We love novelty so in the first few days in the life of your blog it is easier to commit the time to it. Most bloggers start well. After starting the blog, they have a lot of enthusiasm, publish content regularly and do a great promotional push. They put in a lot of effort trying to make their sites successful.
But after this honeymoon phase as the novelty wears off and the harsh reality kicks in, it becomes more difficult to keep finding the time for the blogging project. This results in blogs losing the momentum and the growth stagnates. This leads to the blogger losing the motivation, spending less time on their site and putting in even less effort. All in all a vicious circle which eventually results in the blog dying. Maybe you can recognize some of these signs of neglect in your own blogging?
Do not feel bad about it. Life happens. It’s time for a fresh start. These are the steps you need to get your blogging back on track and make that honeymoon phase last forever.
“Isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?”
Failing is normal
Blogging is not easy and not all the blogs become hits. Not all the talented writers get an audience. Sometimes even the most promising project fails. There are many reasons for why this happens, but most bloggers and other entrepreneurs blame themselves for not succeeding. Writing is a difficult path to take in terms of earning money and making a living with one’s work. Only a few bloggers actually end up with a successful site, only a few budding writers actually end up publishing and selling any books, even less people actually become popular and rich from doing it.
Failures are hidden deep beneath all the positive buzz and the success stories that are drawing people in. We never hear much about all the failures – most sites become inactive within few weeks of the launch, most never get any readers, not to talk about making money. For anyone wanting to start blogging this is important point to realize.
Failing is normal. Everyone fails all the time. Everyone fails much more than they succeed. Most books are failures, most sites are flops, but this should definitely not discourage you from trying. Understand this and make sure you have realistic expectations when starting in order to give yourself good chances of success. Move past your failures and don’t let them hold you back. Don’t be scared because of a failure. Don’t let failure stop you from trying to do more in the future. Keep believing in yourself, in your skills and your ideas. Instead of giving up and blaming yourself learn from your failures.
Be open-minded to change and create new habits
Doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results will not work, said Albert Einstein. Same thing applies in the blogging world. To grow you’ve got to change your attitude, learn and improve. Open your mind to doing and seeing things differently. Let go of what didn’t work in the past. Get new habits. Move forward. If you have important goals with your site, you should be serious about your site in order to reach them. You should think like a pro.
Do the review of your blogging to date
Step back and look at the big picture. Take a moment to think about your achievements. Get an overview of where you are. What is the state of your blog? Which goals have you achieved? Do the performance review of your blogging to this day.
Identify the gaps and learn from your mistakes
Doing the performance review will lead you to identify any gaps in your work to date. Figure out which of your activities have not resulted in the expected benefits. What did you do wrong? What mistakes did you make? What were you missing? What can you do differently? Learn from these mistakes and apply the lessons in your blogging moving forward.
Set very clear and concrete goals
You need to know where you want to go in order to figure out a way to get there. Ask yourself why are you doing what you are doing? Think about what your goals and hopes are with the blog. What are your objectives? What do you want to achieve? What do you want to change? Write everything down. Break these big goals into small steps. Start with modest, achievable goals and gradually work your way up. Big success comes out of all the small successes. Push a little further every day and you will be surprised by big changes you can make over a month.
What is your main motivation for having a site or writing a novel? How important is the fact of getting your work out to the public to you? Does the fact of getting your work to the public matter at all? Would you still be writing and publishing content if no one was reading? Why you are actually writing could be the key to becoming a success. For some writing is a reward on its own, it feels good to write, it helps get your thoughts together, helps you form an opinion and even therapeutic for some.
On the other hand some get the validation only from the fact that other people read, share, engage with and like their content. There are also those for whom the only thing that matters is money and getting compensated for their writing is the key metric. If becoming famous, successful and rich is your main motivation it won’t get you far in those long, hard days, months and years where you are supposed to be putting a lot of time and effort without seeing too many benefits. Extrinsic motivation will not be enough to stop you from quitting.
Think of your motivation and your goals. Try and find some internal motivation one way or another, something that does not depend on any external factors, something that will keep you going no matter what situation you get into. Only this way you will be able to push through any adversary and pushing through the difficult situations is the only way to actually get attention and maybe even start becoming a name that ends up publishing that bestseller novel or builds a site that is read by thousands of people. In the end I hope you are able to answer “yes, I would still be writing if no one was reading”.
Make a detailed plan
Our time is very limited and there are demands on it from our work, family, friends, sleep, hobbies, TV and much else. You most probably have a busy day to day life with your work and all the other activities. Because of this limited free time, you need to make a plan and create a schedule of your tasks and activities that you want to work on to achieve your goals. Having a plan will help you get focused, will minimize the time wasters, will keep you on the right track and will lead you to accomplish things that are important to you.
