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Maintaining Momentum in Blogging

200605161802

The Blogosphere is suffering from an epidemic of inactivity.

One of the most quoted statistics about the growth of blogging is that last year Technorati says that one blog is started every second (that’s 86,400 per day or 31,536,000 per year).

This is an amazing figure and one worth slipping into conversation when attempting to convince someone of the worth of blogging – however another finding from Technorati that is quoted much less is that around half of new blogs become inactive after just three months (this is how I interpret the figures in this post from Dave Sifry).

Scientists talk about the amount of ‘space junk’ accumulating in orbit around the earth – my mind boggles at the number of blog junk that must be sitting idle – orbiting aimlessly through the blogosphere.

There are many reasons for this blog junk. A lot of it is the results of splogging (many splogs have a short lifespan), some of it is the result of blogs coming to the natural end of their life cycle (even good blogs die eventually) and some of it is the results of bloggers ‘testing’ new designs or playing around with different blog platforms.

I would guess however that many of the abandoned and inactive blogs orbiting around are the results of bloggers who’ve started blogs with good intentions who have not been able to maintain the momentum that they started out with in terms of posting quality and frequency.

Most of us have struggled at one time or another with maintaining momentum on their blog/s. The reasons for it are many:

  • Bloggers biting off more than they can chew – one common scenario that I see in ‘Pro Blogging’ circles is bloggers starting multiple blogs at once and then failing to maintain any of them due to the load. Another problem is picking a topic that is just too wide and therefore overwhelms the blogger.
  • Running out of things to say – on the flip side of starting a blog with too wide a focus is choosing one that is too narrow and where it’d difficult to find much to write about.
  • Hitting ‘bloggers block’ – many bloggers hit periods where creativity and new ideas just dry up.
  • Busyness – many bloggers find that the busyness of their lives is not compatible with the maintenance of a blog
  • Holidays – taking time off from blogging is an essential part of keeping fresh and not burning out – however it’s also a danger time for bloggers as many fail to reengage with their blogging rhythm after a period away.
  • Crisis – similarly some bloggers fail to reengage with blogging after a crisis hits their personal life. A death in the family, the loss of a job, a relationship break up or any other significant event can mean putting blogging on pause and make it hard to start up again.
  • Blogging Crisis – I’ve seen a number of bloggers in recent times become overwhelmed by the negativity of the blogosphere, particularly when they’ve been critiqued or even attacked for their blogging. While this drives some on to blog harder and stronger it can also be a trigger for giving up in some.
  • Boredom – as I look at some of the blogs I’ve let go over the last few years one of the reasons was a lack of excitement about the topic. It’d difficult to keep writing on a topic that fails to engage you.

This week I will be writing a series of posts on the topic of Maintaining Momentum in blogging (at the request of a number of readers of late). Hopefully through it will give us all a little inspiration and a few tips on how to re-start (or end gracefully) those blogs we’ve struggled to keep moving forward.

There is likely to be a bit of cross over between this series and the Battling Bloggers Block one that I did a few months back as ‘bloggers block’ is obviously one barrier to momentum – however maintaining momentum is wider than just a lack of ideas and creativity and hopefully you’ll find this series will address the wider issues in a way that the previous one could not.

Read the rest of the Maintaining Momentum in Blogging Series at:

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Michele says:

    I alway laugh when I see people quoting that Technorati statistic. The problem with blogs is a bit like the old geocities of yore. You will end up with thousands or even millions of them being setup, but only a very small portion of them being actively maintained.
    A lot of it can be down to people thinking that they have something to say, but then realising that they don’t or that they don’t have the energy to say it, so I guess you’ve covered that :)

  2. james says:

    It makes sense that most blogs are abandoned, because there just isn’t a large enough audience to sustain 31,000,000 new blogs a year. Most are running basic templates and featuring topics like “the life and times of my cat” or “our baby” which aren’t likely to draw massive readership unless brilliantly written.

    As an aside, I’d suggest that most of us aren’t bloggers at all. We write news sites that just happen to display very short “stories” in chronological order.

  3. The Mole says:

    It’s somewhat like taking a college level writing course. Of the 30 students in the course only two or three are worth reading and the rest are not. Eventually those who aren’t worth reading will in fact give up.

  4. A.B. Dada says:

    Because I maintain and write for a variety of different blogs I run, I’ve come up with the only solution to keep my readers returning: starting my own blog network.

    Instead of just 8 blogs on different subjects, I throw them all together with short article quotes into one main blog that references each separate one. Readers can subscribe to the uber-blog feed, or they can subscribe individually to the independent ones.

