How do I get inspired to write when I have < 5 readers? It seem kind of futile.
Image by -nathan
This is one of the hardest parts of starting a new blog for many bloggers. After putting the effort into choosing the right blogging platform, thinking about a topic to write about, choosing a theme/design and putting effort into your first posts – you look at your stats and you find that hardly anyone is reading.
The Night I Almost Gave Up Blogging
I remember the feeling clearly from my first few blogs.
I remember sitting at my computer one night starting at my first photography blog (no longer active) with my finger hovering over my mouse as I decided whether or not to kill the blog completely because despite putting hours into it every week it was getting no comments, few visitors and only making a couple of dollars a week.
I shudder to think what would have happened if I had in fact killed that blog – because it went on to become the blog that earned me a full time living and led to me starting ProBlogger and my 2nd and more successful photography site.
How to Keep Inspired as a Blogger
I’m not going to make this post a ‘how to find readers for your blog’ post as I’ve talked about that numerous times before (I’ll link to some of those at the end of this post). Instead I’d like to talk about ‘inspiration’ a little because it’s actually something that I think is applicable to more than just bloggers with not many readers – bloggers with blogs of all sizes struggle to stay inspired.
- Write for You – one of the biggest lessons that I’ve learned as a blogger is that I need to blog about things that interest and inspire me. I’ve started more blogs than I can remember and many of them were started more out of dreams of large readership and profit than any genuine interest that I had in them. Those blogs are all dead now and the only that remain (and the only that were profitable) were blogs that I started because I wanted to explore the topic and read them. ProBlogger is perhaps the best example of this – it was the blog I wanted to read that nobody else was writing. I was writing as much for me as anyone else so even when nobody else was reading it at least I was learning something.
- Celebrate the Small Victories – often as bloggers we get distracted by the stories of big bloggers having big victories. Massive product launches, millions of readers, loads of comments, mentions in mainstream media, recognition and awards…. While it’s great that bigger blogs are achieving such big things sometimes as a smaller blogger your own experience can seem so small by comparison. The big wins of other bloggers can be quite inspiring, but so should your own smaller victories. In fact the small victories that you have can be harnessed to help you create momentum to grow your blog. Read more about this at Success in Blogging is Made of Little Victories.
- Get Excited, about Something Else – what gets you excited and inspired outside of blogging? As I look at my own levels of inspiration for blogging I’ve noticed that it is often when I’m feeling inspired about some other aspect of life that my energy for blogging can also increase. For me this often comes out of reading a book on some unrelated topic, or watching a movie or documentary, or having a great conversation, or doing something with my family that energises me. We all get excited by different things but get yourself in a positive frame of mind in some other area of your life and it might just impact other areas where you’re feeling a little low – like in your blogging.
- Take a Break – I asked my followers on Twitter what inspires them in their blogging and the most common response that came back was ‘take a break’. I’ve found this to be true too. it may have something to do with my last point about doing something else that excites you but I find that even a short break in the middle of the day can help me to come back to the task of blogging refreshed. I also find on a bigger picture level that taking regular longer breaks (weekends off and longer vacations) can also help (although sometimes it does take me a few days to get back into the swing of things after a couple of weeks off).
- Involve others – I’ve written numerous times about approaching blogging in tandem with others whether it be through finding a blogging buddy or starting some kind of blogging alliance. There’s something very powerful and motivational about having someone to bounce ideas off, to be accountable to and to collaborate with.
- Start a content project – I find that I’m often the most inspired when I’m starting something new. The problem with this is that the temptation is often to start a new blog which doesn’t really help take your existing one further. Instead of starting a new blog I recommend starting some kind of new internal content project ON your blog. This might be anything from a series of posts, a competition or perhaps writing a report or eBook for your readers. The good thing about doing this is that you’re not only doing something new that might energize you – you’re also doing something that potentially could bring in new readers to your blog and that will be of benefit to those you already have.
- Begin a learning project – something that I used to do when I got either bored, unmotivated or uninspired with my blogging was to commit myself to learning something new about blogging. This might include doing some free research on the web a topic like SEO, blog design etc or it could even be investing a little money into some kind of teaching resource. This is actually one of the reasons I started 31 Days to Build a Better blog – as a tool for bloggers to invest a full month in learning about small things that they could do on their blog to bring it life. While the lessons were designed to help people the main purpose of it was to see what would happen when people committed to improving their blog in some small way every day for a month. Much of the feedback I’ve had from people who completed it was that they saw it as a way to kick start their blog and get it back on track after periods of feeling uninspired and unmotivated.
Those are 7 ways that I’ve managed to keep myself inspired and motivated to keep blogging for 8 years – but I’d be keen to hear your suggestions also. You might also like to check out the suggestions of some of my followers on Twitter in this collection of their responses to my question on the topic.
Tips on Getting Traffic
As promised above – here are some links to some posts I’ve written on growing your traffic (which will hopefully also help you to be a little more inspired – there’s nothing like new readers to keep you moving forward with your blog)!