It’s Time to Shoot Your Blog

It’s Time to Shoot Your Blog

Reader Comments (77)

  1. Ok, so I’ve recently started a blog and not really sure how to go about making it more widely read.
    I’m no Hemingway but do you have any suggestions?

  2. Great article – makes me feel better about what I’ve been doing. Yes, I’d love more interaction like everyone else. I certainly don’t lack motivation which is a good thing I guess…now if I could just figure out how to engage my readers more.

  3. Some great points Jon. Perseverance is hugely important in making anything a success but, speaking as someone with a few shot blogs behind me – the key is to persevere at the right things i.e. the ones with the best chance of success, the ones we’re most passionate about.

    I think your last point is key, to ‘persist in your profession’ as a blogger rather than viewing an individual blog as that profession.

    I’d probably go further and view the profession more generally as ‘content creation’, publishing or writing – sometimes it may not be the content that isn’t working but rather the format (would Wine Library TV be as popular if it were all text?).

  4. Couldn’t agree more with this post. Too many people try to start something expecting huge results only to get dismal results. I’ll admit I’ve let my blog slide more than once. But it’s not because I’m not motivated or lack interaction with readers — I just run out of time. That’s where perseverance comes into play.

    Great read.

  5. “Even if they had to do it for free, they would continue writing for their blog forever.”

    This is so true. That’s the finest motivation to blog. This means you’re not getting validation from external forces like figures from your analytics, from your earnings, from the buzz your blog generates in the social media. Your motivation comes from deep within yourself.

    In no time, your readers will find you, you’d have significantly increase your earning, and you’d be talked about in the social media.

    But until then you hardly notice. Because it’s your passion. It’s the fire in your belly. And this keeps you going – no matter what.

  6. Great metaphor, and one of the best posts I’ve read in a long time. I shot my blog a few months ago because it was a pain in the ass an it wasn’t fun anymore. Maybe more important, I realized the blogs I really enjoy have nothing to do with what I was writing about. So, time to reinvent not only my blog but myself – I’ve reached a stage when that’s enormously energizing.

  7. OK, here’s my point: I blog for almost six years now, I already have a community around one of my blogs, I have an average 15 comments per post at 4.500 uniqes a day and over 1.500 RSS readers. I blog about media, I write pretty long posts. I twittered one day about quitting and around 50 people, that don’t usually leave any comments, said I shouldn’t. So here’s my point: it really depends on which topics you write so the points above would actually mean something. There:
    1. If I blog about media, I have over 1.000 people working in media, PR, advertising, marketing etc. that read my blog through RSS. They’re corporate people, they don’t have the time to comment. I have about 2.000 uniques a day coming from Google: they don’t actually find what they’re looking for, but they stick around a bit. They will not leave comments. They take you as a newspaper, they read the info and they go away. It’s few those who actually will find interesting all your content.
    2. If your writing skills are better than your competition’s, in your niche, all chances are they will not link to you. If your niche is small, the chances to have competition are limited, so no blogger with different interests will link to you, except the cases when you write something really-really funny. Once you become big on your niche, no other “big” name on your niche will link to you – because the suppose your readers base is already big – unless they have something to add. And if you write long posts, as I do, you usually cover almost every aspect, so they won’t actually have what to add :)).
    3. This one is actually true, if you don’t like the topic, stop doing it. But I think there are cases when you actually love the topic and you know – and other people now – you are right. And you hope to change the world around you and that doesn’t happen. It is then when you stop carrying about the topic, you even start to hate it. Because no matter how much you try to educate the public, they won’t let themselves educated. I can give examples, if you want me to. And that doesn’t mean you don’t have influence – because they pray you don’t post something bad about them -, but that they are not willing to change something.
    The final thing: after six years of daily blogging you might get so tired. And while blogging helped you become someone, helped you earn contracts and money, you actually stop needing a blog to make yourself heard.
    But usually, you get tired. Especially when you have to fight with all sort of loosers that think they’re better when they actually have no idea which world they live in.

