There are many things that can stop, or at least slow down, a person’s success in blogging, but if you want to be successful these two are at the top of my list. How do I know? Personal experience? Listening to others? Well both really, and if you’ve been following me for any length of time you know that I’m guilty of these two things myself.
The difference is that I know why I’m not as popular or successful as others, and it’s a choice. That’s right, it’s not a matter of knowledge, it’s a matter of choice; these things are a choice and the choice is yours. If you’re comfortable with your choice, that’s great! Keep it up! If you’re not liking the results of your choice, then change it. It’s as simple as that.
SO what choices am I talking about? Without further ado let’s talk about what I’m affectionately(?) calling Thing #1 and Thing #2.
Thing #1 Treating your blogging like a hobby
Now if you’re a person who blogs out of love for a hobby and not because you are trying to make money off of it, this still applies to you because the basic truth is pretty universal: people lose interest. Maybe not with their hobby, but they will with your blog. Why? Because what people want is consistency. Regular, predicable postings. How often do you need to post? Regularly.
How often does “regularly” mean?
It’s often debated about how frequently you need to post. Some people believe it needs to be daily, others claim weekly, I claim regularly. What do I mean exactly? Simply this: If you blog every day then people will expect a new post every day. If you blog weekly, or every two weeks, or once a month, or whatever then that is what people will expect, and you need to keep your schedule because they expect it consistently and regularly.
Now if you miss an occasional regularly scheduled posting, that’s no big deal; though if you are only posting every couple of weeks or monthly then you should post A.S.A.P. as that’s a long time to wait, but if you start out posting weekly and then maybe go two weeks, then daily, then a month goes by before your next post, etc. you will lose people, guaranteed.
Trust me, no one loves your blog enough to check it every day to see if there’s a new post if you aren’t posting regularly. They might for a while but they will stop eventually. There’s always other websites for them to go to.
As long as they know you’ll be posting every <whatever>, they’ll check your blog around that time for a new post if they like your blog enough. That’s why I maintain that regularly or consistently posting is more important than frequency.
But what if I don’t want to?
What if you don’t want to? Well that’s okay too. Look, no one is saying you HAVE to post regularly, if all you want to do is to treat your blog like a hobby then fine, treat it like a hobby. It’s no big deal, just don’t be surprised when your blog isn’t as successful as the other guy’s blog.
It’s simply a choice, and as long as you know that it is a choice and accept that it is a choice, then it’s fine. Treat it like a hobby. You’ll still (probably) get the occasional visitor, but you won’t get the number of visitors like you would if you posted regularly.
And at any time you can change it. If you treat it like a hobby now, you can always start posting more. If you’re getting tired of it and have lost your interest then you can always start to treat it like a hobby. The choice is yours, just know that after a while the number of visitors will be reflected in that decision.
Thing #2 Lack of Planning
Even more importantly that Thing #1 is a lack of planning. How can I say that? Simple enough, if you treat blogging like a hobby, but have things well laid out, then you will get more visitors than if you don’t plan things out because you will have put into place things that need to be there.
Conversely, if you post regularly but you haven’t planned things out, you won’t get anywhere near as many visitors as if you planned it out. Your efforts and energy will be scattered rather than focused. Sometimes people can sense it, and they will think that you don’t really know what you’re doing and will stop coming to your blog, but that also depends on your blog. People will have higher expectations from a blog that’s teaching internet marketing than they will from a blog talking about rebuilding an engine.
Regardless of your blog’s topic, you will save yourself a lot of effort and time if you think things through rather than just jumping in and seeing what happens. Are you going to do a blog and Facebook and Twitter and Google+ and whatever else? Great! How are you going to integrate that into your routine? They are interactive social activities and require someone to be interactive on those sites.
What about an auto-responder? Will you have regularly scheduled emails? Now I think emails DO need to be somewhat frequent, otherwise people forget or worse, report you as SPAM because they forgot who you are and that they actually signed up for your list.
Looking for something a little more practical in the way of an example? Sigh. Fine. A basic website funnel set up goes something like this: your traffic goes to a landing page/capture page and after that goes to your website where you handle the sales copy and ordering of whatever it is you’re selling or representing. You can have a blog and a website or you can have the blog be the website. The capture page gathers their emails and thus puts them on your mailing list. Your auto-responder should send them notices about new blog posts automatically and you should routinely send them emails, hopefully ones packed with value and not sales pitch after sales pitch, but that’s another matter.
Here’s a diagram of a very basic setup for a website traffic funnel. That’s not two blogs by the way, you’d add that blog if your website was not also your blog. Either way your blog should be connected to your auto-responder.
If you do that, would you go into WordPress and make the landing page a page in WordPress or would you code it as a separate webpage in HTML? Will you have your main sales page at www.yourdomain.com and your blog at www.yourdomain.com/blog? If you have both a website and a blog how will you connect them? Obviously with a hypertext link, I mean how will you funnel your traffic to it? Will you say “Click here for the blog?”
What things do you want as pages and what do you want to make posts? How specific will your categories be? If they’re too specific then you’ll have tons of them and one post will go into several categories, if it’s too general then you miss out not only on valuable keyword potential but worse, your visitors will have more trouble finding what they’re looking for. Can you guess what happens if they find it too difficult? That’s right, after a while they’ll go someplace else, plain and simple.
Some closing thoughts on planning and hobby
You can only plan what you know, you obviously couldn’t have planned to have Facebook integration if you hadn’t yet heard of Facebook. But you should plan out what you do know, and think it through. Yes you can go and change things if you need to, but what you’ll have to look at in those cases is if the long term gain of the change is worth the short term loss. Sometimes it is and sometimes it isn’t.
If you go about it in a haphazard style, you’ll be redoing or undoing or changing what you have put needless and wasteful effort into. It’s one thing to do those things when you’ve thought of a way to improve your process, it’s quite another thing to go back and fix it just because you didn’t think it through.
If you plan it out but treat it as a hobby, you’ll still do better than if you work hard and just slap stuff on, in my opinion. I know some people, who hardly ever touch their sites anymore, but because they set them up right in the first place still get traffic to them.
But like I said, it’s a choice. A choice that you, and you alone, need to make.