Blogging is an amazing thing, but it can also be incredibly frustrating at times. Sometimes we pour ourselves into a post, and end up receiving very little feedback (or maybe none at all). We get discouraged… we hit road bumps. What problems do we as bloggers face, and how can we solve them?
(Key: P = Problem, S = Solution)
P: IT TAKES TOO MUCH TIME & I'M NOT CONSISTENT
Having a routine/schedule is key to gaining a faithful audience. With so many blogs out there to choose from, the fact that readers check your site for a new post is incredible. But what’s more frustrating than repeatedly checking a blog for new posts and not seeing one for days, or maybe even weeks? Because readers can be picky, they will only stay with you so long. After a few times, they’ll go follow another blog that DOES update regularly. This might seem unfair, but it is actually incredibly fair. Readers can only be so loyal. They want new tips. New advice. If they can’t get it from you, they’ll get it from someone else.
S: ARCHIVE POSTS & SCHEDULE THEM IN ADVANCE
I used to post once every two weeks, if I was lucky. It was random, never on the same day. How could I expect people to know when to check in? Did I think they would check every day for two weeks? Honestly, yes. Thankfully, though, I myself read about the importance of a blogging schedule, and now I can share this vital tip with you guys! I never thought I’d be able to do it, but I have. How? ARCHIVING! My blog platform (as do most others) allows me to write and format posts, then archive them as drafts for later. When I am ready to post, I simply click that draft and select “post”. The article goes live immediately. The amazing thing about this is that posts take quite a bit of time to actually write, so being able to fully draft and format them in advance makes timeliness much easier. I have the post polished and waiting, and on Wednesday and Saturday mornings, all I have to do is hit “post”.
Another great thing about archiving is that it helps me post earlier in the day. Before, I was writing the posts just before I published them. This meant I was posting articles late at night. If I say I’m posting on a Wednesday, people are expecting to see that post before 9 o’clock at night :)
If your platform for some reason does not allow archiving or scheduling, you can always write them up in Word and save them. Then you just have to copy, paste, format, and go!
P: I HAVE NO READERS
For all the time we spend making even one post, it’s disheartening to get little traffic. You might ask yourself, “What’s even the point?” Well, more than likely, you are going about it wrong way. I hate to break it to you, but the old saying “build it and they will come” does not apply to blogging. You have to do much more.
S: BE ACTIVE IN THE WRITING COMMUNITY; ESTABLISH SOMETHING DIFFERENT AND PRO-USER, NOT PRO-YOU
You mean I have to post regularly AND somehow find time to interact with writers elsewhere? Unfortunately, yes. But you know what? There’s nothing unfortunate about it! Being a part of the writing community is incredible. There are so many different voices – different talents – out there, and seeing how they all interact and mesh together is so awesome.
Let me make a confession – I am not very into social media. I just have lots to juggle, and social media can be time-consuming – (a post coming on that later *wink*). When I first started my blog, I got a Facebook page dedicated to writing. Then just recently, I hopped on the Twitter train, which I promised I would never do unless someone forced me (seriously, I did indeed say that to quite a few people). Well, surprise! One of my writer friends convinced me to give it a go, and it’s been awesome! Social media is a wonderful place to meet other writers, readers, & literary lovers. You can grow your traffic, get inspiration and ideas, and grow yourself as you read other people’s blogs and tips. Now I’m not saying go out right now and get every social media platform known to mankind. Strategic tweeting, posting, and pinning is key. But that’s all for another day.
Another way to eradicate the no-reader dilemma is to create posts that are pro-reader, not pro-you. I heard an eye-opening piece of advice once that was so honest. It completely changed my way of thinking when it comes to my blog. The advice said that readers are coming to blogs to find tips for themselves. They want to know how to fix their problem, write better, flesh out their characters, improve their dialogue. What is your post giving them? What can they get out of it? Now, of course, it’s not a bad thing to post something personal. Readers like to see the personal side too. You aren’t a robot. But keep in mind that readers also want to walk away having gained something. What will that be?
P: MY POSTS GET VIEWS, BUT NO COMMENTS, LIKES, OR SHARES
Oftentimes, you KNOW your blog is getting traffic (an analytics site or pageview counter attests to that), but there is never any visible interaction. No comments, shares, or likes. These three things are what your audience sees. No one besides you sees your Google Analytics statistics. Why, if you are providing great content and people keep coming back, can’t you get anything out of anyone? Is It that hard to type a quick note and click a thumbs up button?
S: COMMENT ON OTHER BLOGS, ASK QUESTIONS, & RECOGNIZE THAT MANY/MOST READERS DON'T COMMENT
This goes back to the engagement part. If you want comments, you have to comment. Leave a note for someone you follow. Keep in mind, though, that you want a comment with some substance. A “great post” is wonderful, and as a blogger I know it is greatly appreciated. But try to give more. What is your opinion of the piece. Do you have anything to add? Consistent conversation will open the door for people to come have conversations on your blog as well.
The second solution is to ask a question at the end of your post. You will see this done on many, many blogs. Invite people to comment. Ask their opinion on something. It is natural that prompting readers with a question will make them want to answer.
Lastly, recognize that most of your audience will probably not comment. Don’t take it as a reflection of your readership. Even though it seems pretty easy to type out a short message, many readers just won’t. It’s nothing against them, and you should still appreciate their faithfulness to come read. But don’t get discouraged in thinking they read the post, but then clearly didn’t like it, since they didn’t officially “like” or comment on the article. If you are searching for social media shares, that post is coming soon.
There are also some things you can do in general to increase your readership. I could write several posts on all the great ways to increase traffic, but here are a few quick tips to draw in more readers:
Invite guest posters (writers, authors, agents, readers, bloggers, and other people in your niche)
Be a guest poster on someone else’s blog
Host a giveaway
Join a writer’s group
Ask pertinent questions (my post 45 Writing Tips From Actual Writers came from a question I asked in MY writing group)
Above all… ENGAGE! This is the #1 key to success as a blogger. You cannot attract the writing community if you do not belong to it. Make writing friends, comment and share others’ posts, and just enjoy blogging. Realize that even if you do all these things, growing an audience will still take time. You can’t write your first post and expect one hundred people to find you over night, and stick with you in the long run. Keep being consistent, and more importantly, keep being persistent. Faithfully post when you promise, give your readers great, useable content, and eventually, you will start to see the fruit of your labor.
What is your greatest struggle as a blogger? Share below!