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Curb Your Blogging Frustration in 8 Steps

This guest post is by Marc Ensign of MarcEnsign.com and NotAnotherSEOBlog.com.

That last blog post was really good. It was supposed to be the one. The post that launched you into blogging stardom. Right into the spotlight. Making you an overnight success.

That post was supposed to change everything.

But it didn’t. Instead, it received the usual handful of tweets, smattering of likes and a gaggle of comments. Barely enough traffic needed for a respectable flash mob. And a majority of the traffic you did get either came from you or from people that share your bloodline.

It’s frustrating, isn’t it?

Frustrating enough to make you question what you are doing. Or if you are any good. Frustrating enough to make you wonder if blogging is even worth it. Or if anybody even cares about what you have to say.

Frustrating enough to make you want to give up. Stop writing. Quit.

Now, before you fold your arms and stomp off into the sunset never to blog again, there is something you should know. This is normal. Every blogger that has had an ounce of success has been here. At this very same fork in the road. Staring down the same choice of whether or not to give up. Lucky for us, they chose to keep going.

And you should too.

So, before you throw in the towel, let’s talk about how to curb some of that frustration a bit so you can get back to striving for blogging fame and fortune.

Step 1: Stop whining

You are not working in a coal mine. You are not living in a third world country. And you have not been sentenced to life in prison for a crime you did not commit. You are writing. Put it in perspective. Stop feeling sorry for yourself and making things out to be worse than they really are.

I get it. You have something to say. A message to share with the world. And nobody is listening. Or at least that’s how it feels sometimes. But whining about it is not going to make it any better. In fact, it’s only going to make it worse. Stop getting caught up in creating a meaning behind the numbers. Dig deep and rediscover the reason that you started your blog in the first place. Find your purpose.

Step 2: Find your purpose

There was a time early on when you woke up in a cold sweat. You had an idea. A way to help others. Sure, you thought you might also be able to make some money at it along the way, but it wasn’t originally about that. There was a greater purpose behind it. Something you were passionate about. Something so strong that you were willing to put the work in early on even though you didn’t have a single visitor or make a single penny.

And now it sounds like you have lost sight of it. Not on purpose. It just took a backseat as you started to value other stuff more like the number of visitors or how many people are sharing your posts. You need to rediscover your purpose. It’s easy to do. To start, just change your focus.

Step 3: Change your focus

If you are frustrated over your blog’s performance, take a look at where you are focusing your attention. Chances are that it is on the numbers—how many hits, Tweets, Likes and Pins. When you are too focused on the numbers you tend to make bad decisions. You begin to focus on what you can gain from the relationship versus what you can give. It affects the quality of your writing. It affects what you write about. It affects how often you write. It affects the tone you take in your writing. And your audience will notice.

If you have to focus on numbers, start focusing on different numbers. Numbers that you have more control over. How often you publish. How many words you are writing each day. How many other blogs you are reading and commenting on. It doesn’t mean you should turn a blind eye to the number of visitors you are getting, just stop checking your stats so often.

Step 4: Stop checking your stats so often

We’re all guilty of it. You publish a post, Tweet it, count to ten and then log into Google Analytics to see how many people have read it so far. Stop it. Seriously. You are going to drive yourself mad. Keeping the window open all of the time so you can hit refresh after every Tweet is going to get you more and more frustrated.

Try checking your stats only once a week. Maybe once at the end of each day if you are really neurotic about it. Staring at your stats ten times a day isn’t going to make it better. If your writing is good and your message is powerful, the visitors will come. You just need to have faith.

Step 5: Have faith

If you don’t believe that you have something of value to share. Something the world needs to hear. Than we as your readers aren’t going to either. It comes across in your writing and how you share your posts. Do you do enough or do you go above and beyond? Do you care about your subject matter or are you passionate about it?

You need to feel strongly about what you are doing and where you are going and have faith that you will get there. Having faith will help you get through the times when no one is reading. When you are up at 2am working on a new post. When you know it can be better. With a little bit of faith, you can accomplish just about anything. As long as you set realistic goals.

Step 6: Set realistic goals

Frustration often comes from having unrealistic goals. Goals that are too far out of reach for you to get excited about. Goals like having 100,000 subscribers by the end of your first month. Or making $1,000,000 in advertising without any traffic. Your goals need to be attainable. Just a hair out of reach. Enough to make you stretch but not too far that it seems unreasonable to keep going when it gets tough.

Don’t get me wrong. I am not trying to squash your dreams. I am just suggesting that you not set yourself up for failure. I once met a guy who whose goal was to be the first trillionaire in the world. He’s going to fail. It’s too far out of reach. He is not going to surpass the valuation of Apple from his Moms basement with no ideas and no prospects. Set goals that are reasonable. Win a few along the way. Get excited about them. And stay committed.

