The start of a New Year is a good time for introspection and this seems especially true for bloggers. In many cases, like me, they simply pass on their WordPress Annual Report, which is a very interesting thing, though possibly only for the blog owner. Others engage in a little more serious pondering, and my favourite of these is The Bottleworlder Blog, The Paradox of Blogging.
The reason that I (and many others it seems) liked this blog is because it struck a chord. Bottleworder is concerned that her blog has no central theme and she notes the difficulty in gauging what people like.
I particularly recognised the strange phenomenon of the most unlikely posts become extremely popular, whilst other, more worthy posts, barely get a look in. It never ceases to amaze me the blogs that pop up in my day’s top posts lists with monotonous regularity – some that I wrote ages ago, but somehow seem to be picked up by unexpectedly popular search terms.
The trouble is, I suspect that in these cases people click on the link, see it is not what they are looking for and immediately move on without reading. However, this blogging lark is a numbers game, so hopefully at least a small percentage may stay and read and, perhaps, come back.
But the lack of a central theme in my blog is something that has been troubling me of late. When I started off, I was clear that it would have a theme. I started shortly after writing The Story of Gloucester, and I intended it to be an outlet for my thoughts and views on topics relevant to the city.
The problem is that I am rubbish at keeping up with the news and, even when I do pick up on something in good time, I don’t always get the opportunity to blog about it before the story becomes stale.
As I started work on my second book, The Story of Gloucester’s Pubs, my blogs inevitably picked up more of a pub flavour and strayed more into general pubs and drinking related topics. But these often still suffered from the same problems as local news.
And so my posts increasingly became more general and personal, concentrating on my exploits and experiences as well as my thoughts and views. I frequently began to use the blog as an opportunity to show off my photographs and last year I spent pretty much the whole year blogging the pictures from my 2011 cruise holiday.
Now, to try to encourage myself to blog more frequently, I have started doing frequent photo blogs: pictures chosen largely at random from my archives and posted with just a few words in explanation.
So I am now blogging more frequently (although who knows how long that will last!), but my blog is extremely random and a very different proposition from where I started.
My question is, does it matter?
Looking at others’ blogs, where they get a good number of readers and frequent comments (both of which so far escape me!), it is hard to tell whether they have hard-core followers who expect something specific from the blog or whether they are people who just stumble upon it, enjoy it and move on. I suspect a mixture of both.
So does my eclectic blog mean that there is something for everyone, or does it mean that I put off any potential frequent followers because I am not consistently providing them with the type of content that they are interested in?
Should I blog more to keep interest alive, or blog less but with a more consist theme?
To some degree I don’t care – I now find that I blog because I enjoy it rather than a need to be read. Having said that, since I put the effort in it would be nice to get a few more readers.