Why do blogs fail? 26 Mistakes most new bloggers don’t want to hear about – learned by someone who has made most of them.
Why do blogs fail? There are many mistakes that can contribute to blog failure but the overall reason a blog will fail is simply that it fails to provide a great user experience.
If a blog does not meet the expectations and provide the answer to a users enquiry, that user will not stay and read the post and participate further.
No matter how much traffic lands on your blog post, if the user is not impressed they will not stay. First impressions do matter and quality content will encourage a user to remain.
Knowledge can help you avoid blog failure.
There are many mistakes people make and I have made most of them. My top picks are:
- Failing to review and evaluate your blog regularly.
- Not understanding who your audience is and what they want from your blog.
- Failure to deliver quality content. that is liked by people and search engines alike.
- Failing to help people to solve problems.
- Hard to read and unprofessional-looking design.
- Poor marketing and a failure to drive traffic.
- Giving up too soon.
- Trying to do too much at once.
- Poorly performing load times.
- Poor Search Engine Optimization.
- Failure to continue to grow and produce new quality content consistently.
- Rehashing the same old thing that everyone else is doing.
- Underestimating the time required to produce good results.
- Misunderstanding what good quality content is.
- Having a niche too narrow or too broad.
- Failing to make a good first impression.
- Spamming instead of marketing to attract visitors.
- Not linking to large external sites.
- Irregular posting of content.
- Failure to receive a proper education.
- Treating the blog as a hobby, not as a business.
- Too many affiliate posts.
- Too many posts on the same topic.
- Images that fail to impress.
- Too many, or poor quality plugins.
- Doing the same thing and expecting different results.
These mistakes can cause most blogs to fail because they don’t attract traffic or readers that are impressed enough to be interested in the message inside.
Take a step back and evaluate your blog.
Have you been blogging for a couple of years and seem to be getting nowhere?
Are you frustrated and wish you had a fairy godmother to come along and make your blog visible to your audience?
Do you feel it is just too darn hard and ready to give up?
This is exactly the point I was at so I sat back and stopped researching for more of the same information to write about and started trying to work out why my blog was failing. There is a lot of information to be found by viewing webinars and watching website reviews on YouTube, reading posts thoroughly and noting the mistake others make. This is how I evaluated my own blog.
I realized I knew what I should have been doing but had failed to act. This failure was resulting in a poor performing website.
Two years on and just under a hundred posts later (between my three websites) I stood back with a critical eye and evaluated my websites with this new information in mind and figured out I was guilty of doing just about everything wrong. ‘
If you want to create a great user experience, then you need to evaluate your site to find your what you have done wrong and where you can improve on it.
After two years I had a monthly view count of less than 50 (probably some of these were me viewing my own website) and had only received one affiliate commission for a total income of around $30. Things needed to change in a hurry.
Update – Since starting work improving this blog and my social media profiles, I have received a furthers commissions. My total affiliate income for 2019 was just over US$3,000. A gentle reminder never to give up.
First Impressions matter
If the blog does not look good and a potential reader is not impressed, then they are not likely to even consider reading the message inside. Even if you send a lot of traffic to your blog through your own promotion, it is no good if people do not like what they see.
You must make a good first impression so that people will like your presentation and be prepared to spend a little time looking at your blog.
In order to create a good first impression, I reviewed many websites to see how they looked and what features they had compared to mine.
- banner styles
- home page layouts
- categories on the main menu
- post titles
- how they linked to other internal information
- what products they had, both free and paid
- what things I liked and disliked
How to find blogs to review and compare?
I went to Pinterest and clicked on pins that related to blogging and monetizing and reviewed these blogs. I also searched for keywords relating to my niche and reviewed the websites that came up on page one from the point of view of a user.
I particularly looked at those who claimed to make a lot of money or get a lot of traffic and compared their overall style and layout. It became obvious which ones looked professional and which ones didn’t.
I compared the amount of content within each site and how many received a lot of comments. I know that there are ways to get comments yet I considered that if there was a lot of comments, the blogger either got a lot of traffic or was putting a lot of work marketing their blog which I considered was the work of a professional. This was the intention of recognizing the number of comments.
This post is designed to help you evaluate your blog so that you can create something you can be extremely proud of. Learn from my mistakes and get started on the right path. You do need to consider the results of your findings and take action to change your direction.
How does my blog compare with others?
1. Banner styles. When I looked at the banners of others I discovered that there is truth in the saying ‘less is more’. My banner tried to tell so much about my interests and nothing about what my blog could to do help my readers.
