Updated: January 8, 2017
Blogging is both an easy and great way to make some extra money.
At least that’s what they want you to believe.
So you go out and start a blog. You read the cool tutorial that taught you how to start a blog in 5 minutes for just $2.99.
Now you have a blog and because this is just the beginning you have done a pretty good job of pushing out some posts.
The first month you don’t see any traffic hit your site, but you are still excited because it is just your first month. Next month will be better.
But the next month isn’t that much better.
The month after that isn’t so great either.
3 months on and you’re wondering when this easy and great way to make money thing starts to kick in.
It must be bullshit or a scam or a hoax. You were sold (even though you didn’t pay for anything) some snake oil and so everyone that talks about making money from a blog must be completely full of it.
Or maybe you think that you just aren’t smart enough.
Everyone else can see the secrets behind creating a popular blog and for some reason, things just aren’t clicking for you. You don’t have the skills to make it work so blogging must not be for you.
Please don’t believe shit like that.
I’ve had this feeling before. I’ve seen poor results from my own blogs. Take a look.
90 days of blogging with only 1,673 pageviews to show for it.
The fact is, rarely does a blog’s failure come down to one thing. Usually, it’s a combination of things that the blogger misses and for one reason or another they don’t notice.
When you look at the blueprint for a successful blog from a 10,000ft point of view it’s really quite simple. However, when you get closer to the ground you start to see all of the things that need to take place to make a blog successful.
From 10,000ft to create a successful blog you just need to create awesome value (write awesome content) and promote the hell out of it. That’s it.
As you get closer to the ground though you see that it’s not just about writing great blog posts. It’s also about building your audience and nurturing it. It’s about building relationships with other bloggers. It’s about listening to your audience and truly understanding their pains. It’s about being consistent with everything that you do.
7 Reasons Why Your Blog Isn’t Growing
In this post, we are going to look at the reasons why a blog fails and more importantly why a blogger loses touch with their blog.
Some are practical things and some are mental. Some are easy to fix and others will take some time.
Either way, every successful blog that I’ve come across understands all of these things and always makes sure that they are on point to keep their blog humming.
1. Lost Sight of Your Why
If you take one of the free Obstacle.co courses you will see that I talk about your Why a lot. The reason why is because it’s so damn important.
Lots of blogs fail because people simply lose interest in them. While blogs are a great way to make money, money can’t be your only motivation. Blogs solely motivated by money end up sucking and people can see that.
When your blog isn’t making money after 6 months why should you keep on working on it? The one thing you’ve used for motivation isn’t there so why bother? Do you tell your boss you’re going to work for free for 6 months? Hell no.
And molding an awesome blog takes work. A lot of it. You do want some reward from that work, but the monetary rewards might not happen quickly so you need something else to drive you.
This is your Why.
When I sell one of my courses it’s an awesome feeling, but it’s fleeting. Do you want to know what brings about a better feeling? Getting an email from a member of the audience being ecstatic about how I’ve helped them overcome an obstacle. I feed off of that excitement. It can fuel me for days.
I’m psyched writing this post now because I know it’s going to connect with someone and push them on in their blogging journey. I’m not shy about my statements on making money, but helping as many people as possible is the first goal. Money always seems to follow when I do that.
I believe that everyone deserves the opportunity to create the lifestyle of their choice.
That is Obstacle.co’s Why. It’s what drives me to write these posts. It’s what inspires me to get out of bed, sit down on the computer, and figure out what else I can give away.
Think of all of the things that you’ve given up on and ask yourself was their a deep emotional connection to any of them. Probably not. When there is no Why there is no reason to stick around.
2. Your Audience Doesn’t Know Your Why
Damn are we still talking about Why? Yep.
The best bloggers understand that they need to connect with their True Fans. True Fans are built around a core message. This core message is your Why.
The reason why it is so important to have one is because it’s the gravitational pull that attracts people to you. Obstacle.co isn’t the only blog that teaches you how to make money with a blog and it certainly won’t be the last. Anybody can replicate the content that I create or the design of the site.
What they can never replicate is my Why because my Why (my message) permeates through everything that I do.
Your audience wants to have that connection with you, but they need something to pull them in first. If they don’t have it why should they bother? There are enough blogs out there to satisfy their needs. They don’t owe you a damn thing.
