Ok so I’m not taking this Halloween themed week seriously enough… I did the same thing last year. I tried to pass a blood type personality post as “spooky”. For the record I’m still AB. It’s scary how accurate that thing is!!!
How about this fun little activity we can all do in this month of fright! Let’s figure out if my blog is going to die soon?
Even though I haven’t exactly been around forever, I have seen a number of wonderful blogs disappeared in my time on the platform. Some of them even had time to come and go. One day you’re just cruisin’ along, enjoying all these wonderful posts, feeling lucky to be living in the golden age of blogging! The next, a beloved friend has just vanished and no one’s calling the police. Creepy…
It can get a little destabilizing. The blogging landscape is ever-changing and unreliable. It’s like a Game of Thrones plotline. Sometimes it can get hard to keep track of whose still alive!
I’ve made my peace with the ever-changing nature of the blogging landscape. Keeps you on your toes. Although there are a few blogs I have come to regard as pillars, who would really leave a big hole behind should they ever pack it up, and a few bloggers I have come to consider friends, who I would miss on a personal level.
All of this has lead me to occasionally consider the potential longevity of my own blog. I realize that a lot of blogs that predate mine don’t post as much as they use to, or have moved on to different formats and topics. I see bloggers get discouraged by what they see as lack of return on investment compared to the old days or different platforms such as YouTube. And of course, we all tend to loose a bit of enthusiasm once something is no longer new and shiny. Sometimes it can feel as if your wandering a dark street full of blog ghosts, wondering if you’ll be next to get picked out.
If horror movies have thought me anything, is that my best chance at survival, is being able to see the signs! I don’t watch horror movies. They’re scary you guys. I like being able to fall asleep. This month’s been rough on me….
So how can you tell if a blog is going to be next?
****Based on random observation, there is no basis in reality here. Never was!****
Ingenues and Veterans
It seems pretty much everything is at its most vulnerable when it just came into being or after some hard use. I’ve seen so many blogs hit the ground running. Full of p*ss and vinegar, ready to conquer the world! They put out long, detailed, usually very well written posts and plan to do so on a regular basis. And just like most resolutions, the motivation drains out of them within a few tries. If they don’t get instant results, or once they realize the actual amount of work involved, the entire venture just seems a lot less worth it. On the flip side I’ve also seen more than a few blogs I would consider venerable (5 years +) just fade away. Post less and less, stop interacting, and then get frustrated when that’s reflected in their blogs. So sad how we pray on the weak, newborns that haven’t found their footing, mature ones that may be a little tired..?
Outlook: Goodish. I’m still in the mid range, I could hold on a bit longer.
By far the most common frustration I hear from bloggers, is that they are not getting the results they wish for in terms of views/follows and/or comments. Whenever I see someone who really cares a lot about these, who DMs me out of the blue to ask (usually demand) that I promote their blog after a single post, who goes on non stop about how good or bad their stats are, I worry about them. It’s one thing to want your blog to get big numbers, it’s another when it’s the only thing you want. These situations tend to go one of two ways. Since fame is a fickle b*tch, they won’t necessarily get the recognition they feel they deserve, even after putting in some honest effort, and boom, frustration eats them up! Almost just as frequent, they do get it, catching up to blogs they looked up to (at least in their standards) and they suddenly don’t have anything to strive for. Without a goal to aim for, the whole thing just doesn’t seem as exciting. Oh the terrible torture of ennui…
Outlook: Great! Lack of ambition finally works in my favour! I never expected this blog to be a “success” so I’m already way beyond my wildest dreams and I’m curious to see where it goes, at the same time, as long as their’s still a chance of sharing a laugh with a reader old or new, l will always consider it worth it.
Life strikes back
Once a blog has hit its stride, the most common reason for its sudden demise is that the blogger has some type of change to their every day life. Starting college or a new job usually. Or getting more unexpected responsibilities. A real life relationship often takes precedence over virtual ones. Once in a while people need to set things aside and take care of themselves. Of course they do, it’s normal! If they come back, I’ll be here to throw them a party!
Outlook: depressingly great… I’m, for lack of a better word, steady. I was already working long hours at what’s considered a fairly stressful job to begin with and the blog is a form of self-care for me. Of course something unexpected could still come up but it’s less likely than average.
Even when everything else falls into place though, bloggers can be their own worse enemy. Packed and strict publishing schedules can quickly become difficult to sustain and the whole thing starts feeling like a job. A job you’re not getting paid for. No one wants a job you’re not getting paid for… Then you put pressure on your shoulders not only to come up with new posts on a deadline, but to provide a certain standard as well. If you usually write 3k words per posts a mere 400 makes you feel like you’re holding back on your readers. If you offer dozens of screen caps per review, getting it down to a handful will always leave you feeling cheap, even if no one says anything. You have to be careful. Burning out is a definite risk. There’s danger everywhere.
Outlook: I might be in some trouble here. I only post once a day but I do stick to long form even in my episode reviews.. which doesn’t sound that smart. I also post everyday. Jobs are scary.
So far I’ve looked at warning signs but let’s flip it. One of the thing’s I’ve noticed long lasting anime blogs to have in common, is a pretty well defined post format. The most common being episode reviews. There’s a reason even professional anime blogs feature mostly seasonal episode reviews and a lot of older and bigger blogs go by that format as well. Some occasionally mix in different style posts, but they are still known primarily for that. Then there’s full series reviews. These tend to post less often but have longer posts, for obvious reasons. It seems a much less popular way to go and I have sadly seen some of those disappeared over the last year. Still it provides for a wealth of material to chose from. The third and least common format in my experience, is the personal diary of an anime fan. These are bloggers that write about their lives and feelings, and it just happens that both of these include a lot of anime.
Of course not every long running anime blog falls neatly into one of these categories, but it seems that having clearly defined post formats to fall back on is a great way to always have a next post in mind.
Outlook: uh Oh..I have a schedule but the bulk of it is essentially “misc”. Present post: case and point. There are a lot of blogs that do random long form essays however those posts are occasional fillers. New blogs will sometimes pop up with loose thesis: seeing race relations through anime…. But those don’t tend to last in my experience. It’s not looking great guys…
Horror movies have been warning us for ages, always favour substance over style. Pick a layout that works for you. Make sure it’s functional and easy to upkeep and stick to it. You want something where it won’t take you (…an hour..) just to format a single post to your blog template’s needs because you simply won’t be able to keep it up and half the time it will not show up like you want it to on your readers’ browser anyways…
Outlook: Run. I put way too much time on my layout and I keep messing with it. The only reason I don’t write for a different site is my layout addiction… This won’t end well.
Conclusion, I might be ok as a blogger but my blog itself is doomed. It’s a collection of established mistakes that all lead straight to doom. Oh well. It was fun while it lasted. Remember me fondly guys. Also, I’m not going anywhere! I would miss you all too much.