Your Blog Stinks! You Should Quit!

What to do…It’s 2012 and you’ve been blogging for almost a year now with no success.

You published 30 articles this year, but none of them have gone viral, you still only have 250 followers on Twitter (none of whom retweet you), and your Google page rank still sits at a 2. To add insult to injury, your Google analytics show that you get about 25 visitors to your blog every day, and you’re pretty sure that you, your family, and the GoogleBot account for about half of those.

Maybe it's time to give up and pull the plug on that blog

Maybe it's time to give up and pull the plug on that blog. Photo courtesy of functoruser on Flickr via Creative Commons license.

So, maybe it’s time to reconsider whether you’re actually going to make your first million in blogging. Maybe it’s time to rethink whether the you’ll be able to quit your job in 2012 to become the next Pete Cashmore of the Web. Maybe it’s time to…well…quit.

You wouldn’t be the first. The Web is littered with the casualties of failed blogs. Why shouldn’t yours hit the scrap heap? Heck, it’s only taken up time. You’ve spent at least a couple hours each week thinking up new ideas, writing articles, and wading through Twitter. At this point, it doesn’t really seem like it’s been a good use of your time. In fact, you find yourself a bit embarrassed to even mention to friends and colleagues that you have a blog, since you’re not quite sure you’d want them reading your posts anyway.

So maybe it’s time to just shut it down.

Or…

Maybe it’s time to take a look back at 2011 and figure out why your blog hasn’t taken off. Maybe it’s time to get off your keister and get serious about your blog. Maybe it’s time to treat it like a startup business that might never earn you a cool million, but might earn you the respect of your peers and provide a channel where you can share your experiences and expertise. Who knows…your blog might even eventually earn you a new career or a promotion at work.

If your blog is for your company or organization, maybe it’s time to find a way to connect with your customers. Maybe it’s time to start listening more closely to the feedback they are providing and respond with articles that make their lives easier or solve a problem they are experiencing.

You’ll never know until you commit, and if you’re not going to commit then stop wasting your time.

If you’re ready, though, and you really want to get your blog going in 2012, here are some questions that might help in your analysis:

  1. Who is your audience? Do you know who you want to attract to your blog? Have you written content that they would find interesting? If not…stop doing what you’re doing and formulate a plan to find new, interesting content. Use your blog to help you readers solve problems.
  2. Is your content really interesting? Can it be scanned quickly? Can it be shared easily? Would anyone really want to share it? Engage in some constructive self-criticism. The only way to become a better writer is to write more. So keep at it, your posts will continually improve

    Are you boring your readers into needing a nap? Photo courtesy of skpy on Flickr via Creative Commons license.

    Is your content really interesting? Can it be scanned quickly? Can it be shared easily? Would anyone really want to share it?  The only way to become a better writer is to write more. So keep at it, your posts will continually improve.

  3. What are you writing about? Does your blog have a theme or is it just a collection of ramblings on various topics? If you don’t have a theme, why would anyone want to return? The goal of a good blog should be return visitors, these are the folks that are going to share your stories with their social networks. Give them something to come back to.
  4. How are your page load times? Nothing is more painful than a slow-loading blog. If you have loaded up your sidebar with a bunch of junk that isn’t beneficial to your readers, think about doing some 2012 cleaning and remove anything that your readers won’t find useful. Make your pages load quickly and not only will your readers appreciate it, Google will give you extra points in it’s ranking algorithm.
  5. Are you building your social network? What’s the point of writing good articles if you’re not going to tell anyone about them? You should spend as much time building your Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook networks as you do writing your blog posts. That way, when you publish a new article, you can tell your friends, followers, and colleagues about it and (hopefully) they’ll spread the word.
  6. Are you advertising already? Face it, you’re not going to get rich on Google AdWords. At least not until your blog has a lot more than 25 visitors each day. Remove the ads. They’ll help you speed up your load times and make your blog look  a little less desperate. When you have 1,000 visitors each day, it means you have been focusing on good quality content and then you can think about putting the ads back in.
  7. Are you linking to other resources? You have to give link-love to get link-love. One good way to get the attention of other bloggers is to send them links from your blog. Maybe, just maybe…if your content doesn’t suck…they’ll link back. And inbound links from other sites are a good thing!
  8. Are you asking for help? Blogging can be a lonely business, if you let it be. Fortunately, there are plenty of other struggling bloggers out there who are in the same boat who might be willing to share a guest blog post if you provide one in return. Reach out to your friends and followers. Ask an accomplished blogger if they would be willing to help out. You’d be surprised how energizing it can be to have someone help you out.
  9. Are you REALLY doing search engine optimization? If you’re not spending a couple hours each week just reading, analyzing, and reviewing the keywords you use in your posts, the cross-linking strategy between your internal posts, and your external linking strategy then you’re not doing enough. Do more!
  10. ??

No…that’s not a mistake. I left #10 blank intentionally. Why? Because I’m always learning and working to improve my blog, as well. I’d love for you to share a question that you think people should ask when looking to improve their blog. Just drop it in a comment, along with a link to your blog, and help others improve their blogs in 2012!

