Felix Salmon has some advice for prospective bloggers. The whole thing is worth reading, but this segment jumped out at me:
As always, there’s a trade-off between quantity and quality. Should you write more, with lower quality, or less, with higher quality? Fortunately, the blogosphere has been around for long enough that we have a simple empirical answer to this question: given the choice, go for quantity over quality. You might not like it — I certainly don’t — but I defy you to name a really good blogger who doesn’t blog frequently.
Often bloggers are the worst judges of their own work; I can give you hundreds of personal examples of blog entries I thought were really good which disappeared all but unnoticed, and of blog entries I thought were tossed-off throwaways which got enormous traction and distribution. Mostly, blogging is a lottery on the individual-blog-entry level — and if you want to win the lottery, your best chance of doing so is to maximize the number of lottery tickets you buy.
I think this is basically correct, although I tend to enjoy authors who put out a smaller number of longer posts. So how do you solve the mystery of appealing to a voracious blog readership while producing quality stuff? Without seeming too self-satisfied, I submit that the best answer is through a group blog, which gives individual authors plenty of time to write thoughtful entries while maintaining a steady stream of opinion and commentary.
It’s difficult to consistently come up with intelligent responses to the news of the day. Most of us have our own interests and preferences, which tend to be reflected in our blog output. I would much rather be writing about soccer than mixed martial arts, for example, but that hasn’t stopped Freddie from posting a long meditation on the UFC’s weight classes.
A group of writers with diverse interests can produce a steady stream of new material on a wide variety of subjects. This doesn’t mean we don’t argue – quite the opposite, really- but that’s a feature, not a bug, as our disagreements have (I think) produced some excellent posts and comment threads.
One possible downside to the group blog format is the notorious free-rider problem. But a sense of camaraderie and solidarity can overcome most obstacles, and a small group of like-minded authors are generally averse to screwing each other over. In other words, the League is basically the Denmark of the Internet- a generous bloggy welfare state kept afloat by strong internal cohesion and a shared distaste for all things Slate.
So my advice to future bloggers of America is simple: find yourself a few like-minded collaborators and kick-start a group blog. Or better yet, contribute the occasional guest post to the League of Ordinary Gentlemen. Generous rates of compensation are forthcoming (much like the New York Times, we’re still working on the whole “monetization” concept).