  8. I agree with most of the numbers but #1 is a little uncertain. Some of the writers do blogging as a learning experience whether it’s part of a class or just for an experiment. Maybe your numbers aren’t where they should be, but at the same time, you can’t give up so easily.

    I’ve seen so many blogs that were written consistently well for one or two years and then their articles just stopped. Maybe life changed for these bloggers but if they are not writing anymore why do they have these blogs with old information up?

    I think that writing is something you have to keep doing to get better at. If you’ve been on the bubble about content material, then #1 makes plenty of sense . It’s good to know when you have to cut your losses, but if you truly love what your are blogging about, you will increase people over time.

  9. It is a great metaphor. I do agree that the biggest rascal is yourself. For me, the internal motivation to blog comes and goes for many reasons. Sometime it’s procrastination, sometimes it’s exhaustion, and sometimes I just stop caring.

    It is up to each person to weigh the pros and cons of their own blogs and their topic. Even if you don’t get followers immediately, if you’re still passionate about a subject then don’t stop talking about it.

  10. Wow, I feel I have to comment after reading that serious cry for comments. (Kidding….) Interesting post, even though I don’t think you should “shoot the dang blog” because you don’t get lots of comments. Depends upon why you’re writing the blog. Nonetheless, you got a comment out of me. Giddy up.

  11. I think getting links is tough. Getting on the random blogroll happens once in a while, but I have a feeling that getting directly linked inside a post is of even greater importance.

    I read your article on how to get links. I’m probably not as proactive in that department as I ought to be.

    I’d argue that getting all your best posts stumbled is almost as important as getting links. Both lead to subscribers and both lead to exposure.

    And then there is the strategy of guest posting which guarantees a link. I long for the day, though, when almost every post gets linked. What blogger doesn’t?

  12. Hmm… I have less than 50 subscribers but averaging 5-10 comments. My “horse” must be on the right track 🙂 Thanks!

  13. This is an excellent metaphor, and more importantly, this is a very motivational article for me. I can associate with every one of those examples, and you have inspired me even more. I have to admit that I have thought about quitting, then I think to myself that I have not given it enough time. How can I quit something that has not had a chance yet?

    At the same time, I am quickly reminded of why I am doing this. I love technology and I actually learned how much I enjoy writing. I did not really know how much I enjoyed writing until I started my blog. It is very personally rewarding, especially when someone leaves a comment acknowledging that they have benefited from what I know.

  14. I like your perspective. My belief is many people do not understand commenting. In my industry where only a fraction have blogs, it’s seldom that one sees a comment because most don’t understand that a blog is intended to be a conversation.

    I’m sticking to my dusty trail with renewed enthusiasm and this: I’ll need to write a post that discusses commenting.

    Thanks pardner.

  15. I thoroughly enjoyed this! I’m a new blogger and because I don’t know much about ‘horses’ I’m still at the stage where I don’t know if the ‘horse’ is ill, tired, messing me around, thirsty, hungry or dying. But I love what I do and couldn’t imagine deliberately going off and finding another niche. I guess, for now, that’s a good sign.

  16. i just have new Blog with own domain.
    Then, i drive out visitor from our Blog on blogspot to my wordpress. but, traffic is getting less. i don’t know why.
    perhaps, some visitors feel not comfort with redirecting of my Blog.
    however, i can get comments from visitor exacatly bloggers for my article

  17. I know that I have already commented on this post, but I have a question. It is comments related, but not sure how related it is to Copyblogger. After reading a few of the other comments, I realized how the commentator’s names vary from first name to full name to blog name.

    Do you think I should be commenting as Juscelino or Juscelino M. Acevedo (which is what I always use) or J.M.A. Daily? I am simply wondering what other bloggers think when they see who comments on their blogs.

  18. Hilarious and oh so true. I think it takes courage to slaughter a blog you’ve worked really hard on, but if it’s the right thing to do, you’ll know it.

  19. They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?
    I’d like to keep dancing, I really would, since hundreds of people (offline) truly love the work I do, but to get a following for my blog or comments on my blog feels like riding bareback. I get some people reading the blog, but then going to FaceBook to leave me their comments – strange.

