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How Boring Is Your Blog?

This guest post is by Julien Smith of inoveryourhead.net

Are you repeating the same things every other blogger is saying? Are your valuable visitors turning away as soon as they see what you have to offer? Is your blog great, or is it boring?

How would you know?

Very few blogs turn you away with their design. You may have a custom theme or you may have something you just plopped on there for free. But what matters is getting people with your words and your ideas. Are they any good? Only an outside force can tell you.

Boring by numbers

If your blog is boring, your numbers will tell you. Google Analytics has a bounce rate, will teach you which posts keep readers around longer. What matters is not where your bounce rate is right now (it could even be in the 90% range), but that you work constantly to bring it down.

Test different titles. Put videos or images at the beginning of the posts to see if people stick around more. Try anything, but assume nothing about your visitors! If your blog is boring, then obviously, you can’t trust yourself to know what works. Trust the numbers instead, experiment a lot, and see what brings them down.

Another way to tell is looking at your subscriber numbers—are RSS and email subscribers slowing down, or stopping entirely? Your content is your entry point, and people won’t subscribe if they don’t believe more great stuff is coming.

If this happens, your blog is probably boring. Sorry.

Boring by consensus

You can’t tell boring by yourself, but you can’t tell good, either. Thankfully, this is the Internet. We have access to others, and we can bounce ideas off of them. Use that to its full advantage! Your network is an asset, and if your blog is boring, the network will tell you. But you have to see the signals, not ignore them. You’ll never hear it straight.

Your regular commenters will dwindle and maybe disappear. They won’t tweet your stuff out as much. Traffic will stall while you continue to work just as hard.

Absence of activity is implicit consensus, too. If nobody wants to buy a house on a certain street, or go to a certain restaurant, that’s telling you something. Are you getting traffic, but no comments? If comments appear only certain posts, maybe you need more of that type. But watch the signals, they will tell you.

If there’s less and less activity around your blog, it might be getting boring.

Fixing the boring blog

1. Admit you can’t see the problem.

Both your network and your numbers will give you an idea of what’s going on, but you might not be able to see it yourself. You’ll probably keep chugging away, thinking you’ll eventually hit the tipping point.

But this is wrong. You are spinning your wheels and getting no traction.

Last weekend, I created a website called Shut Up and Get to Work. In its first day, it got 200,000 pageviews, and now it’s close to a half million. This proved to me that you don’t need a big network or a huge audience to get things rolling—you only need a good idea. And you probably have good ideas, so what it’s really about is the hurdles between them and their execution. But you can never see that clearly.

2. Break your patterns. Often.

Is the problem your delivery? It’s possible. Is the content itself just not new enough?

These questions go beyond boring. There are several problems with content that we can solve just by looking at what we do from another point of view.

Try writing as if you’re someone else. Use another style. Emulate a blogging style that you admire for a while and see if it works. Or, take another blogger’s style and parody it.

No matter how successful you are, you probably have bad habits. It’s possible that just one of these things is cutting into your momentum. Find out what it is by changing, maybe even dramatically.

3. Push your work closer to the edge.

You may sound the same as everyone else because you’re not taking any risks. Blogs need a strong editorial voice to compete—something that cuts through the din of similar-sounding talking heads. Maybe you’re not doing that.

What is it going to take? Is it a better, more compelling story (as Chris Guillebeau would say)? Is it a different voice? Think of what your friends like about you—are you portraying that in your writing?

Stop being mediocre with your writing. Maybe even offend people a little. Polarizing opinions get heard when much of the rest does not.

4. Start now, and put in the work.

The biggest hurdle to all of this is that you think it doesn’t apply to you, and that you’re doing fine. If you don’t take this advice today (or you think it doesn’t apply to you), it may be months before you figure it out yourself. Do you really want that to happen? Make the hard decisions today, put in the hours, and you’ll come out stronger.

Do it now. Your audience deserves it.

Julien Smith is the co-author of the bestselling book, Trust Agents. He normally blogs over here, and it’s pretty awesome, so you should take a look.

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Comments

  1. You can’t let your readers sleep on you.

  2. Bilal Kamoon says:

    I don’t have many comments on my blog; does that make it boring?

    • HI Bilal Kamoon,

      :-)

      I’ve many negative comment about my blog which i stated recently. :-(
      Guess, its better to have no comment then bad comments

      • Ishan says:

        It is good to take them as constructive feedback. And if it seems without any reason, first think why and if possible, ask commentator why he did this. If this fails, forget and move on!

      • Hi Darren,

        http://shutupandgettowork.com/ is amazing !!!
        I was just reading it continually till i got very interested to know all the message.

        Your creative blogger !!!

      • dotCOMreport says:

        If they are not spam, bad comments can be very good; like Ishan says, they can be constructive feedback. Plus they can help generate interest in your blogpost

        • Hi Ishan / dotCoMreport,

          Both of you are absolutely right !! Take the comment constructively and works toward improvement.
          I’m trying day by day.

