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10 Hurdles I’ve Faced as a Blogger and How I Got Over Them

Last night while speaking at a small event here in Melbourne I was asked to identify the most common hurdles that bloggers face in building profitable blogs.

It was a tricky question to answer – not because there are not many hurdles… but because there are so many and each blogger seems to face their own unique set of them.

Here are a few of the hurdles that I’ve faced and some further reading on how I got over them.

Super Track and Field Meet

1. Technical Know How

When I started blogging I was using the web for email and occasional research for essays for the study I was doing. I’d used IRC chat but had never created a web page, had never ‘coded’ anything, had no understanding of how to register a domain or get a site on a server and had no ability when it came to designing a blog.

As a result I made a lot of mistakes in those early years with poor choices of blogging platforms, domain names etc.

The big lessons for me in this was that while there was a lot I didn’t know about blogging and there was always something to learn (and there still is 10 years later) you really don’t need to know it all at once.

Start simple and grow your knowledge and skills as you need them – and as you’re able you might also like to look at partnering with others or outsourcing to people who complement your skill set.

Further Reading: I’m not technical enough to blog: Misconceptions Bloggers Have #4

2. Fear of Looking Stupid

As a result of #1 one of the earliest challenges that could have held me back was looking stupid. I have distinct memories in the first few months of blogging where I would compare my very poorly designed and badly written blog (at least that’s what I saw) with other bloggers who seemed to know what they were doing – I remember wondering if people were reading purely for a laugh.

Luckily I got past this fear and kept working on developing my blogging voice and skill set and in time the fear subsided.

I think the other key for me in overcoming this fear was to focus my energies on creating content with my blog that attempted to solve tangible problems that I knew people had. I think by taking this constructive approach you create a useful blog that is pretty difficult to critique.

3. Finding a Focus

My first blog was one in which I talked about many many topics. It started out focusing upon my work (I was a minister) and so I used it to talk about Church, Theology and Spirituality but over time it broadened to talk about my other interests (movies, politics, photography, life in Australia and later blogging itself).

The more topics I wrote about the more I enjoyed blogging but the more push back I got from readers who didn’t always share my eclectic mix of interests. It wasn’t until I started new blogs for different topics that I began to find my groove and my readership really began to grow.

Further Reading: How to Choose a Blog Niche

4. Bloggers Block

A few years into blogging I had my first bout of bloggers block. The creative juices were not flowing and I would sit at my computer staring at an empty draft of a post and wonder if I’d ever come up with something to write about. The first time it lasted a week or so but I had numerous other bursts of it periodically over the years that followed.

Following are some tips on how I overcame bloggers block.

Further Reading: 11 Tips to Breaking Bloggers Block Through Solving Reader Problems

Also Check out: 31 Days to Build a Better Blog to help you kick start your blogging if it has lost motivation.

5. Bloggers Burnout

Similarly I also went through times when I almost burnt myself out with the amount of work I was putting into my blogging. At one point I had over 20 blogs running at once and was trying to post to them all each day. It was a recipe for disaster and the quality of my blogging suffered – as did my health.

The solution? I had to scale back. I decided that in order to be able to sustain my blogging I should have just a couple of blogs that I enjoyed writing and could throw myself into. This raised the bar in terms of the quality of what I was doing but also gave me more energy for those projects.

6. Personal Attack

Blogging has always been a medium where you put yourself ‘out there’ with your ideas and will from time to time get people critiquing what you do and write. This is all a part of blogging – however there have been a couple of instances over the last 10 years where the ‘critique’ of others began to feel more like a personal attack than a constructive and genuine dialogue or critique.

This takes its toll and you do wonder whether it is worth it all. This particularly was the case on one occasion where the attack became quite personal and physical in my ‘real life’. Not a nice situation but thankfully one in which things worked out in the end after a frightening encounter.

There’s no real ‘solution’ to this one – I guess you get thicker skin over time when you blog for years but you also develop positive connections with others that help to support you when times get tough!

7. Building Readership

When it comes to building a profitable blog there’s no escaping the need to build a decent sized readership. Every blog monetization strategy I can think of relies upon having people read your blog in order for you to make money and so this is something we all face the challenge of as bloggers.

This is a particularly frustrating challenge and I remember many times where I almost lost hope after many many hours of writing the best quality content that I could only to find that nobody was reading it.

