When I spilled the secret of my blog to close family and friends, my sister-in-law responded with a very tongue in cheek “post” of her own.  In essence stating she had absolutely nothing to say, no reason to say it and nobody to listen even if she did.

Yet billions of blogs litter cyber space, chatting away about things like potty training and purchasing tractors to pithy takes on the publishing industry.  Blogs cover every topic that could potentially be interesting, as well as many others that undoubtedly are not.  However each and every one serves a purpose to the author as well as to the readers, no matter how numerous or few they may be.

So how many blogs are there?  I couldn’t find a current answer, though I think they are squeezed into the bright new world as often as babies are delivered to excited and expectant parents.  I can’t help but wonder if the death rate is similar.

Blogs are certainly hard to maintain.  They take time to set up, time and energy to post and the inclination to return comments on comments.  They take creativity–even for hard non-fiction sites.  Each post needs to be well thought out and executed in language that keeps readers coming back for more.  I can only assume they are as easily negelected as my New Year’s resolutions.

A quick Google search turns up more blogs than imaginable and begs the question of whether the authors are “qualified” to write them.  I could feasibly write a blog on anything if I did enough research to sound like I knew what I was talking about.  Or is that even important?  Opinion is passed from person to person faster than headlice between bedmates and with blogs as the medium, readers could find themselves quickly mired in a world of untruths and not even know it.

“But I heard it from my best friend’s father’s uncle’s cousin’s friend who knows the step-granddaughter of the uncle of the president’s neice so it must be true.”

But even if it’s true, does anyone want to read about it?  My new blog has a nifty little feature that tracks the number of visits to my site each day.  My last one did not.  It amazes me to watch the fluctuation of hits.  It also makes me a little paranoid and I find myself wanting to check it–obsessively and compulsively–to figure out my Blogability.

Why do people read it?  Why do I read other blogs?  What makes a blog good enough to enjoy a long life for anyone but the writer?  Or is it enough for the writer to simply write?  If no one reads it, does it really exist?

My Blogability criteria is this: do I feel a connection to the writer, do I find the writing interesting and informative and do I feel compelled to check it out the next day?  If the answer is yes, a blog has Blogability.  To me.

For example, I love the warmth and sincerity I find in some blogs, while others inspire me or stretch my way of thinking.  Some amuse me and others are rock solid information centers.  Some motivate me by the sheer energy of the author and others are like curling up with a cup of hot cocoa in front of the fire place.   

I’d like to learn more about the blogosphere.  For example, why do bloggers blog and why do readers read?  What keeps them coming back for more?

Perhaps your comments can help unravel a little of the mystery.  How many blogs do you follow (or maintain)?  What gives them Blogability?  Have you ever dropped a blog?  If so, why?  Are the number of hits on your blog important to you? 

My blog is a journey and I think I would write it even if nobody read it.  Though I must admit I really enjoy connecting with all of you.  It’s an unanticipated pleasure and one I hope to maintain for a long time.


21 responses to “Blogability

  1. Cat, your blog definitely has blogability! I look forward to popping over here each day. You do a great job! 🙂

    • TK,

      Thanks for your kind words. I, too, look forward to reading your blog each day. My favorites are when you post short passages. You have such a lyrical way with words that hits my emotional core.

      Keep up the good work!

  2. I’ve only been blogging for a few months, and I’m continually amazed by the writing community online. They are so supportive and helpful and FUN!

    I enjoy following over 60 blogs at the moment. It’s a stretch, but I can usually keep up. Many of them don’t update daily (which makes it easier). I find the people I’m following warm, happy, helpful people with interesting perspectives. Some are snarky, some sweet, some thoughtful – it’s a wide variety – and that’s what makes it fun.

    I recently discovered StatCounter and have fun with watching the number of blog visitors, but I don’t usually obsess. Yet 🙂

    • Jemi,

      You are amazing in your ability to keep up and make every writer whose blog you respond to feel good. You are truly an inspiration in the cyber world. Like you, I enjoy the wide variety of blogs I follow. I learn so much from the on line writing community.


  3. I subscribe to 264 feeds in Google Reader. Probably at least 20 of those are defunct, inactive, or duplicates. They are organized into 12 folders. My “favorites” folder has about ~20 feeds.
    I almost never unsubscribe unless the blogger does something I don’t like like delete or moderate my comments, preach, or go off on a tangent that they never promised. If blog starts out as a writing blog and turns into a potty-training blog, I’m out.

    What makes a blog good?
    1) Regular content. Weekly posts at a minimum
    2) Short and sweet. No 20K word posts. 1K max is more like it.
    3) Original content. Not just rehashing other people’s blogs or previous posts. Reposting your own content is lame.
    4) No flames (unless your blog is about that)
    5) Discussion in comments. I hate when bloggers post something then never respond to the comments. I want interactivity.

    • Andrew,

      Holy wow and then some: 264?!?!?

      “If a blog starts out as a writing blog and turns into a potty-training blog, I’m out.” Me too. Not that I couldn’t write about it after raising four kids and about 50 daycare kids, 2 way younger siblings and neices and nephews, but I promise I won’t. Unless I can tie it into some kind of writing lesson. It’s like all things, deliver whatcha promised.

      I love your list. I think it has great food for thought and definitely something for us bloggers to keep in mind. I like your point about the interactivity. I greatly enjoy reading and responding to comments by fellow bloggers, as well as responding on other blogs. It solidifies the community feel. No connection, no dice.

      Thanks for the input!

