July 7, 2011

Blog and live happily ever after…

Before I take you to the joy of blogging, may I ask you three question? 

Let me begin by asking: Why at all do you blog?
You purpose or provocation could by any - informing people, sharing thoughts, keeping in touch with friends, selling products and services, making money, or just keeping an online diary of whatever comes to the mind. 

My second question: What do you gain from blogging? Your answer could be any - getting dollars, supplementing business, helping build brand, informing people about your latest activities, or just satisfying your urge to create something. 

Lastly, may I ask you: What do you lose in blogging?
With so many free blogging platforms available, I don’t think you will lose in terms of payments for site designing and ISP charges. If you are a regular blogger, chances are that you have spend a lot of time and energy in starting and maintaining the blog. If you have done so without enjoying blogging, you have definitely lost a lot as blogging became a monotonous drudgery for you and probably it also did not give you enough monetary returns. 

Blogging should be a win-win, rather than win-some-lose-more exercise. The blog should flourish and it should give you joy. For that to happen, you need not spend huge sums or great amount of time learning technology. You just need to look at your attitude toward blogging. 

You need to love three things about blogging: the subject matter, the process of blogging and the blog itself.


First and foremost, you must love the subject of your blog. Don’t blog on a subject that does not interest you. A friend of mine opened a blog on technology only because he felt it would give him great number of visitors and big money. Well, yes, within a month, the hard labor paid: he started getting over a hundred visitors a day and some visitors even clicked on his advertisements. He was so enthused that he started writing one post a day and tried some tricks to make it more popular. When I met him after about a year, he had abandoned the blog and started one on high heel shoes. I had known that he would leave the first blog sooner or later and I also know that he will leave the second blog too. [If it gets him good dollars, he might continue blogging, though.] I am no astrologer but I knew of his first blog’s fate because I also knew that he had no real interest in technology. He started the blog only to earn quick bucks. He was influenced by some advice on the web about making a blog popular and earning big dollars from it. He now tells me that writing posts day after day on technology was a frustrating experience and towards the end he had started just copying and pasting matter from other websites to keep the blog going.

I have many such examples. I also have examples of blogs that produce quality stuff because the blogger is in love with the subject. No wonder, such blogs are running quite well.
When you love the subject, you tend to create original stuff and give expert advice. Even if you are not an expert, you can generate spirited discussion. You get fresh ideas and viewpoints when you compose a post. Chances are that over time, you get good number of visitors. If on top of good posts, you use the tricks of the trade to get more traffic, monetize the blog and place relevant advertisements, you might get really good sums of money. Whether you get great traffic and money or not, you have already earned a great deal if you have been enjoying writing the stuff.

It may not be practical to think of a ‘paying’ subject and then start loving it. So, do the converse: blog on topic(s) that you love. If, however, you are blogging for business and have been suffering because you don’t like the subject, do carry on with the blog – but when you prepare the profit-and-loss account, consider the hours you spent in cursing the blog as a loss.

Second, you must love the process of blogging. You must love composing posts, responding to comments, experimenting with the blog's design, adding elements to improve readability and visual appeal, and so on. If you love the subject but do not get joy in writing good quality posts, adding a much-needed graphic and interacting with your visitors, it will show badly on your blog. 

Unless you maintain the blog for secretly writing your diary, the blog is for sharing your world-view with people. If you do not love the creativity associated with blogging, you are probably in a wrong place; you should be maintaining a static website where you keep stuffing information without caring whether anybody likes that or not. So, if you want to derive happiness from blogging and sustain it for a long time, you must make blogging your hobby.

Third, you must love the blog – the end product. You must be in love with your blog. It must reflect your thoughts and, if possible, your personality. If it is a personal blog, it should be your online alter ego. If it is a blog on your profession, it must present your ideas and knowledge in the best possible way. 

You must feel good when you visit the blog. You must love it the way a child loves her toys. Only such an involvement with your blog will give you the incentive to maintain it in good shape, update it regularly, and keep working for its improvement. You must be satisfied with the blog to the extent that you would like to show it off as a piece of art, a creation. [Though in reality, it’s good to be modest about it, isn’t it?]

By the way, in a recent blogosphere survey, Technorati found that about two-thirds of regular bloggers do blogging for the love of it, not for money. I believe that many of them would be making money too. Money should have come to them as a bye-product. I also believe – because I have enormous empirical evidence - that blogs that die an early death or that somehow linger on belong to those who do not love the three essential loves of blogging. 

So, fall in love with your blog and live happily ever after.

P.S.: Browse this post in a hurry or leave it unread if you are approaching blogging with the sole motive of making money. Being here longer might harm your short-term monetary interests!