    Throw your leg over the saddle, flick the reins, spur the loins — Read my blog, be honest, let me know what you think. Leave a comment, please. I realize it’s not for everyone, the niche is small, but I’d like to think I give good content in my little area of the range.

    From your comments, I’ll know whether or not I, like Gloria in They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?, should ask for help to pull the trigger! Oops! That’d be my head in the crosshairs.

  20. How should we shoot the blog in the head?

    Four reasons i can think of are:

    1. Sell It
    2. Forget About It (Death by Neglect)
    3. Parking Page
    4. Kill It and Leave No Trace

    But curious if there are any other viable alternatives?

  21. But what if the blog doesn’t stay dead! Or… what if it happens to resurface on its own?!

    Oh well, I too had shot down a couple of blogs and numerous untapped domains for the past 2 years alone. 🙂

  22. Excellent post to hitch your horse to. I am a brand new blogger with one post under my gunbelt and I could sure use some tips. How often should I post? How do I get strangers to read my posts? So far only kin and pardners have read and commented on it which I suspect is where most bloggers start. Would you be so kind as to read my post and pass along any useful pointers? It would be much appreciated amigo. And just because I like to be different, if I ever have to put my horse to bed I think I will take him out Mongo style ala Blazing Saddles.

  23. Ouch, I’ve been “gut shot” and on a Monday no less. 😉

    Thanks for the reminder. Our readers that make our projects successful. Customer Service 101 – make sure you give the customer what it is that they want. We know we’re on the right tract when we get comments, tweets and ping backs.

  24. Well, it is a little graphic, but you make a good point. I killed a blog not too long ago, and while it was a very difficult decision, it was the right one in the end. Much like shooting your horse, I suppose.

  25. I completely disagree. Just because you don’t get comments and no one’s passionate about the topic doesn’t mean you quit. I get few comments on my blog, but I’m earning a full-time income… with less than a thousand visitors per day.

  26. Oh — and I no longer write the content myself. I’ve outsourced it. There’s more than one way to skin a cat, partner — and the rock-star approach is just one of them. 😉

    Some people don’t need to be rockstars to make money with their blog. ::shrug::

  27. Enjoyed your post. I’m kind of in that space right now. I’ve been ill, and now trying to get back on track, but having some difficulty getting motivated. Your words were very helpful. Thanks.

  28. Nice thoughts from an experienced ‘cowboy’ (maybe). I think we should all follow Jona morrow’s advice. I see it being more of a universal law, than the personal thought of a ‘guy’…am only hoping that when my folks out there all shoot their blogs, there would be less cluter in the blogosphere then mine would rule.Lol.

    @ J.M.A, your purpose should suggest your commenting ‘style’. If you’re looking to building some fame and brand to your name (and you strongly believe you would) in your industry, then you could go with the ‘full names’ or ‘initials’ method – but shorter, and memorable is better. People i have seen use this to success (i suppose) are yaro starak, caroline middlesbrook, etc. But you must be careful to give insightful comments with this, in order not to make a mess about the whole stuff – it could back fire!

    I see others get some traffic to their blogs (at least visits from me) by replacing/adding their name (or initials) with/and their blog’s; more of blog branding here.

  29. Good post. If you’ve worked really diligently on your blog and you have some quality material, you can always take that material and convert it into an ebook or report — that way, the work that you put into it is not completely waster.

  30. I was recently concerned about the direction of my blog (not so much about ending it, more the direction of it) and so blogged about it. The comments I received from my readers were very humbling. They offered support and encouragement, gave me ideas and provided feedback. My readers rock!

    Sometimes your readers can give you great insight in what to do.

  31. This came just in time for I have so many ideas my brain is just a bursting!
    I`m playing catch up from April then I will be current as soon as I am done!
    Baby pony steps lollol

  32. If I am going to be commenting on posts I guess I should learn to spell or at least proofread. Hopefully my avatar will now show up because I entered my correct email address in the email field and, I corrected the spelling of my first name. I have a lot to learn!