Step 7: Stay committed

You have come this far. You have developed a blog. You have been posting regularly. You have a bunch of readers. You have a purpose and reasonable goals. See it through. Stay committed to it. Don’t lose sight of your dream. Make sure that you write your absolute best stuff every time. Post consistently on the same day(s) every week. Wake up every morning at the same time and write for an hour or two. Create a religion out of it.

If you are asking your readers to commit to you by reading your blog each day than you need to commit to them and yourself. Being committed means giving your best. Not missing a post. Even when you don’t know what to say. Even when it gets tough. And when it does get tough (which it will), look to others for inspiration.

Step 8: Look to others for inspiration

You aren’t the only one that has been here. Struggling to find an audience. Wishing a post would catch on. Disappointed by the numbers. Every blogger goes through this and the best ones are the ones that make it out alive. Stronger than how they went in. Read their stories. Find solace in their struggles. You are not alone.

Chris Brogan wrote a post not too long ago about how it took him eight years to get his first 100 subscribers. If you were to ask him, I’m sure he felt like giving up a bunch of times throughout those years, but he didn’t. And that seemed to have worked out pretty good for him. It’s inspiring. And there are plenty of stories out there just like his. Make sure that yours is one of them some day.

Still frustrated?

After all that, if you are still frustrated, there is only one thing left to do about it. No, not quit. Write. Write about how frustrated you are. Maybe it’s a post. Maybe a private journal entry. Maybe a comment below on this post. Whatever it is. Leverage your ability to write about it. Get it out of your system. You will feel better and then you can get back to doing what you do best.

Marc Ensign is not a Guru, Jedi, Rock Star or a Ninja. He’s just a guy that knows an awful lot about a bunch of stuff and likes to write about it on his blogs MarcEnsign.com and NotAnotherSEOBlog.com. His stuff is good. It’s different. It’ll make you think (in a good way). You should check it out. You never know, you might learn something. If not, it’s a great way to kill a couple of minutes.

About Guest Blogger

This post was written by a guest contributor. Please see their details in the post above. If you'd like to guest post for ProBlogger check out our Write for ProBlogger page for details about how YOU can share your tips with our community.

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Comments

  1. Jamie L says:

    I’d say that #6 is one of the most important points. I see too many people expecting wayy too much when they start out. I know this is in part with all the hype and such, but people need to keep it real. Patience is importatnt. You can make serious cash online with very little monthly expenditures, vs owning a brick and mortar businesss that costs much more to operate…yet, I see so many people complaining that they aren’t rolling in dough after a few months…never mind years.

    • Marc Ensign says:

      It’s not just money…it could be traffic, subscribers, shares, comments, etc. You should have these types of goals but keep them realistic. Think S.M.A.R.T. goals. Then it’s just a matter of focusing on what you love and putting out your best work and the rest will start to fall into place!

  2. Marcela says:

    I like your perspective, of staying committed and not giving up. What do you think in terms of quantity over quality? Is it better to write a short post every day, or a longer more in depth post every week?

  3. Auntie Em says:

    Have you been watching me check my stats page?? Even I recognize that I’m a bit obsessive about it and need to back off some!
    Thanks for the reminders and encouragement!

    • Marc Ensign says:

      Unfortunately, sometimes I write from experience and that one came from experience!!!! I used to check my stats no less than 10-20 times a day. It became exhausting. And depressing. It wasn’t until I forced myself to back off that I was able to get back to enjoying my blog again. Plus it was a pleasant suprise when I did check my stats and they were usually higher than I expected!

  4. Danijela says:

    I run a blog about coffee, and sometimes I do get disappointed for not getting a ton of tweets. But actually people visit my blog to grab a recipe or some tips and I can’t expect to get that many tweets or shares, like when you have a blog about blogging or celebrities for example. I agree with you, we just need to keep up with work and stop whining.

    • Marc Ensign says:

      If you arent getting enough people sharing, dont be afraid to ask for help spreading your recipes or posts. And if someone does share it, make sure you personally and publicly thank them!!

  5. Man, I thought I was stuck on step 2…until I read step 5. I haven’t been doing this for long (only 6 months), but I already feel burned out. My first 5 sites were all garbage, and I’m feeling like a fake…like I was just fooling myself and that I don’t really have much to offer. Is that normal?

    Hahaha…I just re-read my comment, and it looks like I may actually be stuck on step 1…

    Anyways, great guest post! Useful stuff.

    Aloha, Chris.

    • Marc Ensign says:

      Hey Chris! It’s totally normal so don’t focus on that. If you are really getting burned out, you may want to look at how often you are publishing. You may be trying to do too much. Better to have 1 quality post a week than 4 ok posts a week. Not just because of the content but because if you are posting 4 times a week that also means that you are going to have to come up with 4 killer ideas every week!

  6. Amanda Prior says:

    Lots of good points here Marc. Thanks.

    Set realistic goals. Many people aim for the high numbers because that’s where they want to end up. But I always tell people to start with something small – typically your first dollar. Achieving this proves you can make money online. Once achieved, select a small monthly expense, maybe your gas bill. Once you’ve earned this go for something bigger. Doing it this ways gets you more “wins”, keeps you motivated and improves your chances of long term success.