  4. I love blogs. I love the way they’re a window in to people’s lives. You either get to know someone’s thoughts, or you learn about their process for whatever it is they do, or you get to benefit for their expertise, or see that you aren’t the only one who struggles . . . so many things come out in the blog world. And reading author blogs lets you know about good books that are coming out . . . very important!

    As for blogging, I love the immediate gratification. I can write a short, informal post, and then publish it right away and see it there. I can find out how many people are looking, I can have conversations with people who stop by and comment. It’s sort of like writing practice plus socializing all at once, with less pressure than writing for a publication, and with faster results than novel writing.

    I think I faithfully follow around 25 blogs on many different subjects. I like frequent posts, and I like posts that are either informative OR funny OR have pretty pictures OR inspire me with hope and cheerfulness. It’s also important to me for a blog to be updated frequently. Brevity isn’t that important to me, probably because I tend to be long-winded. I know, you are SHOCKED! Oh and nice matters. Snark can be funny, but if someone is continually mean and always sneering at someone I will usually stop reading after a while because I figure they’d be mean and sneery to me if we ever met in real life. But you don’t have to worry about that because you are Very Nice. Capitalized.

    • Michelle,

      Thanks for weighing in. I agree, snark can be funny to a point, then it just hurts. Nobody needs a constant diet of disdain and sneeriness. I don’t mind long winded posts either–at least not after I get to know the writer. It’s fun to get to know all different kinds of individuals that I would never get to meet if I relied on the population of my town.

      Ditto on the frequency of posts. That’s the one thing I love about your blog. It’s always got something new and fun to read. Every time I check it! And filled with pretty pictures, great humor, warmth and a book review or two.

      Thanks for being a blog buddy!

  5. I don’t know if I’d blog for long if my blogger friends never came and visited or commented, but I think that’s just a dependency issue I need to bring up with my doctor 😛

    I really enjoy the friendships that I made through blogging, not to mention I’m getting a ton of helpful and entertaining information.

    • Voidwalker,

      I hear you on the dependency issue. I look forward to checking out my cyber friend’s blogs. It is amazing how much “stuff” is out there. The sheer volume is mind boggling.

      : )

  6. I read about 7 blogs written by or about the publishing industry, and then I read about 5 by fellow writers. I like to look for good publishing/writing tips, but I also want to read about people that I identify with, and that’s where the writing blogs come in. I’ve dropped blogs because the posts were either off topic for too long, or the posts themselves were waaaay too long, and I had to dig to find anything useful.

    • Barbara,

      I ditto your comment about being waaaay too long. Another commenter said the same thing. Once I feel comfortable with a blog, I tend to enjoy longer posts because I have established a kinship with their style and words. As a newbie on an unknown blog, I prefer a little more succinct.

      But I’m introverted, so maybe that’s why I need to warm up a bit!

  7. I have 6-7 favorites that I try to keep up with and then there’s my own. The more frequently one posts the more followers one will have, assuming the content is there. In 2010 I’m going to strive to post more often and keep up with all of you!

    Happy New Year.

    • “The more frequently one posts the more followers one will have, assuming the content is there.”

      So true, Yvonne. I think that’s what I wonder about. What is good content?

      When I first began my blog, my goal was to start one. I immediately understood that starting one and maintaining one were two totally different things. I then reset my goal to blog 3 times weekly, then quickly became addicted to the release it gave me each morning. What a great way to start the day.

      I’ve read the rules of blogging are fairly simple: be consistent. Consistent content. Consistent posting. Consistent interaction. Readers quickly recognize our patterns and styles and expect us to continue in the same fashion–whether it’s posting once a week, every Tuesday and Thursday or everyday.

      I think if you set a routine of sorts and a few goals regarding blogging it becomes a delight and not a chore. I wish you much success in posting and hope to read many more wonderful things from you this year!

      ~stay safe tonight~

  8. Cat, I like your blog because you are so involved with your audience…as well as providing thought-provoking posts.

    “If no one reads it, does it exist?” Kinda’ like ‘if a tree falls in the forest’ isn’t it?

    I know I write because its an outlet for my right brain and I would write if no one else read it, but it’s so much more fun to be read…to connect.

    Blogging is especially challenging though, isn’t it? Keeping focused and finding ideas that connect with others. Let’s face it, we crave that interaction because we (speaking of writers) live in a world of our own…one that only other writers can relate to.

    I’ve had several blogs and had a hard time keeping them up. One because the subject was not close enough to my heart, and the other only because it took too much time away from completing my book.

    The plan for my newest blog (2 whole postings so far!) is to dovetail it with my latest writing project–a companion journal of sorts where I can discuss different aspects of writing as I observe this whole magical process!

    That’s the plan. :o)

    • Thanks, Rahma. I appreciate the kind words.

      Blogging is challenging. Finding your focus can be difficult. I love to follow all different styles from nitty gritty facts to random ramblings on life. My favorite ones, however, are when I connect with the author or the author’s life.

      “Let’s face it, we crave that interaction because we (speaking of writers) live in a world of our own…one that only other writers can relate to. ”

      This is definitely is why I blog. I live in such an isolated place with writers few and far between. The connection is so satisfying and lets me know I’m not alone in a place where voices speak to me!

      As to your new blog, I’m glad you started up again and that I got in on the first post! If you ever need encouragement to keep it up, just know that I will be looking forward to your updates…


  9. I’ve only been blogging since May, but I find it lots more fun than I expected. For me, it’s all about the wonderful people I’m meeting online, making the connections with this community of interesting folks who are willing to share what they know and what they think. I love it here. The problem is, so many blogs, so little time…

    • I agree that community is the best perk about blogging. It was definitely an unexpected delight when I began. I hope 2010 gives you more time to fit in all your blogs!

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