Every few months, I get super motivated about creating a platform for my writing. Writing’s something I oddly enjoy, a cathartic release from the daily grind of numbers and IRS deadlines, so why not attempt to get people to read it, too? Maybe up that Adsense revenue from $5 a month to $6.

Back in high school, finding the audience was easy. The goal was to write for the teacher, honing your abilities over the year to best focus in on whatever crap would best titillate that one reader’s ego. The teacher would always read it (well, assuming they were an even halfway remotely decent instructor), and that was that.

Now I like to write, but I have to write things people want to read, which consists of tricking them into getting on and staying on my site. That part sucks (if you’re reading this, I’m not talking about tricking YOU, I’m talking about tricking all the other people. You are wonderful, smart, amazing, and an overall great human being, and you’re reading this because you’re so perfectly saavy at finding the best stuff on the internet).

Over the years, I’ve learned quite a bit about what doesn’t work and even a tad bit about what does work.

One of the most–and least–helpful pieces of advice I’ve read on all those millions of writing blogs is that you need to attract an audience by giving them something useful. At some point in the past five years, I started doing that by switching my original blog into a tax blog. The thing is, it’s kinda working.

Here’s a summary. BackAlleyTaxes, which I let go fallow for nearly a year, still manages to pull in nearly 3,000 pageviews a month. Is that a ton? No, not really. Is it more than I imagined it would actually do. Wildly so. Note that this is only from SEO Optimization and some sharing on Social Media. I haven’t done e-mail lists (I have one, I just haven’t, well, emailed anyone on it), or prizes, or any of the other million suggestions out there to grow it. If I did, if I really put a ton of effort into the site at this point, I could probably get. . .let’s call it double. That sounds like a nice increase.

There’s a big problem with all that, though. . .it’s not what I want to do! I oddly enjoy writing about taxes from time to time, thinking through the intricacies of different policies, but if I had my druthers, I’d rather pull a Larry Correia and jump out of the world of accounting altogether and write things that have nothing to do with tax.

How do you get an audience of tax readers into reading your other crap? You don’t.

If I were to make a Venn Diagram of people Googling tax answers and people trying to find good fiction to read, the overlap would be such a tiny sliver that I might as well ignore it. Even someone like Joanna Penn, who runs a WRITING BLOG, says she has difficulty converting writing blog readers into fiction readers. What hope do I have for people to stumble upon my tax site and think, “Wow, this analysis of the Child Tax Credit is amazing! I wonder if he has any good Sci Fi novels?”

The original purpose of this second blog was to try to create something more funneling into fiction writing. It hasn’t worked, though a lot of that is lack of effort on my part (again). I’d rather use it to write whatever I feel like without really caring about who reads it.

Side note: I did a double check while writing this, and my most popular post on this site–so much more popular than everything else that it’s embarrassing–is an accounting post. Sad day.

After working on creating that platform for a while, I typically hit that wall, asking, “why am I doing this?” Good question, Me of the Future. The answer is, “Because the kids are using the TV to watch Stampy and won’t let you leave the room so you need something to keep the sanity.”

So there you go.

Where was I going with this again? Something about balancing blogs? Whatever, I’m just here to complain about things. You’re all just reading this hoping I’ll throw in some tax advice anyway.