Why this weblog sucks

(Please note, because of the time that has passed since I wrote this article, it may no longer reflect my current views or the most accurate and complete information available on this subject.)

I've been reflecting recently on the different ways that my weblog sucks. And by "sucks," I mean "doesn't live up to the standards of what a popular, regularly-read weblog looks like." Popularity isn't necessarily my primary goal or even a goal at all, but it is nice to be recognized for the time and energy I put into some of the posts I write here. And therein lies the rub, I think:

Whereas a lot of my weblog is full of fairly serious thoughts about fairly serious matters, there's not a single audience that it appeals to, and so there's no momentum around having a particular group of people tune in on a regular basis. And I don't blame them - when I read Dave Pollard's popular weblog "How to Save the World," I expect pretty much every entry to be another one of his thoughtful explorations of his environmental philosophy, creative works, and understanding of how the world works.

But here, sometimes you get a thoughtful treatise on social security, but that might be followed by a silly post about something that happened on my back porch. Based on my understanding of weblog culture, this means that people who only want to be bothered with the "good stuff" are going to be less likely to subscribe to my RSS feed, visit my site on a regular basis, start or follow a comment conversation here, etc. The result is that I'm left with folks who happen to be passing through, or those friends and family who have enough time and interest to stay tuned in.

Solutions? I could separate out the substantial articles from some of the more miscellaneous personal things - a new weblog?, better category separation?, etc. I could just post more often and with more vigor. I could redesign the site with more bells and whistles, tags, digg links, etc. I could decide that I don't care if I don't have a consistent audience here, and I'll just write a book if I want to explore a certain topic in a focused way. I could...

Any thoughts?

7 thoughts on “Why this weblog sucks

  1. Keep up the good work.

    Post more often, and in a way such that Google Reader can read the whole post at once.

  2. Obviously different blogs serve different purposes. There are times when I get tired of the well polished, highly visited, community centered blogs. Sometimes I would rather just find out how so-and-so is doing, or what they think about a particular topic that's plastered all over the media. I may be in the majority but I do care about the happenings in other's lives. Personal blogs make the web a richer place, more interesting and more human, if that's possible. So, keep up the awesome work and never underestimate the power and beauty of a personal weblog.

  3. Mixed content is a much better way to build a sense of community around either your blog, or a set of blogs (if there's some set of blogs you feel you belong to). With consistent content, you just read about a particular kind of idea. It doesn't build any sense in the reader about who you are, or what you happen to care about now.

    And it's easy to skim over posts if, like Adam suggests, you include the full text in your feed.

  4. Looks like you've been attacked by a vicious gang of regrets. Or maybe just a vicious gang of animated raccoon GIFs?

    Well, no worries, mate. We cool people read your blog because of its tasteful white space and sans serif fonts. 🙂

  5. My approach is to try to take my web writing closer to an interested audience, which means my personal website looks like
    I'm not up to much. Stuff about Perl goes to my use.perl journal. Unless I was writing about Perl 6, then it goes in the Pugs blog. Other tech writing ends up on ROSCo or the . Bicycle tour journals get posted to crazyguyonabike.com and other bike stuff gets posted to ProgressiveWayneCounty.org or bike-richmon
    d
    , while a fair amount of photos get blog-post-length descriptions on F
    lickr
    . I don't have unified stats to track all this, but my sense that I'm reaching more interested people this way than by posting it all my personal website and hope all these niche groups find it. I could turn my personal website into a "Planet" style aggregation of feeds from all these sources, but I can't think of too many people who would be interested in following my thoughts on all these topics.

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