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Who Does Your Blog Serve? The Secret to Sustainable Blogging


Who does Your Blog Serve?

In today’s video I take a look at two groups of people that a blog needs to benefit if it’s going to sustain itself for the long haul.

While many would argue that a blog’s readers are the ones that a blog needs to benefit the most – I think that there’s someone else that the blogger needs to consider providing for – themselves.

A balancing act needs to happen between benefiting blogger and reader in any good blog.

A blog that just provides for readers will burn out the blogger and a blog that provides only for the blogger will burn out it’s readership.

I regularly see blogs that do without the other.

Who does your blog serve?

Video length – 7.02 minutes

Feel free to share this video via this page at blip.tv.

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
  1. Wonderful video. You missed to say about the fun of blogging!

  2. Totally agree with that but still there’s a third group of people a blog needs to benefit. Advertisers!

    You need to give something back to the advertisers or else you will lose them and you will have no sponsors. To keep the balance between these 3 groups is even harder.

  3. Great vid!

    I tend to write a lot of content and have been doing so for a while, but my blog helps me relax a bit so I get something out of it too. Its a stress reliever.

    I think the one thing that is beginning to tick me off about some popular bloggers is they keep throwing more and more ads in their readers’ face. It is almost an offense.

  4. Hi Darren I like the whole video idea. I am curious as to what camera you use.

  5. I agree Great Vid,

    Communication has always been an exciting process, for many of us (well me anyway) it means re-discovering the rich art of writing.
    The really exciting part is: The diversity of thought and nuance that each person shares through this medium (along with the odd hiccup:) will create a new form of global tolerance.

  6. For me, my photography blog is all about the readers right now. But for me that’s my current strategy. My blog is only a few months old and my goal is aggressive reader growth. While I’m achieving that goal, it is tough to constantly give give give and get nothing back. Content is king right now and it’s tough to keep up the quality without immediate return. Sure, the Amazon affiliate program gives a few tidbits here and there, but I’m looking forward to the time when I can start to run just a little bit of sponsorship.

  7. @ Sergio Rebelo – I believe if you are serving your readers in a good way, then that is in effect serving your advertisers. If you serve your readers well, that will build up larger readership numbers, build a quality readership base, build up time spent on the site per user, build up page impressions, build up page rank, etc. etc. These in turn all provide value to your advertisers.

  8. Good reminder for those just starting out to blog

  9. To server and engaged readers. It has to be a two way street.
    Reader want to get involve in what they are reading, so we have pose thought provoking questions to get them involved.

    Great post.Thank.

  10. Darren,

    I see what your using to embed your video into your blog but im very interested in knowing

    1. What hardware do you use to create your videos
    2. What lighting
    3. What is your audio being recorded through?
    4. Are you using a mac or pc?
    5. What software are you using to add in those titles at the bottom of the video that appear then fade out

    If you have already done a post explaining all of this can you point it out or,… hey it might make a good post idea for your blog

    thank you kindly

    Problogger fan…;)

  11. It’s true what he’s saying, in order to have a successful blog you definetely must give something in order to receive something back, and this has to be a mutual thing, only this way any relationship can work. The online world is a lot similar to the offline world in this way.

  12. Great video!

  13. Please keep the video posts coming! I love em’!

  14. Darren first I want to let you know that the video posts have been great and while I’m pretty sure you plan to continue them, I want to mention it anyway that I hope you continue.

    Maintaining the balance between serving yourself and your readers is interesting. I’ve thought about this in the past, but not in the same sense you’re describing here.

    Common blog writing advice says to use the word ‘you’ a lot more than the word ‘I’ and it is good advice. But at some point I thought about it and decided that part of why I blog is so people could get to know me. I want to know them and I want them to know me. We should both be part of the conversation.

    I started using ‘I’ a little more, but also mixed in a lot of ‘we’ and ‘us.’ Ideally I’m maintaining a nice balance between all the pronouns, At least I hope I am.

    The pronouns I’m using may seem minor to some, but to me they help to remind me and perhaps readers that we’re all in this together. Especially with the ‘we’ and ‘us’ my goal is to bring everyone a little closer together and make the blog more of a community.

  15. Darren,
    First of all great video…all of them are spectacular really.
    Second (and jokingly), I noticed your shoulders move from side to side a lot. Its obvious you talk with your hands a lot. If you pulled back the camera a bit you could dazzle us with that magic ;)

  16. Excellent video, as a new blogger it’s good to hear this info early, as it will only help in the long run.


  17. I’m ambivalent about the video medium. Seems to take much longer to make the point than a nicely written post. Looks like other people like vids, though…

  18. Its definitely a wonderful video.
    Thank you very much Darren.

  19. My blog is definitely for readers… specifically anyone interested in starting a business, or current business owners. It’s for entrepreneurs! Feedback definitely fuels the fire.. I get tons of emails from those who were inspired and it keeps me inspired to write. *=)

    -Good Post!

