December: Jorn Barger coins the phrase "weblog"...which later becomes simply "blog".
Everyone knows that Superman’s great weakness is Kryptonite, fragments of his home planet that travelled with him to earth. That’s how legendary weaknesses arise: the source of our strength is also our greatest weakness, and every legend carries with it the seeds of its own destruction.
So it seems almost necessary that the coining of the blog, or “weblog”, should have coincided with the emergence of Slashdot, the “news for nerds” web site. Both appeared on the scene in 1997. Blogs were the foundational medium that gave birth to all social media; they’ve transformed news gathering, political dialogue, business, art, family communications and personal expression. But there is one thing that has brought many a blog to its knees: slashdotting.
Slashdotting is the phenomenon whereby a mention on the front page of slashdot brings so much traffic to your web site that it literally crashes your server. It is the kind of moment that is so emblematic of success that the term has become genericized: “slashdotting” can now refer to any major site mention that leads to your own (smaller) site being overrun with visitors. It’s something bloggers both hope for and fear: On the one hand, it’s incredible to have thousands of people read that gem of a blog post. On the other hand, you’d better pray your web host has a reasonable rate for additional bandwidth.
The various aspects of slashdotting — how to get it, and how to survive it — are well-documented. But what about the millions and millions of bloggers who never have their moment in the dotlight? Even those lucky few who do get slashdotted may toil away for years before it happens, and may be shocked at how quickly they fade back into obscurity after their fateful day. The success of blogging in ensuring that just about anyone can find their voice online also translates into a promise that very few will ever find (much) audience.
Whether your idea of blogging obscurity is blogging for an audience of only 4, or an audience of only 40,000, it can be hard to stay motivated if you don’t feel like your blog is getting its due. Here are 10 great tips on how to keep you blogging juices flowing, even when Slashdot has passed you by:
1. Enjoy small wins.
A successful blog has more to do with the small wins you have everyday then it does with the few big wins. Small wins keep us motivated and in a positive place to keep moving forward. A small win can be anything… extra 50 unique visitors a day, 5 more comments per post, 5 more social shares, it can be anything. Just realize and appreciate them, these are what will grow your blog.
– John Paul Aguiar, How To Stay Motivated When Your Blog Is Invisible
2. Refresh yourself.
Forget past failures for a minute. Focus on your blog’s future potential. No matter what’s happened in the past, you can do a great job with your blog going forward.
– Easton Ellsworth, How to stay motivated and avoid blogger burnout
3. Make the most of momentum.
I take advantage of my energy peaks. If I’m on a roll, I keep writing. Even if I’ve just published a post, I start on the next one.
– Ingrid Abboud, Bring IT! How do you stay motivated to blog?
4. Make a plan.
One of the best ways to stay motivated is to have a plan – a long term plan. I’m always working off an editorial calendar covering two years ahead. I write for a variety of blogs and have to plan what I write about so I don’t overlap stories, but also to connect them occasionally together by content and theme. I keep a running list of article ideas in a text file on my computer, one for each blog, so I always have an idea or three waiting there in the wings if my brain locks up. I set goals, story ideas, and themes way in advance so I’m always working towards something and not hunting for things to write about in the instant, though that does happen occasionally.
– Lorelle VanFossen (inteview), Stay Motivated
5. Find competitors.
Bloggers who write about the same thing I blog (my competitors) have helped me to stay motivated. Over the past months of my blogging, I’ve monitored my competitors’ technorati, page rank and alexa. I also kept track of their developments and how far I’ve been catching up. This has always been a great driving force for me to continue blogging. The motivation to beat them and become better is really powerful and effective in keeping you motivated. I’m sure it will do the same to you.
– Rocky John Tayaban, Tips to stay motivated in blogging
6. Know who you are writing for.
Visualize your ideal client. Will keeping your ideas to yourself help this person?
– Pam Slim (interview), How real women stay motivated to blog
7. Go back to the beginning.
If you are in the process of trying to start a blog, check out your favorite sites and see what they did in the beginning. Everyone has a different way of starting a blog. Some set goals, some talk about themselves, others just jump right in. Take a look at a variety of different blogs and find something that works for you. If you already have an established blog, then go back to the beginning of yours. Maybe you just need to refocus your attention on the goals you set when you first began.
– Sean Ogle, Seven ways to find blogging motivation
8. Keep drafts of multiple blogs entries.
I use WordPress to write this blog. WordPress has a nifty feature that I use to save drafts of my incomplete blogs. This way if I don’t completely finish a blog or have a super long entry I can continue writing at anytime and get back to it later. I can edit it from home, at a friend’s home, on my phone, or even at work (shhhh, don’t tell) because its online. If you don’t have WordPress I recommend using note pad on your laptop. If you want it mobile than send an e-mail to yourself. In this day and age of technology, everyone has a smart phone where they can e-mail themselves or at least store notes to be a little bit more productive.
– Quincy Solano, How to stay motivated writing a blog
9. Take time off.
Once you’ve got a plan, fit some downtime into it. Make sure you’re not always operating at breakneck speed, or that if you are, it’s only for a short, manageable period. Be sure to build in time out for family and friends, and to be flexible about your schedule. Above all, let yourself really enjoy that time off — don’t spend it guiltily obsessing about all the things you should be doing to build your blog.
– Georgina Laidlaw, Avoid Blogger Burnout: 5 tips to save your sanity
10. Let your readers inspire you.
They love you. And not in the creepy internet stalker kind of way (hopefully, at least). If you stop writing for your blog, you’re letting your readers down. You’re bound to have at least one regular readers who simply loves your content and would hate to have it suddenly disappear – trust me. Another upside of readers is the comments you get. Since they love you, as we’ve established before, they’re also going to be leaving positive comments for you (them and the spambots that just say “good post mate, visit myviagrasite.com”) – and everyone loves positive feedback!
My own personal “trick” is to power through the bulk of my weekly blogging in just 3 hours each week. If I use that time to queue up 3 posts each week, I can usually count on spontaneous inspiration to hit me a couple more times. And it’s a lot easier to feel inspired when I’m in a regular blogging rhythm. You can find the details of my 3-hour-a-week social media method here.