You’ve decided it’s time to make a living as a writer. After a little consideration, it looks like a blog is the format that best suits your writing style. You spend the time it takes to set up a WordPress site and before you know it, Presto! You have your first blog post up. Then a disturbing feeling washes over you. Although you expected to be met with rave reviews and fanfare, if not a ticket tape parade, instead you are met with something much different…it’s the sound of crickets. So you write another post. And another. Before you know it, you have posted a half dozen articles on your site and you’re met with almost zero traffic as a result. The only hits you are getting are from “bots” or spam in your comments section by others, vainly hoping that leaving a generic response blurb out how great your site is will be enough for you to endorse them, or add their site to your own site’s blog roll. After about three weeks and a dozen posts, you decide blogging is not for you.
So do you know why this happened? Why most new blogs fail can be boiled down to a few key reasons. Once they are overcome, it is not a matter of if your blog will be successful, rather when.
Why Most New Blogs Fail – Tip #1: Focus on the Process, Not the Result.
The issue for most new bloggers is they haven’t dealt in realities before launching their blog. Such is the way with many writers and it doesn’t help rid the actual “working” writers of the “dreamer” stigma, either. I had a friend recently remind me of this principle for writing success recently and I remembered how much value it holds. When I talk about writers being dreamers, it is because full well, many writers are. It is the dreaming that can get the blog started though it is planning and everyday discipline which will see the blog’s success come to fruition. As a writer, you have to be realistic with the expectation of your blog’s performance, especially in the first 1-2 years. Make no mistake, if you plan to have a successful blog, it will be a long-term commitment, requiring daily work. If you are not prepared for the commitment and sacrifice, you should probably reconsider. I’m not trying to dissuade anyone, rather simply inform of the actual requirement to meet the desired outcome. If this type of time commitment before seeing any results is too much, then you would be better off investing your time somewhere else. Writing isn’t for everyone. The results needed to have a blog be successful requires a lot of followers/subscribers to build the kind of traffic which allows for monetizing a website. This takes day in-day out work, in the form of added content. Why most new blogs fail is that the new bloggers do not realize the level of input required and how often it must be added. For your blog to reach full potential, abandon any expectation in the near future for it. If you have expectations, they will be unrealistic, as blogs are about a lot of front end work with very little initial return on investment. This is why I suggest you focus on the process. If you create the right habits in your writing, you will eventually meet your goal and surpass it. To begin with, your goal should be to stick to a defined writing schedule and nothing else.
Why Most New Blogs Fail – Tip#2: Focus on Quality Content
If you are going to the trouble of creating a blog post, you need to keep a key practice in mind. Make the posts something you want to write about. It is one thing to be writing a one-off article which you are being paid for, it is completely another to feel forced to be writing about a topic you feel indifferent about. Make certain if you are starting a blog to gear it towards your own life influences whenever possible. This will allow you to find new topics for articles all the time. I talk at more length about this in another post I have written on overcoming writer’s block.
Why Most New Blogs Fail -Tip #3: Be Specific
When adding content as a new blogger, you will soon realize the fatal flaw of many articles. The writer speaks in generalities. Without specificity on a topic, you will lose your audience. This means learning how to do research and citing reliable sources. You may write a few articles and get away with them being general, due to the fact that the post is an “introduction” to a topic, though you will soon find the devil is in the details. The more you research you may find what you believed to be the case in a topic you are writing about is in fact not the case at all. Though now at least you have evidence to support it. The reader wants to be engaged by supporting evidence. It’s not that they need to see statistic after statistic, though when there is research to support an argument in an article, have it in there or risk the article being dismissed as opinion and nothing else.
Why Most New Blogs Fail Tip #4: Ask an Expert
Another approach to take when it comes to researching an articles is to ask an expert. Having a 10 minute phone call or Skype conference can provide you with a wealth of information in a very short amount of time. Why try and reinvent the wheel? If somebody has created a successful system, or has a depth of knowledge about a subject which holds substantial value, you are far better off attempting to tap into those resources than start from scratch yourself. Often there is hesitation with contacting an expert when you are a beginner. Yes, they are busy, though they were also where you were once, so they usually understand. If a call or Skype conference is not possible, then ask if they can answer five questions about their area of specialization, which you have prepared for them. If you give a few options and make it seem relatively painless, then you will eventually get the answer you’re looking for. Don’t take it personally if you get turned down or no response. These are busy people. It’s a numbers game, the more experts you ask and the more times you ask them, eventually you will get to the “yes” answer you are looking for.
Why Most New Blogs Fail – Tip #5: Engage with your audience
Social Media is a tool which is often under appreciated by new bloggers, as it can be effective for quicker growth of a long-term audience. If you have linked accounts for Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and the like, you should be engaging daily, even if only for a few minutes. Answer questions from followers, give personalized comments, tweet about things that matter to you as a person, not only something related to marketing.
An area that is a real opportunity for growth in blogging is personalization. Marketing a product or service is fine, though the key to having somebody visit your site over and over is by having them feel like they can relate to you. Decisions made are always easier when we feel as though they are based on information from a trusted source. How does a person deem a source as reliable? Through experiences shared. While on some level, a person coming to your site and reading an article is sharing of information, if the person is also able to feel like they have received information unique to their situation from you (whether through email, Skype, Twitter…) they will always feel more comfortable going back to you as a trusted source for information.
These are a few of the fundamental reasons why most new blogs fail, as well as just some of the ways you can plan for success with the right focus and determination. I hope these tips provide you guidance if you are just setting out in your path to a career as a blogger.