I’m pretty sure you know the feeling.
This feeling of frustration to see some growth…
…ANY growth on your blog…
You feel like you’ve tried every possible strategy.…But things aren’t moving as fast as you’d like.
You just don’t seem to be getting the ROI for your efforts.
You’re not even getting shares, subscribers, recognition or engagement.
If only you could get out of this deep rut you seem to have fallen in to….
If only you knew why you weren’t making as much progress.
I’ve been there too.
Struggling in the trenches to get my blog to where I want it to be.
To see some progress…any progress for that matter.
Then I realized that more often that not, we set ourselves up for failure…
It’s not so much an issue with the strategies but how we do (or don’t do) certain things that cause this sluggishness in growth.
Today’s post explores the reasons why your blog’s not growing as much a you’d like and how to fix it. Download the blog strategy workbook that’ll help you grow your blog in record time.
#1 You’ve employed too many cooks to spoil the broth
The same goes when you have too many goals you want to focus on.
- I want 10,000 page views
- I want 1000 subscribers
- I want 5000 followers on Pinterest
- I want to get to 500 likes on Facebook
Do you know what the biggest killer is when you run a blog or online business?
It’s shiny object syndrome.
This unrelenting itch to want to be everywhere and do everything.
And you’re busy. You have a full time job. You have kids or you have both.
You don’t have 8 hours a day to work on your blog. I don’t either.
And muti-tasking isn’t your friend. According to an article in Psychology Today by Dr. Susan Weinschenk, “it takes more time to get tasks completed if you switch between them, than if you do them one at a time”.
If you think that your energy and resources are split 50-50 when you work on 2 different tasks, you’re wrong.
Switching between tasks sucks up time and energy because the brain has to recall instructions on how to do a previous task. Our brains are simply not able to cope with this context switching.
When you focus on too many goals, you don’t have the required momentum to maximize your efforts.
In this post, Jon Morrow says:
In my opinion, it’s pretty much impossible to build a popular blog in less than 10 hours a week. If you want to grow quickly, tack on an additional 10.
Let’s say you only have 3 hours a day to spend on your blog.
How are you going to split your time between all those goals?
It’s almost impossible to get a decent amount of traction in any one area with that limited time.
What you should do instead
Pick 2-3 goals a quarter depending on how ambitious you are.
Why a quarter?
Because you need some time to gauge if your efforts are paying off.
So many bloggers guest post once or twice, don’t get the results they’re looking for and abandon guest posting altogether. As with any goal, it requires time to study, test, tweak and grow.
Here are some blogging goals:
- Build authority and credibility
- Connect with influencers.
- Nurture and build trust with subscribers
- Increase page views
Now, these are OK to start with.
But what specific actions are you going to take for each goal?
And here’s the key thing: Focus on actions that you can directly influence.
For instance have a look at this target:
Get 500 subscribers from guest posting.
You can’t influence this directly. But here’s what you can influence:
- Create a specific opt-in freebie aligned with each guest post
- Pitch 1 site a week.
- Comment on blogs that you want to guest post for
- Send atleast 1 email out per week to your list
- Set up a welcome email series
See the difference?
Likewise, how exactly are you going to connect with influencers?
You could start by identifying influencers’ blogs in feedly and then commenting on their posts.
You could join twitter chats that they host.
You could aim to share your favourite pieces of their work on social media.
It’s important to be clear about what you want to achieve and how you’re going to do it.
#2 You need 173 comments to decide on a logo
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m all for getting input from your peers…
…But most of the time, here’s how it unfolds.
- You get a great idea for an opt-in or product
- You get thoughts and feedback from Facebook groups.
- The response is split 50-50. There isn’t a resounding ‘YES go for it’ that you were expecting.
- You keep collecting all these responses for 2-3 weeks.
- You lose your initial motivation.
- Your idea and mojo disintegrates
Now, this could go another way and you get a resounding YES, and everyone inflates the value of this product or lead magnet.
You go from beta-test to full premium course launch mode. And you fail.
You are so busy perfecting one aspect, you miss the opportunity to expand beyond it.You really don't need 173 comments to decide on a logo. Click To Tweet
What you should do instead
Parkinson’s law states that work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.