  33. Excellent comparisons here Jon, I really enjoyed this post!

    I totally relate to one of the points in this article, because it often takes a little while for me to come up with a good blog post off the top of my head. After a while, it gets frustrating and I just don’t want to do it! But I know I have to, just for the reasons of this post.

    I’d much rather have my blog that I have worked on since 2008 crawling on its hands and knee rather than shooting it!

  34. With telltale signs 1 and 2, how long do you give it though? Or are these signs more intended for established blogs? I’m guessing you do it while it is fun and interesting, regardless of comments and links, and then take a look at the signs when they honeymoon starts to wear off.

  35. Oh goody a chance to throw in my 2 pennies:) What that spoke to me was if one passion doesn’t float readers boats ; get another boat lol
    But my thing I have so many “passions” that you just don’t run out lol
    Take care and no offense what so ever!

  36. My blog has changed a little here and there since I started it last August. I guess it’s safe to say that it’s an ever-evolving piece (and that’s ok)…I see that as a good thing.

    Comments vary here and there. But I’ve noticed an increasing number in subscribers both for the newsletter and the blog. Nothing in the thousands but in the hundreds. And the fact that people refer to me as Ribeezie makes me feel good (since that is after all the blog’s name).

  37. I haven’t had to shoot my blog yet because the traffic is increasing slowly but surely (along with the comments), but I had to “shoot” the first domain name I ever bought that was supposed to be the whole basis for my business.

    I went another way and bought a different domain, thinking I’d always come back to the other one. I kept renewing it until this year when I knew it was time. Even though I was no longer interested in what it represented, it was still difficult to let it float out into cyberspace!

  38. Knowing I have a lot to learn, I started a practice blog about my home town that I will probably kill in a few months. I’m not sure where I learned it, but taking the approach of “one to throw away and one for real” has worked well for me on other projects.

    Now I realize that the above isn’t much incentive to click on the birdie and visit my blog, so I have come up with a hare-brained idea to get some high quality feedback. I created a custom landing page just for readers of this blog called “5 Reasons to Pro Blog from Wapello, Iowa.”

  39. Define your success. Do you want a social blog that broadcasts to world or do you want to have a niche for a smaller group of people? Do you want to make six-figures or a couple of hundred a month? Do you want comments or do you want to be a benevolent dictator who ignores comments?

    Have goals. Write them down before your first post. This will allow you to see the big picture when all seems lost.

  40. Thank you for putting things into perspective. I tend to think that everyone is doing better than I am. Every one else has more subscribers, gets more comments, more complements, etc. This is a good reminder for me to keep working at it. If something isnt working, try something else.

  41. Here’s a post that you don’t read every day! Ditto on #3 – which I see it as a symptom of not having the passion. We repeatedly hear about how it’s important to start a blog about something you are passionate about inherently, and it’s true. The passion is what’s going to carry us through. I’ve a few blogger friends who start and shut down blogs very frequently because they are in it for the money or novelty, rather than because of love for the subject.

  42. Great information!
    My blog is new, only about 6months, and it’s only getting a few comments, if any, per post. Is there a certain time frame to consider your factors? How long should I allow for the momentum to build before I can expect hundreds of comments per post?
    Lisa (MsFitUniverse)

  43. Jonathan, I loved this post and couldn’t agree more. I put a bullet between the eyes of one of my dogies just a couple weeks back. It was totally the right thing to do and I didn’t question it for a second. If a blog is supposed to be about freedom of information than it should never imprison it.

  44. Holy cannoli Batman! … you went right to the heart of things and gave some true, prescriptive advice. Well done.

    I especially like this point … “Your blog is nothing more than a vehicle for your ideas.” It’s a great reminder that things are things. It’s also a reminder that your blog is just one channel.

  45. This is a very timely post for me, because I have been thinking of letting one of blog die. I have 2 blogs and one is doing ok, the other-not so much.

    When I started my first blog, it was mainly to learn about blogging, work on my writing skills and learn WordPress. A few months ago I started another blog about movies and it has done very well. I get regular comments and have started to build a small community of movie lovers who enjoy my blog.

