Above image by Andrew Tarvin
I just have to share a post with my readers — it ties in so well with my October 22 post on statistics. The following was published just this morning (November 19, 2013) on Cordelia Calls It Quits and is being re-blogged here with permission from Kelly Gurnett:
Why Healthcare.gov Batkid Kale Means Icognito iPhone Thor
(Assemble your own trending keyword title here!)
In blogging, and in life, there are certain rules people expect to follow for guaranteed “success.”
In blogging, these rules include such things as: maximizing your title with the top trending SEO keywords (estimated time to accomplish: 15-30 mins./post), micro-analyzing your site stats to understand every possible way your audience is finding you (30 mins. – 1 hr./day everyday), and A/B split testing your email subject lines to make sure every single message you send out reaches the highest percentage of your email list (15-30 mins./post).
In life, these rules include such things as: schlumping through a mediocre job to pay the bills (40-50 years/life); marrying someone, producing children, and paying down a mortgage (the rest of your life from your 20s-onward); and incurring lots of debt to keep up with the Joneses (life + infinity years).
In blogging, and in life, plenty of people have found “success” with these methods—some of that success being legitimate and snarky-quote-mark-free. And plenty of other people have wasted hours to whole lifetimes chasing formulas they don’t even care about, for results they don’t even want.
Real success (the snarky-quote-mark-free kind) comes from knowing what your ultimate end game is. Defining what success looks like you to, then reverse engineering the steps it will take to get you there. That’s the only thing to really guarantee a semblance of happiness.
All the rest? Is a completely waste of time.
The Blogging Application
There are plenty of blogs whose sole purpose is to gain market share, ascend the Google page ranks, and then monetize like crazy. I moonlight as a digital ad broker, and I’ve got a portfolio full of sites that accept sponsored posts on casino gambling and banner ads for whatever will pay them. And I am totally cool with their doing this. Because they’re running their blogs as revenue machines, and it’s working. More power to them.
There are also blogs that aim to be the go-to resource for subject matter expertise (see: Copyblogger, etc.). For them, researching top SEO keywords and extensive audience analysis is just smart business. Copyblogger is a damn fine site, and hella useful. They walk the line nicely between massive traffic-capturing and the importance of quality content, and for what they want to be, they are killing it.
Then, there are blogs that couldn’t give a crap about SEO relevance and have done pretty darn well on their own strategy of being unlike anything else that’s out there (see: The Middle Finger Project, et al.) I doubt Ash Ambirge sits down with Google Analytics before writing each post to make sure she’s speaking to 83% of her audience instead of just 82%. I doubt she cares that she’s a page rank 4 instead of a page rank 7. She writes what she thinks needs to be heard, and she writes it in a way only she can write. And because of that, she’s the first answer half the bloggers in existence give when you ask them who they aspire to be like.
As long as you know which kind of blog you want to be, go forth and conquer. Rock the hell out of that strategy, as long as it’s what you really want.
The trouble comes in when you don’t know what kind of blog you really want to be (or you don’t think the kind of blog you want to be is good enough). When you secretly long to share a life-changing message with the world, but you get tied up spending your writing time researching THE hottest Twitter topic right now so you can write a blog post around it in the hopes it gets you a few new readers. When you obsess over analytics and bounce rates and split testing rather than infusing the most awesome you-ness you possibly can into each and every post.
When you get caught up in all the ought-to-be-doings and lose site of why you even began blogging in the first place, that’s when things get shitty.
That’s when your blog reaches no one, and you have no fun doing it.
The Life Application
Much as above, a case can be made for any or all of these life paths/events: working a traditional 9-5, climbing the corporate ladder, going to college, going to grad school, getting married, having kids, starting your own business, buying a house, living out of a backpack, buying super-cool gadgets, owning nothing but 1 pair of pants and some sandals.
All of these are perfectly valid ways to go with your life, and any combination of all or none of the above has the potential to make some people legitimately happy. You just have to know what kind of person you are.
Because life, just like blogging, is not a paint-by-numbers equation. You can’t assemble the right number of items in the right order like The Game of Life (which, by the way, sucks) and expect to be magically happy.
Because there are no right items, and there is no right order. It’s all about knowing what you define as a “successful” life, and choosing to pursue the things that will create that success.
That’s the one and only way to go.
So, what’s your success? And how’re you gonna chase it?
Image: Curious Expeditions ______________________________________________________________ CORDELIA’S MOM’S COMMENT ON THE ABOVE:
“Gee, almost sounds like you’re trying to give me hell for MY statistics post (https://cordeliasmomstill.com/2…) God knows some of my own readers gave me hell. But they were right. While everyone wants to know who their readers are, obsession over the statistics is not helpful. I think I’ve gotten past that now – maybe.
However, if being ME turns out to not be good enough, then I want to be Ash
Ambirge, Jessica Manuszak or Abby Heugel. I would give my eye teeth (yes, I
still have them) to write the way they do.”
NOTE FROM CORDELIA’S MOM: The above is my very first re-post! Are you impressed?