Running a blog may sound easy but trust me, nothing in this world is harder. It takes a lot of time, energy and hard work to grow a blog and take it to the next level. Only when your blog gets a steady flow of readers, it will start gaining momentum and make itself worthy of generating revenue or profit. But getting to that level is climbing a mountain, the more you climb, the more difficult it gets.
A blog is like a tree, it takes years to grow a tree but in order to cut one, you just need an axe and half an hour of your time. In the same way, you can achieve the apex of your blogging success in 5 years and then crash like a rocket, if you’re not careful with basic blogging principles.
If you’re a new blogger or someone who has been around for awhile, these mistakes will ensure that you kill the blog yourself. If not by readership or traffic, but surely by its nature and the genre it was once known for.
Not Being Regular – Losing your blogging Tempo
Being consistent is important if you want to be successful in anything, not just blogging. When you have a blog with a decent reader base, you should be consistent and literally “feed your readers mind” with new content on a regular basis.
By “regular”, I don’t specifically mean “daily”. You don’t have to write daily but you should decide a healthy blogging schedule and stick to it, no matter what. Some bloggers post daily, some thrice a week while some choose to blog only once or twice in two weeks. Whatever your speed is, you should stick to it and meet the expectation of your readers. If you post only twice a week and have a lot of time, do not rush to double your posting frequency.
When you increase or change the frequency of new blog posts, your readers adapt to the new habit and they expect more from your. A few months back, you come down to your previous schedule and your readers are disappointed. Lower or improve the number of posts slowly, give your readers the time to adapt themselves to your blogging tempo. Too many posts on a single day and nothing to read on other days is a surefire way to turn off your loyal reader base.
Not Being Consistent With Your Post
Every blogger has a voice of his own and every blogger is known for his style and approach of how he writes, what he writes and more importantly, “why” he writes. Seth Godin, for example, is known for small and direct pieces, it’s his style and readers love him for that. Now, there are a range of bloggers who write descriptive posts, explaining their thoughts and ideas with suitable examples but Seth Godin’s style is tied to his name and brand. If he changes his style and the tone of his blog posts, not many of his loyal readers will love the change.
This is true for your blog as well. Be yourself, your readers love you for being you, you should be consistent with your tone, style and approach. Yes, you can improve or change the tone once in a while but do not try to imitate another blogger, thinking that his style or approach is better than yours.
Remember – a blogger is an artist and two artists can never be compared. An artist’s biggest and only competitor is he himself.
Selling Out Too Early
Monetizing your blog is a good idea, every blogger has the right to earn revenue from his blog to compensate for the time and energy he has invested into it. But before you monetize your blog, you should consider some scenarios.
- What is the authority of your blog in its niche? Is it still struggling to rise above the noise or is it considered a reputed blog?
- Do you have a growing reader base?
- Can you sustain your readers, do they come back and engage in conversations?
If your site is fairly new and you have been blogging for only 6 months, it is too early to monetize it. In my opinion, one should wait at least for a year before deciding to monetize the blog or use the traffic or readership to convert to revenue. If you plaster ads all over your website, annoy your readers with newsletter subscriptions or inundate theirs inbox with promotional stuff, they are not going to come back.
You should monetize your blog only when you have some authority and trust, too early and there is a high chance that the blog might fail to take off in the first place.
Not Giving Due Credit and Acclamation to Other bloggers
This is one of the basic mistakes I see many bloggers doing in their posts and the worst thing is that they keep repeating the same mistake time and again, which kills their reputation and destroys their credibility.
Getting influenced by another blogger is easy, we all live in a world of influences. Sometimes, while going through your reading list, you may find something really interesting. You will be tempted to blog about it and since the idea or topic is fresh and new, you might churn out a really well written and informative blog post. But before your publish the blog post, you should give due credit to the source blog and clearly mention the fact that you derived the inspiration from his blog.
If you skip the credit part, you lose respect. There is a high chance that some of your readers also read that source and when they see you re-hashing or deriving an idea, news or story idea from another blogger, they will not take your word as a “credible source”. If you keep repeating this mistake every other day and never give due credit to fellow bloggers, you’re slowly destroying the reputation and credibility of your blog as a whole.
Not having a User Friendly site
When was the last time you re-designed your website? When was the last time you refreshed the color scheme, added or removed anything from your website? Just as we change clothes every day, and buy new ones every once in awhile, your blog needs a fresh coat of paint. I am not saying that you should completely change the design and feel of the site every few months, but you should make sure the blog adheres to the changing trends in web design. Some questions to ponder upon:
- Have you tested the blog in different browsers? Are you sure that your blog looks neat and clean in all major browsers and operating systems?
- Is your blog’s design mobile friendly?
- Have you optimized the design for faster loading, so that it loads faster in slow connections?
- How often do you check and fix broken links?
- When was the last time you checked your website’s contact form and comment forms?
Remember, your readers will only take interest in reading a blog post, if the design and usability is user friendly. If the design breaks, the color scheme is difficult to the eyes and the site does not look clean and professional, they will feel irritated and annoyed.
Losing the Spark
Before you write the next blog post and hit “Publish”, ask yourself – “Did I really enjoy writing this, or is it that I am writing just because I have to write something in the blog?” Are you losing interest in your niche? Do you feel the blog more as a burden – that the concept of writing is hogging down your creativity?
Probably, you’ve started to lose the spark. You are probably fed up with the topic or niche and not learning new things. It is very much possible that you have reached a level of saturation and it is becoming extremely difficult for you to write with the same zeal, with the same passion, with the same energy you had some years ago. Maybe, you are inspired by a new idea and your brain is refusing to produce ideas for the blog. Whatever it is, only you can figure out whether you have really started to “Lose the spark” and if “Yes” is the answer, you have to find a way to keep that spirit alive.
Losing focus – Writing about an array of topics
This is something which happens to us in different spheres of life, not just blogging. Regardless of how large or small your website might be, sometimes, you’ll not get the energy and drive to continue it. There will be times when you will be tempted to start a completely irrelevant section on your website. For example, if you are a sports blogger and you’re finding it difficult to blog about sports every once in awhile, you might get tempted to start a new “photography” section of the same site or domain. You’re learning photography off late, you’ve been enjoying it and now you want to share your photography experiences with readers.
This is one of the surefire ways to turn off your readers, they are not going to love something they do not expect from you. You will be much better off writing about a completely new topic on a separate site rather blogging about irrelevant topics and clogging it into something which cannot be related to a specific niche or voice.
As a blogger, the last thing you would want to do is stop caring about your readers and let arrogance or greed take over your thoughts. Your goal is to meet the demands and requirements of your readers, any action which does not complement or reinforce this goal is actually hurting the site. When your blog is not growing in terms of traffic, readership or subscriptions, when you see your blog is not attracting new eyeballs, it’s not getting comments or conversations – you can arrive at the conclusion that you’ve stopped caring about readers and now you’re more inclined towards satisfying your own goals.
That is when your blog dies a slow death.
This post was written by Lior who is a consultant to Billguard, a company that developed a Passbook application and he also works with a startup that created a shopping cart abandonment solution to ecommerce websites.