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Why Your Blog Isn’t Growing and How to Make It A Success

Posted By Guest Blogger 24th of September 2014 General 37

How To Build A Successful BlogThis is a guest contribution from Gary Dek from StartABlog123.com.

If your blog is dependent on Google search engine rankings like most websites, you should know that one record month of traffic can easily be followed by a record low. Growing your blog’s traffic and revenue requires leveraging traffic and design strategies to build and retain visitors, eventually converting them into loyal readers and followers. Otherwise, you risk the chance of starting from zero after an algorithm update.

Here are some possible reasons your blog is failing to capitalize on its current readership, and what you can do about it.

The Cornerstones of Building A Following

You are not actively seeking growth. If you update your blog regularly with comprehensive, high-quality content and are not seeing growth in terms of traffic from returning visitors, then you are doing something wrong. Chances are, your traffic is comprised of one-time visitors who forget all about you after they’ve exited your blog.

What can you do to maintain a connection?

  1. Collect emails. If you don’t collect email addresses from your readers, you can’t get those readers to come back to your blog on a regular basis. You can use these emails to send a message each time you publish a new post. Alternatively, you can send a weekly or bi-weekly newsletter highlighting your best posts within that period. A mailing list can even offer a targeted audience who may be interested in a new product or service you’ve developed, leading to a higher conversion rate than a general blog post. Whatever your reason for collecting emails, doing it will keep your readership updated and constantly interacting with your brand. Word of caution: make sure you ask for permission before you add an email to a newsletter or mailing list. Like you, I absolutely hate it when blogs add me as a subscriber when I input my email for another purpose. The last thing you want is to be labeled or even reported as a spammer.
  2. Build a community. Blogging has always been all about people interacting on a more personal level compared to traditional news outlets. If your blog is not growing, then you may have issues with engagement. Are you getting comments? Are you responding to comments? Do you have a group of people who talk to each other through your blog? Do you ask for user input at the end of each blog post? Is your comment system intuitive and easy to use? Is your content original, personal, and addressing the needs and wants of your readers? These are some of the questions you need to ask yourself when building a community around your blog.
  3. Get on social media. People spend more time on social networking platforms than other sites. In 2014, Facebook reported that the average user spends 17 minutes on the site every day. If you want to get a reader’s attention, then you need to have a social media presence. Start with one or two platforms – Facebook and Twitter – and build your presence there. Share your posts. Ask your readers for their opinions or experiences. Pose a question. Share other experts’ guides. You don’t even need to stay on your own Facebook page – interact with other blogging authorities in the niche and build relationships. If your contributions are insightful, you may even be invited to guest blog. The traffic you build through your social sharing can never be taken away from you by Google’s algorithm.

Are You Insecure About Your Knowledge or Blogging Skills?

You lack conviction. Some of the most common indications that you don’t believe in yourself or your ability to offer value through your blog content include:

  • You don’t think you’re a writer because you didn’t major in journalism or creative writing.
  • You question your authority to write about a certain topic.
  • You think, “Who am I to express my opinion strongly to the public?”
  • You’re afraid to let your personality shine in your writing.
  • You’re a perfectionist and afraid to post anything but a 10,000 word “masterpiece” that covers every angle, argument, or consideration.

If you consistently feel self-doubt, then you need to take a step back and remember why you started blogging in the first place. The barriers to entry when starting a blog are so low that you could have written about anything, but you chose this niche for a reason.

Either you had first-hand experience and knowledge in the industry and you believed you could make a difference or you were passionate about learning something new and wanted to document your research and journey.

The former is common in the SEO industry, where online marketers who worked for agencies or themselves building and selling sites decide they want to finally share all their SEO knowledge with the masses. The latter is common in the personal finance niche, where individuals document their own troubles managing money and share their journey to financial independence.

If you do not have that confidence and passion anymore, you can do all the research you want and spew thousand-word posts, but your writing will not resonate with your audience.

Blogging Isn’t Just About Writing. Remember, you don’t have to be a poet to create a useful article. As the respected author E.B. White said, “Writing is an act of faith, not a trick of grammar.” You need to find that confidence and believe that you have something to offer your readers. Don’t let your lack of training as a writer bring you down. All things can be learned, but passion can’t be faked.

This lack of self-belief can also lead to the next problem.

Your blog is bland. Tepid. Has no personality. There are millions of blogs out there and the number of online visitors is finite. You need to have something unique to attract readers and grow your audience. Since more than one person is ever writing about the same topic, you must add your own unique touch or contribution.

