writing activities where they do not need to stress about grammar. Besides, nothing will be released if we give in to a perfectionist mentality, which I discussed an earlier post. Personal blogs can be made interesting by adding humor and posting things that would actually help people instead of always talking about themselves. Being a good writer in general can also help.
Personal blogs fail because a person only talks about himself or herself and seeks a big audience. Not caring about audience size and providing helpful posts can garner a larger audience. The personality and writing ability of the blogger also plays a part in making a good blog.
What are your thoughts on the subject? Are there things that some bloggers do that you want to throw out into the mix that bore or interest you? Feel free to comment.
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