I’ve hit a brick wall with my blog. My traffic isn’t growing and I’m running out of ideas.
Can you relate to this right now?
I get lots of tweets and emails every week from lots of different bloggers - people who have just started out with their online presence and those who have been blogging for quite some time.
Recently on Twitter, someone mentioned that they’d hit a brick wall with their blog. No matter what they were doing they weren’t getting any comments, their traffic wasn’t increasing and no one was joining their community.
So here’s the question: what are successful bloggers doing to maintain their online presence, generate so many ideas and constantly grow their community?
When I first started out I only had a few readers and some of those readers are still here today, over three years later. I had to go through a long period of time when I felt like I was writing to no one, but the readers were there.
They carried me on until I generated more and more readers, and from then on, my community and numbers never decreased.
That’s not to say there were slow months. The entire growth of my online presence has been slow.
I’ve had terrible pageviews for some blog posts, no comments for ages and barely any interaction on my social channels.
Now, I promise I’m not saying this to make you feel disheartened. I’m saying this because I want you to know that it’s totally possible to make it as a blogger. You don’t have to be worried about all the noise or feel like all your ideas have been done before.
Sure, if you want a simple change, just stick to interacting on social media. But what I AM saying is, if you love writing and inspiring people - which I do - and you LOVE blogging, you can make it work.
Don’t lose hope.
Put the work in.
Right, enough with the speech. This is what you need to be doing in order to help you turn your online presence around and find your way as a blogger.
#1 | UPDATE YOUR ABOUT PAGE
When was the last time you updated the about page on your website?
This was one of the first things I wrote when I was ready to start blogging. It was like my way of telling everyone exactly who I was, why I was blogging and what they could expect from me (even though I was completely clueless at this point).
Your about page is like your shop front. You can use it to pull in readers, generate loyalty and show people what you have to offer.
And you know what? It can be one of the most-read pages on your website and can help skyrocket your traffic, especially if it’s written in the right way. I wrote a post on how to go about updating your about page last year which you can read here.
Updating your about page can be as simple as having an engaging opening sentence. Take a look at the intro to Kayla’s about page:
She’s a coach. And not just any coach - but one that focuses purely on community building.
When you pick one specific focus and use this in all the copy throughout your site, your online presence will grow.
This is because readers will know exactly what to expect from you and how you can help them, just by knowing the area that you focus on the most.
So, your task is to look at your about page and really see how you can write it to help you attract more loyal readers.
#2 | NARROW DOWN YOUR CATEGORIES
Your categories should showcase what your blog is all about. They can all revolve around your main purpose and should all link together.
But be careful not to fill your blog with all the categories under the sun. If there are too many to choose from, readers will get confused and probably leave your site to go somewhere else - not cool!
As you can see, your categories can have pretty negative effects.
So it’s time to narrow them down. Start looking at what blog posts perform the best. Have a think about the content you enjoy creating the most and also see if you can include certain categories as subcategories under one main umbrella.
For example, Zoe’s blog consists of three main categories:
This might seem like a small amount, but it tells new visitors to her site exactly what her blog is all about.
#3 | START GUEST POSTING
You mean, you haven’t started writing guest posts yet? Why not?
A lot of bloggers sing to the rooftops about how much guest posting has helped them grow their online presence.
And I agree.
Why? Well, for one, you’re building up relationships with other bloggers. This means that so many more opportunities can come from writing just one guest post. And that relationships can last for life.
The second reason is that if you write guest posts on blogs similar to your own, you’ll be attracting the right readers. For example, here’s an example of a guest post that I wrote on Heather’s blog:
That was published nearly a year ago and because Heather and I have a similar audience, people still pin this post and tell me they started reading my blog because of this piece of content.
So when you’re looking for blogs to guest post on, opt for ones where you know you target a similar group of people.
When you do this, you’ll get more readers, because they’re looking exactly for the things that you can help them with.
Then, once you’ve started off with a few guest posts, you can start targeting even bigger bloggers and websites. I received an email recently asking me to write a guest post for a pretty huge blog in the entrepreneurship/start-up industry. That’s purely down to the content that I’ve been creating and the way I market myself.
#4 | PUBLISH CONTENT ON YOUR BLOG AND SHARE IT ON SOCIAL MEDIA
I’ve been successfully blogging for over three years now. And I know it’s because having a blog is the main strategy you can have to help you grow your online presence.
