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Raw volume vs. popularity

There are two ways to financial success for a blogger. One is to be wildly popular: everyone reads what you write. Every time you open your electronic mouth, millions of people read your posts.

Most of us won't reach that degree of fame. Even if you do, it may not last: the public is fickle and today's super blogger may have no readership next year. That's just the way it is.

The other route is raw volume. You write and you write and you write. None of it ever becomes very popular, but you have so much that even a few readers coming to a small percentage of your posts adds up. With so much out there, the search engines are bound to hit you now and then.

Actually, the volume approach can lead to popularity. That's often the case with popular authors in print literature: many of them wrote unsuccessfully for many years before they became popular. The novel that barely sold at all ten years ago then gets republished and is now a big hit. The same thing will be true for blogs; if you do have yet unrecognized talent, just keep plugging away. Your blog may catch fire someday.

You never know what article or post will be popular, but the more you produce, the more chance that one or more will attract attention. Some articles I wrote years ago still get thousands of hits per month, but others get very little. Sometimes I understand why one article is more popular than another, but often I have no idea. It is important to try to understand why a post became popular (obviously you want to try to duplicate the formula), but sometimes it's just baffling. Oh well, keep writing. Maybe you'll get lucky again.

A lot of it is luck, you know. There are plenty of talented actors who never made it out of their local repertory theater, and plenty of talented bloggers who will never see much traffic. Louis Pasteur said "Chance favors the prepared mind". Is your blog prepared for chance, prepared to be lucky?

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The idea of "work, then get paid" has been deeply ingrained in our culture by employers who want to limit their risk. Well, I like to limit my risks also. I like to get paid before I do work. (Tony Lawrence)

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