I’ve often compared starting out as a blogger to trying to lose weight, or working out. It takes dedication, desire, perseverance, and willpower. On the surface, blogging seems simple. If it was so simple, then why do so many bloggers fail?
I’ve started blogging for new sites many many times. Before I refined my approach, I failed multiple times. Looking at each experience in a completely analytical sense gives me insight into why I failed. I’ve combined my experiences and consulted other bloggers to come up with a “top 5” list of common reasons bloggers fail.
1. Setting Expectations Too High
Probably the most common mistake new bloggers make is setting their sites too high. If you go into blogging expecting to make enough money that you can quit your day job and move your 5 person family to Panama, you’re going to get in over your head.
Back to my analogy of blogging being like losing weight, if you set your expectations too high, you’re bound to be disappointed. No one loses 100 pounds in a month, it takes time. Healthy weight loss should be done slowly over time. Blogging growth is no different. Normal organic blog growth happens slowly but surely over time.
I’ve always found that the best attitude when you start blogging is to have high aspirations with low expectations. That sounds rather pessimistic, but it has really worked for me. By being enthusiastic and having high aspirations for my blog, I’m able to be passionate in my writing. By setting my expectations low, I’m able to devote more effort to the project over a longer period of time, without being disappointed in the results. This has given me the chance to push past the hump (the point at which most bloggers quit) and push on to bigger and better things.
You have to start small. Every mountaineer that has scaled Everest starts at the base of the mountain.
2. Creating Too Much Content
It might not seem like an issue, but creating too much content can doom your blog in more than one way.
By constantly pumping out content, you are more than likely sacrificing quality for quantity. Your posts will be subpar, and you won’t be winning any new readers. You might get luck any rank well for some long tail keywords, which could drive some traffic. Ultimately, your bounce rates will prove that your content is poor quality, and Google will put two and two together. Your rankings will suffer, and who would want to link to a content farm like that anyways?
The second reason you don’t want to produce too much content is that you’ll get burned out quickly, which could end in you quitting. Just like someone who is starting out a running program, if you try to run too much at the beginning, you’re going to get tired and frustrated. It’s better to ease into a routine. Consistently publishing content is a better approach than flooding your blog with content.
Pace yourself. Set a blogging schedule that doesn’t interfere with the rest of your daily activities (like eating and sleeping). There is nothing wrong with writing a few blog posts a month.
Blogging can be a great way to drive traffic to your site. It might seem as though the more content you have, the more traffic you get, but this isn’t necessarily the case. Always remember that quality trumps quantity. One excellent blog post per month will always be better than 10 poor posts.
3. Monetizing From the Get Go
No one likes to see a blog with advertisements plastered in the header, footer, and sidebar. It’s a turn off for potential readers, and gives off cheap vibes.
It’s not uncommon for bloggers to monetize their blog. Lots of bloggers make a living form their websites and the services they offer. There is nothing wrong with making money online. What will cause you to fail is building a website or a blog with the soul purpose of putting ads in the footer to make a quick buck. That just won’t work.
Make your first priority something other than making money. Start blogging because you want to become an author, or because you want to stake your claim as an authority in your niche. Do not start your blog to make money – it just won’t work.
4. Being Unoriginal
Another reason that bloggers fail is because they are completely void of unoriginal concepts. Being a successful blogger is not easy, and you’ll have to constantly come up with new and unique ideas to keep your blog interesting to readers.
When bloggers run out of ideas, they’ll look to their industry influencers for ideas. Is there any blogger out there who can claim that they haven’t partially or completely copied an idea from another writer? Probably not. It’s inevitable that content will get duplicated and rewritten, but problems arise when a blog is based on this concept. Blogs need unique content to thrive.
It’s easier said than done to come up with unique content for every single post. The reality is, that nearly everything you write will be influenced by something that has already been written. The key is to take your own unique spin on the topic, so while the subject matter itself might not be something fresh and new, but your take on it will be.
5. Giving Up
Giving up on blogging is the easy way out. It’s easy to give up on your site because it’s not producing results, or because it’s not gaining the traction that you’d hoped.
I’ve described to other bloggers before the proverbial “hump” that bloggers must get over before they’ll see nice results on their site. The hump I’m referring to is strictly based on site traffic. When a brand new site launches with no little to no fanfare, traffic will be slow going for a long time. Many bloggers get frustrated and give up.
Don’t get discouraged by small traffic numbers! Every blog goes through this in the beginning (unless you have an unlimited budget), and the best blogs are the ones that stick it out. Most bloggers quit before they get over the hump.
Once your blog starts to get noticed in your industry, you’ll start to get more and more attention from other bloggers in the form of links and social mentions. Search engines will follow, and your traffic will increase. Most bloggers don’t make it to this point because they give up before their traffic hopes and dreams are realized.
Having high aspirations and low expectations will set you up for success, but will be less painful if your project fails. This is blogging we’re talking about here, not launching a new clothes line. We don’t need to “visualize our success” and set our expectations sky high – we need to temper them. If you’re starting out as a blogger, do so as a hobby. If you approach it expecting nothing in return, you’ll get back more than you ever thought possible.
Pace yourself when you publish content. Too much content too quickly will burn you out. Burnt out writers produce poor content, and readers will start to ignore you. Set up a publishing calendar, and make a commitment to publish a handful of high quality posts each month. If you have time for more, go for it!
Never start a blog with the sole purpose of generating income from your website – monetizing your blog should always take a backseat to your mission. What is the real reason you wanted to start a blog in the first place? Tell your story, and teach others. If you happen to get some ad revenue along the way, consider that a bonus.
Don’t copy others content verbatim, instead gain inspiration from other authors, and put your own unique spin on a topic that’s been written about before.
And finally – don’t give up. Your blogs growth will be slow going at first, don’t get discouraged! Keep plugging away until you get over the hump, and you’ll never look back!