What keeps a blog going? That's what I wonder when I come across the abandoned carcasses of once-loved blogs, sites that simply left off in December 2005 or some other long-ago date, without even so much as a goodbye, as though the writer had been jerked out of his or her chair, with only her jacket left to tell you someone had once been there. You see a lot of blogs like this when you click on the "next blog" button on WordPress.
And so as I've been preparing my Saturday Morning Blogroll post for Best Blog, I've been paying attention to blogs with staying power. I've noticed that the blogs that keep going are the ones that have a few things in common:
- The writer doesn't have to do a lot of searching around for something to say. Single topic blogs are a good example of this. If you are fascinated by, say, tee-shirts, then it's not going to be that hard to post the tee-shirt you're currently coveting.
- Blogs that rely on pictures also seem to last longer. Could be because it's just more fun to break up text with a photo. Could be that any anxiety about writing is diminished somewhat by being able to express your thoughts visually.
- Blogs that are part of a web of contacts — whether the writer is speaking to friends, or is part of a community of like-minded obsessives — seem to stick around longer.
The blog I found today, Beatles Blog, shares all these qualities. He's chosen a single subject, and it's one he loves: one of the greatest bands ever. There are plenty of pictures. Videos. And he sounds like he wants to podcast too. So, he's finding a lot of other mediums in which to express himself beyond words. And he's linked to a lot of other good sites, which indicates he's part of a community of obsessives. He's just starting out, but my bet is that he'll keep going for a good long time.
If you've got some thoughts on how you've achieved longevity — not just in blogging, but in any project you've taken on that requires daily, or at least regular, attention — why don't you say something about how you did that? I, for one, would love to hear about it.