In a bit of a coincidence, this is my 200th blog entry. While I didn't plan to make an event of this milestone post, it seems fitting. From the beginning I spent alot of time researching how to write a successful blog and what things to avoid. Many blogs don't last past the first six to nine months, apparently, since people lose their initial excitement at sharing on a topic and get frustrated when it doesn't take off and attract huge numbers of readers.
It's a good thing that my genuine interest in cars keeps me going, because it's not the success of my blog that encourages me to slug away. On the contrary, I'd have to admit that my blog is decidedly unsuccessful. Looking at the statistics from the beginning, the most hits I ever got in a single day was 369 (this past September 15th), while the greatest number of daily visitors was 72 (on September 18th). Trust me, those are truly pitiful numbers for a four year old blog.
1) My topic doesn't appeal to a broad audience
How many people REALLY care about beat-up old cars discovered sitting on the side of the road? While blogs that cover very specific topics can be successful, they need to offer something that more general sources can't cover.
2) I don't post often enough
Blog experts argue over the frequency one needs to blog, but one or two times per month is definitely not often enough. It's hard to create a loyal following when you don't give them anything to chew on.
3) My posts tend to run a bit long
That's a delicate way of saying I never shut up! Blog's should be clear and concise, whereas I have a tendency to ramble on a bit like an old man telling a story about the good old days when he was a kid...
4) I make my posts too personal
While this seems to be a plus for my family and close friends, strangers stumbling across my blog might not enjoy or appreciate the personal angle I add to my posts and would prefer a more formal and professional tone.
5) My titles aren't targeted
Every article I've read on successful blogs says that titles need to be short and informative and explain exactly what is to follow. My cryptic, head-scratching titles rarely let the reader know what to expect.
1) Original content
Some blogs simply reheat and rearrange existing content and present it as their own. That's where I can be proud; I create unique content and use original photos in all of my blog articles.
Persistence is key in the blogosphere, and over four years is a solid base for growing something bigger one day. I consider it a piece of 'internet real estate' that stands out more than a brand new blog might.
3) Well-defined theme
Despite having a topic that doesn't catch the attention of many readers, my blog is faithful to the theme of lesser-know automobiles, I believe, and doesn't deviate in all directions.
Adding stories about newer and more mainstream vehicles might increase viewership, but I'm not passionate about those vehicles and don't think I could write convincing or interesting articles on them.
Chopping my posts down into more bite-sized morsels would allow me to post more often, but artificially limiting myself will quickly make me lose interest, I fear.
Even something as simple as using more descriptive titles ("Check out the Citroen 2CV I saw...") would go a long way to encouraging visitors to read beyond the title, but gosh darn-it, I have too much fun coming up with my current titles!
I'm not sure where this blog will take me. It has already brought me work as a freelance writer, so maybe someday it could evolve into a full-time writing gig. Maybe it will continue on as a repository for my odds-and-ends of stories, or maybe it will start to cough and sputter like my old Corsa and be left parked off by itself in the great internet parking lot. Only time will tell, but for now, I still have lots of ideas up in my Automotive Attic to keep it going for a while still!