Today, it seems like every man and his dog has their own blog. Every second person you meet is chronicling their lives online. With so many people in the blogosphere, it’s becoming more and more difficult to differentiate yourself in the online world. Creating a blog that will allow you to earn a living from writing alone is becoming harder with time. However, a very select group of lucky bloggers are able to do just that. Some live entirely off the advertising and products that they sell from their websites, while others have used their fame in the blogosphere to catapult their careers in other fields. When bloggers stop being nobodies and start getting recognised for their online presence, sometimes it’s difficult for them to maintain the quality of their blogs. I’ve noticed over the past few years several bloggers whose blogs seem to go downhill at a rate proportionate to their success. I’ve been thinking lately whether success can be the kiss of death for bloggers?
When most people start blogging, they are relatively unknown. You might have a handful of readers, a swag of ideas and loads of free time to pour into designing your site, creating excellent content, posting regularly and answering comments. Your enthusiasm for blogging is likely to be sky-high, so you’ll want to put more time into it. However, as you become successful, and are perhaps spending time on a number of other projects that have sprung from your success, you might have fewer hours to put into blogging. Your posting schedule might start dwindling to just two posts a week (when you used to post every day). You might have less time for editing, so your posts are long-winded, incoherent and full of typos. You might find that the task of replying to all those comments is just far too daunting, so you stop answering them altogether. Your inspiration might start lagging. While all these things are understandable when you are time-poor, it’s this kind of blogging behaviour that irritate readers and will make them turn away.
Regular posting is vital to holding an audience, as your readers need to know that when they visit your site, there will be something fresh and engaging for them to read. It’s equally important that the quality of your posts remains high, or readers will get bored with the trite, tired content and will click away. Supplying a thoughtful reply to reader comments creates a forum for discussion, or simply shows readers how much you appreciate the time that they have taken to comment on your work. By neglecting reader comments, you’re neglecting your readers. When some bloggers become successful, the basic maintenance of their site becomes one of the first things to suffer due to the scarcity of time. Inspired, creative posts are usually the second.
Another reason that success can cause a previously booming blog to sag is that success changes people. Blogging is a very personal experience, and in my opinion the best blogs are the ones that give readers a glimpse into the life of the writer. People are naturally voyeuristic, and allowing readers to see a slice of your own life satisfies this urge. Some bloggers do this by taking daily outfit photos, showing snapshots of their day or writing about personal experiences. Some of my favourite blogs are the ones that are written by average, everyday people. I adore seeing an outfit on a girl who is just like me. It’s so much more relatable than just flicking through a fashion magazine. Reading about bloggers who live in the same city as you is also inspiring, as you can actually go and visit the very events and places that they are writing about.
Occasionally, people who were once ‘bloggers’ jump on the success train and morph into ‘celebrities’. When this happens, their lifestyles can change so dramatically that their readers can no longer relate to them. Outfit posts that used to document funky, thrift-store ensembles are replaced with snaps of the writer in designer couture. Write-ups about quaint restaurants and on-the-cheap activities are replaced with reports of society parties and movie premiers. That fun, kitsch writer that you used to identify with has entered a chrysalis of success, and has emerged as a pretentious, pampered celebrity who is hard to know. When the personality behind the blog changes, the content of the blog is bound to alter as well, and it’s not always for the better.
While success can be detrimental to a brilliant blog, it doesn’t have to be the case. I can think of loads of bloggers who have turned their writing into a career, run their own businesses and work on a bevy of side projects and still manage to produce regular, engaging content. These bloggers still reply to their comments and work hard to maintain the quality of their sites. These people tend to be the ones who are dedicated to their work, and who realise that keeping their blog going takes a lot of hard slog. Bloggers who recognise that their readers have been the key to their popularity and success, and appreciate them, tend to be better at producing excellent content and replying to comments. In my opinion, the best bloggers are the ones who gain success, but don’t let the fame go to their heads. They keep their wits about them and manage to stay true to themselves even in the bright glow of fame. They don’t let success change their personality, and so they remain relatable and likeable no matter how high they climb.
Success can be the kiss of death for a blog, but only if the person behind it isn’t prepared to put in the work to maintain their site. If you appreciate your audience, endeavour to keep producing high-quality work and retain your personality even when fame comes a-knocking, I believe that it’s perfectly possible to be a successful blogger and a wonderful blogger at the same time.
Do you think that success is the kiss of death for a blog? Can you think of any bloggers who do a great job of juggling success and blogging? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.