Why do you want to blog?
Motivations vary, check out my older post for some comments on the motivations to blog. Be honest with yourself. What do you seek? Why are you doing it? For example, if you wish to be internet famous, your style and content needs gel more with the prevailing audience than if you are doing it for yourself and aim to gather a small circle of fellows. There is no “right” or “wrong” about motivation. The only mistake you can make is to create a mismatch between your aspirations and style.
I can fake a style that isn’t mine for a short time. I can lolz in lewt speakz and call everyone ‘bro, use foul language and make racial slurs to appeal to my target audience. But I would not be able to sustain that for a long time. I simply would not like writing like that and over the long run, my blog would wither and die. By being honest with my style and my content, I can keep my motivation up pretty much forever. Will my voice change as I grow? I hope so and my blog will reflect this. This is my home, this is where I meet my friends. I can do whatever I want.
Blogging is about storytelling, a good yarn is read and appreciated, learn from other bloggers how to draw your readers into a story. Write the stories you would like to read, it is that simple. I personally love Neal Stephenson, he has a phenomenal lightness in his writing and a kindness to all people that is simply astounding. Will I ever reach it? Probably not. But of course, I measure myself against those whose stories draw me in.
If you are contemplating starting a blog, you probably already have a group of like-minded friends around you. Your EVE Corp, your WoW Alliance, your Halo Clan. Ask them to be your beta testers. They will give you – hopefully honest – feedback. Thank them for it and find one or wo other bloggers who agree to read your posts and comment. Bloggers are a very friendly bunch. For example, the author of Emergent Patrollers proof-read my fan fiction before it went live. It was excellent advice and I re-wrote entire sections because of her feedback.
Don’t fret about the hits.
Consider that your blog is primarily for you. It makes you a better writer, a better storyteller, a better gamer and – yes – a better person. Hits are an easily quantifiable measure of success but it is misleading (1). Spamming various twitter feeds with your URL will get you hits. But would that be success? Hits will come from people you care about. Not that I am beyond spamming occasionally #tweetfleet a little. ;-)
And that is pretty much all I can contribute. Be honest, find your own voice. Don’t worry too much. Have fun.
(1) As a young lad in Europe, I watched Whoopi Goldberg in Sister Act. In this movie she somehow goes undercover, fake-joins a convent and in the process turns a failing church around. I strongly remember a scene displaying many donated dollar bills as proof of her success. I was appalled, how can you use money as symbol of success for spiritual enlightenment? Much later, I learned that in the US every success, not matter what is measured in money.