But it’s not as simple as just having a blog. You’ve got to have a blog with purpose. Is your blog attracting your ideal reader?
Now, for me in the past, it didn’t, and I suffered from very slow growth. But since I honed in on my categories and redefined my focus, my blog now generates the growth of my entire online presence.
Readers come to my blog and see how easy-to-navigate it is, how my images are optimised for social media sharing, how it’s all about community and how my writing is relatable and inspiring, yet they always go away learning something new.
These things help me generate new readers every single day.
When your blog has a clear purpose - no matter what that is - it shows that you pay attention to your readers and that you’re consistent.
And when you publish content regularly on your blog, you can create a banging social media posting schedule (which we’ll get onto shortly).
#5 | TAKE PART IN TWITTER CHATS
You saw this coming, right?
Taking part in Twitter chats is a great way to make new connections, get in front of new readers and build your community.
And when someone else likes what you have to say so much from a Twitter chat that they follow you AND visit your blog, this is a massive achievement.
If you have no clue what Twitter chats to take part in, just ask!
There are so many to take part in.
Try some out and then pick your favourites!
#6 | PITCH TO BRANDS
Don’t expect brands to come to you at the start. The best way to get these sort of PR opportunities is to chase after them yourself.
All the time.
To loads of different brands.
That’s how you do it.
It’s survival of the fittest.
Go ahead and pitch to the brands that you WANT to work with. The point is that you want to get your name out there in front of the right audience, which means you need to target the right brands.
#7 | GET A SOCIAL MEDIA POSTING SCHEDULE IN PLACE
How often do you share your latest blog post to Twitter?
Do you do an Instagram Story update about it?
Do you pin it to various boards on Pinterest?
You should be.
Why? Because that way you’re getting your content in front of as many eyes as possible at various times throughout the day, especially on Twitter. I use Buffer to schedule all my tweets.
It’s so easy to use and the basic version is free too, which lets you schedule up to ten tweets at a time. I do all mine for the day first thing in a morning.
It’s really not that hard scheduling your posts to social media - the big that people seem to find difficult is knowing what to actually say.
Feel free to follow me on Twitter and take some inspiration!
#8 | STAY UP TO DATE
To make sure that you don’t fall behind in terms of trends and technology, make sure you stay up to date with the blogging industry. For example, did you know Instagram Stories have introduced ads?
I found out from reading a post on Bloguettes which I then shared on Twitter.
I always share the latest news and trends on Twitter!
Another way to stay up to date is to pick certain influencers to follow. For example, Rebecca and I both have very similar interests in the industry, so we’re always bouncing ideas off each other and talking about the latest updates.
Maybe because you’re a beauty or fashion blogger you want to stay up to date with the latest trends in that way. The best thing for you to do would be to buy a couple of magazines every month - they’re full of goodness!
#9 | INVEST IN YOUR BLOG
And by this, I don’t necessarily mean with money.
There’s one big difference in terms of what makes a blogger successful, whether you blog as a hobby or not.
Those that find and make time for their blog will see results. If you’re determined to stick at it, the benefits will be endless.
DON’T GIVE UP
It’s very tempting to pack in blogging altogether. You have some really good traffic months, you’re putting loads of effort in and then all of a sudden everything seems to come to a standstill.
This happened to me. About a year ago, I launched the Blogging Breakthrough series. The challenge went great, and I went on to turn it into an eBook and carried on creating other great content. But during those first few months of the year, my community wasn’t increasing on social media, I had no engagement and my traffic wasn’t growing past a certain point.
Maybe you get a consistent amount of comments for every post and it’s going great. Then, just one time, you get less comments. Then on the next one, you get none.
This happened to me. I used to get loads of comments on all my blog posts. But over time, less and less people started leaving comments. I later realised that this was because I had completely lost my way with my blog.
But did I stop? No. I kept on going. I refined my categories. I spoke to my readers to see what they wanted me to write about.
I didn’t give up.
So what about you?
If you’re ready to get a breakthrough with your blog, you can get a step-by-step challenge for your blog and online presence by joining Blogging Breakthrough. It walks you through the exact action steps you need to enhance your community, build your personal brand and get you to where you want to be.
What do you usually do when you hit a brick wall with your blog? Which things from this list will you be trying out?