"Sorry I haven't posted for AGES. Don't know what to say."
(one of the most common blog posts according to feveredmutterings.com)
According to Douglas Quenqua, blogs have a higher failure rate than restaurants. It is so easy to start a blog, but sustaining one is a whole other ball game. A survey of American bloggers found that while 35% of business bloggers had updated their blog at least once in the past month, 65% hadn't updated it in the past year.
Abandonned blogs litter the Internet. According to a New York Times article from 2009, as many as 95% of blogs are derelict. One blogger even says that he makes money from resurrecting abandonned blogs, ones that are linked to Google Adsense, and posting on them (I wouldn't count on that as a source of income, though), Another website states that out of 7 to 10 million active blogs in the U.S., only about 50,000 to 100,000 generate most of the page views tracked.
Why do bloggers stop blogging? One early blogger from the 1990's, Nancy Sun, stated that she lost her privacy after blogging and decided to give it up. Others think that it's a fast track to financial independence, yet blogconomy says that only 19% of active bloggers ever make a dime from blogging, and the majority of those only make small amounts. I suspect for most, they run out of steam; they run out of things to say. They have no staying power.
I started my blog almost four years ago. My intent was to post at least once a week, but I quickly decided to post every day, to get myself in the habit of posting regularly. I look back at my very first blog post which states the three purposes of me starting a blog:
1. I hope it will give me the self-discipline to write.
2. I hope it will serve as a good forum for my writing.
3. I hope to network with other writers.
I can honestly say that my blog has served its purpose.
I look back at how my blog has evolved. In the early days, most of my posts were inspired by history, one of my first loves. These were also interjected with posts about my children and posts about writing. In recent weeks, I've focussed more on writing and less on history.
Do I ever run out of ideas? Yes, frequently. But rather than leaving a post blank, I write "To be continued..." and go back to it the next day, or even the day after that, when I might have something to say. The same is true when I'm out of town on vacation. I sometimes use the hotel's Internet (if it's free) or take a notebook along and jot down ideas to be typed out when I get home. I force myself to write something everyday, to keep the juices flowing. It keeps me disciplined and it keeps my readers reading.
This year I've changed the format of my blog. For several months, I wrote something new everyday. Then I started posting in clusters, devoting three or four days to one topic. Last year, I even devoted as much as ten days or two weeks to a topic. Now, this year, I'm setting aside an entire month for a theme. It makes my life a whole lot easier! I know well in advance what I'm blogging about. I don't have to waste a half hour or hour scanning the Internet for inspiration. I can plan an entire month in advance. Everyday, I look forward to blogging, rather than dreading it (which was sometimes the case).
If you're starting a blog, write down your reasons for doing so. Also, write down a strategy for sustaining your blog. If you're doing it for right reasons, there's a good chance it will go the distance. If your hearts not in it, however, chances are you're just setting up a future derelict blog.