          Thanks for the reply :-)

          Cheers,
          GaneshMuthiah

  3. ephman says:

    http://www.ephman.com is never boring. it’s just the nature of his blog. see there’s no main theme. the blog is about everything and anything that comes to mind. with just great blog posts as “The 5 Lost Commandments Have Been Found!” & classics like “Global Warming Is Like A Friend With Benefits”, booom the readership rises. also when you have a purpose like donating all advertising revenue away to help fight melanoma skin cancer (like http://www.ephman.com blog does). you’re forced into really figuring out ways to bump page veiws. and you’ll never be able to get somebody to click on something else in your blog if you’re boring them out. the main reason though that blogs can get very boring is if you’re blogging about a topic that about 9 million other people are blogging about. unless you’re crazy talented on the topic like problogger.com, you’re really going to have literally pull your pants down to cut though the clutter.

  4. The content of a blogger needs personality.

  5. Andy Merrett says:

    I guess the auto-refresh style web site with very little content will always get a lot of pageviews from few visitors. I tend to look at time spent on value pages as well as bounce rate. If people are spending 3, 5, even 10 minutes on a feature I’ve written, I know they’re at least digesting it. Sometimes that leads to a comment, sometimes it leads to a bounce, but that kind of bounce is OK, if the visitor got what they were looking for at that time. After all, let’s be honest, many times you only visit a web site once to get an answer and then leave. A site may be consistent in providing solutions in which case I’ll bookmark it. I’m not likely to return to ‘refresh for another insult’ web sites though…

  6. maheroo says:

    anyone can easily know whether their blog is turning towards the boredom direction by finding less no. of comments.

  7. Julien..i’m more of an video and tech person who know how to keep readers clicking…I show videos alot to get my time up..and links through so that they click through.

    “Black Seo Guy “Signing Off”

  8. Yes bounce rate tells a lot.

  9. Kate says:

    Oh yeah….**yawn**…I’m boring. Will….work…to…fix…it.
    Thanks for the brutal post.

  10. Stephanie says:

    Great post Julien! You make some great points that a lot of bloggers need to consider. In my case, I think the problem with my blog is lack of interest, personality, and a sense of uniqueness with the titles and content of the posts. Gotta work on that once the holiday season is over. ;)

  11. Bounce rate doesn’t mean nothing.

  12. Great insights Darren, I have been doing some serious thinking over this festive season of how i make make my blog better, I have all the materials including your awesome book and almost finish my planning for the new year. Cant wait to get started.

    Ps… I also loved your blog start up story you shared at the blogging convention with Brian Clark and Sonia Simone

  13. I started my blog a year ago, and did not work on it much. I started to work hard on the content this September and saw only 79 visitors. All of a sudden, last month, I hit 450! Is this good? So far this month has been 260 visitors. Have not gotten any ad clicks though.

  14. I found that having one post a week has much more of an impact than every day!…

    I also outsource a fresh illustration every week!…

    Thanks

    David Edwards

  15. Tom Jamieson says:

    Great post, especially #4! Just like anything else in life that’s worth having, you have to put in the work. Thanks for sharing.

  16. Jenny says:

    I hope I’m not boring.

    Been experimenting with a few things to try and find my groove.

  17. shiza says:

    neat and clear, isn’t it getting harder to compete and make the same old profits while seemingly the days of ‘sell whatever say whatever’ are fading ? are we in the midst of the boom or heading towards shrinking net profits ?

  18. Newyork says:

    You are a PRO! I just started my blog and don’t want to make it boring :((

  19. This is one heck of a post. Absolutely provocative. Made me think really deeply about the things I do and how I do them on my blog. Thanks Julien, i could totally sense the same adrenaline pumping energy you bring to your posts.

  20. J.D. Meier says:

    It’s amazing how energy can come through a blog.

    I heard a great tip from an effective marketer the other day … write like you talk, but talk like you’re engaged … be bold and engaging. You’ll choose better words and what you trade for in word-smithing, you make up for in passion and speed … and passion shines through. In other words, don’t write writing … talk compelling conversations with text.

  21. Jk says:

    Great points made! Points that one who blogs should ask them self often to keep things fresh. I’m going to pay close attention to “pushing my work closer to the edge”! Thanks for the info.

  22. Pete Carr says:

    Hi Julien,
    I don’t agree with the bounce rate. If you have advertising on your blog then a high bounce rate can be good as the visitor is clicking away to the adverts. You also might have a squeeze page that you want your readers to got to. There are a lot of factors to consider for your bounce rate. I have a site with a bounce rate of 19% it makes no money. I have another with a bounce rate of 72% it does make money.
    As for boring, your readers will decide that.
    Pete

  23. Great topic and an excellent column. It reminds us of a very important point in writing and blogging. When speaking to the masses, you must do so with your own unique voice.

    Your advice reminds me of the last few lines of one of my favorite poems by Robert Frost,

    “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
    I took the one less traveled by,
    And that has made all the difference.”

    Thanks for the advice.

    John Robberson

  24. Martin says:

    Not sure about the bounce rate statistic as I publish the whole articles on my home page which means there is no reason to go further, because you see everything from one place.

