OK, you might not die, but your blog certainly will.
I don’t care how you believe the earth was created. Whether you side with theology or science, now that we are all here, one thing is clear: if we do not evolve as a species, we are destined for extinction. As humans, we have a pretty long rope (Most species get about 10 million years to get it right!). And it’s unlikely that we’ll be wiped off the planet within our lifetime. Our blogs, on the other hand, are headed straight for evaporation – unless we learn to evolve.
According to Richard Jalichandra, CEO of Technorati, the number of abandoned blogs could be as high as 10 million in 2009.
Most blogs are born with good intentions. Excitement keeps us awake at night and we truly believe that we will be able to carve out our own little spot in a given niche. In fact, a lot of energy is exhausted in choosing a topic to tackle. Part of that process is evaluating the ‘competition.’
Once we see an opening, we’re off an running. Not too far down the road bloggers discover that this blogging thing is pretty hard work – and getting noticed is even harder. Perhaps that’s why some numbers say that 80% of new blogs die within the first month.
If you are lucky enough to make it out alive of the first month, you might make the mistake of going on auto-pilot. Delivering great content is NOT enough. A key ingredient to the recipe of blogging success is being able to tweak your product on the fly. That means you are willing to make changes to tone, style and content – after the blog is born. Here are a few ways to make sure your blog is evolving.
1) Perform weekly/monthly checks to see how similar blogs are adapting. For all you know, that blog that you were blowing away last week just hired a new writer and redesigned their blog template to look like yours. Maybe they were even acquired by a larger blog network and now have greater resources than you. Keep an eye on the prize but always watch what others are up to.
2) Follow your news beat and roll with the punches. Do not be afraid to deviate off the path you originally set for yourself. For example, if you are writing for a career-advice blog, and ignored the recent glut of employment stories, you have missed an opportunity to convert new traffic. Even if you write a micro-niche blog, if you write in a bubble with blinders on, you will become irrelevant.
3) Survival of the fittest. If a hunted animal does not learn to defend itself, it will get eaten – perhaps all the way to oblivion. The hunted learn to blend into the landscape, find new ways to defend themselves and even develop new physical traits that let them fight back. Since you don’t have centuries to wait around, you need the accelerate the process. Don’t be afraid to try different tactics on your blog. Takes risks and find out what works and what doesn’t.
Having a unique voice and being consistent are important components of a successful blog. And that might sound like a contradiction in a blog post that is a call for ‘blogging evolution.’ There is a middle ground, and successful bloggers are able to find it.
The blogging world is always changing; failure to adapt in response to environmental changes can lead to extinction. I sure hope we’re both here tomorrow! How have you evolved your blog?