Further Listening: Listen to the ‘Finding Readers for Your Blog’ Webinar for everything I know about finding readers for your blog.

8. Finding the Right Monetization Model

Having readers is not enough. I know of many bloggers who have built amazing readerships only to find that what they thought would be the right monetization model simply doesn’t work in their niche and with the type of reader that they have attracted.

For me I’ve found I’ve needed to be constantly experimenting with new ways of making money from what I do. I started with using ad networks and some basic affiliate marketing and as my blogs grew found that new opportunities would open up (such as selling ads directly to advertisers and creating my own products to sell).

Further Reading: Here’s my 12 blogging income streams and how I added each gradually over 10 years.

Further Listening: Listen to the ‘Monetizing Blogs’ Webinar

There is no one way to monetize a blog and over time what works might change. It can be a real juggling act!

9. Time Management

There are just not enough hours in the day some days!

Coming up with topics to write about, writing content, editing it, promoting it, answering comments, engaging on social media (Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Youtube, LinkedIn…. and more), commenting on other blogs… the list goes on of things you feel the need to do as a blogger.

Add into this mix having a ‘real life’ and the challenge of doing all this between your ‘day job’, family, social life and the logistics of running a household and it is not easy.

Time management is the #1 struggle I find most bloggers have – and it only gets harder as your blog grows!

Further Reading: Check out BlogWise – our eBook on becoming a more productive blogger that features advice from 9 successful bloggers.

10. Scaling Yourself

Related to time management is the challenge of trying to scale yourself.

With the right server set up a blog can pretty much have unlimited readership and reach and still keep running. The challenge of growing a blog isn’t so much a technical one – it often is more about how keep your blog personal and to stay accessible to your readers.

In the early days its relatively easy to answer every comment and reply to every email and tweet while also creating blog posts… but as your readership grows it can become more challenging and something usually needs to give.

The choice is either to just let some reader engagement go, or to bring someone on to help you manage it (and loose some personal touch) or to work longer hours (not sustainable in the long term).

I still don’t feel like I’ve got this challenge right – but keep working at it!

Further Reading: Making Yourself Accessible to Readers

What Hurdles Have You Faced as a Blogger?

As I wrote this post I realised just how many more huddles and obstacles I could have come up with (in fact I may just publish a post with 10 more).

Which of the above resonate most with you? What would you add?

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.

Problogger.net runs on the Genesis Framework

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Comments

  1. Hi Daren,

    Though many years passed, the hurdles are not changed yet. Many people wish to start a new blog but scared as they don’t know the HTML, PHP and MySql sort of things though they know emails and Facebook a much. Thanks to the powerful platforms like WordPress, the learning curve is much lowered.

    Finding right monetization model is another hard bit for intermediate bloggers. Once the blog is some popular, we look towards every direction to find better ways to monetize and still don’t see anything else except Adsense, direct ads and some affiliate. Making money has been everybody’s marathon in blogging.

    Thanks for the wonderful post. It’s inspirational and you’ve shown some direction.

    • Bonapau says:

      Great post!

    • Ron Schunk says:

      Item one has been my biggest hurdle. I am not a ‘newbie’ having coded webpages in raw code before all the nifty software packages became available, but, that being said I have spent an excruciating amount of time learning WordPress..the learning curve is like 0 -100 in the first 5 minutes….and haven’t really felt comfortable until I got a copy of WordPess for Beginners. Thanks to that book I’m rolling right along….

      There is so much more to a good Blog than a static HTML page with just links like the pages I used to write.

      I also appreciated your article and it has given me some more direction and hope that I can succeed with this whole concept.

  2. Great advice as always, Darren. The last two points are the big ones for me but I guess it’s the same with all businesses? There’s a tipping point where you need to bring on help to run things. I’d like to think with blogging we can still keep the personal happening. You do that very well. I still aim to reply to all comments but I’m outsourcing in other areas to free up time for that. The biggest hurdle for me at the moment is juggling writing a book with my already full-time blogging business. Breaking down the bigger deadlines into smaller tasks is helping me stay on track – and I’m using Asana to keep me on track for that.

  3. #1 and #3 have been my biggest hurdles but also my biggest successes. In getting over them I found what I liked to do and how I liked to do it. They were staring at me in the shape of hurdles when I should have been looking at them as mountains to stand on top of. Today they are the foundation of what I do and that makes all the other hurdles more like speed bumps.