  20. excellent advice. i have but one comment, if you will permit me to lapse into grammar nazidom —

    “WHOM does your blog serve.”


  21. Great video. As always gives one something to consider. How many takes do you do before the final cut is ready for public consumption, Darren?

  22. darren, can you increase the font-size and pictures-size on your next video, please?

    thank you (:

  23. I would have to say that you should serve YOURSELF. If YOU want your viewers to give you credit for your work then it’s serving what YOU want. If you want them to learn something from your vast knowledge, then it’s serving YOU. If you want them to make you money through clicking ads then it’s serving YOU.

    Serve yourself and you’ll be a winner in the end.


  24. My blog benefits the literary community (I hope). But it also benefits me because it gives me an outlet to write about something I’m passionate about, and it also gives me an excuse to keep up with all the news in the literary world.

    What also keeps me going is when I hear positive feedback. People will write a comment or email me that they really enjoy reading my blog and it helps them in such-and-such way. Stuff like that really makes my day!

    Thanks for the great post!

  25. Fantastic video. You know while you were talking about blogs that are dominated by the blogger and out of balance in that way I immediately thought of John Chow’s blog. I got reader burnout over there a few weeks back after seeing so many self congratulatory posts, seeing every second post was just a money grab (paid review, announcement of another ad on his blog or affiliate program). Did you have him in mind too Darren?

  26. I’d never much thought about the cyclic nature of it, but yes I see now.
    Timely post, for me!

  27. I just try to keep my blog on topic, and that strategy seems to work: I’m still getting signups to my feedblitz-powered rss newsletter.

    The amount of advertising on my site varies over time, and I do not worry about it much, because if an advertising network does not prove to be worth my time, it is removed from my blog — and my readers know that.

  28. hi D, Great post. I think the balance is very important. I agree

  29. Actually I started out my blog because while I was having so much fun (and getting frustrated) learning about and how to add adsense to it I found that people were asking so many questions about adsense. Simple things that I took for granted like being able to join adsense with relative ease – others seemed to have a lot of problems with joining adsense and/or they wanted to know more about adsense.

    While there is a business side to having adsense on one’s site there is also a human side as well. Subjects that come up like the monthly “waiting for the adsense payment” thing are always being discussed and while having adsense ads on my site is the business side having a blog – period – involves having a human side too. So my blog readership is aimed more towards those that are looking for the more human side of having adsense ads on one’s site – the ups and downs and the confusion et. al.

  30. Darren, nice video post. I am also thinking of launching a video post… i think it makes sense, the communication is just getting better and maybe this is helping for achieving the right balance…

  31. Very good put down, err.. said. Obvious things but needed to be said. Thumbs up!

  32. I thought Darren’s shoulder movement wasn’t because he naturally talks with his hands a lot, but because he’s deliberately using motion to keep things interesting. News anchors do this–they don’t want to be a “talking head.”

    As for “who” vs. “whom,” just today I was looking through my alma mater’s alumni magazine and a reader had made a similar comment. The response was that it’s become acceptable to write colloquially in that way. I guess there would be people with strong feelings on both sides. How about this for something less controversial: I think “it’s me” is perfectly fine, but the grammatically correct “it’s I” just sounds pretentious.

  33. “A blog that just provides for readers will burn out the blogger and a blog that provides only for the blogger will burn out it’s readership.”

    Well said :-)

  34. Thanks for sharing this video! My blog is such a niche market and not following the MAKE MONEY ONLINE popular theme that I am unsure how to gain readers. However, I am excited that i am the only BACKYARD SKI BLOGGER! HEHE!

  35. awesome as usual

  36. Interesting article, as most of yours are. I used your site when I started back in May, and I believe I’m on the right track. I am challenged with gaining readers, and will keep researching your posts. Keep them coming, and thanks for all the great tips!

  37. thanks for this great video. The key point is to keep oneself asking this question…the balance has to be kept…
    and every blogger has to ask himself what is he (she) waiting to receive…great question !

  38. Darren, you have such a complete grasp of blogging, especially for reaching out and touching people right where they’re at. I hope you continue with your blog forever.

  39. Hi Darren, It’s a good point about balancing the readers’ needs and the blogger’s, and was interested to come across the idea of ‘sustainable blogging’. Liked the diagrams in the vid. Am curious to know, though, how you were able to discern that some blogs weren’t serving the needs of their bloggers (when they appeared to concentrate on their readership more)? It’s not something I would have such a good handle on when just reading web page content; I’m curious as to whether there might be indicators though! Thanks.

  40. Thans so much for this video. I can see you really care about people doing their own blogs. i would be interested in publsihing your story. Please do get in touch with me. Good blogging can help the world’s mental health.

  41. I agree with the video,keeping balances is important.I have alot of fun with mines:)

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