What does success in blogging mean to you?
It’s a question that I ponder every now again, usually as a result of some missive from WordPress that suggests something that I should do to increase my traffic.
Is successful blogging really just about numbers? When I join in with the photo challenges the number of hits my blog gets rises. Is that success – random people looking at a picture I have posted? Some just paste a link to their own blog. That counts as a hit and a comment but hardly suggests they have lingered to see and appreciate what I have written or photographed.
I notice that some people visit and like my blog after I have visited and liked theirs. Politeness? Quid pro quo? Hardly an endorsement of my writing. If I like a hundred posts and those hundred like mine back because the bloggers think that is what they should do, it doesn’t make my post better.
Pictures of my cat also bring in the likes. Now, I agree that MasterB is the most beautiful cat alive, and my heart swells with pride every time someone says something nice about him, but cutting edge, it ain’t.
I don’t always have time to browse as many blogs as I’d like. I am way behind with some of my favourites; Writing From the Edge, for example. Some blogs I followed for months or even years I don’t read any more. I am sure they are still good, but I am reading other stuff.
WordPress talks about retaining readers. Some blogs retain me, I retain some readers. But I am here for pleasure, not to make a living; though if anyone would like to discover me and pay me millions, please don’t be shy.
Tonight, I browsed through posts I wrote a few years ago: worries about Mother; Cat’s last months. I am so glad I have those records, reminders of what happened when, the fears, the challenges, the lows, the highs. The support I have received through blogging from people I have never met at some of the most difficult and demanding points of my life has been more than significant, a wonderful, incalculable and sustaining warmth; yet in the success by numbers reckoning, it doesn’t begin to register.
So I think I should like WordPress to reconsider how it defines a successful blog. Quality in writing, in readership, and in what it brings to all parties, whether those numbers are big or small should be one of the measures.
But the main criteria should be in relation to why a person has begun to blog. I consider my blog a success because I wanted to write about people, places and situations that matter to me; about my new experience as a boat owner; about my mother’s dementia and my changing relationship with her. My blog has provided me with a space where I can write and reflect on these things. It is also been a space where I have fun, let off steam, post pictures. That others read and enjoy what I write and post is an added bonus. The fact that they read makes me try to express myself more clearly, and their comments help me to understand my feelings and, especially when things have been tough, to know that mine is an experience others recognise and empathise with.
I was amazed when my mother was dying how many of you tuned in each day and sent me your thoughts. It was both humbling and strengthening.
Ultimately, my blog is for me. A space where I can write and store memories. As such, my motive for starting it and continuing it is selfish. If we only validate our posts by the number of people who access them we could end up only writing to please an audience. That sounds like work to me, and if my blog becomes work I shall need something else for downtime.
This may sound pretty incoherent, so please add your reflections too, and maybe we shall all end up with a clearer idea of why we have this urge to write and share.