Did you start your blog because you were bored, maybe had a bit of whisky or wine and decided you were the most brilliant person in the world? Let’s face it, that’s essentially how Facebook got started. So why not, right?
There is a key difference in how to start a blog and how to monetize a blog.
With more than 30 million bloggers in the world and some 75 million new posts published every month, are you getting the clicks you want? Probably not. Most bloggers report frustrations getting people to read their content let alone find a way to monetize it. Even existing brick and mortar businesses struggle to get their online content to effectively do the marketing it is intended.
Sure, competition has something to do with it. The real problems for blog failure lie in flawed blog strategies and practices. But as an acting coach once told me, those who stick around and keep progressing usually get a career – maybe even stardom. The same is true with blogs, blogging and online content. We aren’t here to tell you why or how to start a blog. We are here to help you turn the tables and monetize your blog and be a pro blogger.
Here are five reasons blogs fail and what you can do to beat the odds.
Start a Blog With Something You Love
Many blogs start out of boredom or a desire to have a creative outlet writing about something you love. Think about it, when someone is looking for travel ideas, what makes your blog better than what they will find on major travel sites and travel industry web content? Don’t get me wrong, there are many successful travel bloggers as there are many successful food bloggers and mom bloggers. But you have to understand that unless you treat this as a business, you won’t find much success with your blog.
Even blogging sensation Amy Lynn Andrews admits that her blogging started as a hobby. The technical aspects of blogging is as important if not more important that the creative.
There is a difference between writing as a hobby and writing for profit. The hobbyist writes on a whim based on the inspiration of the day. The profit writer looks to understand the business side of his blog and treats it like a brick and mortar store, serving the needs of customers. The hobbyist isn’t consistent whereas the professional blogger has a content calendar and a set of strategies to consistently implement content users want to read. They don’t assume they know what a reader wants; they survey the market and look at data.
Writers Fail to Understand User Needs
Speaking of what the reader wants, most blogs don’t deliver the goods. It’s like being promised ice cream for dessert and getting broccoli – not that there is anything wrong with broccoli but it isn’t dessert. Look at blog boards all over the internet and you will find bloggers lamenting Google and the algorithm changes. Those changes alone put thousands of blogs out of business with each modification, partly because people give up. That’s good news for you.
By understanding that Google exists to provide consumers with useful and accurate data, you now understand why Google keeps changing the algorithm. As with anything in life, there are those who want to cheat the system. That makes it harder to do just about anything in this day and age from singing on to your computer to using a debit card at the grocery store. Bad guys make it hard for everyone else, but if you understand the game you can play it properly.
Creating content that meets Google’s needs to serve YOUR target client base will propel you to higher rankings, more engagement and bigger financial success. Reports show that bloggers can spend anywhere from 2.5 to 20 hours creating any one blog post. If you’re putting in that kind of time in anything, make sure it provides results.
Andy Crestodina at Orbit Media has a great tip for business owners who get a lot of questions from clients and prospects … take all the questions from your inbox and use them to build blog topics. This not only saves you time but directly targets content your consumer base wants.
Formatting and Pictures Don’t Meet Standards
Most bloggers, because they are hobbyists, are lazy. They think their words are the greatest and don’t need to put things together in the right format. They don’t include all the things that Google’s spiders look for when scanning sites and they don’t include the simple pleasing qualities that make readers want to stay on a page and read more.
Look at your own site and if you aren’t sure, ask us for a free review. Certain online mega brands such as eHow (now a publicly traded company owned by Leaf Group) actually re-wrote most of their library to meet the H2 headline standards, minimum word requirements and proper meta descriptions. It’s not just the blogger at her kitchen table that needs to adapt to the new formats and techniques.
Grab out FREE Mastering Blog Writing Checklist to make sure you are following the current guidelines for your blog content.
Educational but Not Promotional
In the sales world, there are presenters and there are closers. Presenters are well liked, give great info but never seem to make the same money closers do. The same is true in the blogging community. Is your blog content actively promoting what you do and how you can help your audience? Creating a clear call to action throughout your content and ensuring you are providing relevant information that defines credibility is essentially taking a blog from a passive business idea and transform it into an active money-making venture.
Most bloggers are also afraid to step out of their own blog sphere to find ways to build blog authority. If you aren’t sure what blog authority is, it simply means that Google likes you and the more Google likes you the more everyone wants to be you. Yep, blog authority means you are the cool kid – at least you get to sit at the cool kids’ table.
Neil Patel talks about using Guest Blogs as a means to promote content. We can’t agree with him enough. While you want to build your website’s brand, you can’t ignore finding ways to strategically pair your content on websites with much greater authority. If your content is good, you will succeed.
Don’t hesitate to seek professional help when it comes to learning how to create content and get professional editorial reviews to ensure your content meets professional SEO and writing standards. The great thing with online content is a blog doesn’t need to be grammatically perfect, but you don’t want to come across as illiterate. Get help where necessary to build upon your strengths and take weaknesses out of the weakness category.
No Unique Perspective
Got a parenting blog? How about a travel blog? Food? Pets?
See where this is going?
As you can guess, these are some of the most competitive blogs you can find. But what makes ScaryMommy so successful compared to the 100,000 other mom blogs being created daily? Every mom has similar experiences and but what is the unique message or perspective. Just with the title, moms knew they could expect the dark side of motherhood. Better yet, the blog delivers with fun content that normalizes the feelings moms have.
In any category you look at, when you start a blog, you have to know who else is writing in that genre and what makes them successful. By creating a unique perspective and then delivering the goods, you can build an audience that looks forward to seeing your content in their newsfeed. Without a unique perspective, you are just like everyone else. Think about the various actors who played James Bond over the years. There isn’t a Bond fan who doesn’t have a favorite Bond actor.
Yet each actor had to bring a unique angle to the iconic role. Without that unique take on the character, every subsequent actor playing 007 is really playing Sean Connery, the original 007. This can be one of the most difficult things to do as a writer in a saturated market. Bring similar content in unique, refreshing ways.
If you are unsure how to build your content in a way that can make you real money, download our FREE Mastering Blog Writing Checklist. We’ll help you understand the specifics you need to incorporate into every blog to build success.