Most of my blogging advice is geared towards new bloggers, but this week I got to thinking about some of the mistakes established bloggers make.
People like me, for instance. People who’ve been blogging for years, and who think they’ve got it all figured out, but who could probably stand to learn a thing or two from the new kids on the block. And no, I’m not referring to the 90s boy band, although, let’s be honest: we could learn a thing or two from THEM, too, couldn’t we?
Here are some of the mistakes I think established bloggers often make – and yeah, I’m totally speaking from personal experience, here…
Thinking that growth will be exponential
When I started blogging, I had this idea that if and when my blog reached a certain stage in its growth, I’d be able to just keep on doing what I was doing, and the blog would continue to grow. It doesn’t always work that way, though. While it’s certainly true that followers can lead to more followers (on a site like Bloglovin’, for instance, the more followers you have to ‘like’ your posts, the more likely those posts will be to appear on the ‘popular’ pages, which means you”ll probably gain even MORE followers as a result…), it’s definitely not the case that you reach a point where you can stop working as hard, and just sit back and watch your blog continue to grow. I always thought that once I reached 100,000 pageviews/month, for instance, that my blog would be popular enough that it would start to gain more followers almost without effort, but actually, once I hit that ‘magic’ number… nothing much happened. In fact, I pretty much stalled at that level for months until I realised that blogs don’t just keep on growing if you’re not doing anything to help them along.
Not trying new things
As with the point above, I blogged for years and years without seeing any growth at all: my traffic was basically a straight line, and it would probably have stayed that way, too, if I hadn’t decided to start experimenting with ways to try and grow it. I’d fallen into the trap of just doing the same old thing over and over again, and while that was working to an extent, in that I DID have a small audience, it was’t allowing me to reach new readers. It was only when I started to add fashion and beauty posts to the “daily diary” content I’d been producing, that my visitors started to increase. Now, I’m not suggesting you need to completely change the type of content you write, obviously, but if you’ve been sticking to a single topic for a long time, without seeing much in the way of growth, trying something even just a little bit different could be a good way to break out of that rut.
Not taking a break
Full-time blogging isn’t “hard” in the way that some other jobs are hard, but it IS totally relentless. It’s the kind of job that’s never actually “finished”, because no sooner have you completed and published one post, than you have to start thinking about the next – and so and and so forth. It’s really easy to get stuck on that treadmill of content production, and to feel like you basically NEVER stop working – as a blogger, almost everything you do becomes an opportunity to create new content, whether for the blog itself, or for your associated social media channels – but doing that can be a huge mistake. Not only is it a really quite route to burnout, if you’re so busy writing about your life (assuming that you’re a personal/lifestyle blogger, obviously) that you don’t actually have time to LIVE your life, you end up with nothing left to write about. Take a break, seriously: it REALLY won’t be the end of the world.
Forgetting why you started blogging in the first place
I’ve never subscribed to the idea that that there are “right” and “wrong” reasons to start a blog – and I definitely don’t agree with the oft-repeated mantra that “if you’re blogging for money, you’re doing it for the wrong reasons!” Whatever your reasons for blogging, however, I do think it’s important not to lose sight of them. I, for instance, started blogging primarily because I couldn’t stand traditional employment, and was desperate to do something for myself: ideally something creative, that I truly loved. Blogging allowed me to do that, but of course, no job is perfect, and, just like anyone else, I have days when everything starts to get on top of me, and I find myself wondering why I bother.
When that happens, the best thing I can do is to stop for a moment and think about why I’m doing it. Specifically, I like to think about all of the things I loathed about working in an office, and all of the things I love about blogging. That’s normally just the wake-up call I need, and more than enough to re-invigorate my interest in blogging. Your reason might be completely different from mine, but I bet you have one – and I’d also bet that reminding yourself of it every now and then can only be a good thing, both for you and for your blog.