May 222012

This guest post is by Stephen Guise of Deep Existence.

It was July, 2011. My personal development blog, Deep Existence, was flying high. Every new post I published would get at least 20-30 comments and a good number of social shares. Not world-class blogger numbers, but pretty good for a young blog (five months) and with solid forward momentum.

Later that month, a spider bit me, and a chain of health problems ensued. I also got a full-time job. Between the two distractions, Deep Existence wound up being mostly ignored for the next seven months.

When I was ready to jump back in, I figured I just needed to post consistently again to reignite the community.

Wrong. So wrong.

No matter how fantastic I thought a post was or how many hours I spent researching and crafting it, the response to my blog was tepid at best—not even close to the “good old days.”

Even when I revamped the site to be more attractive (including a pricey new logo), and initiated a consistent one-post-per-week schedule, it didn’t matter. Finally, I understood why.

Quality can’t fend for itself

If anyone tells you that great content attracts readers, they’re fibbing. There is false information out there that says if your content is good enough, people will come.

I will dispel that myth with a simple, hypothetical example. Let’s compare ProBlogger to Papa Joe’s blog.

  • ProBlogger: Thousands of people are visiting, sharing articles, and commenting every day.
  • Papa Joe’s blog: A few dozen people per day find his articles, and notice that they are not commented on or shared.

Now imagine if exactly the same, high quality article was posted on these two sites. The ProBlogger article would go viral. Papa Joe’s article might be tweeted once (by him).

And what if the next 300 articles were duplicated in the same way on both blogs over the next year? The results would stay mostly the same. Papa Joe would be ignored as ProBlogger soared.

The difference is that ProBlogger is sensitive to quality (a good thing) because this blog has high exposure and a favorable perception. But Papa Joe’s article quality doesn’t matter much. Visitors don’t know who Papa Joe is and he sure doesn’t seem popular, so his content will get an unfair docking. And yet, his articles are amazing. Poor Papa.

The blogging success formula

My blog fell from success to failure, and then I failed to return

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