Posted by: patenttranslator | August 23, 2012

So Your Blog Has A Lot of Views, But Is It Read Mostly By Your Customers, Or Mostly By Your Colleagues?

I know that the answer in my case is that mostly other translators and various other assorted free (lance) souls read my (hopefully righteous) rants.

If you want to become rich quickly, this is not going to help. It must be the other way round, or so say thousands if not millions of self-proclaimed marketing experts on thousands if not millions of websites and blogs.

I happen to disagree. Given that we are surrounded by tons of advertising and other marketing crap and commercial propaganda that is virtually indistinguishable from news these days, if the best we can do is create more crappy commercial propaganda on our blog, we will be doing our best to bring the commercialized crappiness of this world, which is unbearable already, to a whole new level.

If anything, my blog probably mostly puts potential customers off as I am riling mightily at least twice a week against overbearing customers and evil predatory translation agencies.

I do try not to offend too many people. But it’s so hard!

Anybody who writes anything of some substance will by definition be offensive to some people. I have barely finished 200 words so far into this post and I have already managed to offend marketing specialists as they happen to produce crap that is offensive to me, and translation agencies, because after 25 years of close encounters of many kinds with them, I automatically assume the worst about them. And my worst assumptions are usually borne out and exceeded.

Marketing experts say that just like corporations, freelancers too should have blogs that are aimed at their customers, not their colleagues. They also say that freelancers should also have what the marketing industry calls “personal branding newsletters”. You know, the stuff that you delete from your e-mail because you never asked for it and you don’t want to read it. The stuff called spam. If you want to become rich quickly, start crafting and sending out spam called “personal branding newsletters”. If you don’t know how to go about doing something that, marketing professionals will be happy to help you, for a fee, of course.

It is natural that marketing experts would try to promote the crap that they produce and pretend that it is a valuable commodity.

Although what do I know, maybe the tons of advertising surrounding us wherever we go on this planet, probably even after we close our eyes when we sleep at night as it must be indelibly burnt into our retinas by now, really do represent the most valuable commodity there is.

Isn’t that how Google became one of the most powerful corporations in this world?

Well, I decided not to worry about the sales generating potential of my blog. If I did, I would not be able to say what I think, and it’s so much fun to be able to do that and have other people comment on what you are saying.

The most popular post on my blog after 2.5 years of pounding the keyboard whenever the spirit moves me to do so was my “uncanny” (in the words of one commenter) article “Translator’s Dementia, What It Is And How To Recognize the Signs“. This post, which is about 5 months old, has been translated into several languages, it netted me so far two marriage proposals (ha, ha, ha), it is still read every day and as of now it had 9,965 views, which I think is pretty good for an obscure subject such as “translation”.

After all, I am not writing about much more important and  popular subjects such as Lady Gaga.

I don’t write my posts to attract new customers, although I would not mind at all if it worked that way, of course. I know it does not work that way, but I am betting that my website and my old customers will hopefully do this for me. I write them to have some fun, for example by breaking through the 10,000 views barrier for a single post, which is probably going to happen later today.

Because having mostly harmless fun and making people laugh at themselves makes the unbearable crappiness of this world seem almost tolerable.

Although every now and then when I try to write a post that would be of interest more to my customers than to other translators, for example how to use the machine translation function on the Japanese Patent Office website which is not exactly easy to figure out, I see to my surprise that the post has many views year after year.

Note to myself: I should probably put more effort into creating content that would be useful to my existing or to new customers not only on my website but also on my blog.


  1. Steve, I think if we were in a competition, I would win on the giving offense score. I’m so good at it that I score when I don’t even try, and I do give it my best shot. Really.
    As I see it, if someone works with me for any significant length of time, that person will get a sense of who I am and what I care about and what I will give with all my energy and what I will not. They will like that or not. The sooner they figure that out, the better for both of us. Preferably before the working relationship starts.
    Does it bother me that 98% of the people who read what I write are colleagues, few of whom will be customers? Not for a second. I had dinner the other day with a colleague visiting from another continent who remarked how seldom she has the opportunity to get to know others in the profession, and in that respect I think we are both lucky that we have a means of doing this more often.
    I love what I do most of the time, and I am very grateful to my colleagues who have shared their knowledge so freely with me by many means for over a decade. If they are the main beneficiaries of anything useful I might have to say, then I think that is altogether a fine thing.


  2. Yes, I learned a lot from comments left by people on several continents on my blog.

    For example I was not sure how to make small companies that I don’t know anything about pay me in advance without making them mad at me.

    Until one commenter shared his trick with me:

    First you ask for 50% down.

    Then when the job is finished, you send an e-mail informing them that the job is ready for delivery upon payment of the remaining 50%.

    I would never think of something as simple as that on my own.

    That’s really what my blog is for, not marketing.


    • Wow, that’s smart! Thanks for sharing… 🙂


  3. Offending people?

    Ha, you guys are just marvellous. Most colleagues of this walk of living, even colleagues who run agencies, shall cherish and learn from your knowledge and experiences.

    Shall there be any places to get to know our colleagues, that must be blogs like those of yours. I am grateful that you don’t write commercial craps.

    Keep on writing your honest opinions! You are making the profession more bearable.


  4. 有難う!


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