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Becoming Obsessed with Any One Aspect of Your Blog – How to Let Your Blog Go #9

Let-Your-Blog-GoOne of the most common ways that I see a blog ‘go under’ is when the blogger gets distracted from the overall task of blogging by one single aspect of blogging.

Here’s the thing – for a blog to become successful you can’t just work on one aspect of it – there are many tasks to work on as it grows. These include writing content, engaging readers, watching what’s going on in your niche, building networks with other blogs and sites in your niche, working on the design of your blog, moderating comments, promoting your blog/marketing, finding, managing and optimizing income streams, search engine optimization, tracking your blog’s metrics…. and more.

It’s a bit of an overwhelming list isn’t it!?

The problem comes when a blogger becomes obsessed with any one aspect of the list – at the expense of other aspects.

Each of the things I’ve mentioned above are legitimate things to work about on your blog (some more important than others at different stages of a blog’s life) however a blog grows best when you’re working on them all and not just when you do one of them.

Five Types of Obsessed Bloggers

Let me share five common scenarios that I see:

1. The Design Maniac - perhaps one of the most common examples of this is the blogger who becomes so obsessed about how their blog looks that they do little else but tweak it visually by playing with their CSS, touching up logos, trying different layouts, testing new menus and navigation….

Not that there’s anything wrong with any of this – but if it’s all you do when are you going to write content, do some networking and moderate comments?

2. The SEO(bsessed) – I went through a phase where I became obsessed by Search Engine Optimization. Symptoms of this disorder include writing for Search Engines instead of human beings (you know, posts with the same keywords 400 times, all bolded and in heading tags), spending more time tweaking your templates more than you spend time writing content, making every post you write link to your ‘make money online’ page which is filled with affiliate links, checking your page rank every morning before you moderate your comments and sending out hundreds of emails to other bloggers you’ve never heard of before asking them to link to your post….

OK – again, SEO isn’t evil, Search Engines can actually be a rich source of traffic for your blog – however SEO is also enhanced by quality content, well coded sites and the best sites rank well in SE’s because they get linked to for their quality.

3. The Social Media Sell Out – this is something most bloggers go through at one stage or another too. They hear about the masses of traffic that a site like Digg or StumbleUpon can send and they write post after post specifically with the hope of getting on the front page of social bookmarking sites.

You know the posts I’m talking about – 419 Stupid Britney Spears Quotes, 10 Ways to Skin a Cat…. Really!, Ron Paul (insert anything here)….

These types of posts can draw a lot of traffic to your blog, the problem is that it can be a rather empty experience if you’ve not worked on your blog’s design and worked out how to keep the readers. It can also frustrate your regular readers who are wanting posts of substance. Lastly the traffic can be quite destructive (both to your servers and the comment areas on your posts – particularly if you draw 10,000 angry little Digg users into your blog). Sure – write some posts and experiment with social media, but don’t get obsessed.

4. The Money Hungry Blogger - There’s nothing wrong with monetizing your blog but if someone arrives at your blog and there is NOTHING but ads above the fold of your blog you might want to have a think about the first impression you’re creating.

If every post you write contains an affiliate link or is a paid review, welcomes another sponsor, calls for new sponsors or launches your latest ebook – then you also might want to consider the reputation that you’re creating for yourself as a blogger.

5. The Stat-a-holic – if you wake up in the morning and before you have a coffee, head to the bathroom, kiss your wife or pick up your screaming baby from his cot…. you’ve just got to check your blog’s stats – YOU’VE GOT A PROBLEM!

Once again, most bloggers go through a stage when they start out when they seem to check their blog’s stats more times a day than pretty much doing anything else – but for some bloggers they never grow out of it. They spend hour after hour not only checking visitor numbers but have a daily process of checking where every reader arrived from, how many pages they viewed, what links they clicked, how long they took on each page and where they headed to after leaving.

Knowing how people use your blog is good – but…. if you spend more time checking stats then anything else you’ll notice one big stat – no one comes back because you’re not putting enough time into writing content!

The List Could Go On

I could go on describing bloggers who obsess over promoting their blog, networking, building reader community, writing on only one aspect of your niche, exploring new blog tools etc – but you get the picture.

This stuff is all good – but you’ve got to keep some balance!

Tips for Single Minded Bloggers

Do a Time Audit - Take some time out today and think about how you use your time when it comes to blogging. Where is the majority of your time going? List all the tasks in the order that you put time in and ask yourself – am I in danger of obsessing over any one of them? What am I ignoring that I should be doing more of?

Once you know where (if) you’re out of balance it’s time to do something about it.

Give Yourself a Schedule – One thing that I did in the early days of blogging was to set myself a schedule. At the time I was working two jobs and studying part time so only had a couple of hours a day so my schedule included a little time in the mornings for checking emails, an hour before leaving for work to write a post or two and then in the evenings I devoted my time to networking, email and moderating comments. Once a week I also put an hour aside for some SEO and once a month I’d put aside time for design.

