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10 Tips To Ensure That Your Blog Doesn’t Suck!

NOTE: I originally wrote this article back in 2011 and it helped some folks evaluate their blogging activities. I recently updated the post to ensure that it’s as applicable today as it was back then. If you have tips that you think would help others in their blogging activities, be sure to add them in a comment.

Let’s face it blogging sounds easy.

Write some words, add some images, click the “Publish” button and it’s all good. In reality, though, the process of successfully blogging is actually quite difficult. It requires dedication, purpose, technological skills, patience, and resources.

Please note: Some of the links in my posts are affiliate links. I get commissions for purchases made through those links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases when you buy something from those links.

While there are those who think of blogging as just writing a bunch of words, they often don’t understand that just to get a blog up and running takes money and technical skills. The ongoing maintenance requires an ability to generate new ideas, produce content, and promotional skills to ensure that you content is found by the right audience.

Blogging is not easy and require both writing and technical skills

That misguided perception of ease has resulted in in the internet being polluted with abandoned blogs that seemed like a good idea at the time, but never came to fruition. I’m guilty of it…that great idea that I spent a weekend building a blog and then never published a single article.

They’re out there….I won’t tell you where, but they’re out there.

Anyone that tells you writing blog posts should be quick and easy, is not setting you up for success. Click To Tweet

Luckily, Google does us all a big a favor by never indexing these blogs and pushing low-quality blogs to the bottom of the index.

The question is whether you want your blog to end up in that wasteland of crappy content or if you want to actually develop and audience and maybe make some extra money from your ideas. If you have been blogging for a while and you’re frustrated or if you’re an aspiring blogger who is just getting started…this article is a gut-check.

Based on my 10 years of experience blogging, these are some steps that I share with anyone who expresses and interest in joining the content economy. I hope they help.

Current Bloggers – You’re Blogging, But Not Making Progress

Does this sound like you?

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 organic traffic is virtually nothing.

Blogging can be frustrating when you put a lot of effort into it, but don't see the trafficBlogging can be incredibly frustrating when you put in the hard work, but don’t see the traffic.

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 this year and wait for the advertising revenue from the blog to come rolling in.

Maybe it’s time to…well…quit.

Maybe not. Maybe it’s time to reset your expectations.

Here are a few things to consider before you throw in the towel.

NOTE: For a reference point, it took me 3 years of dedication to get to a level where it was earning more than it expended. On top of that, it took me 10 years to get the site to the point where I considered it to be a “second income”. It’ll probably take me another three years before it becomes my primary income.

If you have a blog and are off and running, great. It’s time to tune it up and start thinking about speed, growth, and content value.

New Bloggers – You’re Ready To Retire Using Blog Income

For those who are new to the world of blogging, but are also tired of seeing other writers make all the money from the content economy, these steps can help you take the first steps toward a successful blog.

Keep in mind that there is quite a bit more to blogging than just writing. Some additional skills that you may need to work on include:

  • Technical skills required to setup a content management system like WordPress. This includes the ability to understand how themes, plugins, and images can slow down your blog, potentially hurting your ability to generate organic traffic.
  • Social media engagement skills to manage and promote your content on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Instagram.
  • Email marketing skills to manage and grow your subscriber list.
  • Paid media management skills to place promotional ads on Facebook, Twitter, and other social channels.
  • Analytical analysis skills to use tools like Google Analytics to evaluate your success along the way.
  • Keyword analysis tools like AHrefs or SEMRush to help you identify under-served keywords and write content to embrace them.

Still excited about launching your blog? Then continue on and learn about the steps that can help you succeed.

The Steps To Successfully Blogging Require A Tactical Plan

Ever heard the quote “failing to plan is planning to fail.”? It holds true in the world of blogging, just like everywhere else. If you don’t have a plan for your blog then you’ll likely just flail about, wonder why no one is visiting, and eventually quit.

Fail to have a plan and you might just go all angry panda and quit.

To avoid that, follow these 10 steps to develop a plan that can get you started on building or growing your blog.

Just like most things, when it comes to your blog...failing to plan is planning to fail! Click To Tweet

Tip 1 – Evaluate Your Commitment To The Cause

The first thing you need to think about is whether your blog is going to be a business or a hobby. If it’s a hobby, great. Treat it like one.

Hobbies come and go and they usually get pushed to the wayside when other issues at home or work come up. If it’s a hobby, let your focus on it come and go as needed. Enjoy it. Have fun with it.