    Amanda

  7. Very informative article. I had been blogging since 2008. I have considered quitting twice. But I learned that my goals changes every time. So far I am happy of the responses to my blogs and I have no intention of quitting. It would be nice to earn more ADsense dollars, but money is not my primary goal why I blog. I blog because I enjoy writing. Reading comments from my readers inspire me to continue writing. Good Day!

    • Marc Ensign says:

      Great to hear David! Yeah, if money is not your primary goal than your Adsense dollars will likely reflect that. You have to be more deliberate in order to make more in advertising like that. I’m with you though, I write for the inspiration I receive by way of comments and feedback from my readers. The money comes!

  8. You know; the link to this post couldn’t have shown up in my mailbox at a better time. A good internet marketing friend and I were just talking about one of my biggest issues with my site performance. I’m a Geek. I tend to gravitate towards the tech end of things because that’s what I’m comfortable doing. Thanks to her having the courage to point this out to me my new daily mantra has been, “Marketing Stuff Not Geek Stuff!” In other words, it’s just not enough for me to write a post to my site here and there, do key word research, tweak software, tweak servers and make sure that my sites are SEO friendly. I need to get out and write articles; blog comment and work with social book marking sites a little bit too. Ya, my site traffic probably still sucks for the moment but thanks to a friend, articles like this one supporting what she’s said and a desire to take another bite at the apple shifting gears and going after what I want is getting easier. “Marketing Stuff Not Geek Stuff!” Rock On!

    • Marc Ensign says:

      Be careful Brian…the marketing stuff soon turns into geek stuff and now you have a similar problem on your hand. Make sure that you are focusing on adding value. Giving people more value than they know what to do with. Give them a reason to read. To share. To comment. To recommend. To come back. etc. Marketing is great but people have to be listening to what you are marketing!

  9. Penny says:

    Thank you for reminding me to get back to the purpose. I’ve not posted much the past week for that very reason. I’m uninspired because I’m off purpose. Very timely read for me.

  10. #4, I am that kind of person. I am definitely going to change for the better.

  11. Reed Nixon says:

    I can’t get enough of this blog. I have to confess that each daily read, is like opening a new way to improving my blogging techniques. Thanks.

    • Marc Ensign says:

      I wish I could take credit for all of it and not just this post, but…well, why not. Glad to hear that it’s helping you! :)

  12. Shelby Roth says:

    This is smart and so perfect post! I really can’t imagine all those frustrations are made up by ourselves! Just getting out of them is that easy as the way we do make them. I really enjoyed your site. Very helpful indeed and this is my next step to take in my blogging. Thanks for helping out!

  13. Toni says:

    How interesting! I only started blogging because I wanted a site for other reasons and was told it was invaluable! I now am very invested because I really enjoy blogging. Am brand new and confess I have not even taken the 1st look at my Google stats…I expected things to take awhile, think I’ll just try to enjoy the creative process so far. Thank you for the encouragement!

  14. Penny says:

    Update. Since I read this about 3 days ago, inspiration back and have written a new post that I feel really good about. Thanks again.

    • Marc Ensign says:

      That’s awesome Penny! What is the URL of the post you just wrote that you feel really good about? I would love to read it!

  15. Brian Regal says:

    First, I can’t believe that I missed this for 3 days! Second, my heart is going pitter-patter and I just let out a small tear of joy over seeing you here and reading your post. Third, I just checked my stats and feel soooo guilty now. I’m done checking them for at least the next hour.
    Lastly, I was just about to hit ‘publish’ on a post about shark attacks because I so desperately want readers that I’ll go straight-up sensational and be damned the consequences. Yes, that last one is a slight exaggeration, but only slightly. I have been tweaking posts too much lately in attempts to divine what people want to read instead of just posting what I’m passionate about and can convey in a helpful way.
    As they say in the Australian ‘hood: Good on ya!

  16. Glynis Jolly says:

    You just can’t imagine how your paragraph about Chris Brogan helped me. No, I am not to the point where I’m thinking about throwing in the towel. However, I was getting concerned about how many readers were willing to be loyal to me. You know, subscribe to my blog. I’m still in the stage were I have been blogging for months. That’s a far cry from how long Chris had to wait.

  17. Linda says:

    Love all those points, but my favourites are #3 and #7. For me, it was just at the beginning that I kept checking stats, now it’s just not that important anymore. I love to blog and have known my purpose and stuck to it from the start.

  18. Sandra says:

    you know, your step 7 “stay committed” has helped me today to sit down and write. Sometimes I’m just lazy, I feel like, ooh, again, another blog post.. don’t take me wrong, I love blogging, but we are humans andd some days you are not in the right mood, you had an awful day and then you have to sit down and write.. so thanks, you’re right, as well as I want my followers to come back for more, I must take them in consideration and post regularly, even when I feel down like I was feeling today.. thanks a lot!