Why Licking a Skunk is More Enjoyable than Blog Promotion

Rob Rubin
I am a humorist specializing in witty satire on topics ranging from politics to parenting. I started my humor blog, The Mainland, in October 2011 as an escape from the mundane world of office life. Eventually, I hope to leave the cubicle behind and become a full-time freelance writer.
Rob Rubin
Rob Rubin
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A scale showing a skunk and social media icons.

Let me know if this describes you.  You have a blog.  You update it regularly.  After countless edits, you finally think you have something that William Shakespeare, if he were alive today, would be envious of.  You hit the Publish button.  Then you share it on every social media site under the sun – even MySpace, just in case.   Then you wait.  And wait.  Suddenly your iPhone flashes.  A comment?  Nah, just a South African lawyer trying to contact you about a $6.7 million inheritance.  You check your blog stats.  Single digits, as usual.  You retweet your post.  Nothing.  You retweet it again.  Same thing.  You can feel your blood pressure rising.  You realize this won’t be the week you can quit your job and officially become the professional blogger you constantly dream about.  You desperately want to be that guy/girl.  You want to wake up whenever you feel like.  You want to work in your bathrobe and not have to worry whether donut glaze is smeared all over your face.  All you need is just a few million people to realize how awesomely talented you are.  You know it.  Why don’t they?   They should be bringing down your server with so much traffic by now.  But they’re not.  And now, you’re late for work…again.

I’ve been blogging now for over 6 months.  As you can probably tell, I’m a humorist.  I also have a regular full-time job and a family, so blogging time is often relegated to a few hours in the evening after my wife passes out from another mentally exhausting day with the kids.  I would love to get away from office cubicle life and blog full-time.  Wouldn’t we all?  The problem, of course, is the never-ending chore of trying to bring in new readers.

I’ve written over 100 posts since I launched my humor blog, The Mainland, back in October.  As I discussed in a previous guest post, I was originally on WordPress.com and recently moved to my own host.  Since then, I’ve had to work extra hard at bringing in new readers to replace the ones that felt that it was too much trouble to re-subscribe on the new site.

I also frequently scour Google for tips on “getting massive traffic to your blog” or “easy ways to get more blog readers”.  But I find that every site offers the same tiresome advice that makes me want to throw something at the screen every time I see it.  For example -

Write compelling content

Wait, you mean a 20,000 word thesis on the early days of American wicker furniture isn’t compelling?  I promise you, my writing is compelling.  In fact, I spend almost as much time just coming up with a good title as I do actually writing a piece.  If you saw two blog posts, one titled, “I Wonder What it’s Like to be Gay” and the other called “Why I Like Strawberries”, which one would you click on first?  Compelling stories are not my problem.

Write regularly.  No, write only when you have something good to say.

There seems to be great conflict among the blogging pundits I’ve seen over how often to update your blog.  Some advocate writing regularly, almost daily, so that you always have something new for readers to come back to.  Others say you should take more time to write, and only publish when you have something really good to share.    I have no idea what to think.  Personally, I try to keep to regular schedule as I’m always paranoid that if I miss even just a couple of days, the blogging world will move on without me.

Make it easy to subscribe to new posts.

I’ve got a Subscribe link at the top of the page and a set of social media buttons at the top of the sidebar.  After each post, there is a form asking people to sign up by email to get new updates.  If you visit my blog and can’t figure out how to subscribe, you probably shouldn’t be allowed to use a computer.  Yet, the amount of new subscribers is always a slow trickle.

Share everything on social media. 

Social media is king, they say.  You must be on Twitter, they warn.  Yes, I agree that in 2012, the only people probably not on Twitter or Facebook are those who still play 8-tracks of Englebert Humperdinck in their 1978 Cadillac Coupe de Ville’s.  But engaging in social media is extremely time consuming, and from my experience pays off very little in terms of getting new subscribers.   Twitter especially is like a giant frat party where everyone is trying to outdo the next person in hopes of attracting the hot babe in the corner.  You can’t simply tweet links to your blog and expect everyone to rush on over.  But at the same time, if you’re time constrained like I am, you can’t afford to spend hours on end trying to come up with witty tweets or replying to others either.  So, it’s often a no-win situation.

