My first post at the old Accidental Historian blogspot site came in March of 2007. At that point I just wanted to write and I didn't really give a shit who, if anybody, bothered to read what I wrote.
In the nearly five years I've been doing this I've rarely gotten a sustained circulation of more than 50 or so hits per day and I don't really have a large number of regular readers and/or commenters. For the most part this doesn't bug me. C'est la vie, really. I've always seen that as a bonus: I can write anything and don't have to answer to anyone. It also contains the blog's biggest weakness: I don't feel like anyone gives a shit, so why bother?
Don't take this the wrong way, my dozen-or-so regulars. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with you. I'm just saying, "Holy crap, I've been writing a goddamn blog on the goddamn internet for nearly five years and I have a circulation of basically NOTHING." I read a bunch of blogs that started well after I did that get more hits in a day than I get in a month and more comments on a post than I...um, than I ever get. Then I check my stats and see that part of the problem is that about half of my hits come from people Googling "why coldplay sucks" and ending up at a post I crapped out a year ago because I felt like making fun of Coldplay.
It's disheartening, is what I'm saying.
While I've got spare time and I just feel like it, blogging is an interesting diversion. I've had copious amounts of spare time for the better part of the past half-decade. As I see my time getting more limited, though, I'm seeing less and less need to maintain this particular, time-consuming hobby if all I'm doing is engaging in long-form talking to myself.
Thus, I find myself at a fork in the road. Either I stop blogging more-or-less entirely because of the whole concept of diminishing returns or I change the way I blog. The "way" might end up being shorter, but at the very least it would be tighter and more focused on flogging a few hobbyhorses. Believe it or not, but I have developed a fairly keen sense of what's worth writing about and what isn't over these last few years. I've also developed a fairly keen sense of what is and isn't working whilst writing. The number of posts that I've started but haven't finished has increased dramatically over the years. At least, it had up until recently, when I started throwing crap up against the wall just for the sake of doing it.
That's neither here nor there, though. What I write will, ultimately, be what I write no matter what. How I choose to write about it will be my responsibility, too. It's time for me to actually acknowledge the issue of why I write this blog, which I've ignored for quite some time.
Anyone who blogs does so because they want to have a voice. I, personally, feel that I have something to add to a larger dialogue. I feel that when I'm actually putting effort in to said additions to a larger dialogue I do so in an artful and thoughtful way. And, to put it crassly, I'm getting really fucking tired of putting a lot of time, thought, and effort in to a post, then seeing that almost no one reads that but a shitload of people are reading my "thoughts" about why Coldplay is a terrible band.
And so but anyway, all whining aside, we get to the whole bit about soliciting advice:
I know that several of my readers are, themselves, proprietors of blogs that have footprints larger than mine. It's almost impossible, really, to have a blog that doesn't get more readers than I do. I've not spent a whole lot of time thinking about promotion or circulation or any such thing, but I'm thinking it's probably time to start doing that.
As such, dear readers (who didn't come here through a Google search for Coldplay, as I'VE TOTALLY GOT THAT COVERED), how the hell does one go about increasing circulation? Seriously. I'm stymied by this one...