I've been putting a little thought into blogging recently, particularly around some of the changes I have noticed since I started the caper.
When I first began, I got hardly any traffic at all. That was fine and what I expected. I was in it for my own pottering-around satisfaction, not for popularity. But if I did a battle report I'd put it on TMP, and soon found that I'd perhaps get 300 hits over two days - more if it was on a popular battle or topic - and I started to like it.
I began to post links to my newly-painted figures there to show what particular ranges looked like (there were not so many photos on manufacturers' websites in those days - or that was my excuse anyway), and the odd how-to article, game review, or lighthearted take on something. Again, these would get some hits and over time you'd build up a list of followers and make virtual connections with other bloggers.
After a couple of years of this I noticed there were diminishing returns. People stopped clicking on my links so much from forums. I'd get 200 hits instead of 300, 150 instead of 200, until, eventually I was down to about 50. Sometimes less.
And the chat around a post dropped off, too. Instead of 5-10 other forum members adding comments, you might get one or two if you were lucky.
So with both interest and engagement dropping off, it seemed that posting links was shooting myself (and the forums that hosted the links) in the foot. People had perhaps become tired of blog-hawking and blog-hawkers, and also perhaps resentful of the draining effect the constant outside links had on the vitality of the original forums. Denizens were no longer so impressed by the promise of battle reports, game reviews or painting updates, and there was, I felt, a perceptible undercurrent of hardening passive-aggressive antagonism on both sides (Why are you posting that here? We've all seen it done better before! vs I've put loads of work into this. The least you ungrateful lot could do is have a flamin' look!).
At any rate, the blog honeymoon was over.
I've since adjusted, and now I pretty much don't link to my blog anywhere, unless it's for 'educational' purposes, or I'm particularly excited about something, and want to share that excitement in the relevant forum.
It seems to me that bloggers have naturally congregated into loose circles of like-minded folk. Not necessarily like-minded in era, figure scale or rule set, either; often it seems to be a shared set of ideas about what you like to see in a blog, and so you comment or show your support for those people whose blogs you enjoy, learn from, or are in awe of in some way, regardless of whether you play the same games or not.
These days my hits are a long way down on what they were at their peak, but the peak was actually vastly inflated by bot visitors, anyway. I'm very content to keep pottering along at 100-250 hits per day - hopefully mostly by real people - and enjoying the comments that people leave and the little community that builds up.
It's been good. I'm happier, more relaxed - and hopefully a slightly kinder hobbiest - than I was when I felt a certain amount of pressure to try to spread the word.
Anyway, I'd be interested in other people's observations around blogging and the changes they have noticed.
Thanks for reading (if anyone has got this far!).