January 16, 2006

top ten reasons why nobody reads your blog



1. You're not a good-looking female who likes posting naked pictures of herself.

Pretty damn obvious, if you ask me. [Not safe for work. You've been warned.]

2. There's nothing in it for them.

Yeah, people really want to spend the short time they've been given on this Earth to find out what an unemployed managing consultant dork has to say. Dream on.

3. "Passion & Authority" are just buzzwords to you.

Yeah, I've read the Cluetrain as well. So has my pet canary. Get back in line.

4. A secret cabal of A-Listers got together and decided that you should be excluded from the conversation.

Yeah, they sit around sipping champagne, eating caviar and laughing about you.

5. You have nothing to say.

The fact that you haven't figured this out yet surprises everyone.

6. You're not The Assimilated Negro.

TAN is smart and funny. You are not. Get over it.

7. You didn't recently sell your company to AOL for $25 million.

Somehow your eighth-grade English teacher managed to convince you that truth & beauty were more important to people than money & power. And you've been paying dearly for it ever since.

8. The very fact that you're whining about traffic makes people not want to read your blog.

Instead it makes them want to emulate the champagne-swigging A-Listers currently mocking you.

9. You've only been writing the damn thing for a week.

And you're already whinging. See Point Number Eight.

10. The Long Tail is very, very long.

And thanks to folk like you it's getting EVEN LONGER. Rock on.

[FURTHER READING:] "Top Ten Blogger Lies."

[BONUS LINK:] Kent has a very different take on things.

Posted by hugh macleod at January 16, 2006 12:53 PM | TrackBack

You have ruined my day - I just dropped by for a quick look and get stuck on Sonia's blog!!!

Cheers Rob

Posted by: Robert Paterson at January 16, 2006 3:03 PM


Fun stuff and so damn true.

It's all about posting content that people actually want. For example, I podcast 1950's radio detective serials, just for fun. (www.soapdetectives.com if anybody is interested).

In week two of the site being live boingboing wrote nice things about it, shortly after it was mentioned on /. Traffic has never been a problem since, if anything I had to scale down frequency of posting because I was running out of bandwidth.

Oh, and since I've removed all advertising from the site donations have been at a level that allows me to keep the site up and running.

Posted by: Andreas Duess at January 16, 2006 3:37 PM

"sipping champagne?"

You see this is what reveals Hugh's post as misdirection, as paid for by the a-list coterie.

If he was being truthful he'd obviously be pointing out the a-listers are drinking *stormhoek*.

Nope, Hugh has outed himself as a paid shill, taking the 30 silver pieces from scoble and dave siffy.


hail eris.

now where did i put my meds?

Posted by: Barry Dorrans at January 16, 2006 3:44 PM

Congrats, Andreas. Good work ;-)

Posted by: hugh macleod at January 16, 2006 3:45 PM

Great list, and I love #8, if only because it is so true and simple. I was reading someone's blog and they were whining about the fact that Guy Kawasaki's blog has already got 3000+ subscribers, and he just started, and how they had been blogging for 2 years, and had half the subscribers, and yet in their comment, there wasn't even a link to their site.

Thanks Hugh! Spot on, as usual!

Posted by: Phil Gerbyshak at January 16, 2006 4:23 PM

Nobody reads my blog, and I hope to God they never do. One of these days, I won't be living in my mom's basement, and it would be nice to actually be able to get a job.

Posted by: Vinny at January 16, 2006 5:58 PM

Oh my, this is incredibly funny.
I spent some time over on MSN Spaces before I started moving my stuff over to WordPress, and... I wish I could post this over on MSN for some (but not all).
The key to blogging success apparently.
Some of it is a little backwards over there though. There are actually some that complain they get too much traffic and it eats up their bandwidth.

Posted by: solaria at January 16, 2006 6:01 PM

And, then again, maybe you're just boring...(even when naked!)

Posted by: Mary Schmidt at January 16, 2006 6:01 PM

Get over it blogosphere, blogs are just like old media.

If you are interesting, talented, and willing to spend years at it eventually you will be successful.

And it helps to be lucky and to know somebody: just like the movie industry, just like the music industry, just like the publishing world.

Whenever a new technology comes out people start yapping about decentralizing, democratizing, empowering, world changing, etc. People like Hugh said the same sort of things about cable television in the 1970ís. Thomas Streeter calls it "the discourse of the New Technologies" if you're interested.


Posted by: Andres Martinez at January 16, 2006 9:40 PM

Thanks for the shout Hugh. good-looking females posting naked pics is #1 on my list also. though I also like if they have a brain. That's a formula for mucho-traffic.