Comment on other blogs.

This is something I both agree with and practice regularly.  There is nothing better for a blogger (besides making a ton of cash) than forming a good relationship with other bloggers who you can depend on to read and comment on most of your work.  The problem again is time management.  You can’t just do a quick 10 second scan of a post and write a generic comment like “Great post!”   The author will know immediately that you didn’t really read it and are just using them for some link juice.  On the other hand, reading every word can take a long time and limits your ability to spread yourself around.  Furthermore, if a blogger you like is as free-flowing with words as a lonely sailor is with a bottle of whiskey, you may end up not doing anything else but read and comment on that one blog.

Be patient. 

Nobody wants to hear it, but it’s painfully true.   Sure, you could try to artificially boost your readership by doing one of those points-for-follow things like Twiends or YouLikeHits, but more often than not, you end up with a ton of followers who have no interest in your blog or don’t even speak the same language.  Now, I’m just as impulsive as the next guy.  I want my success now – not 10 years from now.  Unfortunately, so does everybody else.  In the meantime, you go through the same vicious cycle I mentioned above, vowing that this time will be different.  But it never is.  And that is why licking a skunk is more enjoyable to me than blog promotion.  Your mileage (or tongue) may vary. 


  1. Hey man I didn’t do the 10 second scan! Read the whole post. Very witty and enjoyed reading it.
    You are right, it is very difficult to get people to visit our blogs and majority of the people who will read this piece will be fellow bloggers like me and comment to get backlinks or visitors to their own blog. I also “dream of giving up my day job and make the internet my source of income. But it is not easy, but never give up!. Here’s to crashing the servers with our traffic.
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  2. I also enjoyed reading this post. Blog promotion could really be hard and frustrating, but patience really is key, and sometimes that’s not enjoyable too.
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  3. The “write regularly. No…” comment is an interesting one, when we constantly hear that content is king. Perhaps this cliche should be rephrased to “quality content is king”?!
    Chloe B recently posted..Contemporary Mailboxes and Wall Mounted Letter BoxesMy Profile

  4. That consistency part is really tough to maintain :) but no other go. to keep the blog live and healthy we should practice it. Totally brilliant titles you have covered. Thanks rob.


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  5. Hey, you’re not writing a post about me, right? The first paragraph of your post is very similar to me, I guess.. :D
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  6. So the question still remains, what does a skunk taste like? To be honest though, you have made some great points, there are far too many blogs that post each day with fluff and not enough substance, reading posts like that just turns me off and a lot of times I have removed them from my rss reader.
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  7. Hello Rob, I pretty much enjoyed your post and I wish you make your dream come true, leave the cubicle behind and become a full time freelance writer :) . You definitely got the talent for that. And you got an extra subscriber to your blog.

    Best regards,
    Ann recently posted..Ξεκίνησαν τα Facebook OffersMy Profile

  8. I would highly advise people to focus on getting people to subscribe to your updates via email. When and if people like or follow you on Twitter or Facebook the chances of getting your blog posts seen on those platforms greatly decreases.

    Think about the amount of Tweets and status updates you have to compete with! If the subscribe to your email address you’re competing with say 10-40 emails for that day.

    One other benefit to email is that your subscriber will also be targeted because only serious people will give their email up
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  9. Hi Rob,
    You mean you don’t get so many visitors each time you post something new that your server crashes either? Man I thought it was just me…JK! You do need to have patience, and put in the time and work. So many things are time-consuming that you need to pick and choose the ones that work best. Same with making things simple and easy for visitors. If they can’t find something, share, subscribe, or what have you in about 2 seconds or less chances are they won’t go out of their way to do so. Some people say all the fancy extra stuff on a site makes it look more professional, but I think it may help as long as it doesn’t make things more complicated than it should be for the visitor.
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  10. That is a great post Rob. I’ve been a blogger for a good part of the decade now, probably written hundreds (if not thousands of posts) on a wide range of topics. I’ve also done countless posts on how you can create an overall excellent ‘blog’ package, designed to get you traffic – pretty much everything that you’ve said in the post. This was a great post, and not everyone can bring the sort of humor to their writing that you were able to, thumbs up!
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  11. Great post, I know I’ve felt this way myself and I am wondering what I am going to do about my second blog. Perhaps, along with some other advice, I can try to get it back on track.

