People love novelty. In the first few days in the life of your blog it’s easier to commit the time to it.
Most bloggers start well. They have a lot of enthusiasm, they tweak the design and publish content. They put in the time and effort trying to make their blogs successful. They have fun and enjoy it.
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 blogging. The blogger loses the motivation and the momentum. This results in the blog dying.
Maybe you can recognize some of the following signs of neglect in your own blogging?
Time to get your blog back on track
We all neglect our blogs every now and then. Do not feel bad about it. Life happens.
Is blogging something that you believe will get you closer to your goals? Do you still want to pursue it? You need to change few things to restart your blogging journey and get on the right path.
Your blog needs you. It’s a time to reflect on the changes you want to make and find the motivation to follow through. It’s time for a fresh start. Prioritize your blogging. Get back on track as quickly as possible.
We contemplate, choose, promise, but soon enough we forget to act on our plans. Consider these things to help you stick to your blogging dream. These are the steps you need to kick-start your blog 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 – have realistic expectations
Blogging is not easy and not all blogs become hits. Not all the talented writers get an audience. Sometimes even the most promising project fails. Writing is a difficult path if you want to earn money and make a living. Only a few bloggers end up with a successful site. Only a few budding writers end up publishing a bestseller. Even fewer become popular and rich from doing it.
Failures are hidden deep beneath all the positive stories that draw people in. We never hear much about all the failures. Most blogs become inactive within few weeks, some never even publish a post. Most never get any readers, not to talk about making money. Most books are failures.
Failing is normal. Everyone fails all the time. Everyone fails much more than they succeed. This should not discourage you from trying. Have realistic expectations to give yourself good chances of success.
Find your inner motivation
Identify your dreams and aspirations for having a site. Are you doing this to have fun and become a better writer? Is this a way to be more creative in your everyday life? Do you dream of the site becoming popular and a source of income? All those are possible, but remember that dreams don’t work unless you do. Set goals and follow through to reach them.
You need to know where you want to go to figure out a way to get there. Think about what your goals and hopes are with the blog.
- Why are you doing what you are doing?
- What are your goals?
- What do you want to achieve?
- What do you want to change?
- What is your main motivation for having a blog?
- 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?
Write everything down. Why you are actually writing could be the key to becoming a success. For some blogging is a reward on its own. It feels good to write. It helps get your thoughts together. It helps you form an opinion. It’s 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. 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 and months when you don’t see any benefits. Extrinsic motivation will not be enough to stop you from quitting.
Find some internal motivation. 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. Pushing through the difficult situations is the only way to start becoming a name that ends up publishing that bestseller novel or builds a site that is read by thousands.
Do the performance review to identify the gaps
Take a moment to step back and look at the big picture. Do the performance review of your blogging to identify any gaps in your work to date.
- What is the state of your blog?
- Which goals have you achieved?
- What did you do wrong?
- What mistakes did you make?
- What were you missing?
- What can you do differently?
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, your ability and ideas. Learn from these mistakes. Apply the lessons in your blogging moving forward.
Use tools like Google Analytics to monitor and analyze the stats. Learn about your visitors, sites that link to you and your content in general. See what works well, what not so well. The data is very objective and can tell you things you don’t see. It can guide your decisions.
Do more of the things that work. Optimize the things that can be. Cut the things that don’t work.
Be open-minded to change and create new habits
“Doing the same thing over and over but expecting different results will not work.”
To regain the momentum and grow your blog you’ve got to change your attitude. You’ve got to learn and improve. Open your mind to doing and seeing things differently. Let go of what didn’t work in the past.
Be serious about your blog. Think like a pro. Move forward. Get new habits. 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’re interested in and get going. Internet is full of resources for people willing to learn and develop themselves.
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 tasks and activities that you want to work on to achieve your goals. Having a plan will help you get focused, will reduce the time wasters, will keep you on the right track and lead you to do things that are important to you. You will be more productive with your time.
Break your 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’ll be surprised by big changes you can make over a month.