Focus on your target audience
The only way to build an audience and achieve your goals is by providing clear value to your target audience. Identify your target audience and figure out what they want to achieve by interacting with and spending time on your site. When you know what problems your target audience has, optimize your blogging to help them solve those problems. Focus all your content on your audience and achieving their goals. This will make it easier to build a larger following, get your content shared and even attract sponsors.
Optimize the look and feel
Trends change quickly on the internet. You have to constantly evolve to stay relevant. You must keep your blog looking modern and fresh to build and keep an audience. Think how you can improve your design. What story do you want to tell your first time visitors? Your core message shouldn’t be too hard to find. Visitors should know straight after entering what your blog is about and what you can help them with.
Spice up the sidebar? Simplify the navigation? Add more strategic focus? Put your best content in front of them. Introduce them to your topic, put sticky posts on your front page and links in your navigation menu. This way you will engage more of your first time visitors and convert more of them into loyal fans, subscribers and customers.
Even change to a different theme? Do take the time now to revisit and update your brand, the way you present yourself and the way you present your content. Here’s my guide to making your blog look pretty.
Put more of yourself into your blog
Maybe you didn’t do this before as you were a bit shy or scared. There is nothing to worry about. Personalize your blog. It is your own blog after all. Show your face in your sidebar. Tell your life story on the about page. Create videos where you talk directly to the viewers. Your personality is what differentiates you from everyone else, it makes your content stand out so make sure to use you as much of yourself as possible.
Start publishing regular quality content
Create a post schedule that you can live with and stick to it. Aim for two quality posts per week as a minimum. Blogging is all about creating valuable content that your audience likes and engages with. Too many bloggers just share things that are already out there. You need to add value into your content. Don’t just report on what’s out there like everyone else does. Go deeper than the rest, analyze more, share more thoughts and opinions, share insights, help people out. Create great headlines that people cannot resist clicking on. Think how you can make your content more attractive. It’s not all about text anymore. Introduce great looking images, videos, infographics and podcasts. Fresh, valuable content gives life to your blog, builds a momentum and grows you an audience that follows you and regularly expects to hear from you.
Promote yourself and your content
Build it and they will not come. No matter how strong your content is the visitors won’t come to your site unless you go out and get them. You must actively promote your work wherever you can. Don’t be spammy but do reach out and connect to new people daily and turn them into visitors. You have to go to social media, go to forums, comment and guest post on other blogs. Promote your blog wherever your audience is. Every time you post a piece of content you should take these marketing steps in order to promote that content. Your time should be spent 50% on creating content and the other 50% on promoting that content. Here are some ideas on how you can get blog visitors.
Learn from the data
Use software like Google Analytics to monitor and analyze the stats about your visitors, about sites that link to you and about your content in general. The data is very objectives and can tell you things you don’t see and can guide your decisions. See what works well, what not so well. Then do more of the things that work, optimize the things that can be done and eliminate the things that don’t work in order to be more productive with your time and get more out of your efforts.
Look for inspiration
Subscribe to websites, magazines and newspapers with topics that interest you. Read a lot. Figure out what they do that makes you excited about them. Think how you can incorporate these things into your own content and into your own site. Reading is a great way to relax, to rest your eyes from the screen, to learn something new and discover a different perspective that can help shape and inspire you. Reading can give you new ideas for content to produce, ideas for projects to work on, can help you improve your writing skills and so much more.
Learn and develop yourself
Develop yourself and learn a new skill that can help you in your future blogging. Maybe learn a bit about image editing to be able to have more visually appealing images in your content? Maybe try to record and edit a video so you can start your video blogging presence? What about learning how to create iOS or Android apps? There is always something to learn, you just have to find what you are interested in and get going. Internet is full of resources for people willing to learn and develop themselves.
Remain committed and don’t give up
Blogging requires time. It is all about performing consistently day in and day out and taking small steps over a longer period of time. Resilience is important. Don’t give up after few weeks if it doesn’t work very well. Stay positive. Be determined, keep putting in the focused effort and slowly you will start seeing and getting results. Remember that blogging is a marathon, it is not a sprint.
Turn your blog into a small business
If you see that you are gaining attention it might be time to think big and see how you could turn your blog into a small business. Find ways to turn visitors and the time you spend on your site into an income. Consider affiliate deals, consider creating your own product, consider accepting advertising. Here are some ideas on how you can earn $500 in revenue from your site.
Celebrate the small wins and enjoy yourself
You’ve done some great work. You have also taken some very important steps. Disconnect and take some digital downtime to catch up with your family and friends, eat some nice food and just enjoy yourself. Recharge your batteries for the upcoming blogging adventures. You deserve it. Happy blogging!