Cheers, and Happy New Year to you all!

–Sean

  • http://twitter.com/CheriEssner/status/153805775482007552/ Cheri Essner, PMP (@CheriEssner)

    Your Blog Stinks! You Should Quit! http://t.co/HueIWR9t via @zite

  • http://www.longbowbusiness.com Rita Marshall

    I pulled the plug on my original blog and have re-launched a new one after doing a lot of thinking on my target audience and content. My challenge now is improving SEO and encouraging interaction…my blog resolutions for 2012! Thanks for the post, Sean!

    • http://www.socmedsean.com Sean R. Nicholson

      Good luck with the new blog, Rita! It takes a few broken eggs to make an omelet, so hopefully your previous blog armed you with lots of good experience! I’ll stop by to check it out!

      Cheers!

      –Sean

  • http://twitter.com/theeproducer/status/153960025667272704/ Mohamed Abdel Samad (@theeproducer)

    Your Blog Stinks! You Should Quit! http://t.co/BvrREJ45 via @zite

  • http://twitter.com/FirdausAlias/status/154605435398270977/ Firdaus Alias (@FirdausAlias) (@FirdausAlias) (@FirdausAlias)

    Your Blog Stinks! You Should Quit! http://t.co/3AkZZRki via @socmedsean

  • http://twitter.com/RhondaHolscher/status/155061129230565377/ Rhonda Holscher (@RhondaHolscher)

    Good points and advice! RT @reinventyrself: Your Blog Stinks! You Should Quit! http://t.co/rK80hNmq

  • http://twitter.com/roojwright/status/156195599669149696/ Andrew Wright (@roojwright)

    Your Blog Stinks! You Should Quit! http://t.co/c47t73R2 via @socmedsean

  • http://twitter.com/EllenvanAken/status/157467652619644929/ Ellen van Aken (@EllenvanAken)

    Great post titles help to get readers, too! :-) “Your Blog Stinks! You Should Quit! ” http://t.co/AmDxFtMa nice one from @socmedsean

  • http://kansascityjobseekers.com Mark Van Baale (@markvanbaale)

    Hello Sean. I always enjoy reading your blog posts and this one gave me some good questions to ask myself as I improve my own blog. There is some hope that maybe someday my blog will lead to a new career, but in reality, I keep updating and sharing info on my blog as I know it helps others who are searching for a job. My goals for 2012 for my blog is to continue to share it with job seekers and for more people to interact on there. As I add more guest posts and potential columns from recruiters, etc., this should help in the interaction.

    Feel free to check out the blog at http://kansascityjobseekers.com and if you have any comments or suggestions on how to improve it, let me know.

    Thanks Sean.

  • http://twitter.com/mikedkc/status/159263114142027776/ Mike Davis (@mikedkc)

    RT @SocMedSean: Your Blog Stinks! You Should Quit! http://t.co/FThqbYy0

  • http://twitter.com/ldebernardini/status/161063079805861888/ Luigi De Bernardini (@ldebernardini)

    Your Blog stinks! You should quit! – http://t.co/ZVsIpuhc

  • http://expeditionbelize.tumblr.com/ Priscilla J Porter

    Great post Sean. I just started blogging a couple of months ago and I got a lot out of this article. My only problem is that I live in Belize and the internet here is slow. I would appreciate it if you check out my blog and let me know about load times and any other constructive criticism would also be appreciated. Thanks!

  • Artrotter

    Very useful! I have to test tip number 9. I’ll let you know. Thank you

  • http://stevecassady.blogspot.com Steve Cassady

    Nice Post. I think some bloggers overlook the impact that widgets have on their load times. Generally, I will move on if it takes to long to load (unless it is good stuff like yours). Having a solid social network in place helps to spread the word when you have a community willing to share your content.

  • http://www.resumebear.com bob warren

    nice…It’s Rock and Roll Thursday, Have a Super Day!

  • michaelcudahy

    The best tip I ever received that worked, and helped me with my blogs was to add leading questions in my text that encouraged reader feedback and engagement. Great article!

  • http://caffeinatedocmommy.blogspot.com/ Caffeinated OC Mommy

    Sean Darling,
    I couldn’t agree more with all these FABulous tips…and #10 would be…
    Write with passion! I can’t stand blogs that are lifeless and dreary, hurry, hit the escape button! lol Cups Up! xoxo

  • http://www.trevsliteraryreview.blogspot.com Trev

    Great post Sean!

  • http://www.davidsanger.com David Sanger

    thanks Sean. Good points.

    I’d add , #10 Do you update regularly?

    Mine has slacked off for a few months and I am gearing up to re-engage.

  • http://www.ashdhartphotography.com Ashley Drake Gephart

    All spot on! I would also add 10) Are your post grammatically correct? Run a spell checker, reread it at least once out lout, and if possible have someone else take a look. A misspelled word is one thing but when a post is riddled with misspellings and grammar mistakes the readers stop visiting.

