Thursday, May 3rd, 2007...6:19 am
Why Do Blogs Fail?
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In the last month I’ve seen a few blogs stumble. Some have disappeared altogether, others are are still kicking about but are updated infrequently, which ultimately is just the same as if they had ceased to exist.
What did they do wrong? Why did they fail?
There are some common reasons people often bring up:
- Lack of motivation or time.
- Personal issues.
- Boring writing/topics.
- Nothing left to write about.
- Poor visual design.
These are all valid reasons but something that is often overlooked is the attitude people bring to blogging. The wrong attitude can doom you to failure even if you have the above points covered.
How should you approach blogging?
- You must be willing to learn.
The fine details of blogging are far more complex than most people realise. The writing is easy. Learning how to turn your hard work into something successful is the hard part. Very few people stumble into success. You need to learn, adapt, and assimilate what sometimes might seem like an overwhelming amount of information, but that is what it takes to succeed in this game. I’m not afraid to admit that I’m still learning. You can never stop learning. If you do you’ll quickly find yourself left behind. Do you think the big guns are complacent? No, they are constantly looking for new angles they can exploit to solidify or increase their position. Which means you will probably have to work that much harder.
- You have to put the effort into your content.
Everyone’s heard the saying “Content is King”, and it’s true. Without quality content what reason do people have to visit your blog, let alone return day to day? You can get away with being a lazy blogger, you might even be able to make a good living from it, but if you want peoples respect you need to earn it. There’s only one way to do that: quality content.
- Promoting your blog is just as important as its content.
If content is King, then traffic is Queen. So you’ve written a bunch of great articles, which are well written, link worthy, and are sure to connect with readers. So where are they? There is no magical force that will make people rush to your blog when you’ve got something good to read. You have to get them there yourself. If you aren’t willing to get your hands dirty promoting your blog, it will never live up to the potential it may have.
- Check your ego at the door.
At least in the beginning. Pay your dues, learn the ropes, and keep in mind there are people who have been doing this longer than you have. If you show a little respect, they may tip their hat your way from time to time.
- People don’t owe you anything.
They don’t have to read your blog. They don’t have to leave comments. They don’t have to link to you. These are rewards for hard work, and not something one is simply entitled to.
- If you’re not in it for the long haul, your done.
People are impatient. I’m impatient. We all want to see results immediately, but unless you have enough money to buy success or you’ve got a lucky charm handy you have to take a more long term approach. You can’t plant a seed and come back the next day expecting to see a tree. You have to water constantly, prune on occasion, and if you are vigilant, some time in the future you will have yourself a strong healthy tree. The same goes for your blog.
- Don’t blog just to make money.
Do not pass go, do not collect $200. Blogging only for money is the quickest path to failure. Let me be clear I’m not against making money from a blog. If you put in the work you have every right to reap the rewards. The cold hard reality is, you won’t make very much from your blog in the short term. If money is your only motivation you won’t last long enough to see very much of it.
- Network. Network. Network.
I spend more time replying to messages, reading other blogs, and commenting, than I do actually blogging. Without that legwork you will find it hard to gain any traction within the blogging community. Until you start seeing some organic traffic from search engines chances are your audience is going to be limited to fellow bloggers. The more of them you interact with, the more traffic you will get to your blog.
- Be prepared for criticism.
You have to realise not everyone is going to agree with you. Criticism will eventually come your way and when it does you will need to be able to deal with it. Having a thick-skin helps, but being willing and able to engage in a civil discussion with someone with a polar opinion is far more productive.
- Don’t expect it to be easy.
Blogging is hard work. Harder than I ever imagined it would be. But you know what, I’m still here plugging away every day. You have to make sacrifices, you have to push yourself to the edge of burnout, and still keep going. The harder you work now, the more rewarding it will be when success does come your way.
- Put aside your self-doubt and insecurities.
I doubt myself all the time. My computer is riddled with an embarrassing number of articles that I’ve chosen not to publish because at the time I thought they weren’t good enough. It’s easy to fall into the trap of wanting every single post to represent the best you have to offer. The problem with this attitude is, you aren’t necessarily the best judge of your own work. Some of my most popular articles are the ones I’ve only grudgingly let into the wild. I’ve learnt my lesson there: Don’t second guess yourself. Write what you have to say and let your readers decide its value. Don’t presume to think you know what will connect with them.
It sometimes amazes me how many misconceptions there are about blogging. Some of these misconceptions have been perpetuated by the media, others are being spread by bloggers themselves who either ignore or reinforce them for their own benefit.
So many bloggers are fixated on the carrot dangling in front of them. With blinkered vision, they keep chasing it around, yet they could be far more productive and successful if only they realised it was attached to a string.
This article isn’t about persuading you to stop blogging. It’s about realising the harsh realities involved in the practice and how you can address your own attitudes and habits to get the most out of your blog. Knowing what needs to be done, and how you need to change, is the first step to avoiding failure.
There is a blue pill and a red pill. You need to make a choice.