There was no ‘what is in it for me’ message. The colours were too bright and there was just too much happening. Keep your Banner and home page simple and clean. Make it easy on the eye and tell people how your blog can help them.
2. Logo. Others had good photographs or professional logos. My logo was plain and needs a professional make-over.
If you are happy to add your photo as your logo, then many people will advise you to do so. However, I am not in a position to do so and if you are also in a position where you can’t add a photo consider a logo but keep it simple and clear.
3. Home page layout. I have a blog roll as my home page as my theme and my AMP plugin allows for a featured image and also allows me to write my own snippet rather than having it picked up from the beginning of the page.
Aa read more inset adds an easy call to action together with previous and next page buttons at the end of each post. I found this layout was similar to many others.
4. Colour. I found many blogs with a white background containing some text and a few images. I felt had too much colour on my home page for two reasons.
Firstly my banner was too bright, but also my featured image had a lot of colour and was, in fact, an infographic. Have a featured image that is a quality photo or have an infographic on a white background with perhaps a coloured border rather than something bright.
This will make the page easier to read, especially on mobile. Most professional websites seem to have a lot of white and very similar colouring and style.
The featured image should contain a message where possible.
5. Topics or categories on the main menu. Most blogs have a few categories that were large topics rather than lots of mini topics.
I had About me, legal, social media pages and a couple of other topics, however, ‘boring’ is the word for my top menu and I had not added very many posts to the tabs as they were added to the blog roll.
Select half a dozen main categories and add the best posts to these as you move forward.
Most professionals have created their own content in some format and have a start here or products category..
6. Images. I found a lot of different styles of images within other websites and realized my quality was bad.
Although most of my images were optimized, they were too bright and did not offer anything other than to repeat the title of my headings.
Ensure your images contain pain points and questions relating to the content.
7. Post titles & First Heading. Other peoples titles vary from just the keyword to keyword in the URL and a teaser message in the first heading.
My titles did include keywords however the first heading did not let readers know how they could benefit from clicking on my posts, or have a teaser or pain point. They were not enticing. When we consider user experience, we need to make sure they know how reading the post can help them.
8. Internal Links. Although I had some internal links, they were often for the purpose of adding internal links rather than for the purpose of directing readers to other helpful information.
Many of these were of the ‘earlier blog post’ variety.
I noted that whilst others used links that related to similar topic ideas, they also related to a completely different aspect of the topic.
Rather than have a lot of posts on the same topic, combine posts into one epic post with all the information a user needs.
How do I evaluate my blog?
Once I had noted the differences between my blog and many others in my niche I sat back and critically identified where I had gone wrong.
When you know where you have gone wrong, you can work out what needs to do to turn things around.
I could have abandoned my website and started again as I realized that part of my problem was the posts themselves, or I could take advantage of the fact that my domain name was 2 years old and fix it. I chose the latter.
Never give up.
First Impressions matter.
From my comparison, I understood what my blog should look like so that if someone lands on it, they will like what they see and not be overwhelmed with colour or distracted from the message I am trying to send.
Know your audience and how you can help them.
You need to evaluate was what you are offering and who you are trying to attract. People don’t give a damn about you – they want to know how you can help them.
My mistakes were:
- I was writing like a journal and not really solving a specific problem.
- I had not determined my audience.
- I was getting some traffic but I was not convincing them that I would be able to help them or answer their questions.
- I thought people would be interested in what I had to say, rather than what I could do to help them.
As part of determining my audience, I needed to have a good look at my branding.
Who was I and why should I, a beginner, be telling people things that they could probably find out by asking people more experienced than me.
I decided to consider a group of people that many bloggers don’t cater to and in doing so I could extend my topics as it relates to my particular audience. I needed to consider my audience to be people who knew even less than me, rather than trying to sound like another guru.
Content does matter.
As part of my review process, I needed to evaluate my website content, both pages and posts.
I had a site analysis done through Ubersuggest and found that there were many Search Engine Optimization problems as well as problems with the content itself.
I realized that I would need to rewrite every post and as I had not really thought about my audience correctly, I did not write with that audience in mind.
Every post needs to have a purpose. It needs to provide information that is helpful and I had failed to do this. When you write a post always consider how it will help others.
Poorly performing load times can damage your website.
Most people will abandon a website quickly if it takes too long to load. You need to carefully consider your choice of plugins and regularly check your site with Google Pagespeed insights.
Poor Search Engine Optimization.
Search Engine Optimization is about ticking the boxes for the best chance of recognition by the search engines, Google Yahoo and Bing. However, if the content does not provide a great user experience it doesn’t matter how many boxes you tick – your post will tank. If not immediately, certainly after a number of immediate bounces.