Create a Points System - Another system that some bloggers use is to create a ‘points system‘ where they give themselves different ‘points’ for achieving certain goals on their blog.

Get Feedback from Others - I’d also recommend asking someone else for their feedback on this. Sometimes it’s easy to get distracted on one aspect of your blog without realizing it. Ask another blogger or a trusted reader or two for honest feedback on how they think you’re going. You might be surprised with what they come back with.

Have Your Say

What is your obsession (or has been) as a blogger? Are you in danger of getting out of balance? What do you do to keep yourself more balanced?

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. I usually checking every morning

    1. Has the number of subscribers increased on my blog
    2. No. of visits – Unique / repeat on site meter
    3. Widgets how it can be improved.
    4. Page Rank of my blog and search on google has it improved.

    Cheers,

    Santosh Puthran
    Management Accountant Blog
    http://managementaccountant.blogspot.com

  2. Raag Vamdatt says:

    Excellent post!

    Till some weeks back, I was obsessed big time with stats. Not as severe as what you have written here, but yes, I checked the stats first thing in the morning, and then every hour or so….

    And as you have rightly said, this would take away time from other important activities.

    I myself started feeling frustrated by this compulsive behavior.

    I finally decided on certain times of the day when I would check the stats, and stuck with those times. This helped me get rid of the nasty habit!

  3. I went through the statholic phase, bouncing from FeedBurner to Google Analytics to FireStats to CrazyEgg to reinvigorate and back again, pretty much once an hour. It was a tough habit to break but now I’m down to twice a day, lumped in with when I check email.

  4. Shanel Yang says:

    My obsession is with the writing itself. I tend to focus on the quality of the content at the expense of website design and just about everything else. But, I’m forcing myself to do the other stuff, slowly but surely! ; )

  5. Excellent post! I’m a crazy blogger! That’s right, I’m obsessed so don’t you talk bad about me! J/K!!

    I love hearing feedback from others because I’m always looking for ways to improve my blog. I like to keep track of my time as well.

  6. Louis Liem says:

    My obsession was to read as many information as possible from other blogs. This left me less time for taking care of my own blog.
    When all blogs are important, nothing is important.

  7. katy says:

    ha! so the fact that i check my # of feed subscribers before leaving for work in the morning is a bad thing?

    this is a great post — i’m guilty of many of these on occasion, but the nice thing about my blog is that i’m obsessed with the topic (cooking and recipes!) most of all — there’s a lot of actual cooking and baking that has to go before any content is published, and since that takes up 80% of my free time, it’s hard to get obsessed with any of the other stuff. i do need sleep occasionally!

  8. I didn’t realize there were so many facets to blogging. Thanks, Darren, for pointing them out. Just knowing what goes into a blog will keep me from obsessing about one or the other and will help me schedule my blogging time more wisely!

  9. Myo says:

    When starting a blog we all get obsessed with Design. Once that phase is over, we all get obsessed with Stats, then SEO …it is evolution.

  10. I’m such a stataholic that my husband took away my rights to Google Analytics. He “feeds” me information once a while about how the site is doing.

  11. Evolution… that’s a good way to look at it. It’s amazing to me how many bloggers get wrapped up in their blog. Some spend countless hours tweaking, modifying, posting, editing, etc. It’s important to make sure, especially if it is a business venture, that the time you spend is well spent. It can be a time eater if you aren’t careful.

  12. My main obsession is to have all these ToDo stuffz as balanced as possible. Not an easy mission ;-(

  13. Dan says:

    Hi. My name is Dan and I am a blogaholic. :-) Wow, you pretty much described my last 6 months. Even more reason to do what you’ve recommended before: FOCUS on not only our content but our niche in the world. I’m trying to focus on just increasing subscribers, rather than day to day visits/Diggs/Stumbles, etc. If I can keep the subscribers, its a sign that they are coming to the site for good content and not just shiny, blinking lights.

  14. Tenth Blog says:

    I have changed my blog theme 3 times during last ten days and still not satisfied with what I have. I’m also designing a new one which I think is going to be the last one. It’s been already a month since i set up my blog and I think I only spent couple of hours on the content. Hopefully this will change soon.

    My other obsession is that I check stats first thing in the morning, and pretty much every time i get online. I think I’m going to remove stat plugins that I have and only use google analytics. Since they update every 24 hours, I should be able to spend more time on the content.

  15. Sarah Jo says:

    I have all of those little tasks (reading other blogs and commenting, replying to comments and email, checking stats, etc.) on my daily to-do list, but I’m focusing on consistent content right now.

    If my blog isn’t worth reading, does the rest of it matter?