If, other the other hand, you plan to eventually make money with your blog then treat it like a business. You don’t have to create an LLC or open a bank account, yet, because it’s likely going to be a while before you have any income. However, to get to the point when you do generate revenue, you need to treat your blogging activities like they are a second job.

If you’re ready to turn your slow-growing blog into a business, continue on.

Tip 2 – Start By Setting Some Long-Term Goals

Successful bloggers (aka those that make money doing it) understand that blogging requires both long and short-term commitment and goals. You need to set an annual traffic target for this year, but also set weekly goals for the volume of content that you’re going to produce.

For instance, if you are starting from zero (or minimal) traffic, start with something realistic for your first year. Look out 12 months and work toward having 2,000 consistent monthly sessions by the end of your first year. That means you’re attracting ~66 people per day to your blog.

In order for the plan to come together…you have to have a plan.

For someone just starting up, that’s a realistic goal if you’re actively publishing two high-quality posts per week and actively building an audience via your social networks.

I’m not saying 2,000 sessions needs to be your goal. You have to establish that for yourself. The goal needs to be reasonable, though. It needs to be something you can accomplish with hard work and dedication. If you exceed it, GREAT! If you don’t meet it, then it’ll be time for another re-evaluation.

Just for clarification, this 2,000 sessions goal means that by the end of your 12 month, your blog will be consistently seeing 2,000 sessions each month. It doesn’t mean that over the 12 months you get a sum total of 2,000 sessions.

If you are working hard and seeing a 20% month-over-month increase on your traffic then your monthly traffic for 12 months would look something like:

  • Before you started – 300 sessions per month (that’s just 10 people per day)
  • Month 1 – 360 sessions (that’s a 20% increase because of your hard work and commitment)
  • Month 2 – 432 sessions
  • Month 3 – 518 sessions
  • Month 4 – 622 sessions
  • Month 5 – 746 sessions
  • Month 6 – 895 sessions
  • Month 7 – 1074 sessions (Woohoo! You broke 1,000 sessions per month)
  • Month 8 – 1289 sessions
  • Month 9 – 1547 sessions
  • Month 10 – 1857 sessions
  • Month 11 – 2229 sessions (Check it out! More than 2,000 sessions per month)
  • Month 12 – 2675 sessions

If you work hard toward your goal, the growth curve of monthly sessions should look something like this.If you work hard toward your goal, the growth curve of monthly sessions should look something like this.

Keep in mind that a 20% month-over-month goal is an aggressive, but achievable goal if you commit to it. Over time, that growth with slow and you’ll have to reset something more realistic, but in the early months of your blog you should be able to reach 20% growth.

Once you have identified your goal, write it down in the form of something like this sentence and post it somewhere you will see it each day.

By the end of     {month}         of              {year}                , I will see          {number}          of sessions to my blog on a monthly basis.

This will keep you grounded and remind you to keep working toward your goal.

Why Sessions As A Goal?

Why do I recommend sessions as your metric? Because sessions is what advertisers care about. If you want to eventually generate revenue from your blog through ad revenue, you’ll need to generate sessions. You can pick another metric if you’d like, but I recommend going with sessions.

My 2,000 sessions target is just a recommendation to start with. If you think you can commit more time and can create more content and promote it effectively (more on that below), then set a higher goal. Just like any goal, it needs to be personal to you and your blogging plan.

Tip 3 – Follow That With A Set Of Short-Term Goals

Once you have your long-term goal set, the next step is to set a couple of long-term goals. I recommend two, in particular: Content and Promotion.

Set A Content Creation Goal That Will Give You Enough To Promote

Without unique content, your blog is dead-on-arrival. So, you need to set a goal of weekly or monthly articles that you can manage that will also get you to your long-term goal.

If you use the 2,000 sessions goal for your first year of rebuilding, then you need to also determine how many articles you need to publish in order to reach those content goals. Keep in mind that it’s probably going to take at least a year before you see some actual, meaning traffic increases from organic search.

Short-term goals are just as important as your long-term goals when it comes to planning for the success of your blog! Click To Tweet

That means you’re going to spend your first year developing content that will be promoted primarily through social media, email marketing, and paid media. Don’t expect Google to do the work in your first year…that work is all on you. If you work hard during your first year, Google will come in and help you out in year two.

Spend your first year typing like a possessed frog!