(don't anyone steal that, by the way, I have the hot-girl-with-naked-pics-and-smart-writing blog patented, trademarked, and copyrighted)

I commented on Kent's, I agree A-listers linking me has helped my traffic, but I like to think me holding a gun to your head and threatening your friends and family had at least a little something to do with it.


Posted by: The Assimilated Negro at January 16, 2006 10:44 PM

Thanks for the warning - I really wanted to open that Sonia-Belle link but - darn it! - I'm at work.

Posted by: Tania at January 16, 2006 11:18 PM

1. ...or you have an understanding, outgoing girlfriend who is willing to put out to push your blog placing.

Frankly I'm holding out for one of the lower level prizes like The Billionth Blog or someother similarly underwhelming 15 second spot of fame. Even that is optimistic.

Posted by: English Idiot at January 17, 2006 12:46 AM

What are you talking about? Everybody reads my blog!

Posted by: in denial at January 17, 2006 2:27 AM

Don't forget #11: Because you have "secret, hidden issues."

Posted by: scott at January 17, 2006 4:51 AM

There undoubtedly is a power curve at play here, but I think the idea that the high ground is held by a privileged class of a-listers is an illusion.
IMHO this is a very rare example of a truly level playing field, - there are no barriers to entry and there are no external pressures or motivations to link to one blogger over an other.

If you look at any human endeavour and plot the progress of all participants you will always find this power curve at play. The good outperform the average by only a small margin and yet the number of 'good' players are infinitesimally smaller. And the same law applies to the elite over the good - they raise the bar again, by just a gnat's .... , and yet their reward is exponentially greater. You see this in sport, in business, in academia - in fact I think it's just one of those immutable laws of life that we need to 'get over'.
But, there does seem to be a genuine thirst for good original content, a search for 'meaning' so to speak, and this along with the network effect powered by the ease of linking, means that the good stuff should always rise to the top.

And so I choose to believe that this is a genuine meritocracy and not an oligarchy. Of course I could be totally wrong, but being a new blogger (http://www.life2point0.com) on the block I hope I'm not, - otherwise I might as well just give up now and just send emails to myself.

Posted by: Nick Smith at January 17, 2006 10:20 AM

I happen to agree with you, Nick.

People who are fond of the "oligarchy" model tend to think that the reason nobody reads their blog must be the fault of someone else. Hence my "cabal" Point # 4...

Posted by: hugh macleod at January 17, 2006 10:39 AM

persomally, my blog is a victim of #5.

Posted by: martin at January 17, 2006 11:47 AM

that sonia belle blog is total bullshit, some hairy fat man is probably sonia

Posted by: cynthia at January 17, 2006 1:47 PM

That wouldn't surprise me, Cynthia =)

Posted by: hugh macleod at January 17, 2006 2:07 PM

Now I'm so gloomy.
Come read my blog, please.

Posted by: red_fox at January 17, 2006 2:14 PM

Hugh, Doesn't this sort of conflict with your theories on being creative? There you recommend the person keep doing what they do whether anyone appreciates it or not. Persist without exception! Do it for the experience!

I want folks to read my blog and click the ads that I work so hard to make relevant to my sites theme. But this also means I have to evaluate what is read, acted upon, and revise my output to attract more readers, thus changing the experience I get out of it and potentially the goal of the blog.

As for A-Listers, they always seem to end up telling us about their petty lives when they run out of material that is meaningful. Making them no more interesting than the bloggers who blog about personal stuff consistently. A few of the a-listers are even trying to define blogging so narrowly that all other creativity is not allowed in the club. God forbid you create your own blog software or break some other silly rule that fits their limited definition of a blog.

None of this applies to Hugh, who keeps us entertained while making us think. Thanks Hugh.

Posted by: eSearing at January 17, 2006 4:44 PM

And this is why I'm writing my webiste...so people do get some attention.


Posted by: Cybermagellan at January 17, 2006 5:31 PM

I've got dibs on #9:

"You've only been writing the damn thing for a week."

Okay, two weeks.

Hopefully not winging it yet, though.

Posted by: Jumper Bailey at January 17, 2006 5:40 PM

Ok, you're on my A-list too.

Posted by: JW at January 17, 2006 7:47 PM

I'm one of those whiners who posts comments everywhere to get extra traffic :P

Fun post. Keep up :)

Posted by: Paulo Ferreira at January 17, 2006 7:58 PM

Reason #12:

You don't post enough lists. Consider: top 10s, predictions for 200x, reasons why GOOG/YHOO/MSFT/CSCO will fall, 5 companies to watch, 3 trends in the next 3 months, 5 pictures of your favorite naked females, 8 champanges that the cabal really loves, etc.