    Great article. Thanks!

  4. James Strock says:

    Thanks for an excellent, actionable list of blogging challenges that you’ve identified, faced and overcome. This will be useful and inspiring for many of us.

  5. Here’s a few I’ve had to deal with…

    1. Motivating myself to continue writing when traffic levels are low and nobody comments or even acknowledges you exist.

    2. Constantly coming up with new things to write about.

    3. My writing is on personal development so it’s closely intertwined with my life on a personal level so sometimes I’m frightened by the epiphanies I sometimes get when writing.

    4. Conquering the ego. Resisting the urge to put on a false persona. Keeping things 100.

    5. Realizing I can’t do it by myself. It’s awesome to produce EPIC content, but I’ve realized you can’t build it and wait for them to come. If you do they’ll never find you.

  6. Robinsh says:

    Currently I think I’m looking stupid and managing a poorly written blog, thanks for the helpful links to help me come over with the hurdles like these.

    • jenny says:

      Hi robinsh…took a quick look at your site..looks fine yaar! More personal photos would be good… and post on linkedin… india is one of the fastest adopters of linkedin..

  7. I’d add critical judgement for myself and a lot of other bloggers. I think blog envy holds a lot of people back. Nice list Darren, it’s nice to see success beyond the same struggles the rest of us are dealing with.

  8. Brandi says:

    #9. Gosh, it’s awesome to come across articles like this, it makes me feel so much better. :-). I spent the first six months just learning how to set up my blog, and I can remember balling my eyes out when I had decided to not back-up my site before an upgrade. (Ouch) Now, I am trying to learn how to manage my time and set limits on what I can realistically do. I can’t wait to read some of the above links that are in your post!! Thanks for all that you do Darren, you are very encouraging.

  9. Ron M says:

    It great for you to share your personal story on the “fear that new bloggers have” when first starting out. This should inspire new bloggers and internet entrepreneurs to overcome the hurdles when it comes to similar situations. I’ve been reading over your awesome blog for so many years and have learned so much, especially when it comes to monetization!

    There are just soo many possibilities out there for you to monetize your site. You shouldn’t just be limited to the “popular trends”. Do something different, and being creative with monetization is important. Also agree with your point on Time Management! Create a schedule and follow it, makes things so much more simple!

  10. I am currently struggling with building readership and also monetizing my blog, but I am just going to keep up at it and I will figure it out in the end.

  11. Being a somewhat new blogger I completely relate with your article. My biggest fear is the fear of what others will think especially when I share my posts on social media where my friends can see. I am starting to get over that. Great article!

    • melissa says:

      I waited three months before mentioning my blog on my personal social media! On one hand, I wanted to see if I could attract an audience on my own, but on the other it was fear based.

  12. In our country the limitation that arises is the Age factor where Parents are more concerned about just studies and see no future in Blogging.

    • dan says:

      Funny, how the prospect of “Blogging” will raise concern, whereas, “journalism” would likely be considered a respected field to pursue. From the perspective of journalism, the successful blogger has the advantages of being an entrepreneur, benefiting from advertising income, calling the shots on content, and being independent of censorship, deadlines, and the looming threat of receiving a pink slip.

      • Ron says:

        I’m not really all that sure that Journalism is considered a respected field of pursuit given all the negative publicity surrounding it these days. Your post does ring true for the blogger though and I appreciate the comments being a beginning blogger.

  13. Saif says:

    Excellent post. I think that what i faced in the start was i do not have funds to manage my blog hosting and every thing.
    I was not earning much from my blogs in the start.
    Thanks for the nice post.

  14. Aman says:

    The Post is Excellent. Whenever a newbie starts blogging faced many hurdles in his track but soon, his/ her hard work and smart work gives the best result. Awesome Post Happy Blogging

  15. Darren, I can relate to pretty much everything you have written in this post. My first year of blogging has been a massive learning curve!

    I think the biggest hurdle so far has been experiencing my blog being hacked a month ago whilst I was on holiday. As it was hard to deal with properly on vacation I have subsequently experienced a severe drop in organic Google traffic a month later. I think this is because I have needed to resubmit my site to Google and didn’t realise.

    So I have lost 80% of my traffic that I have spent all year working hard at building. Hoping Google will get on with recognising my blog again soon!

