Making a popular blog, and why this one won’t be.

If you are taking the time to write a blog, odds are good that you’ve spent at least some amount of time thinking about traffic. Traffic is the life blood of a blog. Traffic keeps comments coming and builds a dialogue, it builds upon itself and leads to trends, and most of all it gives the writer a sense that what they are doing is meaningful and not just yelling into an empty gorge for no one whatsoever.

There are a lot of ways to build traffic, but I think the essential aspect is that it must be simple to articulate what the blog is about: Engadget is about gadgets, Kotaku is about games, Jezebel is about feminism and feminine interests. At this point you might bring up a celebrity blog like Wil Wheaton dot Net, pointing out that he talks about everything from beer to D&D, but I think this blog is specifically “about” the celebrity persona of Wil Wheaton.

I recently started a Tumblr over at all about Acoustics. I only updated for about a month, but in that month I started drumming up a decent following, and I got at least one post reblogged over 100 times! Post regularity and a laser-like focus on an unusual topic were all it took for me to stand out from the crowd. I plan to reinvigorate the blog soon, but that short test run really proved to me what I had thought for a while: clear topics bring traffic.

So, now that I’m finally coming back and updating this blog (mostly because I found a way to connect my personally hosted blog to’s infrastructure), why have I picked such an unfocused tagline with “The random thoughts of a guy who goes by Pi”? Simply put, it’s because I don’t care about traffic. If I wanted an audience, I’d probably focus on acoustics, game reviews, or something else where I felt I had something meaningful to say. Instead, I just want a place to organize my thoughts and share them with those few people who care about what I have to say, not because of the content, but because they are my ideas. If you are one of those people, I hope you keep reading!

So, how much do you care about traffic? Is getting popular your blog’s goal, or do you do it for some other reason? Do you run a blog so you can keep writing? Do you consider yourself a part of multiple blogging communities? Would you still keep the blog, even if you had 0 readers?

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