Blogging is an attractive endeavor for many reasons. Most bloggers get started with a desire to share their ideas with others, and the attention and money from blogging keeps them going. However, for every successful blog there are dozens that have utterly failed. There are a few things that many bloggers do without realizing the harm they cause to their own efforts. Ultimately, there are many ways you could be failing at blogging without even realizing it.
Don’t Refine Your Content
The adage “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it” certainly applies to countless situations, but not necessarily blogging. While it’s true that your blog’s audience will come to expect a certain tone and style from your content, this does not mean you can allow your blog to stagnate by producing the same type of content over and over again or being too worried about exploring new areas of content.
It may be worth doing some testing. If there is a new topic you want to cover or a new style of content you’d like to try, go for it and measure the results. See if your experiment leads to more comments and engagement than a typical post receives. If your audience seems not to enjoy the new experimental content, read their reactions and try to understand where you went astray. Refining the content on your blog takes time, effort, and experimentation, so you shouldn’t expect the winning formula you started with to last indefinitely and always be thinking of new content ideas.
Don’t Take Advantage of Social Media
The marketing power of social media is impossible to overstate; with billions of active users from all over the world on multiple platforms, social media is a blogger’s gateway to his or her audience. Many blogs fail simply because some bloggers don’t understand the value of social media marketing. You may have solid engagement for the first few months of running your blog only to see that initial traffic start to taper off. This is normal; people lose interest in things over time, so unless you’re driving fresh traffic to your blog it will inevitably stagnate and fall into obscurity.
A good blog should span at least one or two social media platforms. As a blogger, you should know who your target audience is. The next step is finding out where they spend their time online and engage with them on those platforms. Younger users tend to prefer Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter. While image-based social media sites like Snapchat and Instagram don’t offer much for a text-based blog, these outlets are still prime channels for attracting new visitors to your blog with content snippets or even photo- or video-based content. Older audiences tend to prefer Facebook and LinkedIn, which are both primed for sharing all types of blog content.
Don’t Engage Your Audience
If you’re looking for new visitors on social media, you can’t simply post links to your latest articles and hope for hits on your blog. Now audiences and consumers want brands and content that’s relevant, relatable, and authentic. The bloggers who are most successful regularly engage their audiences. They respond to questions and comments whenever possible, post updates to keep their readers informed about upcoming content releases, and create content that resonates with their core audience members and naturally encourages sharing.
Every blog should have a niche, and it’s crucial to understand the audience who enjoys content in that niche. It’s easy to grow detached from your own blog over time and let complacency take hold, but doing so will ultimately drive your readers away if they feel they can’t relate to you anymore or that you don’t take your audience seriously.
Don’t Invest in a More Attractive Site
It’s relatively easy to set up a bare-bones blog at minimal cost and get it running, and you can build a respectable following with minimal glitz on your blog. It’s important to understand the difference between creating a “flashy” blog and an “attractive” blog; a flashy blog comes off as pushy and possibly even irritating to some users whereas an attractive blog inherently encourages users to explore what you have to offer.
Make sure the platform you use for your blog responds well to multiple devices. Your content should be just as crisp and readable on a smartphone screen as it is on a desktop display or tablet PC. Many blog hosting sites offer free and low-cost options that may help get you started, but if you want your blog to succeed in the long run you will eventually need to make your site more aesthetically engaging to draw new traffic and keep your legacy readers interested.
Don’t Bother Telling Stories
Storytelling is unique to the human experience. Stories allow people to learn from events they did not experience firsthand, and storytelling is a valuable facet of modern marketing. As a blogger, you must market your blog if you want to capture a new audience, and telling stories not only makes your content more relatable, it also encourages your readers to share their vicarious experiences with your stories with others.
Modern audiences want authentic and relatable content from people, not bots. If your content appears too rigid and mechanical it will naturally turn people off over time. However, if you appear relatable and human, your content will resonate more strongly and you will build a lasting bond with an ever-growing audience.
Don’t Experiment With New Content Formats
Storytelling is just one way to get out of a content rut; there are countless ways to experiment and adapt your content to reach new users. Perhaps you’re a great writer and can’t fathom developing video content or hosting live streams in the early days of your blog, and that’s fine when you’re first getting started. However, you can only stick with what works for so long before it stops working as well.
Guest posting is a great way to offer your audience something new and exciting that can also benefit other bloggers. Work with another blogger related to your niche and see if you can work out a guest post trade. Offer to host one of their posts on your blog and vice versa and see if you can essentially trade traffic. Read your blog comments and see if your audience wants to know more about you personally or if they would enjoy a live stream Q&A session or other types of video content.
Blogging can be a great way to share your ideas and content with others and make an impression in the digital world, but it requires a great deal of effort, adaptability, and authenticity. Many blogs fail because bloggers lose interest or become discouraged after not seeing the results they wanted as quickly as expected, but learning from mistakes and making changes can help your blog succeed in 2019.