3. You Aren’t Living Up to Your Promise
Why are you reading this post?
It’s probably because the title promised to let you know why your blog journey isn’t working. If the post doesn’t deliver on that promise how disappointed will you be?
This is what happens with a lot of blogs. When building your audience you need to make them a promise. What is the promise?
The promise is the outcome they can expect if they follow you.
Over the next couple of months if you follow along with Obstacle.co and find that your blog isn’t growing or making money following the concepts that I write about, then is it worth paying attention to me?
Nope. Even I can freely admit to that.
There are two main things you need to ensure exists when it comes to promises:
- The promise has to actually be visible. When someone comes to your blog what are you promising them? What result will they get by reading your blog? Obstacle.co’s promise is front and center in the giant hero section on the homepage. I help people turn their blogs into profitable businesses. That’s my promise.
- You need to follow through on that promise. You must try everything in your power to try and make it happen for the person reading your site.
Remember, your blog doesn’t automatically deserve attention or for people to stay on it just because it exists. You don’t get that privilege and nobody else does either.
4. You’re Selfish
One of the hardest concepts to wrap your mind around when blogging is that nothing you do is for you. Everything is for your audience. That means when you write, you write something that they get value out of, not something that you think is good enough for you.
If you read enough blogs then you can start to get an eye for the ones that will succeed versus the ones that don’t stand a chance. One of the litmus tests is how much value the content on the site provides.
Value is a weird and nebulous concept to try and understand so I’m not going to tell you how to do it, but I know it can’t happen in 2 paragraphs. 400-word posts aren’t going to get the job done for you.
Every post on Obstacle.co is over 2,000 words, not because I like to talk (okay, you caught me, I do), but because I want to make sure I cover everything that is in my mind around the topic. I want you to leave my posts with the feeling that you gained something from them, not that you lost 5 minutes that you’ll never get back.
Put yourself in your readers’ shoes and imagine them reading your post. What are they going to get out of it that they didn’t already have? Is the information actionable?
They’re the ones with the problem and they are hoping your post is offering them the solution. Does it?
5. You’re All About the One and Done Promotion
When I finish writing a post I am mentally exhausted. I get so hyped on writing a post and put so much energy into writing it that when I’m done I don’t want anything to do with it. Unfortunately, that is just the beginning of the post’s lifecycle.
I still need to do a ton of promotion to get the word out about the post.
For some reason, a lot of bloggers think that when they write a post the magical traffic fairy is going to come around and bring them traffic.
Promotion gets a bad wrap because when we think of the word we think of icky marketers that continue to bother the hell out of us. We don’t think about all of the cool things that we buy for ourselves and how we only know about them because their companies promoted them.
The only time you should feel bad about promoting is when you are promoting shit. Don’t promote shit? You have nothing to worry about.
You’re in luck though because there are a number of awesome tools that can take care of the social media promotion for you. That doesn’t mean your job is finished because you should still be reaching out to influencers. However, life has become a lot easier on the promotion front than it was a couple years ago.
Promoting your posts on Pinterests might be the easiest and best form of promotion for any blog out there. You need to stay in the face of your audience (in a good way) so that they don’t forget about you. Memories are fleeting in this digital age so you have to continue to work on creating new ones.
6. You Lack Consistency
My wife and brother call me a two-weeker.
Every time I start working out I bail after two weeks for one reason or another. Of course, I never see any progress because I’m not consistent with it.
However, my dad, who loves to lift weights, can take weeks or months off from lifting and still look great, but only because he put in a ton of work over the years.
When you start blogging you need to find a schedule and be consistent with it.
Imagine you watch the pilot of a great TV show. It has everything that you love so you look forward to next week when a new episode comes out.
But a new episode doesn’t come. You figure maybe there is some other special event happening so you’ll wait till next week. Again, nothing appears.
Three months later you catch wind of a new episode appearing, but you saw the pilot so long ago that you’ve lost interest.
Your audience doesn’t expect you to post every single day, but they do expect you to post at certain intervals. You dictate what those intervals are.
Obstacle.co itself doesn’t have a set schedule, but the audience can always expect at least 3-4 posts a month.