Notice how you’re laser focused when you have to get something done in 2 days as opposed to 2 weeks?
Always, always set a launch date. You will move through hoops to get it done.
Not sure of a product idea, besides sharing it with your mastermind group, resist asking the world.
Get a minimum viable product down and beta-test it on a platform like Gumroad.
Even if you end up being wrong or you don’t get the results that you had originally hoped for….
…taking action and making mistakes along the way is more beneficial than not moving at all.
#3 You just picked up jogging but signed up for a competitive marathon next week
You want to leap.
I get that.
But it also has to make sense.
Stage appropriate goals are important.
There’s so much pressure to monetize when you’re just taking baby steps on your blogging journey.
No, you shouldn’t be stuck in the content wheel forever but it’s also important to understand your audience well enough to deliver a good product that they want (not something you think they need)
Have a look at the steps in each stage below. These are in no way fixed and they vary according to your niche, your understanding of your target audience and your pace.
You determine when you’re ready for the next stage.
Stage 1 – Set the Foundation
- Establish pillar or corner stone articles
- Put your opt-in forms in place
- Sign-up with a email service provider
- Be clear on who you are serving.
- Find out where you audience hangs out online.
- Create a reader persona.
- Create an opt-in freebie
- Have a monetization plan in place
- Build credibility by guest posting on authority sites
- Network and connect with influencers
- Get to 500 or 1000 subscribers.
- Nurture your list from day 1
- Build social media presence on 1-2 channels.
- Have a clear purpose for each social media channel.
- Study your audience and segment your list
- Start to implement your monetization plans
- Have a consistent content schedule
- Add more revenue streams in place
- Get to 5000 subscribers
- Consider outsourcing
- Hire help and work on automations and systems so that you can focus on creation and blog growth tasks.
#4 You have don’t have a clear why or direction
Would you board a plane knowing that your pilot didn’t have the itinerary or map needed to navigate the plane to your destination?
Of course not.
That would just be silly.
But don’t you think so many of us course through our blog building without a clear direction?
Failing to plan is planning to fail, Allan Lakein
This is why it’s so important to have what’s called ‘big, hairy, audacious goals (BHAG)’
This is a term introduced by Jim Collins and Jerry Porras in their book Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies.
But you can apply that to blogging and and online business too. These goals usually have a time-frame of 5, 10, 15 years.
When you’re hanging for your life week after week, struggling with scheduling your social media and keeping up to speed with your editorial calendar, this can sound ludicrous.
But hang with me for a second. In blogging terms, what big, hairy audacious goals can you have:
- Be invited as a speaker on a popular blogging summit in 3 years
- Get on the top 100 list of sites helping solopreneurs by one woman shop in 5 years
- Be nominated as one of top-50 personal development blog in 2 years
- Make $5000 a month in passive income in 3 years
It’s a visualisation exercise of sorts. Your ‘destination postcard’.
They get you hustling.
They create a sense of urgency.
It keeps you from worrying over mindless statistics. (Now stats, are important. But if you’re fussing over your page views and comments when you’re just 3 months old, you’re taking your mind away from things that actually grow your blog.)
#5 You’re not promoting your content enough
Guilty as charged.
You’re missing out from getting your work in front of a huge piece of audience when you don’t promote your content enough.
According to a Co-schedule survey, 77% of bloggers share their posts three times or fewer on social media.77% of blogger share their posts 3 times or fewer on social media. Are you one of them?Click To Tweet
In this post, Derek Halpern, Social Triggers says:
It’s smarter to find another 10,000 people to consume what you’ve already created as opposed to creating more.
Or, in other words, create content 20% of the time. Spend the other 80% of the time promoting what you created.
What you should do instead
There are several ways to take content promotion to the next level. But in essence, here’s the most basic you should do.
Email your list
If this is part of your email marketing, then by all means go ahead. But I’d suggest you do this as well as send exclusive content at least once a week.
For instance, I have a segment of subscribers who specifically opted in to receive my blog post updates. I don’t send blog post updates to all my subscribers–just this segment. I send out a bi-monthly digest where I include links to sites where I’ve been published and then links to articles on my blog.
Share on social media
Find 10 snippets of your post. Snippets are key phrases, quotes, intriguing statistics and ‘click to tweets’.