    But the other blog has not taken off. I rarely get comments or emails and it gets less than 25 visitors per day. I have been thinking that it would be better to let that blog die and concentrate my efforts on the blog that has more regular readers.

    Any ideas on how to kill the blog in a merciful manner?

  46. I love that you’ve more or less redefined persistence – which, as you subtly point out, can be a real trap.

    The other option is to rethink a blog and get on with it – not every mostly dead blog needs to be shot.

  47. This post has some rather major implicit assumptions about why to have a blog. If you want to have a blog to get fame and fortune and success for being a blogger, you are probably doing it wrong. If you want to have a blog to share your ideas about things you’re interested in and don’t care if people comment right away, you’re probably doing it right.

    Many of the comments I get are long after-the-fact from people finding an entry I made based on a Google search for something they were interested in. That is how the Internet is supposed to work.

    Sure, I have a lot of vapid tomfoolery on my blog, much of which is just a keeping-in-touch-with-friends sort of thing. I write that stuff to keep in touch with friends and as a personal-ish public diary, without any expectation of it getting read later. I also write about things which do interest others, and those get plenty of comments and links and the like.

    I have a very small regular readership, but I get a hell of a lot of hits on pages that have general appeal. Most of the people who find those pages don’t turn into regular readers. And that’s perfectly okay.

  48. Lack of visitor interest could be a good reason to kill off a blog or site. The main problem I see though, is that cowboys are too fascinated trying to make their horse go faster trying all sorts of crap. A lot of times all you really need to do is take a good look at a horse first. Is it limping? Maybe it just has a nail in it’s hoof.

  49. Comments don’t make your blog great or not. Depending on the industry, some clients just love the updates. They don’t always have something to say but you talk with them personally and they can’t say enough.

  50. Very good post Jonathan. The points you make are well expressed with the analogy of the cowboy. I agree that the number of visitors isn’t enough to be content with. You want those comments. Like all writing on the web it isn’t enough for people to just read your work you want interaction.

  51. “Cowboy Proverb: If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop digging.”

    Thanks for your tips. For the bloggers like me it’s very important since don’t have more comments.

  52. For a blog we should write a text which can attract people towards our thinking and we should formatted text also so that important things get highlighted and if a person give only a single look to your blog he should get aware that thats he wants.

  53. Hi

    This is a great post. And maybe it should be read by all wannabee bloggers rather than all of those are about to shoot that poor ol’ horse in the head!

    Personally, and sorry to say this, I’m not a fan of blogs, particularly. I think the average person – and most of us are average, right! – has got a better chance of ‘success’, of expressing their ideas, with a website rather than with a blog.

    The trouble with blogs, to my mind, is that everything has to be NEW! No such problem with websites. Write something well and people will still enjoy it on a website, even if it written – shudder – last year! You just can’t say the same about blogs.

    And then there is the strange date-bound hierarchy of all the information. It’s hell trying to find stuff on a blog, it really is. (Plus bloggers seem to think it’s okay to stuff the lhs or rhs of their with pointless not-money-earning banners, as if affiliate marketing hadn’t evolved past that point – several years ago!)

    Nope, blogging is not the best way to go, I humbly say.

    (And, yes, I’ve started a few blogs and I may even update them again this year, but I *never* started them with the vain hope that I was gonna ‘make it’ big time with my blog. Whereas I did start a website last year with that vain hope.)

    So I say this to bloggers: come on over to the dark side – start your own content-based website! (Sound of screams and screeching fiddles in the background!…)

    Hee hee! 🙂


  54. Great post. But, I have one minor problem. If your car quits on you, you don’t take it to the junkyard. You fix it. If you’re blog doesn’t get any readers, and is your main goal, then you ‘fix’ it. Use better grammar, or perhaps change the layout. It could be any number of things.

    I myself only have 3 or so readers, mainly because the majority of my posts are about a 10 year old game that doesn’t have a huge player base. But I love the game, and I love writing about it. Sure I’d love a huge reader base, but if that means writing about a subject I don’t particularly like, then I’ll be more than happy with just 3.

This article's comments are closed.