To set a content goal, you need to be aggressive. There is no “magic number” that signals to Google that your blog is legit, but it’s a pretty common agreement among bloggers that you’ll need more than 50-60 posts to get Google’s attention. Don’t take my word for it, though, here are some good resources that promote the same idea:

Like I said, it’s not a science and it is possible that your very first blog could be the one the generates thousands of views. If it does, great. If it doesn’t, just keep on plugging on using good writing techniques, solving problems, and doing your research to find keyword opportunities.

To reach your goal, you are going to want to get to your 50 articles as quickly as possible. The sooner you have the articles published, the better.

So, set a goal like publishing 50 goals by the end of month 6. So, the schedule will look something like:

  • Before you started – 10 blog posts ( already have these, right?)
  • Month 1 – 8 blog posts (that’s 2 blog posts per week)
  • Month 2 – 8 blog posts
  • Month 3 – 5 blog posts (throttle it back to a little more than one per week)
  • Month 4 – 5 blog posts
  • Month 5 – 5 blog posts
  • Month 5 – 5 blog posts
  • Month 7 – 5 blog posts (Woot! 51 blog posts published!)
  • Month 8 – 5 blog posts
  • Month 9 – 5 blog posts
  • Month 10 – 5 blog posts
  • Month 11 – 5 blog posts
  • Month 12 – 5 blog posts (You end the year with 76 blog posts for Google to consume)

Again, this is an example of a content publication target that would get you to your target in a reasonable amount of time. If you want to get to 50 posts (or 100 posts for that matter), then create a more aggressive schedule. Just make sure your content is good (more on that below).

Create A Promotion Plan That Is Effective

Writing the content is just half the battle when it comes to attracting traffic. Bad bloggers follow the “write it and they will come” methodology. Then when no traffic shows up, they get frustrated and quit.

The reality is you have to drive traffic to your site and you do that through content promotion.

Once you publish, then get going on promoting!

There are tons of ideas on how to promote your content on the Web, but here are 10 ideas that can get you started:

  1. Create a Facebook page and post your content to your page.
  2. Pay $25 to promote your blog post to a targeted group of people who haven’t liked your Facebook page, but might be interested in your content. This can have the double impact of also getting people to like your Facebook page.
  3. Create a Twitter account and post your content to your feed.
  4. Pay $25 to promote your blog post on Twitter, similar to Facebook.
  5. Create a Pinterest account and post your content to a pin board.
  6. Use Tailwind to promote your content to Pinterest Tribes that are related to your niche.
  7. Be sure to allow people to sign up for your email marketing list (you have one, right?) and notify each of your list members of any new posts.
  8. Pin your best post to the top of your Facebook page and Twitter feed so any new folks who check out your profile see that content first.
  9. Mention any influencers that are included in your content when you tweet. That way, they might check out your article and share it with their audience.
  10. Email those bloggers who you mentioned directly and thank them for their article and it’s contribution to your post.
If you aren't willing to promote your blog content, why would you expect other to do it? Click To Tweet

Tip 4 – Ensure You Have A Strong Content Strategy

If your content isn’t performing well, the problem might be your content. I know that sounds a bit silly, but maybe what you’re writing just isn’t interesting. Maybe the topic already has a ton of content, so your article is relegated to page 5 of Google. Maybe you just aren’t taking enough time to research and develop your content.

There are plenty of folks out there who say that writing a blog post should be quick and easy. It shouldn’t take too much effort and if you’re spending hours researching and writing your content, then you are overthinking it.


That might have been true back in the days when fewer people were blogging because Google was hungry for every piece of content it could get its hands on. Now, there is fierce competition for the front page of the search results pages, so your content has to be better than everyone else’s. It has to be outstanding.


Another myth is that in this mobile world, where everyone reads everything on their phone, your content needs to be short. I have heard marketers recommend articles of 500-600 words in length to their clients. I have also seen those articles fail miserably.

If you want to stand out to Google, you need to be thinking about writing articles in the 1,000 – 2,000 word range…and more toward the 2,000 word range.

Why? Because Google is currently focused on authority and value. They want to rank articles that are deep and definitive. Google doesn’t want brief…it wants detailed.

When you think you’re done writing…think about what additional value you could add.

So take your time, research, write, add, extend.

Don’t believe me? Then take a look at these articles which confirm that Google is hungry for long content:

Make every word valuable. If your readers find it valuable, they will stay on your site longer, they will share it with others, they will value it…and Google knows when that happens and rewards it.

