You may think you know what you’re doing with your blog, but there’s a good chance you’re kidding yourself. Where you think it’s going and the direction in which it actually is travelling can be two very different places. If you suspect your blog may be in danger of losing its way, here are some proven ways to avoid this common trap before it disappears off into obscurity.
Get Focused On Your Goals
You probably know what your blog is about and who your audience is. You should also know how you’d like your readership to respond to your writing. Whether that is raising awareness, making connection with like-minded people (your “tribe” as Seth Godin would put it), or attracting enquiries from potential clients, the important thing is that you know what it is. If you are one of the many bloggers who don’t have a clear goal, you should look at this as a matter of urgency.
There are many reasons why your website needs a blog, but it’s vitally important to be objective when measuring your blog’s effect. You don’t have to get too scientific, some clear-minded inspection can usually tell you whether your topics are relevant to your goals. If you’re a pet shop and you blog about local history, you’re off topic. Yes, maybe lots of people are interested in local history. Just because there’s an audience doesn’t mean it’s the right audience. On this blog, I focus on web design, social media and business issues. If I stray, you have permission to remind me!
The Three Stages of Blogging
Which takes me neatly to my next point. Blog posts don’t write themselves and that can lead to problems. This what I sometimes call The Three Stages of Blogging.
- Springtime Rush
- Lazy Summer
- Winter Hibernation
What often happens, particularly to small businesses that are also new bloggers, is that there is an initial rush of enthusiasm. During this stage, we see lots of blog posts appear, sometimes several every day. This often leads to a kind of burn-out though and we enter the second stage, where posts become more difficult to write. It starts to feel like work and so they become less frequent. This is the stage when the new blogger can start to stray from his or her niche. From here, it’s easy to slide into stage three; where the blog is rarely updated. Posts move from daily to weekly to hardly ever. Before long, the writer can hardly bear to look at the blog and it becomes more of an embarrassment than a place to exercise expertise, passion and involvement. Rather than gathering a tribe, it feels more like an outpost, remote and forgotten. Unless remedial action is taken, it will start to drive clients away instead of attract them. This is why the Internet seems to be littered with the corpses of dead blogs.
The Next Step
Don’t let your blog fall into these traps. They’re easy to avoid, but the solution calls for dedication and discipline. Set some clear goals and actions to achieve them, measure your results regularly, keep a clear, focused eye on what you write about and never let yourself stray from the path you have set. Most importantly though, watch out for the Three Stages of Blogging. Which one are you in? Hopefully, you can avoid slipping into the third stage. Blog regularly, with purpose, and you should benefit from it for a very long time, but more importantly, your readers will benefit for even longer.