    Great post. Thanks for acknowledging that it ain’t easy!
    Mel

  16. Rob says:

    Great article Darren.During or before launching my own blog I felt the pressure of needing to impress my ‘tribe’ — since I sell marketing+design services I thought I needed to be perfect before I would be taken seriously.

    Now I know that all I need to be is ‘authentic’ and that the right kind of client will come not based on the ‘profile’ I cut, but on my own personal character and values; infusion that into my business.

    I love the journey!
    Rob

  17. Bill says:

    Hi Darren,

    I just want to say Thank You for this article. It’s like a refresher course, or something.

    Already got 31DBBB, and I recommend it to everyone I know who is blogging. I suppose I should affiliate that as well, but for the time being I recommend it just because it’s so good.

    Now I’m going to explore all the links & let everything soak in.

    Thanks again,
    Bill

  18. Jagatbandhu says:

    OurEvery problem has its own solution,inorder to swim one must jump in water.However I must thank you for your cordial information.

  19. Gaurav says:

    it’s really a big confusion that either our posts are good, informative and grammatical errors free or not. but Darren i have seen many articles directories and Blog writing very poor articles and they are doing good in SERP’s. so I think we should not afraid of it and keep focusing to generate informative and quality content.

  20. Damian says:

    Interesting post. Blogging has been an uphill battle for me since I started. Thinking of something interesting to blog about has been hard. Finding the time to maintain the blog, plus all of the associated social media pages/groups. I’ve been told every writer needs a blog and social media but now I’m left with no time to write!

  21. Reaz says:

    Hello Darren,

    After reading this post I realize all of people will face this problem anytime in blogging career. This post will really helpful for those users who want to make their blog smoothly.

    Overall I like this post too much. Thanks for your great content.

  22. stundey says:

    The challenges am facing now and what i believe most new bloggers are facing is “traffic” and “writing skills”

    thanks for analyzing your hurdles

  23. Daryl says:

    Time management is definitely my biggest demon that I’m always fighting. I try to get around this by having a specific schedule and timelines so I know when I need to increase my productivity.

    Not only that, I’m also hoping to avoid bloggers burnout since I have to work for my blog as well as freelance writing work – again, proper time management and scheduling my time is essential in avoiding burnout as well

  24. Edson Hale says:

    Finding the most fit niche is itself a heck of the task; once you decide to pick the best one every niche seems to be the best one for you and in that ambient feeling you select what the best one looks to you but practically you come to know about your niche after two to three months when you lose interest in it despite of pumping yourself with passion and hard work.

  25. Thanks Darren for sharing your hurdles and how you overcame them!
    I think the most frustrating thing for a beginner blogger is that everything happens in slow motion. Everything takes a bit of time. But if you stick to basics and continue blogging, you will find readers and income and will learn a lot about blogging in general.

  26. Ali Mese says:

    I think this sentence summarizes it all “you really don’t need to know it all at once.”. Many bloggers quit writing after a few months because they get exhausted with the effort they put but get no quick returns. The idea of “improve as you go” does not sink in and it can be quite discouraging when the effort in order to acquire technical know-how is huge. Great article.

  27. Abhi says:

    Some great food for though Darren. One of my biggest fear’s is also writer’s block. Some days I just have no idea what to write about!! But it’s temporary and when it passes I usually have some great sources of inspiration.

  28. Erica says:

    Definitely time management along with knowing technical stuff are big hurdles for me. Also, I would have to say being consistent as far as writing posts. I know with this information I will be able to build a better blog. Just need to be patient. Thank you for this.

  29. Hey Darren,

    Great post. I am new to blogging myself. I think the hardest thing is not getting frustrated when each post is not received well. It may be gold to me to garbage to another. It seems that consistency is key. Find when you have time to do it and stick with it so that folks that begin to follow expect to see something new.

  30. Thanks for sharing the info. Running a halfway decent site is actually not as hard these days thanks to social media platforms and blogging platforms so people should not feel like the technology is limiting their opportunities.

  31. Thad James says:

    Darren, I think you crawled inside my head and read my mind! You have given me and many bloggers great tools to make it easier for us to be better writers. And more engaged. And able to avoid writer’s block. Thanks.

