But gradually I started to get the odd comment, so that was proof that people were actually reading my blogs. Then I installed stat counters and got an idea of how many people were visiting, even if they weren't adding their own thoughts.
Over time I built up fairly decent traffic to some of my blogs. And I would get a few comments here and there. But because I was really just blogging for my own satisfaction, I hardly ever replied to them. I didn't know it at the time, but this would have severely reduced the number of responses I did get.
Now, I've discovered that it's really important to reply to commenters, particularly if they respond thoughtfully. If you do this they know that you appreciate them. They are more likely to comment again. Other people who have not yet done so are more likely to as well because they see the comments that are already there.
When you get that feedback, the process is even more enjoyable than it is without it. Blogging goes from being a solitary pursuit to a social activity.
It's also an extra motivation to keep writing good stuff. Conversations occurring around blog posts are confirmation that you are making a mark, however small that may be.
Because of all these benefits, I have altered my whole perception of what blogging should be. I no longer see it primarily as a means of self expression. It's also very much about building a community.
I just wish I'd realized that when I was starting out all those years ago ...
What are your thoughts? Do you see blogs as communities above all? Or in another way?