This is something my cat knows pretty well. When my cat wants attention, he knows exactly what kinds of things he needs to do to make sure I'm paying attention to him. This is especially useful in the middle of the night. For him, not for me.
He plays music. Or he scratches on doors. Or, well, any number of things. And, yes, we do keep the piano closed, now.
So... let's talk, first, about frequency.
How frequently you blog will have a lot to do with the amount of traffic you get to your blog. Of course, the obvious reason is that the more often you blog, the more often people that want to read your blog will have to stop by to read what you have to say. But it's more than that. How often you blog keeps you in the minds of your readers. It helps them to remember who you are, and that's important. When you're starting out, if you blog less than once a week, it's quite possible for a "follower" to see your post in their feed or reader or whatever and say, "Who the heck is that?" You don't want a "who the heck is that?" response to your posts. Here's a good example of how this kind of thing works:
Let's say you participated in the April a-to-z challenge, which is just that, a challenge. I won't argue that. So you did a pretty good job during April, maybe even completed the challenge but, at least, did, say, four posts a week. Then, in May, because you're feeling rundown or overwhelmed or whatever with all the blogging you'd been doing, you take a break. I know, many people do. But you'd picked up all of these new followers who don't know anything at all about your actual blogging style and, then, you don't post...
Until June. And the response is, "What the heck blog is that?" [And you probably even start with an apology about how you haven't been posting, which is a completely separate reason for people to roll their eyes (but we'll get to that next time).] Yes, some of them won't even click through to find out what the heck blog that is. Or, maybe, said person added so many new blogs during April, people that kept up posting frequently, that he's, now, uninterested in your blog. The amount of posts a person can read in a day is, after all, finite. [Unless you are Alex, but I'm beginning to believe he actually lives outside of time.]
Which leads us to consistency. Even if you can't post with great frequency, being consistent can be just as important. Let's say you're going to make 24 posts in the next year: It's much better to post twice a month than to post seven times the first month, five times the second month, skip the next two months, then post seven more times... Unless you have some exceptional content, people just won't take you seriously with that kind of routine. Which is why all of this is important, anyway. When and how you post tells people about the kind of person you are.
So, wait... let's go back to the whole having a successful blog thing. This is an important consideration and it goes back to that whole "what is the goal of your blog?" question I mentioned in an earlier post. If your goal is to just have a blog and you're really doing it for yourself (or whatever) none of this matters, BUT, if you're goal is to have a "successful" blog--and by successful I mean a blog that gains followers, gets comments, and people want to follow--then these things are important. Vitally important.
And, now, let me address just the writers out there, because I know a lot of you have blogs with the goal of building a platform. If your goal is to gain readers, your readers need to have a certain level of trust. Trust in you and trust in your writing. If your blog exists to say to readers, "hey, look at me; I have a cool blog with lots of interesting stuff; come see how I write so that you'll want to buy my book" [There's nothing wrong with having that blog, by the way. It's completely valid to want people to know who you are so that they will want to buy your book.], then your blog needs to reflect your writing ethic. If you blog inconsistently (either in frequency OR content), people will view your writing that way, too. If your content is inconsistent, people will think your writing is inconsistent. If your frequency is inconsistent, it won't matter how good a writer you are, because people won't trust that you can deliver the material. [And let me just add, if, on your sidebar, you have listed about eight WiPs AND you can't manage to blog more than every three or four months, people will completely dismiss you as a serious writer. Well, I will, anyway, and I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one affected that way.] The point here is that your blog is a reflection of you. You as a person and you as a writer. So, if you're going to have a blog, you have to take it seriously.
If you're a writer.
All of that brings us to participation. And, oh, man, what a sticky one this is. When you're starting out, especially, it doesn't matter how good your content is, how frequently you blog, or how consistent you are if you don't participate in the blogging world. It's only by visiting other blogs and commenting that people even know you exist. And you can't just run around saying "come visit my blog" on every blog you run across, because that is a sure way to keep people away. Participation comes in three ways:
1. Your posts.
2. Commenting on other blogs.
3. Responding to comments on your blog.
The thing is, you are, by putting your blog out there, asking people to come in and listen to what you have to say. And, really, why should anyone do that? Unless you're going to do the same, that is. No one wants to hang around the guy that just talks all the time, you know, and never listens. People start to avoid that person. And they'll avoid your blog, too, if that's the way you handle it. And commenting on a blog is not the same as being the one talking; it's a way to demonstrate that you've been listening. So is responding to comments. I'm sorry, but, if you're not Stephen King, you can't expect people to just walk in and pick up the bread crumbs you're sprinkling on the ground.
So here's a personal peeve:
I really hate it when people complain about how they don't seem to be gaining any followers, and I say, "Well, do you spend any time reading other blogs and commenting?" and I get the response, "Oh, no, I don't have time for that." Well, then, that's your answer. If you can't make time for that, why should anyone make time for you? Seriously. Unless you're words are literal gold falling to the ground (that will also pop out of my monitor as I read your blog), why should I spare the time for you that you will not spare for me? That's just how that works. And I don't mean this in any "let's trade back scratches" kind of way; this is how you form a relationship. A relationship is not me showing up to "listen" to you for half an hour every few days while you ignore my existence.
But, then again, it's all about the goals for your blog. If your blog is just for you, and you don't care about followers or readers or anything, then none of this matters, but, if you do want a "successful" blog, you can't do it in a vacuum. You have to participate.