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.
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.
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:
- 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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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!
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!