One of the best things that you can do is be consistent, not only for your audience but for you as well. Make blogging a habit.
After 4 months my health and fitness blog, Thrive/Strive, wasn’t going anywhere. My brother was getting frustrated at the lack of consistency we were showing so we set up new goals and a schedule to get things done.
In October 2016, the site received 9,456 pageviews. This isn’t very good after 5 months of working on a blog. In November 2016, the site received 129,655 pageviews. Much better for a site that you’ve been working on for 6 months.
The difference? We were consistent with everything that we did and we focused on our audience.
7. You Don’t Know Your Audience
Forget about niches. Pretend the word niche doesn’t even exist.
Instead, you need to focus on a single problem. Don’t imagine your audience as a group of people. Imagine them as a single individual and that one individual has a huge problem that they are trying to solve and your blog happens to talk about it.
Everything you write about on your blog should focus on that single problem. You talk about solutions to that problem so much that people don’t even bother looking elsewhere to see if anybody else has the solution.
Once you’ve covered the problem from all angles you can expand to the next problem.
The issue with many blogs isn’t that they don’t have a niche. Audiences don’t care about niches. How many people do you know go around saying they only read blogs on topic X?
They read whatever blog is going to help them out in that moment no matter the niche.
Most blogs don’t do a good enough job of focusing on a singular problem when they start off. Just because your interests are everything doesn’t mean everyone else’s follows suit.
Note that this doesn’t mean you’re relegated to one topic.
Let’s say you write a blog about being a single parent. You’re excited because it means you get to write about a ton of different topics.
So you set about writing about everything that happens to you as a single parent and nobody cares. One day you write about getting enough time for yourself and the next day you write about dating.
Think about it like this. A single parent is struggling financially and they are looking for posts on how to make a little extra money while also not taking time away from their kids. That’s the only problem they care about. They are only interested in places that can offer them that solution.
They come across your site somehow and find that you don’t really talk about that one problem. You talk about all the other ones that they know about. Unfortunately, they aren’t looking to solve that problem, they need to solve the only one that is on their mind now.
You don’t solve that problem so they don’t care about your site. Neither does 99% of your audience.
When you start with the focus of one problem you attract exactly the people that are looking to solve it.
This is also why most blogs don’t make money (I’m ignoring the ad revenue model). They think they want to write a book, but because they write about everything on their blog they don’t know what topic the book should be about. If they do end up with a topic it’s usually one that maybe 2% of their audience cares about.
Their audience is too general and it’s hard to sell anything to a general audience.
It’s not about niching (did I spell that right?) down. It’s about focusing on a single problem that a single individual has and attacking it. Write so much about it that you end up getting sick even thinking about it.
If you aren’t quite sure what problem you should focus on then you can take the same approach I took with Obstacle.co. Take a look at the of posts from the beginning and you’ll see a number of different topics being covered. The reason why is because I wasn’t sure the main problem for the large majority of my audience so I cast a wide net.
Over time I saw what posts resonate with my audience more than others, which posts brought out comments, and what things did I discuss with my audience over email.
Eventually, a theme started to emerge. The problem is so big that I decided to create a whole new site to address it. The great thing about that site is that it only has to focus on one problem.
That makes my life easier.
Advice You Don’t Want to Hear
None of this may be advice you want to hear. You were led to believe that to run a successful blog all you had to do was master Pinterest or master SEO. Some people get away with that because they are making one-off blogs.
I approach all of this with the mindset of building businesses and empires that last forever.
I understand the struggle of needing to make money or major change in your life so you turn to blogging because everyone sells it as the magic solution to everything. You believe that you can just sit down, throw out some posts and wait for the magic to happen.
I can’t sell you that dream because it doesn’t work like that.
If you came here hoping for the easy solution then I must apologize. Although all of the things I wrote about in this post are easy in concept it can be hard putting them together, not because of their difficulty, but because they take time and patience.
Some people have those things and most people don’t.
If you’re ready to grow your blog to new heights check out How to Get More Traffic to Your Blog: A Guide to Reaching More People.
Did you know that there are exactly 13,783 steps to building a successful blog?
I'm just playing, I have no idea how many steps there are but believe me there are a lot.
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The other ones simply don't know what the next step is supposed to be.
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