  • http://tedora.de Tedora

    Interesting thoughts ;-) Thanks for sharing!

  • Orion

    I’ve been wanting to get into blogging for quite some time. I’m going to use this as a guide.

    Thanks

    • Orion

      Also, thanks for having a Buffer button!!!

  • sam

    Great article with really good points. If bloggers follow these tips they could get a bigger and better audience. I am guilty of some of them!!!!

  • http://about.me/catherinewhitephotography Catherine White

    I gave up blogging a year ago, not because I can’t write, or blog (two different things) but I simply got bored.

    Now I’m focused on my photography, but the call to writing hasn’t left me. I’ll return when I’m ready.

    Most blogs stink, seriously, they are not laid out, too long, and self indulgent rambles or rants.

    Seriously, I don’t read blogs anymore. Except yours :D

  • http://about.me/catherinewhitephotography Catherine White

    Seriously twice …lol!

  • http://hollyeburne.com/ Holly Eburne

    Thanks Sean, great points! For #10: how about a call to action at the end of the blog related to your theme–exercise, sign up for newsletter…

  • http://www.jasonventer.com/ Jason Venter

    If you visit my own blog, you’ll think I have no business commenting on anything. The number of people who follow it is quite low and I don’t have a lot of posts. However, that’s because I have a lot of irons in the fire. If I were determined to make a go of my blog, though, I’m confident I could make a significant improvement by doing one thing: posting more regularly. This article mentioned making 30 posts a year. That’s not enough. If you want people to follow your blog, it’s better to post almost daily. That gives people something to follow. It allows your blog to more easily become a part of their routine. If you set up a blog on wordpress or whatever, the blog will take care of a lot of work for you and you can follow the other tips in this article and do okay. Just make sure that you’re posting regularly and be sure to promote all of that content. If you’re only making 30 posts a year, you’re not serious about it.

  • http://www.integratedalliances.com Lori Ruff, The LinkedIn Diva

    Great advice to help people redirect their efforts to what will be effective! I also love tools like http://www.Triberr.com to help amplify our blog via people who have a similar audience.

  • http://www.PeanutCrumbs.com Shaun

    Good food for thought, Sean. “What are you writing about?” in particular struck me as important. I think back to the blogs that I’ve visited on a regular basis, and they always fulfill some topical need… and do it well. Cheers!

  • http://ScottSocialMediaAllen.com Scott Allen

    1. Whoever comes along. I write for me, not them.
    2. If it wasn’t interesting, I wouldn’t have blogged it, of course.
    3. Do people actually read any particular blog regularly any more anyway? Doesn’t everyone just click through catchy headlines on Twitter, Facebook, Alltop, etc.?
    4. But those real-time Twitter, Facebook and Google widgets are so awesome! Uh… wait a minute…
    5. Check! Hooray for http://ifttt.com!
    6. But the $2 a month I’m making from AdSense pays for my hosting and domain!
    7. Yup — I set my blogroll up when I set up my blog. Still there, still linking.
    8. Guest blogging? Are you serious? If I don’t have time to keep up my own blog, how am I supposed to find the time to write for someone else… for free???
    9. I installed Yoast SEO… done!
    10. Dude! You totally overlooked PayPerPost!

    ;-)

  • http://www.arow.biz Andreas Wiedow

    @ The only way to become a better writer is to write more. – Seconded. I consider that the biggest challenge. Keeping up writing. On and on and on.

  • http://fireeyesphotography.com Trishann Couvillion

    Great input Sean! Blogging is challenging and tedious and a lot of times it feels thankless! I think knowing these things going in helps bloggers to continue! But great input and I am going to spend more time re-checking my blog links now!! :) I work as a Corporate Event Photographer and feel it’s important to engage digitallly, so for now I’m going to keep at it and bear in mind your input! Thanks!

  • http://www.emmageraln.blogspot.com Emma Geraln

    I think it’s important to stick to whatever it was the blog was designed to do.

  • http://socialpositive.wordpress.com/ Nicolas Liu

    Thanks for sharing. Great list.

  • http://www.crazyforadeal.com Riki

    Great, now I’m worrying about load time. Good read and things to chew on though.

  • http://www.andrewstark.com Andrew Stark

    Hi Sean

    I know it’s 3 month since you wrote this, but I just found it today via someone who tweeted the link.

    When using social media it’s important to focus on quality rather than quantity, if you follow too many people you’ll miss the golden nuggets like this post. This is brilliant advice for people who are spending time blogging but getting no results, focus on content, and then look at ways to monetize the traffic once you have it.

    Nothing puts me off a blog more than it having more adverts than content.

    Andrew

  • http://www.expatatlarge.blogpot.com E@L

    But Googlebots ARE my target audience!

  • http://twitter.com/Sianessa/status/217396570226835457/ Sian Killingsworth (@Sianessa)

    Love it!!! “Your Blog Stinks! You Should Quit!” http://t.co/NQ6MuGLr via @socmedsean

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