    This works very well since people who like one of my blogs can also read my other ones on days when I don’t publish, as is the case. Almost 40% of my readers read the uber-blog now, which is a great way to build traffic to the sites they normally wouldn’t have subscribed to.

    Even on my busiest day I can find the time to add 2-3 articles total, which is more than enough for the casual reader.

  5. Halfdeck says:

    I clearly hit a point on one of my blogs where it’s getting hard to find new material to blog about because the blog is too niche. Only advice I can give there is don’t go SEO crazy and choose a keyword-stuffed domain name that limits your blog to a narrow topic.

  6. Irimi says:

    Thanks, great article.

  7. Leon says:

    Sad. Sad indeed. I hope that fate doesn’t befall my blog. Not that I’d allow it to.

  8. 84,000 new blogs daily.
    44,000 die after three months.

    Thou shall not worry if thy blog is original. Built like a steakhouse, but handles like a bistro. No worries here on the excess competition, I havent found a blog even a tad similar to my own.

  9. That puts the old saying “a dime a dozen” to shame!

  10. Damon says:

    “Bloggers biting off more than they can chew”

    I experienced this last year about this time. Blogging was new to me and I a lot of ideas but very little focus. I started a lot of projects but got spread too thin.

    This year my approach is a little different. I have two or three goals, that I’ve written down, for my summer blogging. As I think of ideas for other blogs I’m writing them down for future blog projects but not starting them right now.

    Hopefully that helps me stay focused.

  11. Andrew says:

    Having recently entered the world of blogging I can attest to some of the aforementioned. Thankfully I am writing about a large topic that gives me plenty to write about and so far to stay engaged. I can not imagine trying to keep multiple blogs going at once. I have interest in writing other blogs but it seems to me the quantity and quality of one blog will suffer if I were to try two or more at a time. I do agree with the need for rest and re-charging of the battery.

  12. Alvin says:

    Hi Darren!

    One additional reason I think you can consider is the change of direction of the blog as it goes on.

    It’s something I’ve been facing myself on Life Coaches Blog. The original started out as a collaboration between a few friends and myself, however due to various reasons the others left and it’s mainly me now, so I’ve been wondering what to do about the ‘s’ at the end of Coaches.

    And as my writing and thinking matures through blogging, I realized my direction and focus has as well. Life Coaches sounds very ‘top-down’; I’m the coach, you’re the coachee, while now I realize I want to be more ‘side-by-side’, as a fellow explorer along this journey.

    I wonder if you or anyone else has encountered this same changing of direction and if you could help shed some light on it?

  13. Franck says:

    This is what we are trying to avoid:
    “Blog Abandon”, and with your example, happily for us, it will not happen.

    My only problem is that I have several Blogs and websites, and it’s not easy to update everything everyday.

  14. Mark says:

    I would have too say, not attracting enough traffic is quite a large factor, It can get really bad when you come back to your blog a couple of days later, and you still haveen’t had any traffic. But then it pays to have good SEO knowledge :)

  15. Chris Howard says:

    Thanks for answering this question Darren. I had two blogs and lost my momentum on one of them when I took a week off. I reckon that is a good way to test your committment and enthusiasm for a blog. Take a week off and see how enthusuastic you are on return.

    The other thing that affected my blogging was I has all the time in the world to begin with (being unmenployed), but this year I have very little spare time (being a student).

    All that said, I am contracted and paid to write for another blog (which takes up several hours a week), so I haven’t totally fallen from the blogosphere, it’s just my own blogs that have. For now.

    One thing I have been working on to regain momentum is changing when I write.

    Originally I wrote mostly in the mornings and late at night. But the mornings went out the window when I started studying. And by the night I no longer had the energy or time.

    Now I am getting up at 6am (which initially wasn’t easy) and attempting/intending to blog then. Some homework deadlines have encroached on that but I have been a little more successful writing in the early morning before school. So very slowly I am getting the wheels back on.

    I really liked Renee’s suggestion about doing all the work but not going live until you’ve tested your enthusiasm.

    One other thing that can help get any thing moving, is make a public statement of intent. I have been working on a short novel for 2 years, and at the end of Feb, declared on a writer’s blog I would get up at 6am each day and write for an hour. One month later I’d written 30,000 words and finished the first draft.

    The “pressure’ of that public committment got me going.

    Maybe Darren you could start a post here where people can make little declarations like that (realistic ones though!)

  16. L says:

    Oh, thank you! This is what I was thinking about tonight! I could use this series. (For the blog linked in my name, currently, for one.)