  32. I faced the ones you listed. The toughest ones for me are technical (I take a lot of deep breaths and do a lot of homework) and the personal attacks. I write about dogs and dog rescue and sometimes I touch on subjects that are polarizing. I don’t mind dialogue and it’s not necessary that everyone agree with me – but when the attacks become personal and borderline violent (as one did recently until the police got involved), I just want to throw in the towel. I ask myself if it’s worth all of this and then I think, YES! And I go forth and blog.

    Another hurtle that I face is comparing myself to others and coming up short or having others compare themselves to me and feel that they’re not doing something right. We’re all individuals doing our own thing; that’s how it should be. It’s not a competition. To some.

  33. Marc Perrot says:

    Hey Darren,

    Those are some great points. I’ve faced a few of those hurdles myself, but the one I’m most focused on right now is growing a readership and networking with other bloggers. Luckily, my blog is relatively new, so I’m not overly worried yet, but I definitely will be if I can’t find any traction in a few months.

    Thanks for the tips and keep up the great work!

  34. Chirag says:

    For me time management has been a major area of concern.
    Another area is.. I go out of ideas and I dono what I should write !

  35. I think I’ve identified myself with most of these challenges, particularly focus and burnout. Another one I’d add is not giving up – I think it’s a major one that many of us feel at some point.

  36. I agree that newbie bloggers always face challenges in blogging field, I myself a newbie bloggers, I am facing hurdles but I will get over it. Your article is really motivating.

  37. Thanks for sharing the great information. Running a halfway decent website is actually not as hard these days thanks to social media platforms and blogging platforms so people should not feel like the technology is limiting their chance.

  38. Great post darren, myself a relatively new blogger faced challenges such as money, fear and my age but this post sums up how i countered my fear

  39. The one hurdle I face daily is that I write my awesome post and then I sit and think that something is missing and that post stays unpublished for almost a week. This feeling of incomplete posts always kills me and wastes a lot of my time!

  40. James Rhodes says:

    For me there is just three factors that bloggers need to figure out to become successful.

    Passion above all else: If you are passionate about your blog and the subject matter, the rest will take care of itself. Passion trumps all. If you really want it, you’ll find a way to make it happen.

    Consistency is required: You have to be consistent. 10 posts one week followed by a couple weeks off is not going to cut it. Find a frequency and stick with it. I’ve found building a habit around your posts works best for most people.

    Patience will be necessary: After you’ve covered the first two bases, you will need to be patient. Building a blog is hard and takes a long time. Too many bloggers start out like a bat out of hell and then a month down the line give up because they aren’t seeing results.

    To me blogging is this simple. Master these three and I promise you will see results.

  41. Yup, these are some of my huddles too. The major 2 are mind blocked, and lack of motivation. Really needs someone with great focus to keep the blog alive. Thanks Darren!

  42. I have gone through almost all of the above hurdles except “Personal Attack” ( and still struggling with most of them). It is great to see my these hurdles are common for everyone ( even for Darren) so it automatically give me strength that I’m not the only one who is facing such hurdles.. ….

  43. Anil Kumar says:

    Thanks for sharing such a great information. Running a blog is not as hard these days but overcoming hurdles on the way to blogging is a great success.

  44. I definitely resonate with time management. Who would have thought that writing a blog could be so time consuming lol. It’s a joy but at the same time you have to learn to manage your time, otherwise it’s easy to get overwhelmed.

  45. Anil Agarwal says:

    For some time I’m finding really hard to make Google bots happy. I’m trying to do whatever I can to keep my website from Google animals attack.

  46. May says:

    Thank you for your article.
    I’m on “Bloggers Burnout” now. LOL.
    Need to reduce my blogs, maybe into 2-5 blogs only.
    Still not sure which one to select and which one to close.
    It is very hard decision to make.

  47. Tanya Vega says:

    Thank you for sharing this article! All 10 tips were really useful for me.
    My relatively new blog has variety of topics now which are all very interesting for me. I think later I’ll “branch out” new one (because finding a focus is essential) but for now I’m just going this way as I am kind of not ready for new blog (don’t see how it must be and look like yet). =)

  48. Very insightful article for new bloggers. As a new blogger I often feel demotivated when things go as I hoped. The traffic for my new blog by two-thirds after the recent Penguin- II update. Trying to continuously learn and correct your past mistakes can be the only way to succeed in a profession like blogging where you are your own teacher.