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Why Do Blogs Fail?

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:

  • Burnout.
  • 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?

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.

51 Comments

  • Networking is vital, I would also call it the give and take mentality.

    If you aren’t ready to read someone else’s blog or comment on their blog then don’t expect anybody to do the same for you.

  • You’re right! I totally neglected networking for a long time - I thought that mouth-to-mouth propaganda would work sooner or later. And I work in advertising - I should sooo know better!
    If you just blog and do not network, it’s like advertising your company by printing nice brochures and keeping them in your office.

    I’d like to add the importance of blogging regularly. I think no less than at least three times a week and not more than three times a day. I only keep those blogs in my reader that follow that guidelines.

    It’s frustrating to look in your reader and your fav blog didn’t update again - and it’s although disturbing leaving your computer for a week and you got 50 or more posts to read through at your favorite blog. I simply don’t do this.

    O.k. that’s just the way I consume blogs, but I’m just a regular guy.

  • Your new blog look is amazing!

    I really like the fact that we all can unload on my blog, such a wonderful community of bloggers!

  • Hi,
    I’am new to your blog. I come from Mardé’s blog
    (also known as Seev’s place).
    You have some fantastic advice here. It will be a pleasure learning some new tricks of the trade.

    Keep up the great work,

  • Great tips! Thanks for posting this.

  • Those are really good tips, thanks Dan.

  • Nice list. For a lot of new blogs, it takes a lot of work just to get noticed. Being a new blogger myself, I find that it’s easier to be patient when you love what you do.

  • And it helps so much if you have a helping hand and people who give you suggestions on how to make your blog better than it is. I have been fortunate to find a few people like that.
    I’m really enjoying blogging - it’s okay if I’m not inundated with traffic, thats not really a priority, as long as some of the people that visit regularly - keep doing it.
    Its amazing to see how many great minds there are - such a learning and humbling experience!

  • Great advice, and I wish I’d read it a few months ago when I started my blog. But I’ve been learned it all, bit by bit, and I’m so stoked to have finally found blogging! (It’s not huge in New Zealand). I LOVE writing and now I actually have people reading my work.
    Thanks for sharing the advice, it’s inspirational.

  • Great work. More importantly I see you are practicing what you preach.

    The “impatience” point really rings through…

  • [...] of The Wrong Advices wrote an excellent article entitled “Why Do Blogs Fail?” If you feel like your blog is just sort of withering about and in danger of going belly up [...]

  • Hey Dan, that’s a great list.

    I just do two things. I write and keep it managable at a solid 5 posts a week. And then I spend about as much time networking as writing.

    I never really thought about having “patience”. I just enjoy doing what I’m doing.

  • [...] Read Why Do Blogs Fail? [...]

  • eeee…i love your big piece of advice..
    will drop by often. cos you’re now in my link list:)

  • Thanks, Dan, for that great list and good pep-talk. You’re so right: we’ve got to realize how hard it is and not expect wonders.

    I’m still confused about all the social networking options, all those places you have listed beside Share:. I use Digg only occasionally, del.icio.us very seldom, and Netscape, Reddit, and Stumble It! not at all yet. Should I be logging into these for every post I make? Do you do that? I assume the answer is Yes, but it sure takes time — unless I somehow don’t understand their nature.

  • Every single piece of advice is so true.. valuable information especially for beginners!

  • hey, i think your .htaccess is borked since the move.

    if i follow the link to this post from google reader, or simply paste it in, i get a 404. howver, if i link to it from your main page, it loads fine.

  • er. did you move? several of my blogroll people have moved and i’m confusing myself…

  • I’m also getting 404s when posting comments, but it looks like the comments are posting…

  • And when you don’t have any other content to post, you post why blogs fails. hahaha I’m kidding, good post anyway.

    Hey, can you tell to your loyal readers some tips to promote our blogs ?

    Thanks
    Rodrigo

  • Great post! Articles like this are helpful because they keep you focused. Blogging is a lot about attitude. I added a couple of items to the list…

  • Excellent blog!!! Wish myself to spend more time on writing and improving my small blog but now I am a busy Dad, so maybe I will leave it for the future :)
    Thanks

  • It is too easy to forget this information once you start blogging so it is good to revisit it once in a while just to make sure you stay on track.

  • Glad I stumbled upon your blog…very nice and I’ll take some of your tips with me. I’m a newbie to the blogging world and constantly learning and discovering.

  • This all hits home. Some days it really is hard to find the motivation with little reward.

  • hi there. i came here off bloglog. thanks for the advice. mine’s a new blog and i haven’t really done much homework cos it’s really all quite confusing and now it’s just mostly my friends reading it. but you’re right, it’s not as easy as it looks like and it requires a lot of work. so hopefully in a couple of months i’d be ok. :)

  • argh!!.. you’re definitely right, thx for the tips,
    it’s a dilemma, damn it!!
    i wrote it on my blog about this “working is disturbing my time of blogging”, i had to take the blue pill right now, but reading this make me realize more..
    thx again

  • Timely advice for a new blogger like me:). I find the hard part of blogging is not knowing what to write and how to write it so that ppl do read it. I have a long way to go, not giving up yet!

