Several decades ago, Buck Owens sang that all one had to do to become famous in the movies is to “act naturally.” According to the Wall Street Journal, the way to become famous in the blogosphere is to “be consistent.” I ran accross this article through John Houghton, who focuses on commercially owned blogs and podcasts, and points out:
You can’t expect to be popular after one or two blog posts, nor can you have a large following after one or two podcasts. If you release weekly, you must stick to it; monthly, that’s not as frequent but you may see results in 9 months. If you release episodes daily, you’ll grow quickly, but make sure you have a staff to support you.
Though I don’t read many blogs, I have found this statement to be very true regarding something I do follow – webcomics. There are several very good webcomics on the internet, but those with the largest audiences are generally those that update the most regularly – Penny-Arcade and xkcd come to mind. On the other hand, I can list several great comics that could, or used to, have larger audiences that floundered due to unpredictable update schedules – Fallen is a good example.
Of course, there are exceptions to this rule. Fred Gallagher, who writes and draws Megatokyo, is infamous for missed updates, though he’s still consistent enough that he hasn’t totally hacked off his fanbase.
The article also exhorts us to “Act Like a Pro” and advises against “amateur” production values but that “the most popular material is definitely more polished than the rest of the pack.”
Ah, yes – professionalism, something that is even rarer in online social environments than in the “physical plane.” Just as with any other project, online or offline, people are impressed by those who take the extra effort to make their work just a bit more polished. It does not matter if one is creating art, running a business, or writing a blog, customers will notice when a product is Bush League, like how I misspelled “across” in the first paragraph of this post.