As we’re entering the new year, it’s possible you’re finding yourself in something of a blogging rut. Maybe your traffic growth has flattened some, your entries don’t feel as good as they once were or you just don’t seem to be making any progress.
There is many reasons that this could happen, some of them unavoidable, but many bloggers sabotage their own efforts without realizing it.
If things aren’t coming up roses, it may be time to take a moment and think about what you need to do differently and how you can pull yourself out of it.
With that in mind, here are three easy mistakes bloggers make and how you can correct/avoid them.
1. Spreading Yourself Too Thin
You run a blog, but it isn’t the only account you have. You also (may) have accounts on Twitter, Facebook, Myspace, Tumblr, Digg, Reddit and hundreds of other sites.
You quickly get to a point where you are doing so many things, you aren’t doing any well. You only have a limited amount of time for blogging, even if you do it full-time, and you have to be careful how you divide that time up. Don’t spread yourself too thin.
Likewise, be careful where you put your content. If you put it in too many places, especially without proper links back, you might find yourself spreading your audience out and confusing them.
Solution: Be constantly evaluating what is and is not working for you and spend your time and energy on the things that are productive. Never feel like you have to do something because it’s popular if it isn’t working. Furthermore, try to link to your content rather than copy it. Though limited copying won’t hurt you, especially if you are careful to link back, if you spread your work out too far with too little control, even the search engines might be confused about where to find you.
2. Defining Yourself Too Narrowly
You probably have a quick pitch for what your blog is about and what your readers can expect to find out. While that’s great and you certainly don’t wish to wonder too far off topic, sometimes you have to branch out into neighboring areas. Run a blog about your restaurant? Maybe you should look at a post to help others get financing for their restaurants.
Not branching out from time to tome means first that you never reach out to other, related, niches. Second, it makes your blog seem stale. If you have too narrow of a focus you can only write so long before you run out of ideas and either start repeating yourself or the quality goes way down.
Broadening your horizons just a little bit is a great way to find a fresh idea, a fresh audience and come back at your core topic with a new set of eyes.
Solution: Stop thinking that you have a topic you have to cover and look at it as your core area. Then, look for things that connect to it you can also talk about. Think of it as a wheel with spokes. You have a central hub that you always come back to, but many branches to explore that come off it.
3. Stopping Promotion
One of the most famous quotes in advertising history came from William Wrigley, the founder of Wrigley gum. When asked why he continued to invest in advertising despite having such a huge market share, he responded “Sales is a train and advertising is the engine. Cut off the engine and the train will slowly come to a halt.”
A big site needs promotion just as badly as a small one. You have to be out there constantly promoting and pushing your site. Otherwise, growth will stagnate and you’ll find yourself with a decent audience that never really changes.
Solution: Never stop promoting and never stop trying to get your readers to help promote you. Use all of the tools available to you and promote your site honestly and fairly. Promote it wherever you are naturally and keep leaving comments, forum posts, etc. that mention your blog as relevant. Promotion is how a site of any size grows.
It is easy, even for veteran bloggers to fall into traps when running their sites. When we work on something, especially for a long period of time, it is easy to get complacent and to start working against ourselves.
With the new year, now is the perfect time to take a look at your blogging habits and see which, if any, are giving you grief.
Take a few moments to honestly evaluate what you do and how you do it, you may be surprised with what you find out.