Bloody hell. Three years since I did my very first blog post. Back then, I started it off on a whim, got a trickle of pageviews, and that was about it. Now I get a lot more visitors, I am known to other reviewers, some of my reviews do the rounds, I can get press tickets to reviews and – for some reason – an old review I wrote of Absurd Person Singular seem to have become a port of call for gazillions of GCSE English students as a set text. Over time, the scope of this blog has also changed. Originally, it was only going to be reviews, but over time this is expanded to include recommendations, tips (for both punters and performers) and comment articles, all of which have ranged from next to no attention to raising a lot of eyebrows.
Anyway, to mark three years, I’ve update my About Me section with two new pages: What Chrisontheatre is, and What Chrisontheatre is not. They’re quite detailed, but it covers a lot of things I learnt about theatre blogging, and what expectations there are (and which expectations I will and won’t live up to.) But to cover the important points there, plus a few other observations I’ve made since I began:
1: Don’t expect to get it right the first time
You might think that if all you’re doing is writing reviews, you can’t go wrong, can you? After all, an opinion is an opinion? How can you get opinions wrong? However, reality isn’t so simple. You’ve got to be readable to a wider audience, not just yourself. You’ve got to keep their attention. You need to be disciplined enough to avoid waffling over minor points. You need to learn to be concise. These are things should expect to learn as you go along. When I read some of my early reviews today, I wince when I see how much waffling and digression there is. But that’s okay, because that hopefully means I’ve learned and improved. You should expect the same experience.
2: Building a blog audience takes a long time
I’ll be upfront. For the first year or so, my pageviews were so embarrassingly low I wondered why I was bothering. Unless you are lucky enough to already have a big following of social media, you can expect the same start. (Some blogging sites will appear to show a lot of hits from a word go, but the bad news is they are almost certainly not people reading your posts. Most “hits” are automated downloads from bots for search engines. Sorry.) There are ways that you can get more attention and build up a following, but there’s really just two things you need. Time. And patience. And you need a lot of both. So if you’re not prepared for the long haul, you might want to question whether it’s worth starting in the first place. But the good news is that my pageviews now are least five times as much as they were in my first year. Speaking of pageviews … Continue reading