There are millions of blogs, like this one, out there, or personal online journals where people link to and write about things of interest to them. Their lives, their hobbies, their politics, their technology. But somewhere close to 95% of these blogs ‘fail.’ The blog never gains any substantial kind of readership (outside of a handful of individuals — friends, family), or the author loses interest in writing on a daily or semi-daily basis, or the blog loses focus, direction and eventually, readership.

But most blogs fail because keeping an ongoing tally of one’s interests, life, politics, or technology is just plain hard and often times, monotonous. It’s difficult for most people to easily write hundreds of words every day that have some greater meaning (as opposed to the, “Wow, look at that beautiful sky today,” or “The NY Times said something interesting, here’s the link to it.”). I suspect most bloggers figure this out after the first or second week of writing. Writing well takes effort and time.

Writing well constantly and consistently is a task that simply doesn’t fit most ordinary people. People write when they have the time, and if you have a lot of time, well, finding time to write is easy. But when life starts getting busy or interesting or stressful, a lot of people don’t find writing as easy as it once was. Sure, for some, it comes naturally and is a stress-relieving tool. Most people aren’t natural born writers, however (if they were, we’d all have published novels by the time we’re 21).

Blogs have two choices at some point in their growth — find a way to integrate blogging into your life that continues to provide some substance to your readers, or just start writing badly very frequently, infrequently, or not at all. You can tell the latter blogs by their hilarious devolution into nonsequiturs or mundane musings. “I arrived safely back at the beach in Florida.” That’s nice. I arrive safely at work everyday through rush-hour traffic, but I suspect not many care enough that I should write about it. Actually, mundane personal musings are fine and great for a personal blog (and can make for interesting reading when you know the person). But when you find such stuff mixed in with commentary on technology, politics, or what-have-you, it just seems silly and out of place.

Blogs fail when the authors give up on them. That’s why you’lll find most blogs have been abandoned. I’m constantly doing research online and am amazed at the number of results that come up pointing to a blog entry. Like a good netizen, I click to see where it leads me, and find a blog. Okay, so let’s go to the blog’s homepage and see when it was last updated. Oh, August, 2003. January, 2004. May, 2002. It’s almost a rarity when I come across an active blog by chance (as opposed to finding one through friends or colleagues).

If you don’t want your blog to fail, don’t give up on them. Acknowledge your limitations and your strengths in writing. If you’re not a daily writer (like me), don’t force yourself to become one for the sake of blogging. Your quality will suffer and readers will notice. If you’re writing a topic-oriented blog, make sure readers have a way of knowing when you’re posting personal stuff (like classifying it appropriately). And if you find blogging is not for you, you should probably make a little effort to just go ahead and archive your writings somewhere. While it’s quaint to keep them online as a snapshot of your life, everyone sees that snapshot too and wonders what happened.

Remember that blogging takes committment, energy, and effort. Not everyone should blog, just because you can. You should seek to contribute something to the effort beyond noting that McDonald’s french fries have a slightly salty, beefy taste to them.