Old posts…and self-honesty about motives
There’s an interesting phenomenon that happens to the blog, and it may be useful to bloggers who want to grow their readership. It is ‘body of work.’
If you write about a variety of topics, and do it long enough, your old posts become part of the Accumulated Mass of ‘Knowledge.’ Sure hope you knew what you were talking about, because it has become information people will now use. If they like it and your style, they might subscribe/follow; if they have some strong reaction, they may drop a comment.
For example, some time back I wrote about Gary Thomas Rowe, who infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan in the 1960s at the behest of the FBI. Turns out it’s not so easy to learn much about Tommy Rowe without buying one of the two books that discuss him in depth, so I turn up on searches. I wrote about a really clumsy union protest here in town, and now and then someone will still find it on a search. (WordPress provides me data about page views and the search strings that got people here.) The more offbeat the topic, the less is out there about it, and the likelier your take is to appear. If you’re going to game the system, might as well play to win.
Anyway, if you think long term, you can see the strategy easily enough. I’ve got a couple hundred-odd posts now, some of them of interest to almost no one, sprayed across the topical spectrum, and the result is a passive generator of public interest that requires zero activity on my part. (Except for dumping the spam bin, which WP makes pretty easy.) Information may not be the reason one blogs, and this is fine, but I’m learning that information will get you attention. That, I think, most bloggers would like, even the ones on the “I don’t give a damn if people read it, I don’t care what anyone thinks, bray bray bray” trip. Oh, yes, you do. If you didn’t, it’d be a personal diary on your machine. Instead you post it where you can never quite call it back. On some level, you want to be read.
It also helps if you can write, I think, but I know some fairly popular blogs put out by crappy writers, so it isn’t just your literary chops. It also has to do with knowing something–and sharing what you know. I think it’s fun.