Review your existing blog
Think about the topic: What are you passionate about? What do you love writing about? Think hard about the topics you have a lot to say about. Topics you find interesting and think other people will find interesting too. Is your site revolving around only one topic? Or do you want to write about different things? Get more inspiration here.
How about the name? Give yourself some time to contemplate the name. Write the names down. Talk to some other people about them. Make sure that the name captures somewhat precisely the topic or topics you want to cover. Here are some ideas for choosing your blog’s name.
Activate a fresh-looking design theme
Decide on the design of your site. Do you know what it should look like? Do you want a minimalistic look, or a newspaper styled theme? Take a look around and get inspiration from other websites.
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. Change to a new and 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.
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.
Put more of yourself into your blog
Be personal. Your personality is what sets you apart from the rest of the blogging community. That is your best weapon in differentiating yourself from the rest and growing an audience. It makes your content stand out so make sure to use you as much of yourself as possible.
Don’t be shy or scared. There is nothing to worry about. 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.
“Write what you know” advice can be easily misunderstood though. It is not only about your life and things that have happened to you. You have to consider other people, consider what they are interested in, and put your experience and knowledge in that context.
Decide on the style of writing too.
Start publishing regular quality content
Make sure you always post quality content and not just filler content. The only way to build an audience and achieve your goals is by providing clear value to your target audience. Identify your target audience. 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 on achieving their goals. This will make it easier to build a larger following, get your content shared and even attract sponsors.
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. It’s not all about text anymore. Introduce great looking images, videos, infographics and podcasts.
Create a post schedule that you can live with and stick to it. Aim for two quality posts per week for instance. 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.
Try to make a schedule for your content calendar. Figure out how much time the site will demand. Make it fit into your normal schedule with work, family and other activities. I would say you should post at least twice a week. Some advice on how you can find more time for your activities.
Have at least two week’s articles ready and scheduled in advance.
Promote yourself and your content
Build if and they will come. Thinking like this is a big mistake. Build it and they will NOT come. You could produce a masterpiece but nobody will know about it unless you go out and tell them. No matter how strong your content is the visitors won’t come to your site unless you go 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. Turn them into visitors. You have to go to social media, go to forums, comment and guest post on other blogs. Promote your blog where your audience is.
Every time you post a piece of content you should take these marketing steps to promote that content. Your time should be spent 50% on creating content and the other 50% on promoting that content. Here are some more ideas on how you can get blog visitors.
When you press publish on the first post you will have to spend time promoting that post. Make sure to identify other writers that post about your topic or similar topics. You can learn a lot from them and you can get your first readers by commenting on their sites.
Create social media profiles to stay in touch with your visitors. Facebook and Twitter are the most important ones. If people like your site, they will automatically scan it for social media buttons. Get the most out of Facebook and Twitter and their ability to send you traffic.
Read for inspiration
Stuck without great content ideas?
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 blog.
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.
Read and read some more. Here’s my guide on finding content ideas.
Remain committed and don’t give up
Some say that blogging can get you rich quick without putting too much effort. This advice usually comes from people who want to sell you the secret formula to this. Do not buy or trust it. There is no such thing as overnight success and quickly becoming a millionaire.
Blogging requires time. It is not that easy and simple unfortunately. It takes a lot of time and effort to become successful in blogging. You do need to put some work into it.
It is all about performing consistently day in and day out and taking small steps over a longer period. 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.
If you see that you’re 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 advertisers. Here are some ideas on how you can earn $500 in revenue from your site.
You’ve done some great work. You have also taken some very important steps. You’re ready to start your adventure. Because you have a strong plan you will be able to stick to your resolution for more than just couple of weeks. Remember to have fun, to read, to learn and to create content about your passions.
All in all blogging is a great way to pass the time in a productive way. You learn something new, you get educated and improve yourself. You become more organized. You get better at time management. You become more independent and get more comfortable with marketing and networking. One thing is sure, it will change you.
Don’t forget also 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!