Jeff Carouth

Web and mobile developer. Agile apprentice.

Why I Failed at Blogging: If You Write It, They Won’t Come

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This article is part 2 of a series. Read part 1.

The often misquoted line from Field of Dreams, “If you build it, he will come,” is known to most people. It is used to indicate that just the building, the field, the storefront, etc. is enough to draw customers or encourage participation. It simply is not true. Just because your blog post is out there, doesn’t mean anyone is going to read it.

I know I’m not alone, but I struggle with the thought that my time writing post after post would be for nothing. Without readership, what is a blog? A collection of words, or worse, unintelligible ramblings, that takes up space on a server somewhere “collecting dust.”

That is an excuse. It is true that merely publishing a blog post will not guarantee that people read it, but that’s not a reason to forego the post altogether. It just means you have to market the post in the right arenas.

For me — and probably for most people — this means updating a Facebook status or Tweeting about the post. If you don’t have an account that links you to other people that share your interests, get one. Does that guarantee readership? No, but it gets you closer than not saying anything about it.

After you start tweeting about your posts more frequently, you should be able to judge what your followers are interested in. (You should already be collecting this knowledge by reading their posts, by the way.) After you shape your posts to meet their needs, look for some syndication opportunities.

One point emphasized in the #dc4d room during Day Camp for Developers was to leave comments on other blogs that share your interests. Don’t forget to add your blog URL. This is another way to drive some traffic to you.

So will the readers flock to your articles? No, probably not at first. But over time, with a little marketing effort, you will see some repeat readers. Having no readership is not an excuse; it’s a motivator.