  25. I started off by blogging about anything and everything and found that didn’t work. Then I scheduled a little more, going with themes for each day. That seemed to work for a little while. When a particular theme failed to hit home, I tried a different one on a particular day, but by and large, I’m finding that comments are dwindling although visitor numbers have been consistent and the bounce rate has dropped. Many fellow bloggers have been saying the same thing about lack of comments on their blogs. I’m wondering if it isn’t maybe overload as a whole with too many people out there and a lack of time on the part of readers. The other thing is that I feed my blog to several other spots to make it easier for readers. That also may be part of the reason why comments on the blog are down. Just some thoughts in the hopes that I’m not as boring possibly. LOL!

  26. frank says:

    I just started http://www.joomlaconvert.com with a few articles on programming. Am very new to copywriting and am learning a lot from this site.Am more of a programmer and I find your articles applicable in all kids of websites.My main intention for the site is to write web applications which I can sell.Thanks.

  27. Jon Sollie says:

    Focus on the “you” as much as possible. Don’t be “I” centered.
    Visualize two old friends chatting over a beer (but not a lot of
    beers), and be casual. Keep it simple :-) !

    All the best,

    Jon

  28. For me, the difference between a boring blog and an engaging one is the personality of the blogger. I tend to shy away from blogs where the posts are totally impersonal, no matter how information-packed they may be. I think we’re attracted to character, and as long as you’re allowing that character to come through, you won’t be boring.

  29. ‘It’s my aim to create Blogs that are ‘Sticky’
    that makes the Guests on my Blogs wants them
    to Bookmark and ‘Stick Arround’

    How do I do that….???

    You might ask how on earth can he provide
    all those Blogs from regular content to begin with…?

    Well ‘I don’t ….!

    That’s why a lot of my Posts are very EXCLUSIVE!!! :)

    Actually nowadays I post rather frequently on most of them….,

    Because now I use a different strategy for writing my posts. Instead of writing a whole new post every time, I make it more like a ‘Story’ more like ‘Continuing Posts’ or as ‘comments’ on my own previous posts. Or make it more like a dialogue commenting on the comments that I receive from others. Recently I even discovered a Blogger that writes a Novel with the help of other readers that
    can directly give their feedback while developing.

    ‘So one of the things to make it a little more ‘Spicy’ is to actually
    get into ‘Conversation-mode’ and write Comments when people
    give their feedback by writing Comments…,’

    To get more comments I simply use a subheading
    titled ‘Discussion’ with a question, so that it’s very obvious that there is
    an opportunity for feedback.

    To make the Posts more inviting to read I have a Most Popular Posts List
    that will get you right to the ‘core’ of the Blog.

    I also use attention grabbing subheadings, to make you curious about ‘What Comes Next’
    Talking about What Comes Next…, I also usually have a list of ‘Related Posts’ to make you – want to pack a lunch – and read on and on and on…….,

    Also I have some ‘Third Party Content’ that automatically gets ‘streamed’ on some of my Blogs Daily. (Like for example on my Writing Blog ‘Writing Tip of the Day’) Sometimes I actually buy some Private Label Rights Content (PLR) on specific topics. Besides all that I also offer a possibility
    for the Guests on my Blog to Guest Post.

    So, do I have Boring Blogs…??

    Euh…, yeah…, probably…,

    So Rush over to my Blog, Bookmark it and
    Write Breathtaking Comments that give me the Impression
    that you will be able to write Brilliant Guest Posts.

    All the Best,
    To your Happy – Blogging – Inspiration,
    HP

  30. Mike Wood says:

    Thanks for posting this. It was direct, to the point and gives me something interesting to think about in terms of my own blog. Lots of good suggestions in the comments too.

  31. dhanpreet says:

    Acc. to me the content on my website is quite boring…moreover no comments make that more boring :(

  32. LJ Martin says:

    This is a great post because not only is targeted traffic important, but getting those visitors to stay on your site for more than a few seconds is important too. Anyone who owns a website or blog needs to read this. Thanks…

  33. Elena says:

    Great post, Julien! I don’t have many comments on my blog, but the comments that I do receive are positive. If I am, in fact, providing interesting and useful information (my blog is a green lifestyle blog), then why don’t I have more traffic? I also have a Facebook page for my blog, Life The Green Way, and it’s like pulling eyeteeth to get people to respond when I ask them for feedback, e.g., what topic are they most interested in, etc. Any tips for this?
    I do recognize that I’ve had trouble injecting my personality in my writing style. I’m sure if I work on that, as well as blog post titles and break some patterns that will also help.
    Thanks!!!

  34. I saw do things out of the ordinary and somewhat controversial. Make a wild claim or try to disprove someone in the know. I’ve done both a few times in the past and they always worked to bring some life to a blog.

  35. I’ve received some good comments till a drastic drop in clicks due to holiday season.
    :-) hope 2011 bring me more royal readers.

  36. Great post. I think the comment about people tweeting it is important. I have some posts that get no tweets and some that get many. For me, it helps me for future posts.

    Also, I find that the title is very important. I had a good post with a boring title and it got no love. I started getting creative with the titles and had more readers and lower bounce rates.

    @ganeshmuthiah the holidays were very slow this year for online activity. Not just for me, but for my clients too. I’m sure things will perk up. :-)

    Thanks again for the post.