Posted by: Mark Johnson at January 17, 2006 9:05 PM

I never post...but I am on the a-list.

Posted by: R. K. Thornwell at January 17, 2006 9:06 PM

You brought a smile to my day, great post!

Posted by: Lawsy at January 17, 2006 9:34 PM

Funny post! I like #5....that one made me laugh.

Posted by: Mack D. Male at January 17, 2006 10:09 PM

Great article, there are alot of blogs out there that are useless (my personal blog included). Keep up the good work.


Posted by: Cheyne at January 18, 2006 1:17 PM

So, is the reason for blogging that you want readers, or is the reason for blogging that you want to write and that readers are just an added bonus?

Guess the fact that I'm reading (and commenting) on this thread shows I must have some issues ;-)

Posted by: Ewan Grantham at January 18, 2006 1:33 PM

True. But there's ample space for new blogs. Pick a space you know well and write about it, clearly and honestly.

If you don't know anything that well, maybe you shouldn't be writing something in the first place?


Posted by: Max at January 18, 2006 1:43 PM

17. When Mom told you to be yourself, you listened.

Posted by: Jim Treacher at January 18, 2006 8:34 PM

Don't forget the bloggers who blog only to complain about things they can easily fix on their own but refuse to do so!

Posted by: Catnabbit! at January 18, 2006 11:02 PM

What do you mean crying for traffic doesn't work!

Posted by: Peter T Davis at January 19, 2006 1:48 AM

yup, so true! :(

Posted by: mark at January 19, 2006 5:31 AM

Ive got naked pictures of me on my blog too

Posted by: dave at January 19, 2006 7:10 AM

Great work, but it seems that my blog Business in Poland has no chance to have a traffic at all.
Should I delete it?

Posted by: Novea at January 19, 2006 11:51 AM

Blogging is a means sharing ideas with all people all over the world provided they read what is written.
Let all bloggs be read in all normal circumstances.

Posted by: Wallach at January 19, 2006 2:42 PM

yea... but... see.. like... people write blogs cause they want someone out there to think that they actually have a remotly interesting life!... and of course id love to tell people about my every day but most jokes that come out are wayyyy funnier if everyone else was actually there.. like when my best friend was really sugar high and ran into a paper towel dispenser... haha good stuff... but some people are actually good writiers like my sister and her friend who did a hysterical job on writing a parody of Spirited Away.... and see it didnt happen to us, its just about the movie.. and wheen u get someone who posts funny blogs, the reader does get something out of it... a laugh!

Posted by: interestingweirdo at January 19, 2006 9:43 PM

(the parody can be found at .... yes a myspace.. ooo and a blog! www.myspace.com/MadAliyaSkills )

Posted by: interestingweirdo at January 19, 2006 9:46 PM

[whiny voice] Ohwwww. I hate thaaaat. Pleeease - read my blog...

Maybe I should start up a blog traffic program

[insert spam keywords here]

Posted by: BeHE at January 21, 2006 6:32 AM

Well, dang, I'm glad I don't have any of these issues! I do Sonia one better - I post nekid pictures of big pigs on my blog. :)

Posted by: Walter Jeffries at January 21, 2006 5:48 PM

So it's the naked photo's I'm missing. Damn, and so obvious! Well that and I started my new space today!!!

Posted by: Disenchanted Ruler at January 22, 2006 4:54 AM

ahahaaaa, all true! :D

Posted by: Cate at January 23, 2006 3:23 PM

Did you see the peak Sonia received after your link http://photos1.blogger.com/blogger/7173/1929/1600/server.1.gif
Well done Hugh

Posted by: Geoff at January 23, 2006 3:44 PM

Great post. A little heavy on the sarcasm, but stuff we all need to hear. I am not the center of the universe, and the sooner I learn it, the better life will get.

Posted by: Cheryl at January 23, 2006 6:18 PM

What's up with bloggers who don't allow comments? I don't mean that they screen them first. I am talking about a policy of "no comments" ever.

What is the point of blogging then?

Posted by: Peter at January 28, 2006 9:18 PM

Great! :D I think I should get over truth and beauty and start talking about nighttime nude strolls in the woods and huge piles of money... Thanks for the tips ;) I don't get many visitors on my bilingual space... And I only translate the good crap to English and leave the other Dutch shit untranslated. (Some nationalities need more crap than others... ;) )

Posted by: Morgan Blue at January 29, 2006 5:01 PM