When writing a blog article, make every word count! Click To Tweet

Tip 5 – Evaluate or Re-Evaluate Your Audience

Do you know who you want to read your articles? If the answer is “anyone”, then you need to re-evaluate.

Before you ever publish an article, you need to really think through who might be the target audience and ask yourself whether you are really meeting their needs.

For instance, when I first wrote this post, it was about 650 words and was targeted to those bloggers who had been publishing for 6 months or so, but hadn’t seen any traction. They are frustrated because they want to see their blog succeed, so they started Googling terms like:

  • Why isn’t my blog traffic growing?
  • What can I do to kickstart my blog traffic?
  • What are some good guidelines for blog content?
  • Are my blog posts too short for Google?
  • Should I give up on blogging?

The goal was to provide these folks with a little inspiration and some tips to help get them back on track.

Fulfilling the dream of a successful blog takes a LOT of hard workSuccessful blogging comes from a dream and a TON of hard work!

When I decided to update the post, I thought to myself that the audience might be a bit too narrow. Maybe bloggers who are frustrated are asking similar questions to those new bloggers have. Those queries might be more like:

  • How do I get started blogging?
  • Can you really make money blogging and how do you do it?
  • How many blog articles do I have to write before I start seeing traffic?
  • How long does it take for my blog content to get indexed?
  • Where can I find tips for setting up a blog?

The questions might be a bit different, but both audiences benefit from the content. What this allows me to do is really think through the people who might be reading and expand the content to try to help them out.

Just like clearly stating your goals can help out, spelling out the details of your target audience can be beneficial. To do this, I create “persona statements” that following this pattern:

The target audience of this blog is          {description of the audience and their challenges/needs}       . My goal is to         {statement of the goals I want to achieve with the content}     .

In the case of this post, there are two audiences, so the persona statements look like this:

The target audience of this blog is          aspiring bloggers how have never run a blog, but are interested in learning some tips and tricks        . My goal is to         help them learn 10 actionable things that can help them get their blog off the ground, while also helping them understand the challenges and dedication required      .


The target audience of this blog is          experienced bloggers who aren’t seeing the traffic that they expected and want some help developing ideas for growth        . My goal is to         share experience that can help them fine tune their current blog, evaluate their past activities, and make forward progress toward success      .

Pretty simple, right? These statements help me ensure that my content is staying on track and is laser-targeted on helping meet the audience needs. In my experience, writing posts that help others solve problems will always draw traffic.

Tip 6 – Identify Promotional Opportunities

As I mentioned previously, writing content is only half the equation when it comes to successful blogging. You can write the best article on the Web, but if no one knows about it, what value does it offer?

If you want to grow your blog, you HAVE to get comfortable with promoting your content. There are a lot of great resources out there to help you learn how to promote. I highly recommend these resources:

  • ProBlogger – Read every article you have time for. Darren has been doing this for a long time and there are a lot of great resources on his blog.
  • Neil Patel – Again, read everything you can. Neal knows what he’s talking about when it comes to promoting content and growing an audience. His content ranges from beginners to experts…everyone can benefit.
  • Backlinko – Brian has an amazing email list that he uses to share tips with his subscribers. Sign up and read every email Brian sends to you.

When it comes to promoting your content across channels, you need to really consider each channel and determine whether they will work for your content. Recently, I ran a pretty deep experiment to see whether Pinterest was a good channel to use to promote my content.

While the experiment is ongoing, the results aren’t very positive. After a few more months, I may just turn my time and energy to other, more productive channels. The time and energy required to successfully promote on Pinterest just isn’t worth it.

When considering which channels you might use in your promotion, here are some to think about:

  • Social media channels – Find the ones that your target audience uses and focus on those. DON’T try to be on every channel, you’ll overextend yourself and your results will suffer.
  • Email marketing – These are folks who voluntarily sign up to receive your content. This is your best audience, don’t forget about them.
  • Digital paid media – Yes, sometimes you might have to pay to receive some exposure for your articles. Try Facebook ads or Pinterest ads. Learn how to target an audience that matches your persona statements and see how the ads work.
  • Influencer engagement – Does your article mention some influencers in your industry? Mention them in a tweet and maybe they’ll share your post across their social network.

Find ways to reach your audience and let them know about your content. Make it easy for them to share the post with their network if/when they find value.

