It starts out with an ideal. A burning desire in your heart that guides your pen to paper (or rather, fingers to the home row) and gets you typing away, gets you fleshing out those unique thoughts and reflections that make you and you alone the most unique, creative, and original writer in the blogosphere.
You toil, Howard Roark-like, night after night, by the dim blaze of candlelight, churning out one masterpiece after another. Convinced of your brilliance, you agonize over your opening sentences. You search for the most relevant, interesting, and up-to-date internal links, videos, and images to pepper your articles with. You even double-check your article for typos.
Of course, unlike Howard Roark, you do seek validation of a form other than creativity – getting lots and lots of views. Deny it as much as you might, your mood is inextricably tied to the lofty crests and the depressing troughs of that views-per-day graph. And those troughs are depressing. As you cry yourself to sleep, devoid of the attention of others, you start to doubt your once-obvious superiority to “the others.” Just as a witty Facebook status that doesn’t get any likes is not witty, your blog clearly just isn’t what you thought it was. People don’t care about you. You’re alone. Go away.
Slowly, even those close friends and family you eagerly advertised your site to lose interest in what you have to say. Even though your frantic sobs are broken by the occasional obscurely specific Google search links to your blog, the hits to your site now mostly consist of spam bots from sham accounting sites in Bangalore.
But let me tell you, dear reader, there is light at the end of the tunnel! What do you think all those physics prodigies who set out to discover cold fusion and unravel the secrets of the universe do after 10 years of unsuccessful research on obviously impossible problems? They sell out, damnit! They go to Wall Street, do some opaque number-crunching, and wade in gigantic piles of cash!
Maybe you’re iffy about posting it on your Facebook because you’re shy but still want something for nothing. Maybe StumbleUpon readers aren’t giving you enough thumbs-ups. So how do you take it to that next level?
1) Write about making money – nobody cares about how little money you’ve made. People will eat that shit up because let me tell you a secret: People love money. You wouldn’t believe it but it’s true. My friend wrote about value investing and totally got like, 40 views in a day after two days of having the blog. I had to sell out for a week not writing about money in order to achieve that sort of readership.
2) Tag your posts under “politics” – for some reason (myself included), we just can’t get enough of politics. It’s one of those weird topics where people will want to read the same thing over and over again, written by a different person. Of course, you have to choose Democratic or Republican. You have to support a mainstream side, otherwise you’ll be dismissed as “(left/right)-wing nut-job, even despite the fact that your fringe view is right and everyone else’s is wrong. The world is a cruel place.
3) Humor – convey your blog as humor. It’s the end of the day. At the end of the day, nobody wants to read about a weighty comparison of Crime and Punishment and the today’s laws on the death penalty. Just let ‘em have some lolcatz or something.
4) Tag it under “writing” – everything’s writing, so it totally counts.
5) Seek out fairly popular blogs where links to that site are automatically conveyed on it. That way, no matter how obscure your blog is, procrastinating readers will still be linked to it! Screw Google’s popularity-based algorithms!
6) If you’re blogging with WordPress, you can find the most popular tags and just use all of them! This post will probably be tagged with “Art”, “Local”, “2011”, and “Islam.” And if someone who wants to read about Picasso, the Farmer’s Market, or the Syrian uprisings sees this instead, so be it. For I am the mysterious “you” in this article, and I’m really desperate for attention.