Some ways to do this:

  1. Inject your real-life personality in your writing. If you’re outspoken and unabashed, then write that way. If you aren’t, force yourself to be and share all the things you’ve always wanted to say but didn’t.
  2. Don’t shy away from controversy. Even though you may not have a confrontational personality, discussing controversial issues can help your blog get attention. People like controversy, and they like discussing it. Whether they agree with you or not, it doesn’t matter. What counts is that you get them reading, sharing, and commenting. However, always think before you “speak” and don’t make a fool of yourself.
  3. Talk to your readers as if they were right in front of you. Much like letting your personality shine through your writing, you also need to remember that your readers are real people and not just numbers in your analytics report. Write as if you were having a conversation with one of them. Create something that you yourself will want to read and share.
  4. It’s okay to be weird. Let’s be honest – we’re all weird. I’m OCD about cleanliness and organization. Everything on my desk is parallel or perpendicular to each other. Everything on my laptop is titled a certain way and saved for optimal convenience and efficiency, including my music and movies. When setting my thermostat or the volume on the TV, I prefer even numbers or ones ending in 5. Those of you who share my “weirdness” may feel an instant connection with me because we share the same “problems” ;). Weird is definitely more eye-catching than bland.

Treat Your Blog Like A Business

Everything you offer is free. There is nothing wrong with giving away free content, products, or services. But if you want to grow a blog and make money online, you need to train your readers not to expect everything for free. Sometimes the most valuable information or tools require an investment of your time and money to develop, and you will need to take that into consideration.

Nevertheless, you should understand that “paying” doesn’t always involve money. Many readers have an aversion to shelling out money for content, especially if you are not a big name yet or have given everything for free up till now. Fortunately, you can achieve growth in other ways.

One way is to show only a snippet of a long-form resource. Make sure that the preview is interesting enough to make readers want to read the entire resource. Here comes the caveat – in order for the reader to see the whole article, you ask them to tweet or share the URL on Facebook. Not only do you provide something of value, but you also get something in return: more exposure. Similarly, you can require an email address for your mailing list.

This strategy isn’t innovative and new for 2014, but it does work and can provide a way to constantly keep in touch with your readership, as discussed earlier in this post.

You’re not taking things seriously. You most probably started blogging as a hobby. Then one day, you installed AdSense on your blog and started making a couple dollars a day. Several months went by and that part-time income started growing to an amount that made you realize the potential of your blog.

The problem is that some bloggers who want to succeed still don’t take blogging all that seriously. They think that it’s just writing and publishing whenever they want. And when they analyze their websites, they are subjective and passive instead of being honest and critical with themselves.

Here are some things you can do to take your blog to the next level by taking it more seriously.

Be consistent. Consistency is vital to your blog’s success. You should maintain an editorial calendar or simply choose to post Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Consistency means being in it for the long haul. Don’t rest on your accomplishments for the past month – set new goals and keep working.

Manage your time well. If you want blogging to be a source of income, then you need to run your blog like a business. That means you need to learn to manage your time and have a good work-life balance. Set work hours, and set aside time to spend with your friends and family. When you know you have all day to accomplish a task, you will likely procrastinate. Alternatively, when I’m feeling burned out, I like to go on vacation or visit a nice part of town. Having fun or observing other successful people motivates me to get there too.

Always Hold Yourself Accountable

I feel this is where a lot of people fail, whether they are bloggers, entrepreneurs, or employees. Do you want to appear to be or feel successful, or do you want your dreams to be a reality? You can blame your blog’s stalled growth on Google, Facebook, competing bloggers, or your hosting company, but ultimately, you are the boss.

You are the master of your own fate, and that is one of the best feelings in the world. Except for extenuating circumstances, your blog’s success begins and ends with you. This can either empower and motivate you or cripple you.

As a final thought, I leave you with one of my favorite quotes by Mark Twight:

“Modern man is conditioned to expect instant gratification, but any success or triumph realized quickly, with only marginal effort, is necessarily shallow. Meaningful achievement takes time, hard work, persistence, patience, proper intent and self-awareness. The path to success is punctuated by failure, consolidation, and renewed effort.”

Author Bio: Gary Dek is the founder of StartABlog123.com, which provides a free step-by-step tutorial on starting and growing a blog. He is passionate about helping new and professional bloggers build sustainable online businesses via content and social marketing.

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Comments
  1. This is a wonderful, motivating, a self realization piece & it has help me to think about what was i missing in what i was doing wrong..

  2. Having a decent amount of content is also helpful. ; ) I say that because your current site only has two posts, but I suppose that guest blogging and getting do follows and subscribers to your site is probably a key part of your growth strategy.

    I agree that you should have different sources of traffic. Social media is helpful and you can use some awesome tools to help automate a lot of things.

