Why Your New Blog Is Struggling (And How You Can Improve It)
Starting a new blog is difficult. You may have some great ideas, but new blogs usually lack an audience, which gets frustrating. It’s often hard to think of what to do next. Where is everyone, anyhow? You and your new blog are struggling, and you’d like to make it better.
Blogging is never as simple as it sounds at first. Your new blog seems like something fun in the early days, but the reality is usually far more work than you expected, especially if you’d like to make a living from it someday.
You Need More And Better Content
Creating great content is a constant struggle. Not only do I look back and shudder at the quality of some of my oldest content (admittedly well over a decade old by now), but sometimes I’ll see posts that are only a couple years old, and wonder what I was thinking.
Blogging is a learning process, even if you’re a pretty good writer already. You have to experiment to find the right style and tone for your blog, along with the kind of information you want your readers to expect from you.
There can be a constant battle of quality vs. quantity. Sources will tell you that posts should be over 1,000 words and that you should post every day. That’s not possible for everyone, at least not if you want to keep the quality up. It also doesn’t work for everyone.
Sometimes giving a day or more between posts gives people more time to interact with the post, and that can be an advantage. Other people may find that shorter posts work best in their niche or writing style.
The key here is to pay attention to what works for you. It can take time for a new blog to work up enough data to prove that a particular approach to blogging works, but you won’t know what works if you haven’t tried and tested it.
You Don’t Have An Audience
Don’t we all wish it was easy to get an audience for our blogs? It would make things so much easier!
But when your blog is new and doesn’t have an audience yet, blogging can be frustrating. It can feel like a lot of effort for minimal results. No one likes that, yet you know you have to keep trying. If you don’t your blog will never take off.
There are some steps you can take to start building an audience. They aren’t a fast solution (nothing legitimate is), but these tips can help you get things moving.
Using appropriate social media can be a huge help to your blogging efforts. Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram are popular choices for when you start out. Odds are good that you have some family or friends that would be willing to help share your posts on Facebook at the very least, and possibly on other social media sites.
Make it easy to share your blog posts on social media by using a plugin such as Shareaholic. I like that one because it’s free.
You should also make it easy for people to follow your social media pages by including links to your profile on your blog. These usually go in the sidebar.
That said, don’t overdo it on social media. Allowing social media to take up too much of your work day is one of the biggest mistakes bloggers make. It’s so easy to get interested in all of the things happening on social media.
Your basic posts on social media can be handled with tools such as Hootsuite. I use it to automatically share each of my new posts on various social media accounts. It also lets me see what’s happening with my accounts on the various social media sites. Hootsuite is a huge time saver.
You will still need to handle parts of your social media directly. You can’t automate it all, or at least you shouldn’t. Check up on your accounts and look for ways to interact with people during the part of your day that you let yourself use social media. Then leave it alone and work on more important things.
Connect With Other Bloggers
There are a lot of Facebook groups that you can use to connect with other bloggers. These are great for promoting each other’s posts, learning from each other and getting support.
I mostly use groups which focus on promoting each other. Once in a while, I’ll post in one of the groups that’s more social, but even online I’m a huge introvert and not that good at conversation. When I see something I can respond to, I do try.
Here are some I like. Most of these are closed groups, and you have to apply to get it. It’s usually fairly easy. They mostly just need to be sure that you’re a blogger.
Connect With Your Readers
When you do start getting comments and questions, respond to them. Don’t leave your readers hanging. They’ll leave you.
You don’t have to send them a personal email, although some bloggers do. A reply on the post them commented on is enough in most cases. Sometimes a really good question will even become a full blog post. If you make the question into a post, you may want to mention who asked by name, so that they know you’re paying attention and giving credit where credit is due. Other questions will be so common that there’s no need to say that “Sam, Joe, Anna, Christine, Yona, and someone who calls themselves ‘The Cat Who Walks Through Walls’ all asked this same question.”
You Don’t Have A Blogging Schedule
You will probably find having a blogging schedule helpful. What a blogging schedule means to you, however, may be different than what it means to others.
