Alright blogging babes – it’s time for some tough love. There are so many of you out there with great ideas, tons of excitement, and plenty of social media skills, so why, despite your passion for what you’re sharing, is your content not connecting and your audience not growing? I’ve been around the blogging block a few times (and have been slowed down by all of these mistakes myself), so I have a hunch I know what the problem is . . .
You’re blogging for yourself instead of your readers
Let’s be honest, your readers really just want to know how you can help them. Yes, they will probably fall for you too, but in the beginning, they’re only in it for all the inspiration, education, and entertainment you’ve got.
One huge mistake I made in starting to blog for my business was writing mostly about working as a freelance designer. It was what I was focused on and what I was really excited about at the time, so it was what I wanted to share. My posts were great, got lots of comments, and my audience (of other freelance designers) grew. But freelance designers weren’t the ones hiring me to design their websites. In order to have my blog and business grow in tandem, I should have been blogging for the types of clients I wanted to attract, not sharing whatever topic I was excited about in the moment.
Now, you can of course write about whatever you want and publish content you’re actually interested in. But if you want to use your blog to build a business, that content needs to be focused mainly on your readers and potential clients/customers.
You’re not getting personal
Yes, your blog topics are all about your readers, but you do need to infuse your blog with your you-ness (yep, that’s a thing) to make it stand out from the crowd. Think about this – there are literally a bajillion blog/business bloggers, so why are you hanging out on my blog? Maybe it’s the circus stuff, my take-no-shit attitude, my cool leather jacket, or my fondness for bright-colored lipstick and adorable dogs? Whatever it is, something outside of my content (because you can probably read most of this stuff on 100 other blogs) has attracted you to this post and/or kept you coming back.
You need to do the same thing for your readers. Let them in a little, share when things are terrible as well as when you’re on cloud nine. Be open, be honest, be a real person instead of a storage space for information. Write the way you speak, brand your blog to match your style. Mattie James and Sarah Starrs are two people doing a great job of this!
You worry too much about other people
Whether it’s other bloggers writing similar content, big bloggers getting all the acclaim, so many bloggers that it’s all been done before, haters and trolls online, or your friends and family offline – there are a multitude of people who can get in your brain and keep you from feeling excited, motivated, and confident about what you’re sharing. And that can be one of biggest reasons you aren’t sharing all the content you’ve got.
Remember . . .
- Just because someone else has written about it before doesn’t mean your readers have read it. Add your spin, share your experience.
- There are enough readers to go around (and more coming online every day) – whatever big blogger you’re eying can’t lay claim to all of them.
- Everything ever has been done before, but that’s not stopping me and it shouldn’t stop you.
- Haters gonna hate. It just means you’ve pushed the right buttons. Keep moving; if they’re mad, it’s THEIR problem.
- And lastly, writing your thoughts on the internet for strangers will always be weird. Do it anyway, even if your offline people don’t get it. We get it and we think you’re awesome.
You’re writing about too many topics
I know this is a hard one to quit, but it’s super important. The more niched your blog and the more specific you are about who you’re writing for, the more success you will have. Niche-ing down was one of the best things I did for myself, my blog, and my business because having three specific topics made it SO much easier to come up with content. All the other lifestyle-type stuff I wanted to share now goes on Instagram to help show off who I am away from my business (usually just a nerd with a book and a cute dog).
Now, you CAN have an umbrella topic that allows you to write about lots of different things. Travel, for example, would allow you to write about food (that you discover), fashion (for airplane and elephant rides), and photography (what tech stuff to travel with) without your blog appearing to switch directions with every post. So if you are set on including multiple unrelated topics, you MUST find a thread that connects them together. And, no, the thread cannot be, “I like all this stuff.” (Unless you don’t care about blog growth, then go for it.)
Your design is overwhelming
As you can see, this site is the embodiment of zen because it literally has nothing else but blog content and a set of links at the bottom.
The course of action for the reader is clear – read this post, feel more zen. Readers will have an easier time moving through your blog if they’re able to focus on your content and then have a clear path of action.
In order to accomplish this, there are a few things to consider design-wise . . .
What do you want readers to do when they come to your site?
How do you want them to feel?
What do you want them to know about you/your business?
If your design does not help answer these three question, then you may have some updating to do. Per usual – removing anything that new readers and loyal fans won’t be looking for immediately is a good way to start decluttering your site.