When I first started writing for the internet nine years ago I had a small captive audience in the form of the Digital Media Tree blog collective, which is still thriving to this day (and where I still have regularly-tweaked archives and one semi-active active blog). Not really captive--everyone had a choice of whether to "follow" other bloggers, much like Twitter today. Any time someone writes a new post, if you are logged in, you see [1 new post] next to his or her name on the main page. I still look at that page every day to see what's up. I can also see if there is a [1 new comment] flag next to any of my blogs on that site--interesting things continue to pop up there.
As for how accessible I was to the rest of the internet, initially it was just sending out messages in bottles. My pages were public, in the sense of being searchable by all bots. There was a brief period where Google wasn't archiving the site (in the early '00s--a site glitch that was fixed eventually) but I kept posting anyway, figuring someone would find me via Yahoo or Alta Vista or even just by personal recommendation.
The wisdom after the dot-com crash of '00 was that it wasn't number of eyeballs (people who saw your page) that mattered but quality of eyeballs (people who shared your interests and could process what you were talking about). I still believe that--that people find you because they're searching for something you have in common. As opposed to hooking up to you through the mechanical tagging and preference-filtering of commercial social networks, which promise a "large audience" (resources that didn't exist in 2001 but are an option now).
Most of my traffic these days comes from RSS subscribers (shout out to you--thanks), links from other sites with shared interests (another shout), and links to the GIFs and mp3s that I put up (shout unless you're a mere bot). I have a twitter account but rarely use it to "drive traffic" here; I treat it as a second blog where I can take notes and pontificate in the "140 character one-liner" medium. I don't talk traffic numbers for this blog but let's say I'm damned happy for someone outside the Facebook continuum.
One thing I never did as a blogger was apologize for not posting. I might say "posting will be light" while something is going on but that would be rare. So I won't be reblogged by that artist's "aren't bloggers pathetic" reblog that captures people apologizing for not posting. To some extent this blog is my DJ remix pallette and archive; you would never apologize to your diary for not writing, you just wouldn't write.
Update: Some changes made to this post.