The Surprising Difficulty of Maintaining a Blog’s Long-Term Popularity

One of the most common and surprising sentiments among bloggers who have transcended obscurity to establish a firm foothold in the consciousness of readers is the feeling of dread that immediately follows the realization that their blog can be accurately referred to as “popular.” That intense feeling of dread is often verbalized in a statement along the lines of, “OK, now what?” This is essentially the blogging equivalent of a climber reaching the topmost peak of a mountain and, after enjoying a brief moment of unbridled joy, quickly realizes that the only place left to go is down.

Perhaps this is of a bit cynical perspective, like a homeowner who has artificial grass Phoenix installed and then realizes they will miss mowing the lawn along with all of the other maintenance that was once required. The fact is that any reasonable person will be able to remember the amount of time and energy expended on lawn maintenance and will feel a sense of relief that those responsibilities have been eliminated. On the other hand, a blogger who has achieved success will not be able to sit back and enjoy the fruits of their labor without any continued effort. In fact, maintaining a blog’s popularity is often far more difficult and complex than starting a popular blog from scratch.

The most common reason for blogs achieving an impressive readership only to eventually fall out of favor with an audience that once waited with baited breath for the next update has to do with the ability to adapt and evolve in ways that push a blogger outside of their comfort zone. There is a sort of balancing act that has to occur for this strategy to be successful, as longtime readers should be able to recognize the “newness” without feeling that the style and content that appealed to them in the first place has disappeared entirely.

While this is a difficult task for any writer to accomplish (especially when trying to appeal to new readers without alienating the existing core readership), it is almost guaranteed that even the most loyal of readers will abandon a blogger who allows their writing to become stale or who refuses to explore new topics or concepts. Change is vital and necessary for continued blogging success, but this change must occur while maintaining a clear voice and a consistent core philosophy. Obviously, this is easier said than done.

In addition to being consistently committed to fresh writing and new perspectives on relevant subjects, a blog can maintain its popularity through genuine engagement with the readers. With social media becoming such a powerful tool for communication and successfully providing a rare kind of intimate access to those who were once unapproachable, loyal readers have come to expect a certain degree of social interaction in exchange for supporting the blog. This means that bloggers have to actively engage their readers on multiple social media platforms and foster a strong sense of community among all those who read the blog. Bloggers who create this feeling of community and a sense of shared experience are far more likely to enjoy continued success than those who do not.

Even bloggers who do all the right things to maintain the popularity of their blog are sometimes tripped up by mistakes they made very early on in creating the blog. If, for example, a blogger set out to create a profitable blog capable of generating revenue through the use of affiliate marketing and other strategies but was not completely transparent about the strategy from the outset, then it may be possible that longtime readers ultimately realize that what they thought was an informational blog is tainted by the writer’s conflict of interest and lack of transparency. A blogger who makes it clear that they earn income from their blogging efforts is much more likely to be able to sustain their readership than someone who, whether intentional or otherwise, misleads their readership in any way.

Every aspiring blogger puts a great deal of time and energy into developing a strategy for creating a popular blog that is read by a wide audience, but few consider what they will have to do once they achieve the level of popularity they are seeking. In order to enjoy continued success as a blogger, planning to maintain the blog’s popularity is every bit as important as planning how to achieve that level of popularity in the first place.