|Author:||Nola||Published:||15 days ago.|
|Tags:||blogging, discouragement, social media, goals||Category:||Writing tips|
In my last post, I gave ten good reasons to have an author blog, yet many people start a blog only to abandon it down the track. Reasons can include practical issues, such as time, technical know-how or the struggle to keep coming up with fresh content. However, one of the biggest reasons is discouragement. One writer told me that fewer people commented on her blog over time, so she wondered if anyone was reading it. There are many valid reasons for not blogging, but if you’ve stopped because you’ve been discouraged, take heart. It may not be as bad as you think.
1. Realise that comments are not the best indicator of success. It takes time, effort and some degree of extroversion to comment on a blog post. Just because you get few comments, it doesn’t necessarily mean readers aren’t enjoying it and/or getting something out of it. For example, my post entitled Read Outside the Box attracted comments from eight people on the Christian Writers Downunder site, but has been viewed 660 times. Comments are only the tip of the blogging iceberg. A lot may still be happening behind the scenes. Also remember that if you have evergreen content, people will continue to read your post long after the window for comments has closed.
2. Make it easy for people to interact. Have you enabled comments on your blogsite? Is it easy for people to comment or do they have to jump through too many hoops? This is a tricky one, because you need some security to thwart spammers, but you don’t want the process to be so onerous that it deters people from commenting. Also think about how you let people know about your blog. Do you post the links to social media sites like Facebook or Twitter? If not, you should. If so, did you know that people are more likely to engage with different kinds of social media at different times of the day or week? Click here for Sandeep Mallya’s excellent summary of peak times. Adding a ‘call to action’ at the end of your post can also prompt people to respond (e.g. ask a question or encourage them to share their experiences regarding a particular issue).
3. Do unto others. Bloggers, readers and writers are part of a community. Like all good communities, there is give and take. Do you expect others to comment on your blog, yet you don’t make the time to visit other people’s blogs? It’s impossible to read everything, but we can all do a little more than we’re doing now. Give and it will be given to you. For more on the ‘do unto others’ principle of marketing, I have a more detailed post that you can read here.
4. Give an old blog new life. Have there been times when you’ve put your heart and soul into a post, but it didn’t get the reaction you’d hoped for? You can breathe life into an old blog post by updating it and resending the links on social media. You can also backlink to posts that you want to highlight (i.e. put a link in a new blog that will take readers back to the old one). I’ve done that three times already in this post. Not everyone will click those links, but you may attract some new readers.
5. Re-evaluate your content or focus. Let’s face it. There are a lot of blogs out there and sometimes we’re just not as riveting as we think we are. If you’re not getting the traffic you’d like, think about what you’re hoping to achieve with your blog and whether you’re giving readers what they want. As a general rule, people are more likely to read your blog if they think it will be useful. Does your blog show them how to make Christmas gifts from cat hair, or feed a family of six with tofu and lemons? Do you help them solve a problem, have a laugh, be inspired or live a more fulfilling life? Whatever your goal, think about how you can write more engaging content that people will love to read.
6. Remember what’s most important. Why do you blog? Is it because you enjoy it or do you see it as a burden you have to bear as an author? Do you hope it will make you money and bring in the fans, or do you have something to share with others that will be of lasting benefit? Some see blogging as part of their calling to teach or inspire others. Author, reviewer and blogger-extraordinaire, Paula Vince, reminds us to keep things in perspective and review our priorities. (See her excellent post here.) If we focus on money or popularity, it’s easy to give up when things don’t seem to be working out the way we’d hoped. However, our value is not a numbers game. Each person has something worthwhile to share. We just have to find our voice and keep plugging away. If even one person is inspired or challenged by something we’ve written, we’ve done our job.
Have you ever experienced blogger discouragement? How did you deal with it? I’d love to hear your ideas (and I’ll be checking for comments).