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The Challenges of a New Blog

Last night, I was talking to someone about social media – surprise, surprise – when they mentioned that they had probably missed the boat on blogging. This is a person with lots of enthusiasm, energy and ideas; someone who’s active on Twitter and having lots of conversations – digital and analog (real-life) – to provide great fodder for a blog.

It got me thinking that while technically launching a new blog can be done in minutes using WordPress.com or Blogger.com, it’s difficult to start a blog that will attract an audience beyond family and friends. A big part of the problem is there are so many blogs out there so it’s difficult to attract an audience given the competition and noise.

To attract attention, a new blog needs a twist, an angle or something different to stand out from the crowd. A good example is Stuff White People Like, which was definitely different and irreverent. WWPL was also lucky because it caught lightning in a bottle because it got noticed and went viral.

But for the vast majority of new blogs, that doesn’t happen. They are started with a lot of enthusiasm and energy before the novelty quickly wears off. This explains why only 6% of the 133 million blogs tracked by Technorati in its 2008 State of Blogosphere had been updated in the past 120 days.

So the question is whether it’s even worth bothering with a new blog if your chances of people reading it are slim and nil. The answer is “absolutely”. If you want to blog to build your brand, express an opinion, satisfy the urge to write or keep a personal journal online.

There are lots of good reasons to start blogging that have nothing to do with attracting traffic or making money. And if, in the process, you hit the jackpot and do gets of lots of visitors, that’s just a cherry on the sundae.

More: A good read on where blogging is going is Om Malik’s “The Evolution of Blogging”.

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  • http://www.arandomjog.com josh duncan

    Mark,

    Thanks for the Sunday morning food for thought. You are spot on when you recommend not starting just for money. It is going to take serious time and effort now to get noticed and if you are just in it for the money, chances are your drive is going to dissipate.

    I think one of the toughest part of starting a blog is finding your own voice and personality. If you are not getting any readers or comments, it makes it even harder without feedback. Your best bet is to write about something you are very interested in and enjoy.

    Thanks,

    Josh

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/markevans markevans

    Thanks for the feedback. I've created a bunch of blogs over the past five years, and a lot from of them aside from AdSense pennies.