Being a successful blogger is like trying to pull weeds in the open Arizona desert, you will clear some patches but you will get bit by cactus along the way. No matter how hard or dedicated you are as a blogger you will go through periods of excitement, frustration and even in some cases “depression” when success waxes and wanes as it does for many blogs online.
Many bloggers exit the market after determining it is just too difficult to carve out a niche, replace your day job or find that it consumes more hours of your time than you get in return. The rest however persevere and know that to really make your mark you must continue to stay the course and hone your strategies, trim the fat and adapt in ways you may not have considered.
So lets talk about the three things you can do to help overcome some blogging plateaus and pitfalls that all but the few lucky bloggers encounter during their blogging ambitions.
Hone Your Strategies
This means it is time to re-evaluate what you are doing for your blog and start prioritizing your time and effort into your site. Take your weekly time you are spending on your blog and break it down into the following categories:
- Content Writing
- Social Media
Find out how much time you are spending in each category per week and then re-prioritize to focus on spending more time working another category. If you are writing content but not spending at least 30% of your time doing promotion or SEO, then it is time to switch focuses and make sure you shore up your promotional areas.
Trim the Fat
Simply put this means cut out anything and everything that doesn’t give provide you with value for one of the five area’s listed above. Drop any services or programs that bring you less than 5% of your monthly blogging traffic, unless you see potential for some to improve in the near future. Find out which of your blogging topics are most popular and focus on writing content to match your most popular topics, I have found I had to cut content from my own site after seeing much more traffic coming for specific categories and virtually no traffic arriving for others. Part of this is also adapting which is the next bullet.
Triming the fat also includes cutting out time wasters, and this means don’t spend another minute dropping Entrecard Drops, CMF Spikes or other traffic generation methods which require you to “invest time” to send traffic in order to receive traffic. These are typically a losing proposition and only help the most beginning stage blogs that don’t yet have a foothold on search engines or readership.
Adapting your blog is perhaps the most prominent and I have seem many bloggers change the focus, theme and structure of their blog in order to attract or retain their audience. This could mean stripping out categories that don’t resonate well with your readers, or experimenting with a new topic or niche altogether and seeing how well it digests with your fans. The internet is ever changing and you sometimes may need to look and see if your Theme is also something that detracts from your audience and I have seen some themes that really take away the enjoyment of reading articles because they are either too distracting or too plain to really stand out.
Trim out all unnecessary plugins, widgets and other items which will slow your site down, lower your PageRank due to the external links and tend to make your blog look more like a personal blog. A facebook fanpage widget is fine, but having a Google FriendConnect, FaceBook, NetworkedBlogs and half a dozen other badges and widgets all running on the same site is distracting for readers. Pick one clear service you want them to join you on and stick with it, it is hard to pander six services to “follow your blog” and expect your readers to choose any but one or two of the six.
The answer to the question “When Should You Give up on Blogging?” is Never. Because you can always adapt, change your strategies and test new methods to reaching an audience. The older and longer lived a website/blog is on the Internet the better for the site, and even if it takes you three or four years to start increasing your blog audience you will always have time to continue when you can. Never stop innovating and if you start to lose the passion and drive for blogging dig down deep and find out why you wanted to blog in the first place and reach for inspirations that will help fuel your passion again.
Only the truly passionate bloggers stand the test of time and you can see how they have risen and shine above the rest.