I have considered Search Engine Optimization in detail within my post Help me fix my blog.
Failure to continually grow and post content.
The search engines like to see new content added regularly, and this needs to be good quality content rather than just shoving together a post so that you have written something down.
Creating a blog takes time and effort. There is no easy road. Do not be fooled into thinking that you can sit down for half an hour, shove together a post and have a successful blog.
I often read about people who say it takes a couple of hours to put together a post. It generally takes me a couple of days. Firstly to research the information, then to test it and see how it relates to my circumstances and then to write it in such a way that my audience can benefit from my findings.
Content does need to be fresh and not just someone else’s information reworded and presented on your website. Your content should be presented in a manner that your audience will find helpful.
In my next post, I need help to fix my blog -What I did wrong I will consider why my attitude was wrong, the mistakes I made with social media and consider why I didn’t get much Google love.
Misunderstanding what good quality content means
Good quality content is not all about writing a post that has correct spelling and grammar, although this is important. It is more about completely answering a question or covering a topic that a user is searching for.
Good quality content creates a great experience rather than ticks literary boxes.
Failing to market correctly.
When starting a new blog it takes time to get the attention of the search engines and bloggers need to make an effort to attract visitors to their website. This is often done through social media.
There is a fine line between letting your social media audience know about your website and spamming them with ‘visit me’ requests. Many bloggers, myself included, have failed to interact with the audience and use the blog as a means of gaining more help rather than as a way to try and gain income.
If you do manage to get visitors to your site, then you must make a good impression so that they will stay.
Links are important
One common blog failure is to fail to link to large external sites. Doing so gives the impression that you are citing references or helping people gain further information.
Internal links are also important as they may help the user to stay on your site longer, giving you credibility. Internal links can also provide more detailed information on one aspect of the user’s enquiry and stop them from bouncing back to the search engine to gain more information.
You need to post regularly.
Irregular or spasmodic posting can be considered as site abandonment. Therefore you should post on a regular basis. It lets the search engines know that you are increasing your content base and if you have a following, they will know that you are continuing to help them.
A good education is critical.
We all think that we can do it on our own and research the internet to find the answers we need. However, if you want to build a blog, or website, with confidence then a good education is very important. I use Wealthy Affiliate for my education and hosting. You can find out more on my Wealthy Affiliate Review post.
You must treat your blog like a business.
if you just want to write a journal that is fine. However, if you want to create a blog that produces income then you do need to treat your blog like a business. A business requires time and effort to build as well as dedication to ensure that customer service is top-notch.
There are many aspects to building a successful business including, customer service, marketing, budgeting, staffing, education, technology and tools of trade. Your blog will require time and dedication as well.
Affiliate marketing is a great way to earn money from your blog. However, you need to ensure that you do not fill your blog will affiliate links. You will be punished by the search engines and readers alike.
Too many posts on the same topic.
In the past, the search engines could not easily understand the context of content and often people could write repeated posts on the same topic, just with different keyword headers and slightly different wording within the post.
Today, such tactics are often considered duplicate content and whilst related topics are important, content respun with different wording to target slightly different keywords is harmful to a website.
The ultimate aim must always be to provide good quality content and a great user experience.
Images that fail to impress.
Images and infographics can break up the written text and make a blog post easier to read. Just ensure that the images are clean and visually appealing.
Too many or poor performing plugins.
Plugins are a wonderful tool for WordPress websites. They perform many behind the scenes tasks and make creating a blog or website so easy. However, sometimes we do need to be selective in our choice of plugins as they can slow down the loading speed of our website which can damage us in the eyes of the user.
Doing the same thing time and time again and expecting different results.
We do need to evaluate and review our blog regularly to ensure that we are not making the same mistakes time and time again. Repeated errors will not help make our blog a better experience. Changing and continually improving is very important.
Why do blogs fail? Conclusion
I hope that this will help you to look carefully at your blog or website and give you some ideas to consider how to evaluate it so that you too can work to continually improve and grow.
Blogs are like any business, they need time and attention as well as continual evaluation to ensure that they don’t fail.
Now that I have evaluated the outline of my blog and the first impression that I make, I will look further and discover what I have done wrong with my content, attitude, marketing, search engine optimization and how I have missed the point of understanding my potential audience.
Don’t give up too soon. Evaluate and work out where you need to improve and turn your blog around.
How are you doing? Can you relate to any of these mistakes? I would love to hear your thoughts.