If you’ve just started blogging in last few months, get ready, because you’re going to crash.
You began blogging full of enthusiasm, and what a rush it was to see your words on the internet! You’re leaving comments on other blogs, you’ve created social media profiles on what seems like ten different services, you’re reading feeds like mad, checking your visitor stats and AdSense reports every day (probably more than once per day), writing post after post and then…
You crash. Your blogger’s euphoria is whipped away like mist in a strong gust of wind. You feel disappointed and disillusioned in the idea and ideals of blogging.
And that’s a good thing!
Your First Moment of Blogging Truth
When you experience your blogging crash, you have reached your first real moment of truth with blogging. You will ask yourself if it’s worth it to continue. You will re-examine your actions for clues about what you can do better. Without this, you cannot advance to the next level of blogging skill and competency, so that’s why I say it’s a good thing. It is a test, a problem that contains within it the seed of a greater benefit down the road. You will be stronger and better when you get through this (not that it’s a big tragedy, but I remember feeling pretty down when it happened to me and I’ve seen people take it kind of hard).
So how do you get over your blogging crash and get back on track? By following these steps:
1. Accept that you feel this way
Okay, so you feel down. I wasn’t exaggerating when I called it a blogging crash. Everything in life is defined partly by its opposite. You can’t feel blogging bliss all the time, although you certainly feel it when you first get into it. Eventually, you’re going to feel down. To constantly feel the same way is like stretching a rubber band — it snaps.
When people first get into blogging, they are often tremendously excited about it. But reality sets in and they just can’t maintain that constantly high level of excitement. It’s a lot like being in a relationship with someone and experiencing that moment when the infatuation wears off and you have to seriously ask yourself if you’re in the relationship for the long term.
2. Understand this happens to just about every blogger
As I said in the previous point, you’re going through a natural cycle of highs and lows. The more excited and enthusiastic we feel about something, the more intense our disappointment is when reality sets in. This has happened to so many bloggers that I think it’s safe to say it happens to nearly every blogger. In other words, you’re not alone.
3. Don’t blog about how you feel
What? That’s what I said. Don’t. For two reasons. First, nobody wants to hear from you when you’re feeling down and disillusioned. This is partly why you feel alone in this — nobody hardly ever talks about it, because their readers wouldn’t want to read it. Imagine going into work and having a coworker say to you, “I’m really having doubts about myself, right now! Would you like to hear all about it?” You wouldn’t, so your readers don’t want to hear about yours. Keep them to yourself. The second reason not to blog about how you feel during your blogging crash is that it would likely take your blog off-topic, and that would make this one mistake compound into two mistakes.
4. Assess your expectations — were they realistic?
Although this happens to just about every blogger, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use this as an opportunity for a bit of self-reflection. People often begin blogging with stars and dollar signs in their eyes. Their expectations aren’t realistic. They think things are going to happen faster. They think they’re going to make oodles of money a day in ad revenue, not barely enough pocket change to buy a candy bar.
Some blogs really do take off quickly, but the vast majority do not. Some questions to give yourself a reality check:
- Did you do keyword research into your blogging niche? If so, and you feel you’ve chosen a strong niche, then this is something you can feel good about as you examine your other assumptions. If you didn’t do any real research into your niche’s keywords, then, I’m sorry to say, you have no reason to hold high expectations. Come back to earth and take a sober look at your blog niche. Maybe you’re in the wrong niche, but it’s more likely you just need to get smarter and change your game up.
- How unique and original is your niche and content? Did you start another blogging tips bog? Another money blog? Good luck with that! If your blog is another “me too” blog, don’t expect much. Originality is surprisingly difficult, but it’s the biggest differentiator. Can you put a twist on a saturated, popular topic? Can you be controversial, or “zig” when everyone else is “zagging”?
- Why would anyone what to read your blog? Ooh… that’s a tough one, I know. Are you providing value that makes people want to subscribe and stick around for more? Are you providing valuable resources to your readers in the form of content and links?
5. Assess your blogging goals — you do have goals, don’t you?
If you don’t have goals, then your blog has no direction. Choose goals that are percentage-based, rather than number-based. What I mean by that is to pick a growth rate instead of a target number. This is because once you reach your target fixed number, then you have to keep making up higher numbers. If you say your goal is $100 a month in ad revenue, then when you hit that you have to crank it up to $200. Instead, create a goal of, say, 10% growth in revenue every month.
6. Compile a list of best practices and steps to move you closer to your blogging goals
Figure out what you need to do to hit your goals. If you have traffic-growth goals, do some research on tips for growing traffic and make yourself a list of tips and methods to try. If you want to increase your subscriber count, read up on how to do that. If your goal is to write better content, learn how to do that.
7. Understand that every blogger’s timeline is different
You may feel you’re moving too slowly, but you might be moving along much faster than many others. We often have a warped perspective of our own experiences. It may seem like “everyone else” blogging is doing better than you. The truth is only a few other bloggers are in this position. A great many more are probably doing worse than you, not better.
Don’t worry about comparing yourself to other bloggers. If you create rate-based goals for yourself, you can effectively compete against yourself. As long as you’re doing better this month than you were last month according to your goals, who cares what another blogger is doing? You are on your own timeline, and no one else’s.
8. Create a blogging plan that matches up your goals to the best practices you listed in the previous steps
Take the best practices list you made in step 6 and use it as the basis of your blogging plan. Make a task list from them that you can check off. Put it in a to-do list on NetVibes or Remember the Milk or something like that. Or write it on a good ol’ sticky note and slap it on your monitor.
9. Do the first step in that plan — nothing overcomes depression like action
Do the first thing in your plan NOW. Physical action clears emotional cobwebs in a flash. You will feel a million times better by your accomplishment. If you make a plan and put it aside and tell yourself you will start it later, chances are you will never start it. Start it immediately upon creating it. Give yourself no excuses. By giving yourself a kickstart to begin, you will help generate the momentum you need to keep going.
10. Keep going
Don’t stop executing your plan. Use your momentum to propel you forward through the steps of your plan. Before you know it, you will be on the other side of your blog crash, and you will be a better blogger than you were before!