Even the most energetic, passionate, and motivated people have an uphill battle ahead of them when it comes to building a successful blog.
Many people get into blogging thinking it's a shortcut around the hardest aspects of running a "real" business. They fall into the trap of believing that since publishing a blog post is so easy, making a blog into a business must be as easy as doing a lot of that. Just set up a blog, pour your heart and soul into it, tack some affiliate links or ads onto the page, and watch success show up on your doorstep like a late-night impulse buy on Amazon.
Unfortunately, when those unrealistic expectations aren't met fast enough, many bloggers get discouraged and give up for good.
We know you'd like to avoid that, because really, who loves to fail? To succeed, though, we're going to have to challenge some of your assumptions about what your blog is, who you should be writing it for, and what your best measures of success should be.
You think of your blog as a blog, not as a business.
Reality check: The internet is not a shortcut to success. In fact, since there are so many blogs out there already, a blog is one of the most competitive types of business to build, and also one of the most challenging to promote. You'll be competing not only with the "professional" bloggers that came before you, but also with the people who are just blogging as a creative outlet.
Many of the things that will determine your blog's success aren't measured in word counts or publishing frequency. Confidence, determination, planning, and execution, all around a clear understanding of who your readers are and what they're coming to you for, are much more crucial to success than the "numbers game."
Even focusing on doing the right things for the right reasons doesn't guarantee success, but doing the wrong things for the wrong reasons will certainly lead you down a bumpy, winding, road to failure.
Your blog lacks focus.
When you're not sure if what you're building will resonate with your audience or not – or you're not sure who your audience is yet – it's tempting to try to be everything to everyone, in the hopes that something will "work" or feel right.
Unfortunately, when you're doing a little bit of everything for everyone, it's difficult to nourish your relationship with your audience in a deep and meaningful way. One thing you publish might resonate very strongly with a visitor, but when you're not focused, they might have a difficult time finding something else that encourages them to stay a while.
You're not promoting your evergreen content enough.
Are you producing boatloads of content every single day, and just hoping the audience that shows up to consume it will continue to grow based on that alone?
A little self-promotion isn't a bad thing, and let's be honest, if you're building a blog with the goal of helping others in some meaningful way, promoting it so that more people can discover your work and get what they need out of it is the least shameless thing you could possibly do.
Figure out what posts you've written really resonated with the audience you already have, by looking at your analytics as well as by asking your readers directly. Then, do everything in your power to make sure those important posts get into more hands. Promote it on Facebook and Twitter every single week (or better yet, ask your audience to do it for you). Pull quotes out of them and turn them into visual posts for Instagram and Pinterest using apps like Over or Canva.
Whatever you do to promote your content, remember that re-sharing it could be the difference between a future reader recognizing your ability to help them or teach them in some way, and not seeing you in their timelines and feeds at all. It's truly not shameless self-promotion if you believe in your ability to help others through your work.
You're spreading yourself too thin.
That's not to say you should be sharing everything, everywhere, all the time. When you're just starting out, it's easy to feel obligated to share everything you create to all of your social channels.
Regardless of how much time it takes away from the heart and soul of your blog, there's a lot of external pressure to be on, everywhere, all the time. You might think, "If everyone else can do it, I should be able to do it, too," but what you can't see from a glance at anyone else's social media presence is the slow crawl to where they are now, and the persistence it took to get there.
Take it easy, focus on creating content of value to your target audience, and then promote it using the single best channel you can find where those people hang out. Once you get into your groove on your social platform of choice and your audience starts to grow, you'll have plenty of opportunities to start sharing your content to other channels. As you do, you'll benefit from your ability to promote your new channels to the audience you've already been building on the first one.
You're obsessing over the competition's public persona.
Look at all the photos, snaps, posts, tweets, and impossibly huge backlog of blog posts your contemporaries have cranked out for too long, and it's easy to feel like you're just not doing enough.
What you can't see from the outside is the sweat running down their faces, the tension they carry in their shoulders, their teeth grinding while they sleep at night, the heart-pounding that comes with every single new thing they put out into the world, as they wonder if it'll still be loved the way their work has been up to now.
You might think that while you're struggling with all of the little details that come with turning your blog into a business, the rest of them have it easy, because the public persona they project makes it look pretty darn easy. But a public persona is just that – a "best case scenario" version of yourself put forward to put your readers at ease and let them focus solely on the things that they came to you for.
If all of this seems difficult sometimes…
Remember, no matter what kind of blog you're building, you're not alone in the way you feel. Millions of people have struggled with the same kinds of challenges you're facing right now, as you look up the slope of the steep mountain you're just beginning to climb.
It's easy to do too much, too hard, too fast, and to feel lonely and overwhelmed doing it, but you don't have to be alone. There are thousands of communities that will welcome you as you are, and help you uncover more opportunities to focus on what matters. If you need a community where entrepreneurial bloggers can be found, we're now opening up our once private Facebook group just for that very reason. Our hope is that we'll be able to help bloggers just like you rally around each other and set out on some serious growth in the months ahead!