As any blogger will tell you, running a blog can be hard work.
Worse – it can be thoroughly frustrating.
It’s entirely normal to spend months slowly building your blog only to see very little return for all that effort.
All those evenings and weekends spent producing content, all that effort put into networking on social media and all in exchange for $1.13 in Adsense income?
Something’s gotta give, right?
And that’s exactly why there are so many thousands of deserted blogs out there; quite simply people give up long before they get over that threshold and really start to see some impressive results.
If you’re starting to feel rather deflated right now and are considering giving up on your latest blog then here’s some advice:
Don’t quit just yet.
Instead, work your way through the following checklist. Carry out an honest audit on your blog to see if there are any obvious “issues”.
The odds are pretty good that you’ll be missing the target on one or more of these factors; and once you know what they are, you can begin to remedy them.
And in doing so, you’ll stand the best chance possible of making your blog a success.
Ready? Then let’s begin…
Your Blog Content Isn’t Exceptional
Let’s be honest; once upon a time being a blogger was special.
These days, however, blogs are a dime a dozen.
Worse, as readers we’re more time-strapped than ever before.
That means there’s a whole lot of bloggers out there competing for a limited amount of attention. This can make it tough to attract an audience; especially if your readers can find content of equal or greater value elsewhere.
Sadly, the net is filled with “me too” content that can be found on any number of other blogs. The blogs that rise above the tide – blogs like Boost Blog Traffic, Blog Tyrant and Smart Passive Income – have done so precisely because they offer content that is consistently exceptional.
Read enough of their posts and sooner or later you’re going to subscribe.
So if your blog isn’t performing as you’d like right now, consider carrying out a content audit. Ask yourself how your content compares to other blogs in your niche. Is it all very similar or are you working hard to produce exceptional content that cannot be found anywhere else online?
You’re Attacking The Wrong Keywords
As any SEO professional reading this article will know, targeting the right keywords is critical if you’re to stand the very best chance of reaching the top spots and deriving maximum search engine traffic for your blog.
Just writing from the heart isn’t enough; you also need to be planning your content to hit certain keywords that you stand the best chance of ranking for.
Are you struggling to hit the top spots in Google? If so, consider investing in one of the many tools that will help you to select the most appropriate keywords for your niche.
Your Readers Don’t “Connect” With You
Here’s an odd thing; I’ve never personally met Sue Anne Dunlevies or Brian Dean – but I love their blogs. Over time, not only have they offered me more and more exceptional content, but I’ve also got to know a little about them.
As soon as you land on Sue Anne’s site she’s building rapport and helping to make a connection with her readers. But that’s not all… Scan down to the end of any post on Successful Blogging and you’ll also see Sue Anne’s author box – once again we see that smiling face and Sue Anne’s bio.
When we visit blogs like this, we know who is behind it.
We start to visualize who they are. Over time, if they do their job properly, we’ll learn to trust them, to look forward to seeing them pop up in our feed reader and to enjoy whatever value they decide to email us.
This is powerful; and is so much better than the alternative of a “faceless” blog who by goodness-knows-who.
If you want your readers to keep on coming back, if you want them to become subscribers rather than mere one-off visitors, if you want them to end up clicking your affiliate links and buying a product then you need to go out of your way to display your personality and really give them a chance to connect with you.
If right now your blog isn’t seeing the traffic growth you’d like, consider how you can add some extra personality to your posts – and your layout – in order to help people mentally “connect” with the person behind the blog.
Your Blog’s Message Isn’t Clear
Most (good) blogs have an overarching “theme” or “message”.
Take, for example, my good buddy Ryan Biddulph from Blogging From Paradise…
The second you land on Ryan’s site you understand the concept; he’s successfully escaped the rat race to island hop around some of the most beautiful parts of the world – all thanks to blogging – and he’s going to show you how to do the exact same thing.
This is Ryan’s “hook” or “angle” – something that helps to make his message unique. For people getting fed up with their boring 9 to 5 existence and dreaming of travelling the world, don’t you think Ryan’s blog (and excellent ebooks) will be of instant interest to them? I think so…
On the other hand an awful lot of blogs seem to have no overall theme to them.
They’re just a collection of blog posts based on whatever the author happened to be thinking at the time.
In this way it’s hard for visitors to tell on their first visit whether they’re interested in what you have to offer; why would they want to subscribe to your blog if your posts are so random that they have no idea whether they’ll be interested in what’s coming in the future?
The key here is to try and boil down your message into some kind of “mission statement” – something that will not only help your readers to understand the main theme of your blog, but will also make it easier for you to decide what kind of content will be appropriate for your audience.