    I agree about being personal and letting your uniqueness shine out. I am focusing on doing that and it can be difficult, but it is well worth it and people seem to respond more to it. The outspoken about your beliefs can be very powerful, Penelope Trunk puts that to good use.

    • Great points, Sebastian. Social media and personality in your writing are definitely great dimensions of any growth strategy.

  3. I love the last point you make ” Hold Yourself Accountable” because that’s what it will always come down too. How much effort you put in, how much research and hours and planning goes into your blog.

  4. I’m completely understanding everything you’re saying in this blog post especially about keeping your site traffic up after Google our rhythm updates. Google algorithm updates have a unique way of making or breaking a sites organic traffic and positioning in search engine results pages. Additionally, while many people understand the importance of using social media to organically grow their site traffic, they’re still being lazy and not completely doing the transformation entrepreneurial work when it comes to “Internet marketing” via social media.

    Then, there’s the bloggers and Internet marketers who don’t take building a business on the web quite seriously. It might just be a part-time hobby to them and not seen as something that can potentially be $1 million business in as little as five years or less. I myself always try to encourage people that if you’re going to start a blog or website on the Internet, work at it sincerely and diligently. Even if it means posting one blog or webpage to your site daily. Also, many bloggers and Internet marketers don’t understand that creating content is simply a process of speaking in the same tone as if you were in front of a person’s face. Naturally speaking in a blog post or on a webpage as you would in person is the same thing. Talking online in the form of a blog post or webpage can be a great way to build business from scratch and possibly earn decent money in due time. Thank you for this thought-provoking post. :-)

  5. Great insight, Drewry. Thanks for sharing!

  6. Gary,
    I am new to blogging and freelance writing and I am finding it exhilarating and addicting! Although I just started a blog about freelance writing, I am eager to get a following for validation and to start a community of voices.
    One thing I am hesitant to write about is my personal life on my blog, but I do connect my readers by relating them in a different way.
    I look forward to reading more posts by you!

  7. Thanks for the heads-up Gary.

  8. Great article! very useful. I’ve been struggling with shyness (specially), but as far as I can see many people does in the beginning. Thanks for sharing! :)

  9. Agreed on all points. Most importantly, consistency ! Newbies want to see instant success and if they don’t get, the become disappointed.

  10. Hi Gary,

    Excellent advice :)

    Telling stories helps you separate your self from the blogging crowd. Actually, telling YOUR story makes you irresistible to success because your story makes you special.

    I chat about my blogging stories every day on Blogging from Paradise, through either my posts or my comments. Doing so makes it easier for folks to connect with me because I seem more human to them.

    I may talk about about fruit bats here in Fiji or how I petted three, 400 pound tigers in India or how I was beat up in Bali.

    In each case I simply tell the story and draw an analogy to blogging as that’s what my blog and my brand is about. Tell those stories.

    As for your community it WILL make your blog go. I can only do so much but a large, supportive network of friends and readers, who I connect with on a 1 on 1 basis, expands my presence infinitely more quickly than I could ever do on my own.

    I comment extensively – just released a commenting eBook recently – and share on social sites to build bonds, help friends, to grow my audience and to build my network.

    As always Gary, giving precedes receiving and I can see you’re doing an awesome blogging job in both departments.

    Big time over delivering here.

    Loved the post!

    Thanks much.

    I’ll tweet in a bit.

    Ryan

  11. “Treat Your Blog Like A Business” : this line tells it all…Nicely written Gary …

  12. Perfectly written post Gary. My main problem is the Time Management. I’m a full time internet marketer and I do freelance projects to cover my income some months and I target my blogs in other months.

    This month is for targeting on my science blog and I’m wasting lot of time to write 1 post because I have the whole day to work on it. Therefore now I’m using Pomodoro technique by targeting to complete an article within an hour, but I fail to complete it within an hour.

    Experience is taking and I’ll manage my time better than yesterday.

    Thank you,
    Shyam

  13. Thank you fir the great article. I have been having a difficult time getting traction for a variety of sites. I see some of the mistakes are being patient, creating consistant content, and finding my voice. I now know what to concentrate on.

    • Always happy to help. If you’ve developed a decent amount of content (like you have), start focusing more on building exposure for your site, such as reaching out to other high traffic blogs in your niche.

  14. Great tips. Thanks for sharing!

  15. Hi Gary,

    You just pointed out some great points here.Thanks for this.Very nice and informative article.

