Friday, December 9, 2005

Why This Isn’t a Big Blog

According to Atrios, the way to get a lot of traffic is to not spend a lot of time writing.

To have a very high traffic blog a necessary condition is that you post consistently a lot. It means that great writers who take a lot of time to craft their prose are unlikely to have a high traffic blog. That is not unfair or wrong or anything, that’s just not how you generate consistently high traffic. If you are a tremendous writer who spends lots of time crafting your prose, blogging is perhaps not the best medium for you except as a useful tool for self promotion if your goal is high daily readership.

I write at least three posts every day, except on weekends. Most of them aren’t “crafted;” usually they’re just a quote from a piece I find interesting with a smart-ass comment or a one-liner to sum it up. Once a week or so I go off on a rant, but I consider them to be a part of the daily discourse and they’re not something I spend a lot of time working on; what you see is pretty much what I blurted out when I sat down to rant. (I do go back and make corrections to grammar and spelling; you are your own worst proofreader.)

I never expected this to be a high-traffic blog. I certainly don’t think I got into this for the sole purpose of self-promotion or to make a living. I am grateful to every reader and commenter, and I believe in quality, not quantity.

I have a great deal of respect for Atrios and his contribution to blogging. He does his thing very well, gets a lot of traffic, gets quoted on TV, and gets to sit on panels at colleges. That’s cool, and I think he’s done a lot to make blogging a visible and legitimate voice in the discourse. But I also think a lot of good writing and original thought is being done at in the little 200-hits-a-day blogs, too, highly-crafted or not. As far as I know, Atrios doesn’t know this blog exists, and I’m not losing any sleep over that, either. All that really matters is that the message gets out, and if I reach one reader, that’s good enough for me.