This guest post is by Jeff Goins of Goins, Writer
Six months ago, I was frustrated with my blog. I felt stuck and stymied. I had written on it for nearly five years and built a small, but steady, stream of traffic.
But there was just one problem: it wasn’t growing.
And I was tired of trying.
My blog had reached the dreaded plateau.
So I decided to quit. Despite my better judgment, I chose to start over, to launch a brand-new blog. It was hard and scary leaving something that took so long to build, but I had to face the facts: My blog was never going to be epic. It was never going to be extraordinary. And I wanted it to be.
So I threw in the towel.
When to quit your blog
“Persistent people are able to visualize the idea of light at the end of the tunnel when other’s can’t see it. At the same time, the smartest people are realistic about not imagining light when there isn’t any.”
-Seth Godin, The Dip
We mistakenly vilify quitting. We believe ridiculous adages like, “Quitters never win…” And yet, most successful people are serial quitters. They are relentless experimenters, striving to find the one thing that they can champion. They set aside everything else, save that one special cause.
I knew my blog wasn’t headed anywhere. It was time for a change. Without knowing what I was doing, I quit. As much as it pained me, I started over.
And in six short months, I quadrupled the amount of traffic it took me half a decade to build.
How starting over changed everything
In the past six months, I’ve learned some valuable lessons about blogging and why quitting is sometimes necessary for a breakthrough.
Here they are:
1. Guest posting is essential
It’s never too early to guest post. If you have a few posts on your blog, I would begin offering to write for other blogs now.
Start small, but work your way up quickly. Give away your best content, and you’ll earn new readers quickly—in much less time than solely focusing on your own site.
2. Your content isn’t as good as you think
I was a good writer, and I thought that made me an excellent blogger. I secretly compared myself to other bloggers who were worse writers than me, and I enviously resented their traffic and engagement.
But to be honest, I didn’t know the first thing about blogging.
So I started studying some of the masters (e.g. Seth Godin, Chris Brogan, Copyblogger, Problogger, Zen Habits, and others) and emulated their best practices. I realized that high quality of content was a common denominator.
Instead of spending twenty minutes on a post, frantically trying to just publish something, I started putting in the time to create content I could be proud of.
3. Design matters
If content is king, design is His Majesty’s clothes. Nobody wants to look at a poorly-dressed sovereign. People perceive what you write through the lens of your website’s appearance.
Design can either help or hurt your content.
Choosing a premium WordPress theme or investing in a good designer can go a long way. These days, quality doesn’t cost much.
4. A change of scenery can make you more creative
I changed domains, branding, and platforms just to get a fresh start.
As a result, I woke up every morning, excited to write. With my old blog, I often dreaded it. Not so this time.
I treasured my new blog. It inspired fresh ideas. It spurred on my creativity and innovation. It made me bolder and more imaginative. There is natural momentum to anything new. You can use this to take your blog to new heights.
5. You don’t have to be the expert
I was an arrogant blogger. Any time someone would challenge me, I would vehemently defend my argument, belittling them in the comments.
However, from people like Darren, I learned that it was okay to learn as you go. You didn’t have to be an instant guru. This was somewhat refreshing for me.
In fact, I learned that most people prefer being a part of community in which they’re invited into a shared learning experience, not a didactic monologue.
6. People don’t care that much about you
When I realized that blogging was mostly about other people (and not about me), everything changed. At first, it was a hit to my ego, but eventually I learned to embrace the opportunity.
I stopped making myself the center of attention and instead strove to make my readers feel like they were being heard and served.
Now, my blog is about helping others, not getting pats on the back for being a brilliant writer.
7. Focus is crucial
My old blog didn’t have a theme or a voice or any kind of central idea. It was just a hodge-podge of random thoughts.
Daily, I wrestled with what to write about. I also struggled to retain a dedicated readership.
By focusing on a particular subject, I’m able to more consistently deliver content that already has a built-in niche, ready to listen.
What this means for you
The past six months have been incredible. I’m back to where I left off with my old blog, times four.
All because I chose to quit.
If you’re feeling stuck with your blog, it may be time to start over. My journey isn’t a formula, but it’s not a bad place to start. Following these seven steps will get you started on the right track—they’ll help you develop the momentum you need to get to a new level.
It won’t be easy, and you’ll have to hustle. But it’s doable. And worth it.
Have you thought about starting over with a new blog, but not sure if you should make the leap? Maybe it’s time.