    Very humorous, got a giggle for sure. Thanks for sharing with us, I’ll be sure to pass along the article to fellow people who are wavering.
    Leif GS Notae recently posted..Modern Fantasy Microfiction: Spring DanceMy Profile

  12. You know, with all these Google algo updates, I fully agree that licking a skunk can be much more enjoyable than promoting your blog, lol
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  13. “All you need is just a few million people to realize how awesomely talented you are.” – hilarious, LOL
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  14. Rob, it’s like you just read the minds of millions. Every day, I wonder the same things but never thought to write about it!

    PS I just read the ‘Gay’ article :D
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  15. Hi Rob,
    Surely blog promotion is a tough task to do but I enjoy it doing since it gives me good results in the form of traffic and comments.
    Vineet Saxena recently posted..How to Earn From Low Traffic Blog Using Social SparkMy Profile

  16. I think it depends on the person making promotions and advertisements. Business strategies are meant to make or break the company. It’s only a matter of making the right choice and taking the right actions.

  17. I think as long you are writing something original and not writing with links and keywords in the back of you mind you will gain readership.
    If you look at the SEO MOZ blog for example. They’ve managed to gained massive readership by simply not selling out, sticking to their guns and writing naturally and honestly.
    I definitely can relate to the single figure readerships. Been there done that. I’m in the 10 – 20 category now ( the only was is up! )
    Keep up the good work.

  18. I manage some blogs, some of them are owned by me some not.
    I have to agree that I dream of the day that my blogs will flourish and money will start flowing nonstop in my account…
    I agree with your point that a blogger should only write if and only if he has something to say.
    I really hate it when I see a blog with content made just for it to exist, with nothing new or even worse, a copy of another blog’s post.
    Good luck with your blog!!
    Jim Antoine recently posted..Time to go FreelanceMy Profile

  19. Blogging is one of those things that has a “hockey stick” growth curve. Literally no one will read your blog for a long time, and suddenly because of a few good viral posts, you’re getting hundreds of views a day.

    To me, content is content, and you should get it published whether no one reads it or not. Keep posting!

  20. Rob,
    I’m so glad you wrote this post. It’s good to know there are others stuggling and all the comments are so supportive. It makes me want to keep going. Blog on!
    Janet recently posted..Hoosiers – Movie ReviewMy Profile

  21. If it makes you feel any better, I too read all the way to the end and even shared your article with the vast number of minions that follow me around. Which is a much lower number than I care to think about, but none the less you have good points that perhaps someone else will come and check out too. I wish you luck in your success in blogging & just might check out the Mainland too.
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  22. Wow interesting article, I really felt it was directed at me. I started my blog almost 2 months ago and boy! is it difficult to get followers or pageviews. I am a SAHM and spend most of time split between my ‘terrors’ and blogging keeping the content fresh but so far my best and highest pageview a day is about 250.

    I was at the verge of giving up until I read this article. Good to know i am not alone

  23. This article is exactly what I needed to read. People with the same problems as me. I thought creating a blog/website was going to be easy and all I had to do was build a site and they would come, boy was I wrong. There is so much that goes into generating traffic for a site it is crazy. I dedicate about 8-9 hours a day to my site and I still don’t have time to finish all I set out to do in a day. There has to be an easier way, right? I guess I am dreaming. I will continue to submit guest articles and comment on blogs until I get rich.
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  24. Hi,
    Great tips I think a lot of people forget it takes time to build your audience and start making sales. I always say patience is the best tool you have, I always tell clients, don’t be worried if you don’t get any sales in your first three months, although most times we can get a couple here and there it stops people expecting too much.


  25. Yes, I read the whole thing. Yup, I agree with your points in the article. But a few pointers to try and help you go in a direction to get you some traffic (A ton of traffic is up to you – so get funny)

    If you aren’t already using Google Analytics to review your traffic – you are going to be wasting a ton of time on avenues that don’t provide you any rewards.