  16. Slevi says:

    Went through several of them, got over them though and got a bit more laid back in it. There are better things to do in life for me than getting obsessed over certain aspects of my blog, it’s something I really do for fun and the pure enjoyment of blogging but nothing more.

    Of course readers, some money, etc are great but I’ll probably manage quite well through life without getting obsessed over it as well, hehe.

  17. Frugal Dad says:

    Glad to hear I’m not the only one who wakes up and thinks, “Man…I really have to go! Can I hold it long enough to check my stats?!”

    My wife likes to check out our stats, too, and frequently emails me at work when FeedBurner updates the chicklet displaying our current subscriber count. It is potentially addicting, but something I imagine fades as you get more acquainted with blogging success.

  18. Janelle says:

    I am actually getting ready to set up my very first personal blog…However, at the moment, I author several blogs for the company I work for and can definitely attest to the fact that I’ve seen several people go through these various blog scenarios. Hopefully, I won’t fall into it- although I probably will :) Great article!

  19. Great post, since I am a relatively new blogger, I have to admit that I have been obsessed with the design of my blog site. I finally settled on something that works, but as my husband remarked last night, “you would change it in a heartbeat if you thought you found something better.” I have also obsessed over stats on my other sites before. All of this makes for one stressed out blogger. I definitely need to establish a schedule and stick to it.

  20. Ulla says:

    I think the important thing is to know all the facets of blogging – content, networking, checking statistics. Networking takes pretty much of my time (twitter, following others blogs and writing valuable comments). And having an eye on an even balance. Networking without content is useless – providing content and nobody looks at it is frustrating.

  21. Amir Helzer says:

    Great post Darren. I think it pretty much summarizes the situation for everyone who’s self employed over the web these days.

    Globalization, along with opening up markets for our services has also exposed us to immense competition.

    You wouldn’t be so obsessed about the wellbeing of your business if it went easier. You’d have more time for your family and friends if you knew that your business takes care of itself.

    Sadly, it doesn’t. Even if, at some point in time, it rocks, you still need to look out for competition – on a daily basis.

  22. Kelvin Kao says:

    I guess Google Analytics helps us out by only updating once a day, eh?

  23. The first step on the road to recovery is admitting you have a problem – I’m a stat-o-holic.

  24. Claudine says:

    I think that the social media bug has bit me. It’s nice to chat it up with others, but it can be an awful time waster, too. It’s a delicate balance! Difficult, especially when I have to travel sometimes to get great content for my blog!

  25. Katy says:

    The cleanest blogs are to me the most visually interesting as it says the writer is more concerned about content than marketing gimmicks and ploys. I’m new to blogging — well, I’ve been doing it for about 18 months — and am using my blog as postcards to friends and family to form a larger work about being an American expatriat. Addictions of most sorts are about losing control and wasting time. This article was the first to me about the other side of blogging — since I don’t know about the gimmicks, I have not been sucked into them. My writing purpose has stayed untainted by this. As it should — I write about being in the big wide world. Thanks for the insights.

  26. Syed Balkhi says:

    This is one of the posts that I can see myself doing alot. That would be the designing part. I try to control my obsession, but being a free lance designer doesn’t help. Whenever I am free, I am trying to find bugs in my own site.

  27. Since my blog is still pretty new, I find it normal to obsess about my stats, but I should take your tip and stop from now so I don’t turn into a stat freak.

  28. Nice post. The picture of the cat is a crack up lol

  29. So says:

    We all fall in all categories one time or another. When youre a newbie (Im kind a newbie), you pass for each one!. Im still in all of them! By the way I have your book, I have your book!!! and it is great!

  30. So says:

    by the way, I was meaning to ask you, why does a blogger need to moderate comments? what is the purpose? Do you have a post regard this issue? it would really help me. Thanks!

  31. Jess says:

    Hey winnning startups – I too am a stat-a-holic
    but to be honest I have no desire to change.

    I am a stat-a-holic and proud.

    jess

  32. I’m an admitted stataholic, but I’m trying to do better. I think I’m going to take a cue from Raag Vamdatt and set up specific times to check my stats. I don’t want to end up driving myself crazy. But I think every blogger has suffered from at least one of these at one time or another.

  33. Ed says:

    I spent a couple weeks at the very start before I went live going through as many WordPress themes as I could humanly find, and all I was after was a simple and clean theme. I wanted to settle on a theme before I started and avoid any major changes to how my site looked.

    As for stats I check every morning; doesn’t everyone? It’s exciting to get the latest data and it provides (hopefully) some degree of reassurance that you’re not talking to yourself.

  34. SEO Company says:

    Funny musings…repeating your keywords is a good way to boost your search engine ranikings but it may not appeal to your readers.

  35. kraft says:

    I think the content is the king!