On again, off again, but never dead

Of blogs and bloggers

To blog or not to blog
Last few years have seen an explosion in the number of blogs and the number of bloggers themselves. However, most research suggests that an overwhelming majority of blogs die within months of their creation. This characteristic is both a feature and a limitation of the very nature of blogging.

As you know, blogging gives immense power to the individual, transforming their thoughts, experiences and fantasies to a permanent digital repository that is accessible to millions of people across the world. There is no entry-cost; anyone can start blogging, and people often start off on a whim or as part of a trendy fashion. There is no requirement for a particular level of quality, type of content or outcomes either, thus making it simple for folks to maintain a blog in whichever format they want. Finally, there are no consequences of abandoning a blog and contributing to the digital dust; you can simply start a new one! It’s all good.

No wonder there are no authoritative metrics or comprehensive research on the current state of blogosphere. It’s impossible to collect data from something that’s constantly in a state of flux. Nevertheless, there are several articles on the interwebs talking about blog statistics, often mutually contradictory. For some fascinating data and extensive surveys on the current blogging trends, checkout Technocrati’s immensely massive 2011 State of the Blogosphere Survey.

Why blog?

Given these circumstances, what are the reasons that keep bloggers (such as me) committed to their blogs for years?

  • Speaking for me, the biggest factor is that my website, with my name as the domain name, has unknowingly become an integral part of my identity and there’s no way I’d let it die.
  • Secondly, this hobby gives me a channel to express my thoughts and experiences, and to be creative and stimulated.
  • Finally, blogging provides a small but regular dose of ego boost (I’m a Leo): be it through visitor comments, via mentions elsewhere in the blogosphere, or during social conversations in the real world. There’s always something to talk about.
  • Bonus: I’ve made some fantastic blog-friends from all over the world. :)

Analysis of historical data

However, the purpose of this post is slightly different. What I wanted to show you is the graph below:

Blogging trends

This graph shows the number of blog posts I published per quarter (3 months of a year) starting from 2005-Q3, both on this personal blog and the travel blog. Since it’s unfair to make general observations on data that fluctuates so much, I will break it down into smaller periods for analysis.

  • For the first two years of blogging, I posted thrice a month. Since then my average has jumped to 8 posts per month. (To put this into context, it’s quite rare to find blogs that have postings twice a week for five years straight!)
  • 2009 was the year I blogged the most, with 12 posts per month, maybe because I was more-or-less unemployed. ;-) 2010 on the other hand was the year of ‘settling down’ and clearly my attention was focused somewhere else!

Conclusion

It seems that a variety of factors affect blogging frequency probably because blogging is not always a priority. I think now I am at a point in my life where I can better forecast future time commitments.

If the experience over the last seven years has been any indicator, a sustainable blogging frequency for me would be a maximum of 12 posts per month: 8 on the travel blog and 4 on the personal blog. That will be my target for the next year and making this goal public will hopefully make it happen.

Have you done an analysis on your blogging habits? If so, what was your conclusion?

4 thoughts on “On again, off again, but never dead

  1. I’m actually surprised I am still blogging today, six years after starting on Blogger, but like you said this website is now part of mi identity and I enjoy the writing exercise!

  2. When I took a break for two years I did not intend to come back but somehow here I am. I think it is all about whether is makes you happy and keeps you fulfilled? Is it a part of you which you cannot let go or is it just a passing fancy?
    p.s. I am a Taurean, so I completely understand your ‘ego boost’ point. :)

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