Whiny Bloggers Quit Because It Was Work

Whiny face

It is probably unfair of me to paint the bloggers in this article with such a broad brush. Yet, I can’t help but roll my eyes because what I read is so very silly. Take a look at the excerpt below.

“There are about 31 million blogs in the United States, a number expected to swell to 34 million by the end of this year. But Mr. Harbison is part of a small but growing trend of blog quitters. Last year, the number of blogging teens and adults ages 18 to 33 declined, in the first reported drop in blogging, according to Pew Research Center data.

Some have simply switched to another blog-like medium, say, Twitter or Facebook. Others have faced unpleasant facts about blogging. It’s cheap to do but usually doesn’t pay. Having a platform may be fun at first, but building a following takes much more work than simply typing and posting.

And millions of them go virtually unnoticed, despite the occasional breakout sensation like the humorous “Stuff White People Like” and the Julia Child-inspired “The Julie/Julia Project.”

When “people see these, they say, ‘I can do that—it will be easy,’ “ says Raanan Bar-Cohen, vice-president of media services at San Francisco-based WordPress, which hosts 16.5 million blogs. “If you’re looking for fame and fortune, blogging has as good a chance as any medium,” he adds.

But new bloggers misunderstand what the venture is really all about. “The best bloggers are good at highlighting, snipping and curating,” Mr. Bar-Cohen says. All that draws “the feedback that is as or more important than the actual posts.”

The effort involved in building a following caused Ray Silverstein to give up. Mr. Silverstein, 73, is principal at Pro Presidents Resource Organization, a Chicago-based small-business consultancy. Four years ago, he began blogging about small-business issues in order to draw traffic to his firm’s website.

He posted about twice a week but failed to read other blogs, comment and connect. “You really have to work the blog more,” he notes.”

If you are in this with dreams of getting rich you better hope that you love it too. There is a reason why I keep repeating certain truths about blogging. There is an exceptionally low barrier to entry. Anyone with a computer and internet access can start a blog. There are a million different voices competing for the same readers as you and many of them have no business sense/intelligence whatsoever.

But let’s ignore all that and read the last line of the excerpt I provided.

“He posted about twice a week but failed to read other blogs, comment and connect. “You really have to work the blog more,” he notes.”

Blogging takes time, effort and work. They call it social media because it requires many of the same social skills you would use in the real world. In the real world you build relationships first and ask favors later. Why would it be different here. What makes people think that if they simply write a story millions will come knocking on their door. Sometimes luck is more important than talent. We see that here all the time.

Sorry, I just don’t feel badly about this. If you start a brick and mortar business it requires time and effort to make it work. It requires commitment. Blogging is no different. If you can’t deal with it or don’t feel like it works for you than you really should find something else. In the end if you don’t love blogging you are going to find it to be more trouble than it is worth.

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Comments

  1. These folks were pussies.

  2. I think it’s even a bit deeper than that. It seems at least in my own personal experiences that people today want a paycheck without doing the work. Regardless of what the work is be it a retail company or blogging. Everyone wants to get rich quick, but no one wants to do the work required. I have held various supervisory positions over the last 15 yrs and did the majority of the hiring for the companies I worked for and the last 5 yrs especially I noticed this attitude was prevalent in the majority of job seekers.

    • The instant gratification society has had a negative impact in some areas. I think that one of them is the willingness to put the time in that is required to gain experience so that they can advance.

  3. Hi Jack,

    Your post just reminds me of my blog. When I first wanted to sign up a host, I did not even do brainstorming keywords or those SEO stuff, because I did not know anything at all.

    I just bought a shortest domain name, then sign up. Then I set up a wordpress blog. My goal was simple, I wanted to do what I love the most, screencasting.

    So I run a video tutorial, how surprising, that I also can make money from it. But one thing that I really notice and learn from, is I had to make my blog known, either with SEO, social, or other methods.

    Thanks.

  4. I would say that failure to comment and read other blogs is only a part of what he was doing wrong. If he wasn’t getting any traffic at all then his SEO must have been pretty bad and if he was getting traffic but not getting any comments then his posts must have been lacking something.

    • Hi Sire,

      I have to agree that there were multiple issues with their lack of success. The article and the comments the bloggers made really made it clear that they had more than one problem.

  5. I consider my blogs to be my personal newspapers or magazines. A few select people are also allowed to blog on my blogs, which give my blogs added interest. Yes, it’s work. I think that blog carnivals are very valuable and participate, host, run and support them.

  6. Good post Jack. Sometimes, when I click on some blogs that I really loved, and find that the blogger hasn’t written anything in a month, I feel really disappointed. It seems that the “fad” has passed. On the other hand, perhaps it will be easier to keep up with blogs now, because only the really passionate bloggers will stay the course….

  7. Having a blog is a very time consuming hobby. After having gone crazy on it for a full year (’04-’05), which I think may have been the golden age of blogging, My next blog will be used only as a forum for my essays and photography. Now, I just need to launch it — soon, very soon. I feel like an athlete who keeps returning after retiring. Or, just an old writer who still has ink in his blood.

  8. All well said, Jack. Anything worthwhile takes time and effort – and passion. Blogging includes so many communities, so many agendas, so many types of blogs and writing, that viewing it purely as an activity that achieves measurable success in terms of dollars or even readers seems short-sighted.

