Are You Cheating on Your Blog?

 

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Twitter. Facebook. Google+. LinkedIn. Pinterest. Email. Sometimes it feels that by the time I’ve checked all my social networks, I don’t have any time left to actually visit my own blog. It’s only a matter of time before I’m caught with lipstick on my collar, so to speak. I love my blog, but sometimes I feel like I’m cheating on it.

There are only so many hours in a day, and most of us suffer from shiny ball syndrome. I should really write some new posts today. Ooo, look at all those new pins. Ooo, someone sent me a funny email. Ooo, I have new messages on Facebook. Ooo….

Our blog feels stale and boring with all the interesting things to do online. And we tell ourselves that our blog will always be there, waiting for us when we get home.

But we all know that isn’t the case, don’t we? If we don’t give our blogs enough attention, one day, we’ll come home to find that the house is empty and there’s a note on the kitchen table telling us it’s over.

Now really, a blog can’t just get up and leave like a scorned lover, but if you’re “cheating” on your blog by spending more time on social media outposts, email, etc., any success you find will be short-lived and packing a suitcase before you know it. Blogs need to be nurtured, or readers won’t remember you.

A see a lot of bloggers saying, “I only write when I have something to say.” That’s great. You don’t have to have a strict blogging schedule to have a great blog. But if your blog isn’t in the forefront of your mind, you haven’t given importance to it and you’re not going to suddenly think of ideas. If you haven’t had anything valuable to say on  your blog for two or three weeks, why are you maintaining your blog at all? Put your blog first and you’ll probably find that the ideas start flowing.

More importantly, all the social media outposts that you love don’t actually belong to you. What would you do if Facebook suddenly disappeared? You don’t have control over whether or not your content stays live on those sites, and you certainly don’t benefit from advertising on other monetization efforts on these networks. You blog needs to be your home base and the place most important to you online. It’s cool to connect with readers elsewhere, but you want to always encourage them to interact with you most on your blog itself.

They won’t if you aren’t there. Be aware of the difference between not having time and not making time. Don’t lie to yourself. If you had time today to play Words With Friends, you had time to check your blog.

If you’re guilty of being a dirty cheater, the good news is that you can rebuild your relationship with your blog. Here are a few things you can do to recommit:

  • Right now, do all that maintenance work you’ve been avoiding. Update to the new WordPress. Clean up your sidebar. Add that new plugins you’ve been hearing so much about. Redo your header. All those little tasks that have been piling up in the corner aren’t going to do themselves. If you’re really short on time – hire someone to do them for you.
  • Write a post at least twice a week. I can appreciate the “only blog when I have something to say” mindset, but if you don’t have something to say about your niche at least twice a week, why are you even blogging about that topic in the first place? It’s about putting your blog to the front of your mind. When you do that, rather than just wait for ideas to strike like lightening, you’ll be amazed at just how much you actually do want to write about.
  • Start your day on your blog. Before you check your email, social networks, etc., check your blog comments and stats, get some writing done, and promote a link or two. Again, it’s about putting your blog in the forefront of your mind.

And don’t be afraid to let it go if your blog really isn’t that important to you. You aren’t a quitter and you certainly aren’t a failure by admitting that you just aren’t that into your blog anymore. Move on to projects you do care about instead.

Photo credit:  Maria Reyes-McDavis via flickr

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3 Responses
  1. I take exception with some of this. Not ALL of it, but some of it.

    I do agree with the idea that you should be focusing on the work you own. A friend recently introduced me to the term “digital sharecropper” — when you’re growing content for someone else and you get a pittance as a reward. Yeah, don’t do that. Build your own work. And the call for housecleaning, that’s good. (I’m doing some of that now.)

    But.

    Not posting twice a weeks doesn’t mean by default that you have nothing to say. Maybe it means you’re working on other projects that earn money. Maybe it means you’re traveling somewhere that you don’t have reliable access to the tubes. Maybe it means you are working over larger concepts that take more time. Posting twice a week just so you’re posting twice a week?

    Why phone it in? Don’t disappear for a month without giving your readers some indication of what you’re up to, but don’t make filler just for the sake of making filler. Not posting regularly isn’t an indication of apathy, in fact, it can be the opposite entirely. It can be an indication of only posting your best work.

    Not everyone is a full time vanity blogger. (as in maintaining their personal blog as their primary business, not as in “You’re so vain.”). My blog just spent some time on the back burner while I wrote travel stories for markets that pay well. I’ve time in between deadlines to visit the virtual water cooler that is Twitter and Facebook, but I haven’t had the time to create the kind of work I like to publish on my blog. Social networks allow me to say “I am still here” without producing junk food for my readers. YMMV, but for my career, publishing third rate stuff just to get it out there isn’t a good strategy.

    You know that thing when you ask someone a question and they pause for a moment, maybe longer, while they consider their answer? What if we consider a little quiet on the blog as that, instead of neglect? With so much noise in the world, do we really need to be talking All The Time?

    And now, with the irony of this not wasted on me, I have said enough.

    1. Hi Pam, Thanks for your comment! First, I think it’s important to address that this post was originally written for the NMX blog, and the advice is for people who are blogging as a career. I have a personal blog that I update maybe once a month, tops. If you’re just blogging to get your ideas out there and have fun with it, update as much or little as you want.

      From a “I want to make money this way” though, the more you can update (without sacrificing quality), the better it will be for building your blog. I’ve experienced this on my own blogs (the ones I maintain for money or maintain for clients). More posts = more readers, and higher quality readers (i.e., people who will interact, buy stuff from you, share your posts, etc.). There’s a reason why most successful blogs out there are updated pretty frequently.

      There are no hard an fast rules, of course. The best bloggers usually break the rules regularly. Do what works for you and your community! 🙂

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