Many bloggers will talk about their editorial calendars, where they plan out their blog posts for months in advance, or maybe the entire year. That has never worked for me. If I plan more than a few posts ahead, I quickly get to the point where I’m throwing ideas out because they aren’t what I want to do anymore.
Instead, I keep a list of ideas. This keeps me from struggling to come up with ideas without feeling as though I have to write on one particular topic.
There are times that I have planned out posts farther in advance. If I do a series on something, that gets carefully planned so that I can keep up with the posting schedule for that series, and so that it makes sense as a series.
My schedule is basically the time I put aside for blogging, more of a daily routine than anything else. I schedule time for posting, promotion, and reading. It has to fit in around the routines of each day, such as when I drop off or pick up the kids at school, when errands need to be run, and so forth.
Your Images Are Awful
Very few blogs these days can get by without attractive images included in the posts. Images can be used to illustrate points and to break up the wall of text your post might otherwise appear to be.
Social media sites such as Pinterest and Instagram rely on images. If you have few or no images to be used on those sites, you aren’t going to get much good from them. In some niches, that’s a huge disadvantage.
On the other hand, you may find it better to improve your photography skills so that the images on your blog perfectly suit your needs and are unique to your blog. Once again, you can use an image editor to add text or use filters to make your photos look even better.
If you’re posting recipes, for example, you will almost always want the images to be your own. You should be taking photos as you make the recipe.
A blog like this one, on the other hand, just needs nice looking images, and stock photos work pretty well. There are times that I use my own, but most of the time it’s not necessary. All I need to do is edit the images with appropriate text or to crop out portions that I don’t need.
You Aren’t Optimizing Your Posts
Optimizing your blog posts for the search engines and social media can be overwhelming at first, and the process may not always make sense. There are some basics that you should work on for every post.
The first is to know what your keywords are. These are the main words you hope the search engines will let people find your blog posts under. They should vary by blog post. A keyword is usually more than one word. It’s really hard to rank for most single word searches.
These keywords should be used naturally throughout your blog post, in your blog title, and in the alt tag of your images as appropriate. You don’t want to overuse your keywords, but they should be present.
There are a lot of keyword research tools out there, but one simple way to come up with related keywords to your topic is to look on Pinterest. Type in your keyword in the Pinterest search bar, and see what words it comes up with that are related. This won’t tell you anything directly about how much search traffic the phrase gets, but it can help.
You should also install the Yoast SEO plugin. The basic version is free. It adds a box below where you write your post in WordPress, and you can tell it what your keyword is. Yoast SEO does some basic analysis on your post and gives tips on how to improve the SEO of the post.
Your Goals Are Unclear
What is it that you want from your blog? Is it a replacement for a job or just a hobby? Are you trying to create awareness about a cause or promote another business? If you don’t know what your goals are for your blog, it’s very difficult to push toward them.
Figure out what you want from your blog. With that in mind, you can set short and long term goals that will help you reach your larger goal. These smaller goals will make it easier to see the progress toward your primary goals.
You Ignore Analytics
If you set things up right, you can get a huge amount of information about how your blog is going with analytics.
Start out with Google Analytics. It’s free and will give you huge amounts of information about your traffic and how visitors found you. It takes some time to learn to use Google Analytics, but you won’t regret signing up for it.
Also, make sure you have a business account where possible on social media. Pinterest, for example, gives business users some very useful analytics so that you can track which of your pins are doing well.
You’re Stressing Out Over Too Much
Sometimes you have to take a step back and relax just a little. All of these details are very helpful to improve your blog, but it can also be overwhelming. That’s when you need to give yourself a bit of time to relax.
You don’t have to look at your analytics every day. You don’t even have to blog every day. Creating a lot of content is helpful, but the quality won’t be there if you’re too focused on quantity. If you need an hour or a day off to relax, take it.
Don’t stress out if you fall behind on your blogging schedule or when other minor things go wrong. Take a step back so that you can get a better look at things. Some of your best ideas may come from doing something that wasn’t planned at all.
While there’s a lot to learn when running a new blog, and it’s a struggle for most people to get things going well, you can learn to blog well. Give yourself time. Don’t try to learn it all at once. If you focus on the most important parts, such as great content, your new blog may eventually become an established blog that you’re proud of.