Blogging has become the thing to do. Everyone you talk to these days has a blog it seems. While for many it’s just a pastime, for others blogging is their dream job. Whether blogging is a fun place to vent or you have hopes of monetizing your site, here are a few lessons to learn from failed bloggers who came before you:
Problems and Solutions
Problem #1: Content is random and unfocused
Solution: Write about what you love. Odds are, what you love is also what you know a lot about. Both are important because you want to be able to keep your site going for a long time. Ask yourself, “Could I write about this forever and not get bored or not find something to say?” If not, keep soul-searching for where your passions truly lie. Your blog will be an integral part of you and even an extension of you. To that end, once you find your passion, do some research about how your blog will be different than others. If there are a thousand blogs about cooking, for example, what is the angle or tone of those blogs and how can yours stand out? What will be your unique voice?
Problem #2: Not enough consistent content
Solution: Liberally apply writing prompts. If you find yourself struggling to get words on paper, a daily dose of writing prompts could be your answer. Writing prompts may not get you immediately to the content you want to write that day for your blog but many writers use them as a warm up exercise, sort of like stretching before going out for a run. As a rule, you should be able to write and publish at least one article or post a week, even if it is short. If you aren’t able to produce that much content, you might lose readers or never gain them from the start.
Problem #3: No one is reading your blog
Solution: Find your audience and join the community. What is the point of a blog if no one is reading it? Do your research and find out where your audience can be found. For example, if you are writing about adoption, are there existing forums, aliases, or discussion groups you can be part of? But don’t just throw your blog onto the audience. Instead, become an integral part of the community. You should be doing this anyway if only for a way to generate new content. Also, leverage your existing social networks via Facebook, Twitter, and others. If you have good content, people will forward your blog. And make sure your new content is easy to find. No one has the time or patience to hunt and peck for your content on your site when there are hundreds of other easier-to-read blogs available. That means you need to choose your blog design wisely.
Problem #4: No one is reading your blog (still)
Solution: Analyze your blog writing skills. When all else is working, now it’s time to finesse your posts. Beginner bloggers don’t regularly analyze their work through the filter of some key questions. Ask yourself:
1. Are blog posts too long? Too short?
2. Do I have high quality and interesting photographs?
3. Do I consistently write good hooks and leads? Are my opening paragraphs catchy?
4. Are my posts too often about me?
5. Do I write catchy headlines?
Taking an online course might help jump-start your success as a blogger and give you the blog writing and structuring skills to help you keep your blog going for a long time.
Final Questions to Ask Before You Start a Blog
1. Can you envision yourself writing regularly and consistently?
2. Do you have enough material and passion to write about a consistent theme or topic?
3. Do you already have some material written and ready to go?
4. If income is part of your blogging goal, do you have a topic that will generate enough loyal readership?
Beginning bloggers often spend all the wrong time in the all the wrong places. For example, it’s easy to get hooked on monkeying with the design and user interface of your blog site itself. But you should worry less about what you site looks like and more about the content you need to produce for the site.