    Those of us who persist do so because it fills something in us, works our skills, expands them, and serves one or more objectives. And as another commenter said I believe, we do it because we love it – including the sense of community – hard work and all.

    • Part of what l love is that expansion of skills you referred to. There is something gratifying in knowing that a hobby can provide practical benefits.

    • I read this post when it was first published but didn’t comment until now because there was so much to say but since I am not a writer, writer, I became nervous that I couldn’t properly put to words everything that went thru my mind. Thanks to BLW, I am going to take the easy way out and say Right on. Everything she said.

  9. Gee… and I just do it for fun…

  10. True. I also think that, as in business, there are times when some folks get to the front of line on tactics other than those you mention. The true test is whether you have the perseverance to wait and confidence to trust that eventually you can get there too.

    • I don’t believe that there is one way to become a successful blogger. There are many paths that will work. In most cases though the proven method of success is the same as anywhere else…hard work.

  11. I couldn’t agree more. Blogging takes affection and attention. Time and energy. There are no silver bullets, no shortcuts. Thank you for the reminder.

  12. Jack, I’ve been doing my blog for about two months now, and I haven’t made a dime. So, I guess I’m gonna quit. 🙂 It is hard work, not the actual blogging and writing, but the blogging and writing with all the other stuff that’s going on in our lives. But, then again, “all the other stuff” is what we’re blogging about – or at least what I’m blogging about. So, there’s really nothing to complain about. I’m having a blast writing, connecting, commenting, being inspired. . .it’s all great stuff! Thanks for the insightful post. . .Jared

  13. You know what bugs me above all else in that article?

    “The best bloggers are good at highlighting, snipping and curating…”

    Totally dismisses the writing aspect.

    And you are so right…if you are going to start a blog…you better love it. And be part of the community.

    • That line is applicable to some bloggers but certainly not all. You are quite right that it ignores the excellent and insightful writing that so many bloggers are able to share with others. I am not real surprised to see it because there are still huge numbers of people who haven’t had any real exposure to the blogosphere. Many think of it as being nothing more than a place where some pimple faced geek writes about his Dungeon and Dragons adventure. Such a sad and silly misconception.

      • Why did you have to knock D&D?! [grin]

        My first big push in writing was when at age 14, I got a serious offer to write for a RPG company. Of course, I was 14, the contract was way too many pages, and I had better things to do- namely, girls.

        Still, knowing that my writing was interesting to someone, helped me to believe that writing was worthwhile.

  14. You hit the nail on the head about it taking time and effort. You could tell reading this article, especially from the ones who claimed it didn’t help their business, that they were expecting blogging to replace other marketing/advertising/sales channels or act as savior. That isn’t going to happen. The question I have is what were they writing that didn’t resonate? If it was a business blogging about its products or services and how great they are, then that is probably the reason their blogging efforts failed miserably.

    And I don’t buy the “ran out of ideas” nonsense. Content is all around us. I have four or five ideas a day for posts, videos and the like. More often than not I just don’t have the time to create them all, or they are a touch half baked.

    • PJ,

      I can’t argue any of that. I find myself wondering if they really worked at it and how they came to believe that it was going to be easy. I am curious what led them to believe that simple business principles wouldn’t apply in cyberspace. I don’t mean for that to be snooty but I am truly curious. It is not 1999 anymore. E-Commerce and the Internet are not new inventions, it just doesn’t make sense. Makes me wonder if they just didn’t want to work hard.

  15. Patience and content I think are the keys to success. I think it probably takes 2 years of good writing to get a good following. It is hard work but also fun if you like to write!

    • I would agree with that and add consistency. If you don’t post consistently people end up going elsewhere. If you enjoy writing there is no better place to be or to practice.

  16. Yeah, I agree. Failure at blogging is almost assured regardless of the passion someone has for it. It’s certainly assured for those who can’t really devote themselves. I can’t feel sorry for people for falling victim to competition. Some day, I’ll probably be one of them myself, the difference being that I won’t complain about it 🙂

    • I don’t know about that. You have been working pretty hard and kept up a decent clip. If you can sustain that effort you might find that the others drop before you do.

  17. You tell them brother! It is definitely hard work but I like to keep it light and have fun with it. Hopefully something else will follow but at least I get to write to a few people who want to hear what I have to say!

    • I suppose that I have grown intolerant of some of the silly comments I read. No one with an ounce of sense believes that they can open a store in a mall and become a millionaire without working at it. Why would they expect anything different here.

      • I’d like to add that opening a store in the mall could easily cost a million. People don’t consider that. Just imagine the investment or blessing that you need to bring to blogging to succeed against competitors who often bring so much more.

        • I think that some people have trouble with intangibles. It is sometimes easier to see how brick and mortar costs can impact you than those that come with cyberspace.

          • Well said! “Some people have trouble with intangibles.”

            The amount of investment a person must put into an entrepreneurial project like blogging or a start up will significantly exceed the investment one puts into a 9-5 job. Typically by 2.5 times. Often, a lot more. Assuming that they are determined to give it their best shot.

  18. I read this article (I think you linked to it on Twitter). It’s like those people who walk through a museum and think “what’s the big deal, I can do that”. Then when they discover they can’t, art is stupid. The whole article made my eyes roll.

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