I need help with my blog so I asked myself ‘Why do blogs fail and why is mine’?
Why do blogs fail? I believe that there are many factors leading to a blog failure and I was guilty of participating in all of them:
- Failure to deliver quality content that is liked by people and search engines alike.
- Not helping 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 and other SEO factors.
- Failure to continue to grow and produce new quality content consistently.
- Rehashing the same old thing that everyone else is doing.
I figure that these factors 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. I found a lot of information by viewing webinars and YouTube website reviews, reading posts properly and noting whether I was making similar mistakes, and I was.
I also discovered I knew what I should have been doing but had failed to act.
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 did just about everything wrong.
No wonder 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.
Update – Since starting work improving this blog and my social media profiles, I have received a second commission. This time for around $1,000. 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.
I realized that the first step is always to make a good first impression so that people will like your presentation and be prepared to spend a little time looking at your blog.
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
I also went to Pinterest and clicked on pins that related to blogging and monetizing and reviewed these blogs.
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. My colours were too bright and there was just too much happening. I have since reduced the content, added some Australian images and kept to a white background to make it easier on the eye.
2. Logo. Others had good photographs or professional logos. My logo and favicon were both very plain and although it still needs a professional make-over it is better.
If you are happy to add your photo to this, 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 and keep it simple and clear.
3. Home page layout. I have a blog roll as my home page as my theme 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 post.
The theme also has a read more button for an easy call to action together with next page buttons after ten posts. I felt this layout was similar to many others.
At a later date, I may remove the blog roll and create an informative home page. This will be when I have products of my own to promote.
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.
Although I may stick with the infographic as the feature moving forward, I will ensure that my featured image is 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.
I feel my featured image should contain a message where possible.
5. Topics or categories on the main menu. Most blogs had a few categories that were large topics rather than logs 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.
I will select half a dozen main categories and add my best posts to these as I move forward.
In the future, I will add start here and products tabs once I have relevant content to add. Most professionals have created their own content in some format.
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. Future images should 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.
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.
How did 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. Next step was to work out what I need 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.
However, this was just the first step.
Know your audience and how you can help them.
The second step that I needed to evaluate was what I was offering and who I was trying to attract.
- I was writing like a journal and not really solving a specific problem.
- I had not determined my audience and I still needed to review my content.
- I was getting some traffic but I was not convincing them that I would be able to help them or answer their question.
- 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.
The third step was 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.
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.
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 need to 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.