If you’ve ever been curious about the length of the average blog lifespan, you might want to sit down: the latest research paints a dismal picture.
Let’s put it this way: if you’re thinking of starting a blog in the next couple of weeks, you’d better plan carefully.
Research shows the average blog is dead after a mere 100 days.
That means this blog, which has been up and running for 12.5 years, has lived 45 times that average. Good for this blog…but potentially depressing for a newbie blogger who might be discouraged from trying with such a somber finding.
That number also means that the average blog that launches in the next couple of weeks will already have died by New Year’s Day. Yes, that’s a depressing thought.
You can debate the reasons that are likely the cause of this 100-day blog lifespan, and here’s a site that has surmised five likely reasons.
There’s one in particular that would have done me in, but I was lucky. I’ll explain in a moment, but if you’re a newbie blogger hoping to start a blog soon, let me offer this important piece of advice upfront:
Don’t expect to get a lot of notice at first.
I might go so far as to say that you should spend those 100 days writing the best content you can with the expectation that no one will see it.
The whole “If you build it, they will come” thing looks great on paper and worked very well as a plot point in a movie several years ago, but when it comes to blogs, it just isn’t true.
If you build it, they might come, but they probably won’t.
If you build it, then populate it consistently with quality content that informs or entertains or is useful to your audience and you promote it well, you substantially increase your chances of readers getting to your site. But you have to know that it’s a lot of work.
I was lucky when I started this blog.
I wouldn’t say that the experience of starting this blog on the now-defunct AOL Journals platform was a great experience overall, but it had one definite positive: there was an immediate sense of community there.
Even from the earliest days of posting there, it wasn’t unusual for a blog post to get dozens of comments within a day of posting. Yes, the commenters were all AOL users who, like me, were sort of exploring blogging through AOL’s blogging platform. But there were some regular characters there who were great about responding and stayed loyal to each other.
When I started a weekly feature called the Saturday Six, a set of six random questions that I would post every Saturday morning, I would have players week after week, often 20 or more.
The reach outside of the then-close-knit AOL community was practically nil, which means that overall, the reach of the blog itself was relatively low. But despite that low overall reach, the blog was being seen by a much more active community than the blogosphere as a whole.
This meant there was immediate interaction. And interaction is what new bloggers — whether they want to admit it or not — crave.
Let me be clear: I’m not advocating starting on some small platform. WordPress is a great platform and you have more options there than you’ll find anywhere else. But in my case, had it not been for some initial interaction that helped motivate me to keep writing and to find my blogging “groove,” this blog might have dropped out of sight by now.
The healthy thing to remember about starting a new blog is that you won’t get the interaction you’re hoping for immediately. It’ll take time. Sometimes, it’ll take a long time.
Keep blogging anyway. Don’t quit.
Make connections where you can. Look for forums related to your topic. Look for active Twitter chats about blogging like #Blogchat every Sunday night at 9pm Eastern.
A funny thing begins to happen as you continue doing something you enjoy, even when no one else is watching quite yet: you get better at it. The quality of your content improves. Then, as people slowly do find you, you have a growing body of work that’s getting continually better, which encourages those first-time visitors to become multiple-time visitors.
If you’re thinking about starting a blog, I want to encourage you, not discourage you. It’ll take work and it’ll take longer than you expect to get noticed.
But it’s worth it when it happens.