  • I keep coming back to this post as a reference from email alerts.

    I think traffic is the hardest thing to get your head around after content. Yep…it really is hard and I just started another blog.

    Multiple blogs are even tougher, if they are not just blogs for PPP (IMO).

  • Great article. To prevent burnout and lack of motivation, it helps to be passionate about the theme your blog is built around. I notice those blogs are the most interesting to read, updated regularly, and draw me back to visit again and again.

  • [...] Bloghash - 4 Reasons Blogs Fail BlogCut - 5 Reasons why Blogs Fail? The Wrong Advices - Why Do Blogs Fail? [...]

  • Oh, how I wish I’d seen such a list when I started. The idea of letting things loose into the wild has been one of the toughest, but you’re right, it almost always works out for the better.

  • That is all great advice, and like almost everyone else in this thread, I wish I had read this when I started blogging, about a year ago.

    My blog is part of my job as a journalist, and the one piece of advice I’d add is, if you take on a blog as part of another job, work it into your schedule. My first few months, I was doing the same workload and then coming home at night and composing posts for a few hours. Needless to say the cleaning, the laundry, the kids, my hobbies, sleep . . . you get the point. Now, my editor and I work more with an understanding that most days, I will be devoting some time to ye ole blog. It’s still a struggle, but I find my posts are better when my life is balanced.

  • Another great post. Your blog title is a misnomer, for what you dish out, as a matter of fact, are all the right advices. It’s really time I added you to my Blogroll…

  • Nice write up. Positive thoughts about Blogging.

    Afterall You Are What You Think!

    Sweet…

  • I always like to think that your belief system controls what you think, and what you think is what you become.

    Kind of the same thing with the twist that you have to change your beliefs, or at lease be aware of your beliefs.

  • Hey.. I have been learning from your blog for hours now. Reading your blog entry one by one. I found a lot of same post out there, but your is more informative. Great work.

    I have to admit that I failed my blog years ago. I stop blogging and don’t have much to right. Now I am back into business again. I am not making any $$ on my blog, because I have other business to make for living.

    I have the same goal as you. Create a blog to help others. That’s it!

    Thanks!

    Terence Chang

  • This is a wonderfully honest article. I started blogging for several reasons. First and foremost I wanted to create an elementary education website, but I lacked the funds to create a site with the elements I wanted most. Blogging seemed like an easy inexpensive alternative while I overcame various learning curves. I began reading other blogs and found few people care to forthcoming when it comes to the difficulties of blogging. I went on my way thinking if I could be relevant, consistent and remember to ping, I would be on my way. It’s just not that simple. As you state, if you want it bad enough you will learn, take steps to improve and above all persist.

  • I read this post the day it was published, but I keep coming back to read it. It’s a great reminder for me since I’m a new blogger.

  • [...] So I did a google search for “what bloggers blog about” and clicked on this link. [...]

  • [...] which fail do so before there are 100 postings on them. That piece of information isn’t in this article but it does give many reasons why blogs fail. So why am I writing about this? This is posting [...]

  • [...] for blogging success, as it’s a given that you’ll make blogging mistakes and face difficult moments. Are there specific pitfalls that you have seen new bloggers commonly fall victim to? Or specific [...]

  • Great post - I think you have definitely hit the nail on the head.

  • I feel i am lucky that i got a chance to see your blog i come through thiru’s blog how to live and i your advice is really good but it would have been more better if you could have made some eloborate explanations as it would be more useful to people of my standards i can only rate myself as a crawling baby struggling hard to learn how to stand and walk, i would much appreciate if you could keep this in mind and do your next post - BIG APLAUSE

  • Hi,

    This is a great article to keep mental health for bloggers.

    Too much rushing to ‘fill’ your blog and expecting $$$ within a short time will create a new type of stress ‘BLOGGING STRESS’.

    New bloggers must be aware of it before giving up blogging due to blogging stress and depression.

    Learn to keep the blogging as pleasure and not pressure.

    Thanks

  • Hi,
    A really interesting list - I wonder if those of us who are newish to the game are just so used to reading rather than actively participating that we have to totally retrain ourselves. I read a post…and then comments. I get to the end and I’m like…oh..right..I could participate here but whoah what time is it crikes theregoesthebaby and other typical busylifeissues.
    Thank you however for your advice - it rings home!

  • There is some great advice in this post.
    While I never expected blogging to be easy, I was surprised by the number of false starts that I had to go through, even with reading all the advise that I could find from the top bloggers.
    Point 11 “Put aside your self-doubt and insecurities” is the one that means the most for me.

  • Definitely some really good sound advice that caters to me and alot of other beginners in this journey we call “blogging”.

  • Interesting! I’ve something useful. I was worrying about no traffic as soon as I started bloging. Now I’m justified. Thanks.

  • [...] 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 [...]

  • Thanks for the reminder and sagely advice on blogging. It’s so easy to start feeling burnout after a couple of months.

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