I usually populate these in a spreadsheet so that I can pluck them into Buffer. You can recycle these on your social media feed and at the same time don’t bore your followers.
Bonus points for creating extra images too.
If you’ve mentioned an influencer, email them
I have email templates that you can use at this post.
Share with online communities
- Google+ communities
- Facebook groups
- Linkedin groups
On Facebook group promo days, some groups allow you to promote your post to the group wall.
If they do, don’t just post a link…write an enticing description to the post. I usually put the first couple of sentence of my post, like I did here.
Most groups though, only allow you to post in a designated thread.
And if you’re familiar with promo days, you know how quickly your post can get buried. To give it a chance at some eyeballs, don’t let Facebook auto populate an image.
Make a separate image and write a short description as well.
Syndicate your posts
Syndicating your content means you give permission to another site to republish your blog posts. You will get credit for the post and a link to the original on your blog.
This is a quick way to expose your content to a larger audience that you don’t have access to.
Some of these sites are Inc, Elite Daily, Business2Community, Medium and Social Media Today.
You will still have to tweak the headlines, style and length for each site to get your pitch accepted though.
#6 You’re not extending the life line of your posts
Repurposing is providing your content in a different format.
For instance, programs like Beacon.by make it terribly easy to convert your blog posts into ebooks to offer as a download.
Likewise, you could also make an audio version of your blog posts using sound cloud.
There are several ways to repurpose your content. Here are some ideas:
Blog Post > Ebook
Blog Post > email course/challenge
Blog post statistic > social media (e.g Twitter)
Blog post Quotes > Twitter Image
Blog post Quotes > Pinterest Image
Blog post Quotes > Instagram
Podcast expert Interview > Case study on blog
Blog post > LinkedIn
Blog Post > Google +
Blog post > Sound Cloud
Blog Post > Live streaming/Youtube/Periscope
Blog Post > Slide deck on slideshare
Slide deck > Webinar/ You Tube video
Blog post > Infographic
Blog post > Syndicated sites
Blog post > Lead magnet
Testimonials > Social media
Free email course > ebook
Blog post > email list
Blog post > Facebook posts
Slideshow > Infographic
Another method I learnt from Dan Norris, WP Curve is to look at the problems and aspirations behind a topic.
Look at the example below.
Problem – Writing boring web content
Aspiration – Writing content that dazzles your readers
Once you’ve identified this, you can turn it into a couple of content types.
- Mistakes (5 mistakes that make your blog posts dull, drab and plain boring)
- How to (How to diagnose boring blog posts (and make them pop)
- Case Study
- Tools (10 tools that help produce interesting blog posts)
- Guide (The guide to writing dazzling web copy that turns readers into subscribers)
#7 Your posts make your readers scratch their heads
There’s a disconnect between your audience and the content you’re creating.
Now, not everyone who visits your site is going to be of the same experience level. You’re going to get readers of different personas.
A persona is a reader profile that you’ve crafted. And that person is as good as real. They exist among your readers.
And what connects each of these personas is their desires and aspirations towards that ‘change’ that you’re helping them achieve. And every piece of content on your blog should sell a change.
To do that you need to be dialled into their needs.Every piece of content on your blog should sell a change. Does yours?Click To Tweet
What objectives or personal goals does she have?
To get noticed online. To earn some income from her blog. To build her blog into an online business
What is preventing your ideal reader from achieving the desired change?
Lack of time. Information overwhelm. Shiny object syndrome.
What mistakes is she making and what can she do about it?
Focusing on wrong traffic strategies for different stages of her blogging journey.
What mental block does she have to overcome?
Believing she is not an expert. She has nothing of value to contribute.
If you need help with crafting a reader profile, read this post > How to Profile Your Ideal Reader with (Perfectly Legal) Surveillance
Imagine charging towards your goals with laser focus
Imagine knowing what you want despite all the distractions pulling you in a million different directions.
You might stick out like a sore thumb because you’ve refused to conform.
You’ve refused to dabble in 5 different social media platforms. You’re working towards a larger vision.
The path you’ve chosen would be wildly different from the rest.
But this is what’s going to grow your blog in leaps and bounds.