As a developer, I have seen and made many blogs. I’ve seen how they start, how they are grow, how they are maintained, and how they die. It’s the same, every single time. If you have had a blog and it is now dead, you can read on and agree. If you have a current blog right now, read on while you’re in denial. And if you are thinking about starting a blog, read about your future.
I get a lot of requests to make a blog, and each time I hear the same thing: “Yea, I’m gonna write it it like every day!” Being the developer that I am, I won’t debate or tell them my thoughts, I’ll do what I’m supposed to do and build the blog. All you need to supply me is the .COM or .NET (hopefully not .net) domain name and I’ll set you up.
STAGE 1: The Honeymoon
During Stage 1, the person is fresh to their blog like they just got a new car. They begin exploring the different settings, options, and saying at least 100 times, “oh my god, this is so cool!” They write test sentences in posts, write in jibberish in the body, and click Save and get amazed each and every time that their post shows up. If it worked the first 20 times, it’ll probably work the 21st time. You forgot to make Categories didn’t you? Well, you’ll make them as you go along, just like you told yourself.
They begin thinking about the possibilities and in this early stage, that thought sets the tone for the rest of the blog. The user knows that what they write about will ultimately determine what the blog is. Formal or informal? Should I spill out all my big ideas at first? Na, I’ll write a couple fillers before the big ones come in.
So you write 2, maybe 3 posts.
STAGE 2: Exposure
Now that you have your 3 blog posts, it’s time to expose yourself! (tech wise, you dirties) You go on facebook, twitter, ever single medium possible and not only expose your blog, but OVER do it. It’s not a bad thing to to tell people about your blog, but please don’t push it in my face. To each their own when it comes to reading things, whether it be online or on paper, and I feel a simple “I have a blog at www.mydomain.com is sufficient enough. Just make sure you can keep posting to it, otherwise you can just send me an email with your blog post and call it a day. With most cases, this Exposure period fills the blog writer full of hope with the writer getting good feedback to due their friends inablity to provide constructive criticism. The writer keeps believing, “I’m gonna write in this everyday, they are gonna love my posts, I could be onto something!”. However, this sweet feeling is short lived.
STAGE 3: Sailing with darkness ahead
After the exposure, after people already know you have a blog, you continue working. Posts might not be as long as they were before, but they are getting out nonetheless. You ask your friends or coworkers “did you read my article?” to which they’ll respond, “not yet”, as if they were going to in the nearby future. But you don’t care, you’re going to continue writing your blog, just like you planned all along. This is the time where you start to doubt, “is anyone really reading this?”
Stage 4: The beginning of the end
You’re about 3 months in, maybe even 5, and you have a solid amount of posts but the frequency is so little where you’ve already lost it. Even I, the developer, usually send an email saying, “just a reminder to keep on bloggin!”, but you don’t listen. You’ve emptied your beliefs on how you’re going to write everyday and filled it with belief that you’re just too busy to write. You get to the computer but realize you don’t know what you want to write about becuase it’s been such a long time. Do you talk about today, what happened recently, or do you try to fill in the user of your absence for 5 months? Doesn’t matter anyways, your blog is in Critical Care.
Stage 5: RIP
The day you realize your blog is dead is when you remember you even had one. You completely forgot about it and you don’t even remember how to login anymore. You debate if it’s even worth the effort to find your login information. If it’s over 5 minutes you might as well start lowering the casket 6 feet in the ground. Your blog is now dead.
Stage 6: Jesus Rises, Your Blog Doesn’t
Stage 6 is a short stage where you have a solid gap of free time months, maybe years after your blog is dead and you visit and and enjoy your own writing. You say to yourself, “wow, that was cool, I should’ve written in it more. I should bring it back!” Stop right here, you’re not going to bring it back, it’s dead.
What about YOU, James?
Yes, my blog is new and I don’t write in it ALL the time, but I do currently write and think about it enough where I don’t see it dying anytime soon. Perhaps im in between Stage 2 and Stage 3, but I’ve seen it happen so many times where I don’t want to be a victim myself. I play it safe and I play it smart. Why won’t my blog die? Well, there’s one thing, one button, that I use that I feel people overlook or forget about…
The save draft button that comes with blogging software is GREAT! I’ve had a few people ask me, “jesus, how do you write so much!?” It’s simple. I save drafts. I’ll have a post topic at hand, and add piece by piece until it becomes what I want it to be. This allows you to read your post multiple times and see if it flows well or not. Or in my case, if it makes sense. I might not have new posts all the time, but I definitely have partially written drafts that are just unreleased.
Although the save draft feature is nice, I feel there is one main reason why my blog won’t die:
“I write about what I want to write about.”
In case you haven’t noticed, I write about random stuff with no constistency between posts. I write about development, life, tech stuff, anything really. I think this is KEY. And I write how I talk, so deal with it. Blogs with a set objective are so constrained, and I hate reading posts where it seems as if the writer just did a highlight -> right click -> thesaurus substitution. If you are supposed to be creative when writing, wouldn’t you want to be free and not constrained by topics or viewers? My readers, if any, can be a nerd, a mom, a dad, a japanese fisherman with thick grasses, homeless guy outside of Calmart in LA, anyone.
I just want to have fun writing, and I want you to have fun reading.