A Guest Post by Glen Allsopp from ViperChill.
In 2006, at 17, I started a blog about marketing which was very successful from launch. In fact, the first blog post I published was linked to by 4 of the Technorati Top 100 at the time, and I felt like I was on my way to joining the ranks of A-list bloggers.
Yet, within a few weeks, I had already ran out of steam. I had plenty of things to write about, and loved the industry I was covering; yet I simply had no motivation to keep going. At the time, I just assumed that my lack of motivation was because the site wasn’t making money, so I left blogging and decided to start working on other online projects.
When I moved to South Africa at 18 in 2008, I had the urge to start up another blog. I didn’t want to write about marketing this time, but instead I decided to focus on the topic of personal development, which I was passionate about at the time. For some reason, things were different this time. Again, I loved the topic and I had a lot to say. And again I wasn’t making any money (by choice). Yet my passion was never-ending and I was left with over 150 blog posts to show for my first year of blogging.
I did end up selling that blog at the end of 2009, but that was when it was making $5,000 per month and had over 6,000 subscribers. Right now I’m doing the same with ViperChill – writing about a topic I love (marketing, again) – and doing so for a very small amount of money. Yet, I’m still highly inspired to write for the site and grow my audience.
If it wasn’t a lack of income that caused my to run out of stream on my first blog, then what was it?
The answer actually comes in four parts; all of which I believe can help all you regain the motivation to write for your own blog if you’ve found your interest to be waning. Some of these were made clear to me after reading the excellent book Drive by Daniel Pink, and I encourage you to watch this great video on Youtube which illustrates a talk he gave at a TED conference.
Challenge Yourself to Learn New Things
I think one of the greatest things about blogging is that there is so much to learn and test, especially when you’re starting out. Installing WordPress, customising a blog theme and writing compelling content are all things that can seem tricky at first but become much easier over time.
It’s this challenge that actually keeps us interested in what we’re doing. It’s a challenge I believe I was lacking with my first blog, but found in my next (building an audience in an entirely new industry) and the one after that (writing new content in a highly saturated industry).
Is there something you can challenge yourself to do with your blog?
- Can you try to rank in Google for a certain keyphrase?
- Can you get better at networking and build stronger online connections?
- Can you write an eBook that helps solve a problem your readers have?
- Can you post a better article about X than any other blog?
If you take the time to think about this, you’ll come up with a long list of things you can try. This alone may be enough to help you re-ignite your blogging fire.
Really Interact with Your Audience
You may be wondering how this can help bring back your blogging passion, but the reason behind the heading is actually quite simple. As Daniel Pink points out in the video I linked to earlier, the desire to belong to something is a strong desire within us all as human beings.
It’s why people spend hours upon hours writing articles for Wikipedia or coding fixes for open-source software for absolutely no monetary gain.
It’s partly why people support different sports teams and wear their colours with pride and it’s also why some feel passionate about their gaming ‘clans’ which exist solely online.
If your blog isn’t getting many comments and the big bloggers in your niche are ignoring you then it’s unlikely you feel like you belong to anything. Yet one of the greatest things about blogging is the connections you can create and sustain with others who have similar interests.
Instead of waiting for people to come to you, go out there and email fellow bloggers, comment on their articles and interact with like-minded people on Twitter or Facebook. You’ll quickly find a new urge to start writing articles to get the feedback of your new community.
Set Smaller Goals
If I offered you a date with your favourite celebrity if you’re able to grow your feed count by 5,000 legitimate subscribers in the next 30 days, how motivated would you be to even try? If you’re like most people, probably not motivated in the slightest.
If I set the target to 500 subscribers, however, I’m sure you would be far more interested at giving it a shot.
When you read the success stories of people with over 100,000 feed subscribers or hear about successful six-figure product launches, it’s easy to feel discouraged if you attempt to achieve similar results and don’t even get close.
It’s important to remember that exceptional stories like this are the exception. It doesn’t mean you can’t achieve them to, but you shouldn’t base targets like that as your blogging goals. At least not initially.
Another great thing about blogging is that it tends to come with a snowball effect once you grow. It took me 7 months to grow my personal development blog to 500 readers, yet just 5 more until it reached 4,000.
Don’t be afraid to think big, but set smaller goals for yourself so you’re constantly achieving things along your journey.
Identify Your Hurdle
If none of these seem to be helping, then this last piece of advice – as simple as it may seem – could be just what you need. Though it’s possible to misdiagnose the reasons you’re not feeling inspired to continue with your blog, it’s still worth attempting to identify the cause of your demotivation.
I had assumed the reason I lost interest for my first blog was because it wasn’t making money, yet looking back I think it was because I didn’t have any challenge to overcome and certainly didn’t feel part of the online community.
Common hurdles bloggers face include:
- Struggling to see a return on your time investment
- Running out of content ideas
- Not having enough time to work on your site
- Feeling like you’re not helping people
The best thing about identifying your hurdle or “block” – whatever it may be – is that you can then look at ways to get past it.
If you’re running out of content ideas, then read some books on your topic or sit down for a few hours and brainstorm new ways to help your audience. If you don’t have enough time to work on your site then log your actions on your next normal day and identify time-wasters which aren’t essential to your daily life.
I could go on with this, but I’m sure you get the point. It may be that the blog you’ve started just isn’t something you want to continue with which is fairly common, but don’t give up until you’re sure there isn’t just a hurdle getting in the way, or another one of these tips that you can try.