Oh blogging, you mysterious and beautiful entity! Over 4,000,000 blog posts are published every single day. Holy. Crap. Does this mean that you don’t have a chance to ‘make it’ in the blogging industry? No way, Jose! I’m a pretty good judge of character and I can feel your good vibes through the screen right now. Hmmmm, yes. I can tell you’re putting out great content, friend.
But is your little blog baby not gaining as much traction as you thought it would? I know you have killer ideas, so what’s going on? The truth is, many, many bloggers are making a few mistakes that can inadvertently hurt their blog growth. Are you one of them? Let’s look at some things that could possibly be holding you back.
1. You insist on a niche.
I know, I know, you’ve read all over that if you don’t have a niche, you will be writing about anything and everything and you won’t be able to find your audience. Well, I’m here to call bullshit on that. Obviously, if you’re writing about snorkeling one moment, couponing the next, then how much fun you had at your grandma’s birthday party…. yeah, chances are not many people will be able to follow along.
I’m all about writing with intention. I believe in sharing content that helps and inspires people. I write about fitness, healthy living, and blogging. It’s not exactly a niche, is it? But they are three very well developed ideas that I love to share about. I could talk about each of these topics until I’m blue in the face! So, instead of focusing on finding your niche, I’d like you to focus on 3-5 mains ideas you want to write about. Niche-schmeesh, do what you want but stick to it.
2. You don’t have a clear blogging voice
Your brand is defined by how and what you write. Stay true to yourself and the people who need to hear what you have to say, the way you say it will be attracted. There is no one else more YOU than you, get it?
My favorite thing to have you do is ask your friends and family what the top words they’d use to describe you would be. Pick ones you agree with and make sure those traits come out in your writing.
3. Your images aren’t good quality.
If you’re taking pictures on your phone and then slapping them directly online without any touching up, you could be shorting your readers on quality content. People like pretty, clear images when they’re reading–and studies have shown that posts with fewer than two pictures do not hold an audience’s attention very long. While most smart phones these days take pretty great pictures on their own, playing around with them in an editing app can really make them pop.
One of my absolute favorite photo editing apps is Lightroom for mobile, a free version of what the pros use. You can even download presets–which are a lot like filters–for it. Play with the exposure and the color balance and see what you can do!
Snapseed is my other favorite. This app has a healing tool you can use to touch up a blemish or two. Don’t worry about making it look too airbrushed and fake–this app can’t do that. The brush option is amazing too, if you need to brighten/darken/saturate/desaturate any specific area of a picture. Snapped can also add text to your picture, so you have no excuse not to have a Pinnable title graphic on each post.
4. Your title is boring.
“10 Must See Spots in Spain” sounds much better than “Our Trip to Spain.” A catchy title can be the difference between a reader clicking on that post, and just scrolling past. Think about the topic of your post and see if you can create a title that YOU would want to read.
5. You forget to share your posts throughout other social medias.
You just wrote an amazing blog post! If you fail to share it across all your social media accounts, you could be missing out on many potential readers. Some of your Instagram followers may not know you have a Facebook account, or they may have missed your post on there. Talking about and linking your newest post on each social media will give you a better chance at being seen.
6. You’re trying to do all the social medias at once.
I get it. I just said to share your content through all your social media accounts. BUT that doesn’t mean you have to have an account on every single platform out there. In this industry, less can be more. Find a few of your favorite platforms and just focus on those. Trying to keep up with too many social media platforms can lead to overwhelm and burnout.
7. You’re not clear on your ‘why’.
This ‘why’ is not why you get up in the morning. That’s a why, but not in the sense I’m talking about. Your ‘why’ is why you are even on the interwebs in the first place. What are you here for? To share pictures of your cat? Are you trying to support and give advice to other stay at home moms? Are you trying to inspire people with your unique sense of style or decor? Are you trying to turn your passion for paper mâché into a profitable business?
Remember your ‘why’ and make sure all your content relates back to that.
8. You underestimate the importance of community.
You’re here to connect with people. To find your audience. To make them feel like they’re not just sending their comments into the black hole of the internet. Connect with them and let them know they’re heard and acknowledged. I don’t care if you have 200 followers or 200,000. Respond to people when they comment, ask questions, or compliment you. You can’t always respond to every single person, but you owe it to your audience to stay online for 15-20 minutes after you post (this mostly pertains to Instagram) to respond and interact with your people. They’re the reason you’re doing what you do, after all.
Find friends in this crazy blog game. A good idea is to follow people you admire and leave them heartfelt comments on their content. Ask questions and be sincere. But be careful–not everyone wants you to succeed. When I was first starting out, I messaged a local blogger I really admired, asking her how she got started. She responded with a rude, vague answer. It sort of hurt my feelings. I told myself I’d never be rude to a positive comment or question. Be nice. If you can’t be nice, be polite, then move on.
9. You think you have competition.
Thinking of this whole blog game as a competition is silly and self-defeating. There is NO reason to think of this as a competition. There are 7 billion people in the world, 100 MILLION of them on Instagram. Someone who follows that cute decor and fashion blog you look up to will also love following YOUR cute decor and fashion blog. It’s not conditional. We all follow multiple people online due to something in them that we connect with. This hearkens back to finding your unique voice. When you are 100% yourself, people will love you for it. You will find your audience. You are not in competition with the girl or guy next to you.
Are you making any of these mistakes? I’ve been guilty of every single one of them at one time or another. I try to see every mistake as a learning opportunity and take them in stride.
Do you know of other mistakes bloggers may be making? Share them in the comments below.