    Regards

    Mich

    • Thanks for the feedback, Mich. Always happy to know I didn’t waste anyone’s time! =)

  16. I think the tough part is finding the time to blog in addition to all the other things that’s required of managing an Ecommerce business- managing inventory- photos, buying product, PR, customer service, SEO, SEM, operations, supplies, marketing, etc. I’ve considered interviewing other people or asking friends to “guest blog” but it’s a hard sell when you know that the traffic to your blog is minimal- you just don’t want to waste anyone’s time. I’ve also considered hiring someone to help post engaging articles but then I find it hard to justify the cost when it’s I really hard to understand the direct affect the blog will have on sales!

  17. Fantastic, thanks Gary. This resonated with me on such a high level……..thanks for the motivation and kick in the pants :)

  18. I had attanded one SEO training from a local training center in Delhi. That was just an introduction of this amazing world. That had seeded a new career opportunity for me. After few days, my trainer realized that I am having a good content writing skills. Now, I am earning my bread and butter by freelance content writing work. This is a good profile for me. I had also created a website but I am not able to get traffic on this website. Your content is really inspiring and technically sound. I would love to see your feedback about my website and need support as a guest blogger for my website. Please give some tips and time to this newbie in the business.

  19. Great post Gary! Your #4 item under how to add a unique touch really resonated with me. When I eat my fav cookies (Pepperidge Farm Milano), I always eat 4 – no more, no less. Yes, I’m weird like that, but it works for me.

    I just shared this totally tweetable statement: “Your blog’s success begins and ends with you. This can either empower and motivate you or cripple you.” So true!

    Thanks for sharing your brain with us today!

    Jill

  20. Lo there, Gary!

    Great tips. I have to admit – you got me at “you lack conviction”. I do. And I’m not sure how to change that. I am running an environmental blog, not anything strict or too serious. Sometimes I post about daily and interesting things and happenings, unrelated directly to environment, but in the sphere of green living. Problem is, I usually run out of ideas and might skip a week or two. And I know this is bad, but I just can’t make myself post something sub-par. Any advice would be extremely welcome!

    Thanks again, cheers!

  21. I really enjoyed your article Gary! I have been struggling a bit myself with traffic, and I appreciate all of the advice you have to offer. Thank you!

  22. Thanks for the article, and a well timed kick in the butt. I am a newbie…one who started blogging as a hobby. Still do – but your article helps me see the potential and the light. Thanks!

  23. Now days people only focusing on money more rather than making good content. But you are an exception. Thanks for sharing great and worth reading article. :)

  24. I disagree that great quality blog posts is the key factor making a blog successful. I see a lot of mediocre blog posts on some very popular blogs.
    I think there is too much emphasis on creating content and too little on promotion and marketing. It seems to me that 80% of your time should be spent on promotion.

  25. You do have a point, George. I don’t think great quality blog posts alone will make a blog successful, but amazing content makes it significantly easier to rank higher in search engines, get accepted as a guest blogger, avoid penalties, attract a loyal following, etc.

    For example, I have a couple sites in VERY high competition niches, and I’m up against multi-billion dollar enterprises with deep backlink profiles. Fortunately, I write more informative and in-depth posts than them, and am able to compete with much fewer backlinks.

  26. I completely agree that being authentic is a great way to be. No one likes a fake. No one likes pretensiousness, either. Be real.

    Most people nowadays are too hung up on what others are going to think of them. Not me. I do what I want, when I want to, and absolutely love it.

    More people should be this way! It’s freeing, and awesome.

    And I’ve only been blogging for about 20 months. :)

    FYI, I’m still loving it.

  27. Gary,

    Great Article! I love your tip about talking to your readers as if they were right in front of you! Keep up the good work!

  28. Hi Gary,
    Good Article i like all the tips. I really Enjoyed .Thanks for the article
    Regards,
    Stephen

  29. Hello Gary

    The article is really Good and it is not only matter to you why your blog is not success. The blog owner’s must use these steps. I make many mistake even my blog penalized by Google thrice time , still i did not loose hope. Once you have dedication in your heart and mind no one can stop you for your success. But in blogging you must check the Google policies as well.

    I prefer to new bloggers read blog owner’s experience for great success.

    Things Must Need

    1) Dedication

    2) Love your Blog as it is your family member

    3) Care for it as you did for you loving person

    4) Do not love your blog not only for money

    Thanks for sharing profitable niche topic and inspirational title

  30. The idea of getting open and speaking up things the way i always wanted to has appealed to me. Will work in this way from now on and hope to get good results.

  31. I definitely need to hold myself accountable for sticking to a blog schedule. I blog at least once a month but I know that is not enough if I want to get the engagement that I would like.

  32. Hey Gary,

    There you have the great insight into the reasons why a blog might not be growing as expected.

    I really enjoyed reading this because its full of great tips for beginners and as well as experienced bloggers.

    Hope to see more of these tips over here.

    Take care and have a nice day ahead.

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