I'd guess that most of us started our garden blogs to keep an "online journal" of our gardens, or at least that's what we told ourselves. I mean it's just not cool to go "hey I think what I have to say is just so interesting that random Internet peeps will want to read it", right? I suppose when you think of it, we (bloggers) are a product of society just like everybody else. Reality TV has proved that real people doing everyday crap is interesting, addicting even. OK fine, so lets say I'm convinced that it's OK that I love to blog about gardening and try to be OK with the boost my ego gets when people who's gardens I think are so beautiful comment on my humble, sometimes humiliating attempt at gardening. But how do we explain our attempt to attract (lure) people to our blogs? I get the whole "sense of community" we garden bloggers enjoy. I understand getting to know e-gardeners and developing important relationships with them even in the absence of face to face contact. I'm not talking about that - I'm talking about the importance we place on exposure to our blogs. How engaged we are in finding new readers and new ways to inject our blogs into any little opening we find. What's that about? I've gotten preoccupied about it myself these days and I need to understand it.
Every time I turn around somebody's gardening blog (mostly Garden Rant those show-offs!) is getting mentioned in a newspaper. And every time I read about it I say, sometimes out loud, "YAY! GOOD FOR HER/HIM/THEM!" But, why am I so happy for them? It's not as if blogging is all that contemporary anymore and people have been gardening, well, forever. It's really because we know that the plug will bring more readers to the blog, right? But why do we want more readers?
This week Melanie over at Old Country Gardens wrote a great post about how she makes these bookmarks out of her garden photos and advertises her blog on the back. What a great idea! Hell, I'm using an old cell phone bill for a book mark as we speak! Who doesn't need a good bookmark? Put a beautiful garden photo on it - EVEN BETTER! Melanie's point was to "get the word out." When I read it, aside from loving the whole damn project idea I thought, "what a great way to attract readers to your blog." But why do we want more readers?
Then there are the posts about advertising your blog on these cute little business cards like this one. Now this makes more sense to me because the main reason this person is suggesting business cards is to have a good way to exchange information at the garden blogger spring fling. I get that. If I'm in the midst of a large group of people who are defined only (mostly) by a blog, I'm gonna need to go "I'm gina, you know, from myskinnygarden?" Why not have a nice little card to hand out, right? But come on. We order the cards, give a few out at the spring fling, then have the left overs to hand out to other people. Because we want more readers!
Today I received an email from a freelance writer for a Chicago newspaper who had read my blog and wanted to ask me a few questions about a very specific gardening topic that he was writing an article about. As it turns out I don't know much about what he's researching but do you know how flattered and proud I was that somebody like this even read my blog let alone take the time to ask my opinion about something? All I could think of is how incredibly excited I'd be if my blog was ever mentioned in any kind of article. Why? Because it would attract more readers.
Is there some blogging pot of gold that I don't know about? Is there a magic number of hits at which some Ed McMann type person knocks on the door with a big check? I know some people have ads on their blogs but I do not believe for one second that blog ads is a lucrative business for the blog owner. I imagine at most these ads might generate enough revenue to pay for the site if the blog isn't published on a free one like mine. So, my garden blogging friends, I ask you. Why do we want more readers. Are we really trying to get people excited about gardening? Or are we simply stroking our egos?