The Ten Best Ways to Avoid Blogger Burnout & Rescue Your Blog from Embarrassing Failure ~ BitterSweetLife

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Ten Best Ways to Avoid Blogger Burnout & Rescue Your Blog from Embarrassing Failure

The attrition rate for blogging is something remarkable, kind of like the attrition rate for door-to-door salesmen or deep-fat-fryer operators. I've seen some great blogs begin with a burst of creativity, only to fall silent as the novelty wears off and the blogger starts getting a nervous tic whenever he thinks about writing a new post. However, it doesn't have to be this way.

With some forward thinking and savvy, you can dodge the bullet of blogger burnout and create a site that will enjoy a long, well-rounded existence. Here are ten ideas to guide your blog toward low-maintenance and longevity!

  1. Pace yourself. When people start blogging, they often feel like they need to swing for the fences with every new post. Not true. If you write a thoughtful, premeditated post (possibly involving quotes, metaphors, and witty one-liners) once a week, you're doing well. Spontaneous, off-the-cuff pieces are a time-honored part of the blogosphere as well--so embrace 'em.
  2. Blog your fiestas. Birthdays, road trips, Final Four parties, nights on the town--they all take you away from your computer, and that's a good thing. But with a little foresight, you can let those exciting times translate into high-energy posts. Upload a few photos, mention some highlights, and give a recommendation or two. If people care enough to read your blog, they'll be interested to know how you spent that long weekend.
  3. Don't blog your siestas. Sometimes less is more, as in that sleepy afternoon where you crumpled your to-do list into a wad, tossed it into the rectangular filing cabinet, and collapsed on the couch. When you woke up two hours later, you felt like the world was a better place--and it was. So why ruin it by rushing to your computer to "make up for lost time?" The blog will benefit from your deserved downtime. To put it another way: take breaks and make to apologies.
  4. Don't write a dictionary. Despite the popularity of blogs, most people still turn to books for their serious, extended reading. Keep this in mind when you're writing, and aim for short or mid-length posts that someone could get through in under five minutes. Of course, you can make exceptions, but they should be just that.
  5. Write down ideas. Inevitably, you have times when your creative juices are flowing--and times when they're stuck like a creek hitting the Hoover dam. So you might as well stockpile during days of inspiration, right? Keep a list of post ideas, and refer to it when you feel like you've got nothin'.
  6. Link good content. If you're like me, you frequently read other blogs, think, "That was great," and then forget about it. But why not compliment the author and let your readers benefit as well? Don't stop at merely linking a good post though--add even more value. Explain why this particular piece caught your attention. Note things you liked, or explain points of contention.
  7. Share favorite quotes. This one works well if you read books on a regular basis, and have readers who do the same. A spicy quote or two can work well as a stand-alone post, especially if you add a few sentence of commentary. In fact, one of the most popular posts on this blog is a collection of quotes.
  8. Write reviews. If you read books, listen to music, or watch movies, you're accumulating blogging material in your spare time. Why not capitalize on all that media? Most people enjoy good recommendations. Write a "flash review" or a "here's what's playing" list. The best part? Since it's your blog, you can be as detailed or general, as generous or Grinch-like as you want. Of course, if you're too scathing, someone might call you out!
  9. Do interviews. But not the old-fashioned kind. No scribbled notes, lengthy phone conversations or awkward pauses. E-interviews are nearly-painless, both for the "reporter" and subject, which is why so many established bloggers are happy to answer questions--and why you'd be foolish not to ask them. Identify some people whose thoughts you value, then come up with a few really good questions. Brief, terse, maybe a little edgy. The questions are key. Make them interesting, not no-brainers. Word them in a provocative way. Then hit send, and wait for a reply...voila, instant post material with built-in credibility. Just be sure you ask nicely.
  10. Make a "Top Ten" list. I mean, why wouldn't you? Our culture loves lists, especially when they make outrageous claims like "The Ten Best..." or "The Top Ten..." For some reason, stuff like this grabs people's attention. Just make sure to make it fun, and then follow through with some interesting content.
There you have it, ten easy ways to avoid blogger burnout and rescue your blog from embarrassing failure. Have other ideas? Share 'em in the comments. Now there's no reason why you shouldn't still be blogging five years from now.

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Anna said...

Thank you this is great advice. Especially about the siestas. I'm in the completely obsessed with blogging faze right now but I'm sure burn out is only round the corner (it's happened before) Reading your tips has helped me refocus.

Will Robison said...

In the immortal words of Galaxy Quest; Never Give Up, Never Surrender!

Regi G said...

I'm a Blog-City refugee. I hate them for going to purchase-only!

I have heard to not spread yourself too thin, too. Some *cough-moi-cough* have more than one blog for different types of ideas.

Well, one of mine was supposed to be to meld together all of the blogs I had, but I just can't seem to do that, especially with having to move everything here.

Therefore, it looks like I rarely ever write, which is true, but even moreso because the posts are spread out.


Culture. Photos. Life's nagging questions. - BitterSweetLife