You’re Not Building A Mailing List
One of the oldest pieces of advice on the Internet is that “the money is in the list”. I won’t dwell on why; quite simply it allows you to control your traffic and send repeat visitors back to your blog, growing your overall traffic levels over time.
Indeed, most successful blogger’s biggest regret is not starting their mailing list earlier.
If you have been diligently creating the best content you can and posting on a regular basis, even consciously promoting your content and building links, and you’re still not seeing the traffic growth you think you deserve then you need to focus on starting that list.
Don’t wait a moment longer – go out there and purchase a serious list-building plugin like Thrive Leads and start testing out opt-in forms on your blog.
The sooner you start to build your list, the sooner you’ll be in a position to start growing your traffic.
Your Blog Monetization Stinks
Being a successful blogger is about more than just writing awesome content.
Sadly, throughout history authors have had a terrible habit of producing incredible written content and then failing to turn this into cold, hard cash.
Let’s be totally honest here; if you want to earn a living from your blogging, you need to start monetizing your blog; and monetizing it well. There are all manner of ways to do this, of course, but the key is to start experimenting to see what really resonates with your audience.
I’ve had sites whose income increased by a factor of 10 simply by split testing a few adverts or trying out a new affiliate program – and when it happens you’ll wonder why it took you so long to start experimenting with your site.
Monetization isn’t just about the money, though this is nice; it’s also a way to stay motivated as you’re building your blog.
As soon as you start to produce some form of reliable income from your efforts it can be enough to help you prove to yourself that blogging is a realistic business model and that you can succeed at it.
And that can be a very powerful thing for driving you on to reach the next level.
You’re Not Networking Effectively
What helps to separate the successful bloggers from the failures?
A major factor, as many people have claimed, is the networks that they have built up. I don’t just mean the relationships that they have developed with their readers, but also with other bloggers, which can often be the most powerful way of promoting your blog of all.
But networking takes time and effort; and it can take months before you start to see any payoff.
Ask yourself: how many bloggers in your niche have you corresponded with in any way?
How many blog comments have you left recently in order to build rapport instead of just hoping for an extra backlink? How many of the other bloggers in your niche follow you on social media or leave comments on your blog?
How many would recognize your face at a conference?
If the answer is “not many” – or worse “none” – then maybe one of the reasons for your lack of results is simply that you’re not networking effectively.
Try to take some time each day to start building those bonds; start following people on Twitter, start leaving comments, start responding to tweets and so on. Block off a little time each day – even if its only 15 minutes in your lunch break – to start networking. Over time, these relationships can become an essential part of your success.
You’re Not Blogging Often Enough
Why do we put so much emphasis on attracting “subscribers”? Quite simply because we want repeat visitors – we want people to keep on coming back time and again to your blog to enjoy the very latest content. It’s when you attract this repeat audience that your blogging becomes effective, enjoyable and produces the kind of results you’re seeking.
But an essential part of building up this audience is consistency.
How regular is up to you; you certainly don’t want to swap quality for quantity – but consider if you can get ahead on your writing so as to regularly post new content.
While I don’t always succeed – thanks to busy agency life dealing with SEO clients – I try to write every weekday morning for one of my blogs and to have at least a month’s worth of posts queued up ready at any one time. This way I know I’m always ahead of the curve.
And trust me – 5 hours of solid writing each week can really kick-start your content creation process considerably.
You’re Not Promoting Your Content
What noise does a tree make if it falls in the forest and nobody hears it?
In the same vein, does it really matter how awesome your content is if nobody ever actually gets to see it? How likely is it that you’ll manage to attract a rabid hoard of subscribers if nobody ever actually stumbles across your carefully-produced content?
The fact is that spending your evenings and weekends pumping out content like there’s no tomorrow does little to grow your blog unless you’re also effectively promoting it.
Personally I’d rather write a single, awesome article each month and then promote the pants off it, than pump out three mediocre articles each week and fail to promote them in any way.
Indeed, some bloggers claim that you should be spending as long on promoting your content as you did on writing it; can you honestly hand-on-heart tell me you really do that? If not, then maybe this is at least one factor in why your blog isn’t yet producing the sort of results that you’d like to see.
I’ve written probably the most extensive article ever on promoting your content here so take some time to grow through the steps provided and figure out the very best ways to actually get as many sets of eyeballs as possible on your freshly-published post.
Building a successful blog takes time and effort – but it also takes a proven plan. Some people get there through luck, while others follow a proven plan. The latter option is normally quicker and easier.
If you’re getting frustrated with your lack of results right now, try taking some massive action. Audit your blog using the tips provided above and action any glaring holes in your blogging plan.
How long have you been blogging for? Are you happy with your results so far? What is the one factor you’re planning to improve to drive your blog forward? Please leave your thoughts in the comments section below…