You’ve considered it. We all have.
What if my blog goes nowhere? What if all my hard work lingers in obscurity forever? Is it worth it?
Why do some bloggers meet with huge success while the majority of bloggers never make it long enough to make 20 bucks in Google Ad Revenue?
Sure, it’s not always about the money…
Or is it?
Even if you didn’t start out thinking about things that way, I’ll bet you’re starting to now. And that’s okay. I want to help. I’ve been there. My first attempt at blogging crashed and burned, and today I’ll tell you why. I’ll also tell you about two other bloggers I know who had similar paths and what they learned along the way.
No Clear Direction
It’s normal to be a bit aimless as a new blogger. Most of us don’t begin with a crystal clear vision of our goals, and even if we do, it’s natural for those goals to change.
But there comes a time, if you miss the opportunity to really focus, that it all starts to seem a bit meaningless. My friends Kevin Duncan and Ryan Biddulph suffered from these issues with previous sites. Kevin said:
When you don’t have a clear direction for your blog, you eventually lose interest. That’s what happened to me. Even though my blog was popular, writing for it soon began to feel like a chore.
Inevitably what happens without a clear set of goals is that you stop enjoying your work. We all know how hard it is to maintain a quality blog, so if you’re not loving it and you’re not making money, it won’t be long before you run out of steam.
Here’s what Ryan had to say on the subject:
Take my old blog: I covered about 354 topics over 4 years, LOL! I finally narrowed it down to…..about……3 topics. Still too many. Because I lacked clarity, in what I did, I confused my audience. I was trying to be a doctor and lawyer…..or, I was a bit more specialized, but I was trying to be a brain surgeon and podiatrist, or, an estate lawyer and personal injury lawyer. No clarity, no good, because where your attention and energy goes, grows, and if you devote your energy to more than 1 specific job, you can’t grow that venture.
With Blogging from Paradise, every single element of my blog was clearly laid out, from my blog name, to my domain name, to my tagline, I help you retire to a life of island hopping through smart blogging, and every single item on my blog, from my sidebar, to my posts, and my pages, helps you retire to a life of island hopping through smart blogging. That level of clarity is rare online, which is why I’ve been endorsed twice by a NY Times Best Selling Author and it’s also why I spoke at NYU this past week to talk about how to successfully monetize a blog.
Failed blogs – and bloggers – lack clarity, and successful blogs – and bloggers – have clarity.
No Path to Income
You might be wondering, why would Kevin give up on a popular blog? Well, while there were monetization avenues he could have pursued, he just didn’t see a clear strategy that would actually bring in enough money to merit all of his hard work.
The fact is, some niches are just easier to monetize than others. In my book, Top 10 Secrets of Successful Mommy Bloggers, I discuss what’s called the Hedgehog Principle (who knows why). This principle is a guide for finding your path, and it suggests that this path lies at the cross section of what you love, what you’re good at and what people are willing to pay for. It would be a good exercise, if you’re working on your goals, to think about them this way.
The Hedgehog Principle
Even though it’s true that some niches are naturally easier to make money from, there are options for monetization in just about every niche, if you know what you’re doing. To learn every last thing I know about monetizing your blog, sign up for my free email course here.
Forgetting to Network
In a recent roundup on blogging mistakes, many of the bloggers cited the failure to build relationships as their biggest “rookie blogger” mistakes. That’s because as Adrienne Smith recently wrote about, our offline relationships have more in common with our online ones than we often remember.
Networking with other bloggers has completely changed things for me, Ryan and Kevin… but it’s not always easy to know with whom you should network and how to do it without making it your full time job. I wrote some time-saving tips about this subject here recently, check it out!
Relationships are at the heart of every effective marketing campaign, and blog marketing is no exception to this rule. If you’re intimidated by the idea of building beneficial relationships as a blogger, you should definitely check out Adrienne’s new course on the subject, you couldn’t ask for a better expert to lead the way.
Lack of Knowledge
Most of these mistakes really just boil down to ignorance. Which is funny, because you’d think it would be impossible not to learn the right way to do things when the information is available, often for free, everywhere we look.
But here’s the thing.
If you’re not looking for it, you’ll never find it.
One of the common problems that Kevin, Ryan and I all shared was that we weren’t looking for the information that could have saved us the trouble of starting from square one. It’s out there and available for you to take advantage of… but are you really looking for it? Do you really want to know what it’s going to take to be a success? Is that work you’re prepared to do?
Ryan loves to warn other bloggers against the “limiting beliefs” that prevent us from being successful, and if you’re resisting the urge to learn about something that intimidates you, chances are there’s something within you (fear?) that’s getting in your way. What do you think? Maybe it’s time to work through some things so you can move forward!
Failure to Invest/Commit
Ryan has mentioned that one of the main reasons his previous efforts didn’t work was that deep down, he was afraid of success. He didn’t want the responsibility that comes with it. Do you have this problem?
Many of us do. It’s why we don’t pay for things like hosting or quality social media management tools. We’re afraid our work isn’t good enough and will never be good enough to bring us success. Investing in your website sends a signal to your subconscious that you’re serious about your blog and willing to push through the rough patches, and that sort of mindset is essential to your success.
You have to believe that if you stick it out and always keep improving, you’ll do well. But if you give up, you’ll never know.
Quitting Too Soon
How soon is “too soon” to quit something that isn’t working? It’s a tough call. Eventually, most bloggers feel inspired to start over at some point– despite the widely held truth that longevity is one of the key factors in blogging success.
So before you quit, make sure you’ve thought about these options first. One of our board members, Giada, recently rebranded her existing site, making it more effective for her goals but not sacrificing the following she’s already built. Sylvaine Nuccio has recently done the same thing. You can do it too, if that feels right.
The Point Is…
You don’t have to be a statistic. YOU can make it, and if you’re talented, hardworking and… well… lucky, your efforts will pay off in the end. But if not…
At least (I hope) you’ll have had a really good time!
Over to You
So, what do you think? Do you have a failed attempt at blogging under your belt? What have you learned along the way that you wish you knew starting out?