    You can see where your visitors are coming from on there. For example if you get 10 from Twitter, 90 from Facebook, and 1000 from MySpace – which social media should you spend more time in?

    Although I hate sales people almost as much as I hate lawyers (and my crazy ex-wife) – Blogging really is about 20% content creation (the post) and 80% on how you market it.

    Finally – I’ve learned that I don’t need to post every day. Not only does the content suffer, but the lack of sleep and inability to imbibe any type of caffeine makes for some pretty hallucinations. I mean… Be CONSISTENT with your content updates so people know when you are going to post. Quality over Quantity is always a must.
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  26. Don’t ever think about the result, otherwise you’ll be frustrated. Just think about what you have done is right and what you do will be right. Be fun, make blogging as hobby not as job. Once you reach at certain level, you will realize, lol!! am I a professional bloggers now? when did i start? Yeah, as you never think about the result, it will come out by itself. :)
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  27. I’ve heard many stories of blogs with great content but no one ever sees it, but then one day its discovered and actually goes kind of viral (regardless that it was written over a year ago).

    I should write a post one day titled “I Wonder What It’s Like to Lick a Skunk”
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  28. Blog promotion isn’t always to most exciting of things to do, but in the end it will pay off. Consistency is key with it. 8-9 hrs/day like some previous commenters is real dedication, wow.
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  29. Licking a skunk sure seems easier!

    I think where a lot of people go wrong is they don’t stick with anything long enough to reap the rewards. If blog promoting was easy, everyone would be doing it and we’d all be millionaires by now!
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  30. Ouch! You sure hit my nerve. I had done exactly what you had mentioned and till date have not even monetize or having people join my program or affiliations etc.

    But I guess its also my way of de-stressing myself. I always felt good after writing an article regardless of whether the topics attracts anyone or not. I guess with such a mindset, whether its licking a skunk or promoting a blog, both becomes equally enjoyable.

    William Siong Blog
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  31. I hear ya Rob about the traffic! I fully agree with writing regularly, I post once a week. I work full time and once you optimise posts, write articles for directories, comment on blogs, answer your own comments, light joss sticks and pray to the Google gods to send you traffic etc etc etc you have to fit in things like going to work, doing some exercise, communing with loved ones, patting the cats etc. The blogs that I follow tend to be bi-weekly or weekly posters as well – otherwise it’s just too overwhelming trying to keep up if you want to be part of the community!
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  32. To be honest, I just hate promoting new blogs, it is really boring a lot.
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  33. Rob, thanks for another seriously entertaining piece. ;-) And is it harder to get subscribers on WordPress.org than WordPress.com? (I’m still in .com land.)
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  34. Rob, Your pretty funny. You could probably make more money as a copywriter than a blogger.By the end of your post, I felt hopeless. It was kind of a downer post, but I guess I shouldn\’t have expected more with a title like that.But on a more serious note, the easiest way to get subscribes to your blog is to create a product, sell it via the pay per clicks and have it, at least, break even. I know that\’s easier said than done. But it\’s probably easier than trying to get natural traffic from the SE\’s or guest posting all the time.But you seriously should consider starting a copywriting practice. You\’d do well.
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  35. Thanks Rob for a great post, I have to say it is hard to stop yourself procrastinating, especially in these days of social media, it makes you waste so much time. I find that one of the biggest challenges comes when you have multiple blogs to post on.
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  36. You didn’t mention anything about blog titles, but your creative and funny title drew me in to read your blog post. With so many pieces of content competing for our attention, the title can influence whether the post is read more than the actual content. Unfortunately, I don’t spend enough time working on those few words for my blog posts. Thanks for the inspiration.
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  37. So agree, bloggin is a very intrusive way in order to be engaged with. The ideal for me would be to be able to autsourse, but still can put down my own story down :)
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  38. I do agree with you! I had some friends who always promote their new blog posts through social networks yet they get disappointed because it seems no one reads their blog. Blog promotions does include being WITH the blog community, that is subscribing to other’s blogs and take time to read their posts and voice out your opinion.
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  39. Haha…the title really cracked me out!
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