    Another thing that happens is SUMMER ENDS. Right now, Summer has begun. I have trouble juggling my time no matter what it seems. Like since it’s been rainy and cold, I’ve neglected going out. But I need fresh air and exercise, so will blogging suffer soon? (I’m heading out for an appointment, tomorrow.)

    I seem to obsess over one project at a time. I could use one or two days on each blog, a week, it seems. But I would find it hard to post so much to one blog at once to cover everything.

    Today I even wasted a lot of time, because of that pingomatic being down issue!

    Since I’m going out, tomorrow, I had to catch up somewhat late into tonight. :-(

    I think I can sometimes get by on six hours of sleep! Uh-oh.

  17. Razib Ahmed says:

    I am blogging now for almost 3 months and I have realized one thing- I must write daily. Well, the main problem that I can for most people is that they want to write about their daily life and they want big traffic.

  18. alec says:

    I think the ease of setting up a blog vs the difficulty of maintaining one is the issue here. There is no cost if you do it through a mainstream site and takes very little time. After a few months, the novelty of having a blog may lose its luster as a motivation tool, and poof.. no more reason to really blog.

  19. Alvin says:

    Btw Darren, I don’t know if you’ve gotten this from other readers, but I’ve noticed your site taking an awfully looong time to load nowadays. I’ve gotten this on my home and office computer and from a friend I IMed your site to.

  20. Ellen Weber says:

    Thanks for these insightful ideas Darren, and I look forward to reading your elaboration. Perhaps one addition might also be “the frustration of learning new technologies” to keep up with features such as trackback…without support opportunities to get guidance when needed…. Sometimes the IT is simply ahead of people’s ability to support this IT or to get support for problems that arise in setting it up… that can take weeks of frutration away from writing and away from one’s busy schedule at work while you try to write daily….

    One of your tips triggered a blog I plan to do on mental tips that may help writers to get past mental blog blocks… or at least create a further discussion on that one. Thanks for the excellent post….

  21. One blog per second is no where near a statistical reality with “real” people.” When you break it down to more meaningful time frames, that would mean about 2,590,000 people per month starting a blog.

    When you compare that against the results of the recent Harris Interactive poll you see that 71% of US adults have never heard of RSS. 46% think tagging is something you play with your kids. And although 79% of US adults are “aware” of blogs, only 17% typically read them. (Which means even fewer are actually blogging.)

    Don’t get me wrong. I thoroughly believe in the promotional power of business blogs and other new media tools. And Darren is right when he says that many bloggers get started and fizzle out due to lack of planning.

    But to think that actual living bloggers are entering the blogsphere at a rate of 1 per second is pie in the sky! Believing that is just not possible when you do statistical analysis across multiple surveys.

    Being personal friends with several top internet marketers and SEO specialists making $5k – $10k per day, I can assure you that most of those “new blogs” are being created by automated software. Whether it’s blog-and-ping for “grey hat” SEO. Or Pumping out thousands of “black hat” splogs to make pennies per site per day on adwords.

    Factor in that many of these previously “elite” methods for SEO are now trickling down to the mid/lower level internet marketers, and you’re getting a lot more abuse of RSS and blogs.

    The New Media marketplace is expanding rapidly. But let’s make sure to keep things accurate and in perspective. Otherwise bloggers will end up losing credibility just like the off-line “mass” drive-by media.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Darren Rowse talks about Maintaining Momentum in Blogging today.  This is a welcome discussion as I have been having trouble finding time and energy to get past a ‘bloggers block’ I’m having.  Its inspirational enough that I’m actually getting a bit more excited trying to work through some of the site issues I’m having with Snowmoblog – RSS XML generated by WordPress won’t verify, my graphic work is as lame as I expected (Dave H. I may give you a call), and I need to upgrade the hosting service – to name a few. [...]

  2. [...] I’ve just read an interesting post on one of my prefered blogs, did you know that 1 blog is created every seconds, and that most of them die after 3 months. [...]

  3. [...] Läs mer om vad Rowse kallar epidemisk inaktivitet: Problogger: The Blogosphere is suffering from an epidemic of inactivity [...]

  4. [...] I’ve noticed it – have you?  There seems to be a certain lack of excitement overall right now.  Yeah, there are some highlights here and there as events happen, and so on.  But from my perspective, the last month has been quite a bit light on fresh conversations.  Even right now, a number of discussions are just on blogging, maintaining momentum, and making the most efficient use of advertiseing.  Neat stuff to be sure, and I’m learning a lot… but where is the excitement, the passion, the inspiration that seemed to be abundant just a few months ago? [...]