You’re getting just a few visitors per day on your new blog, and three of them are your Mom. Do you keep going? Is it worth it?
Yeah, it’s worth it. Hang in there.
The first few weeks, and sometimes the first few months, of publishing posts on a brand new blog can feel like shouting for attention in the desert.
Nobody knows about you yet. Search engines may not have indexed you and if they have, you’re still so low in the rankings that nobody is finding you through them. It could be that your social media presence is just getting off the ground as well, so you can’t generate much traffic from those sources either.
So what do you do to keep your sanity and keep on blogging for the long haul? First, let me address the mindset issues and then I’ll share some tips about how to get some initial traffic boosts.
Stick It Out
Baseball is ninety percent mental and the other half is physical. – Yogi Berra
What Yogi Berra said about baseball is true of blogging, too. Or at least it’s as true as a paradoxically impossible statement can be.
Yes, there’s the technical side of blogging. That’s half of it – the hosting, the domain name, the platform, the theme, plugins, etc. Without all of that, you don’t have a blog.
The other half of blogging is content creation and content marketing, and that’s the heavy mental load. Ninety percent of building a successful blog is keeping your mind in the right, positive place.
So if you’re still in that early, slightly discouraging phase of your blogging development, remind yourself of these facts:
- Blogging is cumulative – the crowd snowballs over time.
- It’s worth it to practice the discipline of writing, even if few are reading.
- That one reader needs to hear what you have to say.
Make It Happen
When traffic is low, you do two things:
- Keep going.
- Get more traffic.
Simple, right? But how in the world do you draw more traffic to your blog when you can’t yet rely on subscribers or search engines? There are ways…
Keep Producing Epic Content
I love this infographic from Sonia Thompson at SmartBlogger.com (and there’s a lot more to read after it)…
Practice Writing Great Headlines
This might seem simple, but headlines are absolutely the most important aspect of your blog post – at least on the front end. I’ve written about how the headline has a singular purpose – to hook the reader into reading the first sentence. And the first sentence hooks them into reading the first paragraph, and so on.
So writing great headlines for your posts is a key discipline. I often use the American Marketing Institute’s free tool, the Emotional Marketing Value Headline Analyzer to test different variations of my headlines. You can see in the three screenshots below how I arrived at the title for the post you’re currently reading.
Of course, you can’t trust a machine entirely, so also ask yourself two questions about each headline:
- Does this make perfect sense within one second of reading it?
- Are people searching for any keywords in this headline?
Build a Social Media Presence
Off the blog, be you. Define your brand by writing down your story in a paragraph and deciding the best way to frame that story with what you post publicly.
Be a giver. Share the content of others. Interact with people. Be personal. Join groups. Build relationships with people.
In other words, be social with your media.
Writing consistently is probably more important than writing prolifically. In other words, being regular is more valuable than writing often.
How often should you post on your blog? The answer depends on multiple factors, such as:
- Your time – don’t neglect the more important things.
- Your audience – what are they expecting?
- Your industry – what is typical among other bloggers in your niche?
I’ve found that writing at least two posts per week but no more than five is a good range in most blogging niches. Some would reduce that to once per week. It’s going to vary, but write consistently.
Follow Great Blogging Examples
When you see someone doing it right, learn all you can from their example. I will freely confess I have very few original thoughts. I’m inspired by what I see to take the ideas of others and tweak them. That’s the way all of history flows.
A few of my favorite bloggers to learn from include:
- Syed Balkhi, founder of WPBeginner and several other amazing projects.
- Darren Rowse, Mr. Problogger himself.
- Jeff Chandler, who runs WPTavern.com on behalf of Matt Mullenweg, the creator of WordPress.
- Ramsay, at BlogTyrant, who recounts his own experience of starting slow and building big.
- Jon Morrow, who has worked for Copyblogger and started SmartBlogger.com.
The list goes on. In fact, I have several hundred blogs from various niches offering me my own daily micro-internet using Feedly to quickly browse all the content.
Obviously, the online world is filled with great learning resources in the area of marketing, social media, and blogging. Here are three of my favorites:
- Zac Johnson’s Udemy course, 30 Day Step-by-step Guide to Successful Blogging. Zac is a pioneer in this field! After all, he’s the creator of Blogging.org.
- Mary Jaksch’s Blog Writers Bootcamp, where Mary will teach you how all the best bloggers have built successful careers with great writing.
- Chelsea Lords’ How I Made 40K In My First Year of Blogging, which details Chelsea’s journey into her niche all the way to leading it.
And of course, you can always check out my blogging toolbox or subscribe to my email list using the form below and get some tips, updates, and exclusives for free.
I’m always open to checking out a new blog. Feel free to put your url in a comment below (no more than one, though) and I’ll click through to see what you’re up to.
Nearly a decade ago, I started a blog about blogging. It was slow at first and then took off. It became unmanageable because I don’t want to quit my day job, so I passed it along to another talented blogger. I’ve often wondered where that blog might be had I stuck it out and maybe dropped something else instead.
Hang in there. Keep writing. Don’t get overwhelmed. It will be worth the effort in the end!