This ramble has been a long time coming. I have been postponing this as it is painful to write. However, I have been an open book on this blog, so I will continue to be, even now.
I have been writing on this little blog for going on six years. Needless to say, it has evolved over the years. I like to think that my content has improved significantly, from how the blog looks today to the quality of my writing. Is it perfect? Of course not! But neither am I, so it works.
Back in the early years, Nerd Rambles was mostly about anime, video games and movies. Over the years, I have experimented with different topics and ideas. Some worked, others didn’t. That is the nature of experimentation, trying a wide variety of ideas until you find what works.
On top of that, my own interests have shifted. I don’t watch as much anime as I used to, and in turn, I have been reading a lot more books. Since I write about what I am passionate about, this has impacted Nerd Rambles. In the past year and a bit, I have been including more bookish content and don’t write as often about anime or manga. I don’t think it’s a bad thing, but I have to admit there is a growing concern.
I want to make content that you want to read, but I fear that I don’t know what that is.
My views are much lower than they used to be. Not shockingly low, but enough that I have been worried. That a pesky voice in the dark corners of my mind has been whispering, “you are failing”. It feels like I am growing stale or something.
I’m not foolish, I know I grew originally from one type of content, and now I don’t make said content as frequently. That is a contributing factor, but surely that can’t be the only reason? Which is when that pesky voice chimes in, with “maybe you just suck at blogging now”. That thought and others like it bounce around my skull every time I sit down to write these days. It’s demoralising and kills my motivation. Quite simply, it hurts.
With all that in mind, it leads to one question. What do I do about it?
Well, that’s the issue. I have no idea.
I want to keep writing. I love writing, and I am so proud of this blog and its growth. I half-jokingly refer to it as my pride and joy. Yet, I know I can’t keep going on like this when the thought of writing often fills me with dread. Panicking before hitting the publish button because I am anxious that what I wrote isn’t good enough.
It doesn’t help that I can’t figure out what does well as it keeps fluctuating. One week, a book review does amazing, another it flops. The only consistent trend is that when I write about gaming, that tends to do poorly. That sucks since I am still a passionate gamer, so I want to write about them. But do I stop because it doesn’t get as much traction? I don’t know.
I don’t want to give up writing, but I feel the burnout growing stronger. I fear that if I step away for a break, I will never get back into the writing habit again. Then again, I can’t keep going on like this.
This rant boils down to, well, I have no idea what to do. So, I am asking for advice from you. If you like reading my work, what do you want to see on here? Please tell me in the comments, or vote on the poll on my Twitter. I truly appreciate any feedback you are willing to offer.
Thank you so much for your continued support.
Not sure I can offer any advice as I literally just write about what I want to and see what hits may come (answer not a lot). I’ve also been shifting toward books recently but I’m not really expecting to grow an audience from it.
I think the two things I can say are a) write for you. If you want to write about some indie flash game nobodies ever heard of then do it just be comfortable writing for yourself. If you are wanting to write for others and not for you then expect to be much more current. Talk about the anime that’s out now, the books, that are out now, etc.
The second thing is that it takes time to grow a new audience. As you say you started out as an anime blogger and you have to ask how long it took to grow that audience. It could take as long again to grow a book audience. Though hopefully not quite as long as you are starting out with some overlap in the audience you had.
As I say, I can’t really any advice as my blog rarely gets a single hit but I can offer luck and support.
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One of the things I’velelarnt over the years I’ve been blogging is to write about things I want to write about. I think its very easy to focus on the numbers and what people seem to be reading. At the end of the day if you are not enjoying yourself and the idea of putting a post out makes you anxious, then maybe the post wasn’t something you wanted to write but one you felt you had to write, which I think is what contributes a lot to people feeling burnt out.
As someone who loves anime, reading and gaming, I follow blogs that cover all three of thsoe areas and I have noticed that the anime blogs tend to have the most engagement whilst the book and gaming themed blogs tend to have fewer likes and comments in them. It doesn’t mean their content is bad, it most likely means their audience doesn’t always go to blogs for gaming and book content. At the end of the day, you should be blogging because you enjoy it and want to write, so pick something you want to talk about and don’t think about the stats.
Apologies for the rambling reponse, I hope it helps in some way!
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What do you want to write about? It sounds like you have evolving interests, and that’s cool! But I think the most important question is what do you want to write about? Because here’s the thing: If you don’t love writing about it, there’s no point.
Unless you’re well paid. But that’s a whole different discussion?
Then, you have to think about how to get what you write in front of the people who want to read it. You’re a WordPress blog, and I think as part of being on WordPress.com, you get the Reader. Is that true? If so, then you’ll find a noticeable percentage of your repeat readers will come from Reader. They get notifications of your posts, so that makes sense.
However, that should overall be a small percentage of your traffic. It averages around 15% on my site. Most of the traffic should come from Google (and some from — shudder! — Bing). That is, it should if you have setup your posts so Google can link readers searching Google to your content. The easiest way I’ve found to do that is using the Yoast plugin, but since you’re on WordPress.com, I don’t know if you can install it.
But you can still increase Google’s ability to put your work in front of folks by following a few simple rules. Think about your topic. For example: the anime’s title and episode number (takt op.Destiny Episode 3) or a video game’s title (STALKER, Call of Pripyat). Use H1 and H2 headings to divide your text into sections no more than about 300 words (or so!). Use your topic in the headers. For example: Dark Harvest, A Horror Novel; Pete McCormick’s Desperation in Dark Harvest. Google uses headings as clues to content. So, if a potential reader searches for PETE DARK HARVEST, Google will rank your search higher.
Add ALT text to your images (and include your topic), and that should help. You can test it a couple days after publishing by going into Chrome’s Incognito Mode and searching for your topic phrase and some keywords from the headings.
But everything comes back to writing about what you love. The rest is just figuring our the current technology for finding readers.
Note that you can go back to old posts and update them. The updates and improve your Google/search engine performance.
I hope this helps!
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It helps a lot, thank you so much for the advice!
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