If you're reading this, chances are, you've been tossing around the idea of starting your own blog. It seems to be the thing to do. Many big-name demonstrators have fancy ones, and seem to be making money hand over fist. You love the idea of sharing your work with the world and getting lots of lovely comments. You've even thought of a name for it. But it's still freaking you out.
Wanna take a wild guess as to how many blogs there are out there in cyberspace? Apparently there isn't a good way to figure that out for certain, but those who keep track of these things estimate there are between 180-200 million blogs at the time of this writing. Blows the mind, no? Let's break it down a little bit. Some estimates say as high as 90% of those blogs have been or will be abandoned within a year of starting, many within three months. And a recent tracking of one company's blogs showed that over 75% of the blogs had not been updated in the last 120 days.
So what can we take from this? While the blogosphere is indeed saturated, there is no reason to think there is not a place in it for your papercrafting blog. A well-done blog with regular, interesting content does not have to be lost in a million voices. The proliferation of blogging, and the ease with which "anyone" can start one, is not a good reason not to start your own.
We must also conclude from those stats, worse than even the restaurant industry's start-up chances, that blogging must be much harder than it looks. It's very easy to begin, and much harder to proceed. It's often free (more on that in another article) and it's simple to start posting right away.
What is the problem, then? Time? No, most of us truly DO have time to blog. If we are honest with ourselves, we can skim some time off Pinterest or Facebook or Splitcoast and put together a short post with a photo of whatever we've been working on, in about ten to twenty minutes. We could ditch several deadbeats on our blog roll and spend that time working on our own blog. We could manage to find the time to do it.
I believe the problem is consistency. Whenever anyone asks me for my number one blog tip, I tell them what they do not want to hear. That if you do not provide content consistently, your blog is actually worse than useless. It's one of those 90% of blogs cluttering up cyberspace and making it harder to find the blogs of people who are actually doing the work and doing it well.
Ouch, eh? Well, they DID ask...
In blogging, consistency is everything. As in real estate, where the mantra is "Location, location, location," the banner cry of the blogger must be "Consistency, consistency, consistency."
The number one thing I look for on a blog is the date of the second post down. I don't care if the first post was today and it was fabulous, if the second post was weeks or months ago, you lost me. I know you do not place a priority on posting fresh content and your blog is not worth my time. The single most annoying thing I can possibly discover upon visiting a blog is to find that every post begins with apologies for not posting more often.
Honestly, I want to whip out my best Yoda impersonation: "Blog or do not blog. There is no try." It doesn't matter if you have a "good reason" for it or not. You cannot expect your readership to take a hiatus along with you. I promise you they have already moved on to a blog that has fresh content.
Consistency is the foundation upon which everything else you do with your blog must rest. If you do not post consistently, you can never hope to gain loyal followers. This was my biggest fear when I was considering getting into blogging four years ago. One of my worst faults is that I am primarily a "starter," not a "finisher." My enthusiasm tends to be high at the outset, and then settles as we continue on and may be non-existent by the time the project is over. So I was very concerned about the possibility of taking on one more thing and not following through with it.
Obviously, time has proven that I do have what it takes to blog consistently over a long period of time. I know it might seem odd to you right now, but trust me, there will be many days when blogging is not fun. Days when you have to scramble for content. Days when you just turned the computer off and the last thing you want to do is turn it back on. Many, many days when the technology issues will make poking pencils in your eye seem like a reasonable thing to do.
When the initial "honeymoon" period is past, and the reality of slowly building readership kicks in, are you still going to keep on? During the long dry spell before your blog begins to pay for itself, then to actually make a profit, will you be able to retain your enthusiasm? What about in the weeks where there is not a single comment? What about during the holidays when everyone is busy and readership drops to new lows?
You will never know unless you try. And that's why, in spite of all the potentially discouraging things I shared in this post, I DO hope you begin your blog. I hope you love it, like I do, and find yourself dying to blog so you can tell a thousand of your closest friends the coolest technique you just discovered. Blogging can be rewarding on so many levels beyond mere business.
But go into it considering it a commitment.
Because it is one--to the readers you have yet to gain.
Dream BIG, friend!