Tip 7 – Continually Analyze The Technical Performance Of Your Blog

When it comes to running a blog, you need to not only be focused on publishing high-quality content that your audience likes, but you also have to satisfy Google. That is, if you want traffic from organic search.

That means you need to consistently think about how to do things like:

  • Maintaining your WordPress core
  • Keeping your plugins and themes up-to-date
  • Decrease your page load times
  • Reduce the amount of server resources your blog is using
  • Avoid issues like 404 and 503 errors
  • Find ways to optimize your images
  • Identify opportunities to geo-locate your content using a content delivery network
  • reduce the volume of code your site is delivering to the browser through CSS and JavaScript minification

…and those are just a few of the technical tasks. If you aren’t doing those, it’s possible that your site will become out-of-date and slow, which poses security issues and sends a message to Google that you don’t deserve to be at the top of the search rankings.

Don’t let your blog rattle itself apart due to lack of maintenance!

If you aren’t technically adept, find someone who is. You’ll need to figure out how to pay them as part of the business of your blog.

Successful bloggers understand that the technical aspects of their site are as important as the content. Click To Tweet

Tip 8 – Analyze Your Internal And External Linking Strategy

For any blog, who links to you is important. But did you know that who you link to is almost as important?

When I tell clients this, they ask me if there is data to support the concept that external linking is important. My response is “do you like broken links?”

You see, while Google might not explicitly value outbound links as much as it values high-quality inbound links, we know that Google hates 404 errors. If you are linking out to resources that might not be around in a year, then don’t risk the possibility that an external resource that goes away has now created an outbound 404 error from your blog.

Outbound 404 errors are just as bad as not having any inbound links.

Additionally, you need to constantly be thinking about your internal linking strategy and ensure that your new blog posts link to your old blog posts and vice versa.

When you write a new post, review your old posts and think about which of those might benefit from a link. Also, think about which of your high-performing posts might be good candidate to link to the new blog post.

By cross-linking throughout your site and constantly updating your old posts with links to new articles, you’ll send Google signals that your content is frequently updated.

Tip 9 – Know When It’s Time To Monetize

I usually advise my clients and friends who blog not to jump on the monetization train immediately. Rather than filling up your blog with ads and affiliate links, start by filling it up with content.

Focus your first year on getting to your content goals and then think about monetization. That way, you are thinking about creating content that works for your users, rather than just thinking about what might bring in a check.

Don’t just think about the dolla-dolla bills!

If you reach your content goals early and you start to see some real traffic and traction, then start thinking about ways to earn an income from your content. Outstanding!

Just don’t start by trying to make your first million in year 1.

Tip 10 – DON’T Be Tempted To Cheat

I saved this one for last and it is one of the most important.

I am well aware that there are plenty of hucksters out there who will attempt to sell you cheap traffic. There are Fiverr gigs, black hat promises, and all kinds of schemes to get traffic to your blog.


There are no magic Fiverr gigs. There are no secret backlinks that will send you thousands of high-quality, qualified visitors. These are scams. They are designed to get your money and send you garbage bot traffic. Don’t fall for them.

Don’t buy crappy bot traffic that doesn’t help your site in any way and risks penalties.

At best, you will see your Google Analytics numbers rise for 30 days. Then, once the bot traffic is over, you’ll be left feeling depressed and sad.

At worst, you will earn yourself a Google penalty and potentially harm your blog reputation for a long time.

Don't cheat and try to buy crappy bot traffic to your blog. At best, you'll get crappy bot traffic. At worst, you'll earn yourself a Google penalty. Click To Tweet

Don’t cheat. Work hard. Dedicate yourself.

Do that, and you’ll succeed.

Let me know how I can help by asking a question in the comments or via my contact form. Have a tip that you feel would help others in their blogging journey? Leave it as a comment!



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Does your blog suck? Here are several tips for a better blog.


Sunday 26th of May 2019

I think using social media is great way to free promote your blog and also you got some really good traffic also anyway thanks for writing these informative post.


Wednesday 13th of March 2019

Amazing post Sean. Happy you share.


Monday 18th of February 2019

Thanks for sharing such a wonderful piece. It was helpful and straight to the point.


Monday 18th of February 2019

Hi, Admin, the technicality of your write-up is very superb and easy to follow. Reading through your work is relatively easy irrespective of the length. The most interesting aspect of it is that you've taken the time to cover all that both experts and newbies needs. Thanks for sharing. It was really helpful.

Praveen Rastogi

Friday 18th of January 2019

thank you for posting an amazing blog.