Getting a new site off the ground is difficult enough. But getting a new Blog to be popular in a short period of time requires a goodly amount of Elbow Grease and the ability to "Work a Room."
I received an email the other day from a Blogger.
and wondering whether I should even continue."
I feel your pain.
Well, sort of. I have plenty of my own Blog Pain to deal with, and enough left over to share with others. From all the Bloggers I have interacted with, ours is a common tale of woe.
There are various items mentioned in this email, so in the interest of multi-tasking efficiency, I thought I would address them in a more public forum, rather than a private email.
- Alexa Numbers Getting Worse
- Investment of Heart, Soul, and Time
- Little Time with Social Networking
- Doubts About the Future
- Little Technical Expertise
That Flush You Hear is the Future
We've all been there.
Miles of unrelenting failure behind us and parched wilderness as far as the eye can see ahead can suck the sap out of anyone. Forging forward in the face of overwhelming odds makes a great 2 hour movie, but in the Real World we have bills to pay.
There comes a point where we must do the Math. Is the Risk /Reward Ratio leaning in our favour? Or is our endevour like an expensive lawsuit gone bad? There comes a point where "Winning" becomes Losing when the Reward pales in comparison with the humongous expenditure of Time, Effort, and Emotional Reserves.
There is no sense in planning your Future if you don't really have one, so it's vital to put the odds in your favour with a realistic world view and a workable plan.
"I spend inordinate time writing, polishing, editing,
in other words, making perfect little written creations.
But now my Alexa is rising instead of going down!"
Many Bloggers get caught in the Alexa Loop. When I started my last Blog I was able to go from Napkin Idea to Alexa 69K within 6 months. That sounds pretty good, but I was a slave to the process, and as most Bloggers discover sooner or later, a Blog can be a harsh taskmaster.
Alexa compares your Blog with every other website on the Internet. If you watch it on a daily basis you can see patterns emerge for Times of the Week and Month, depending on the surfing habits of readers of Other Sites. Remember, your Blog is competing with Amazon, Overstock, and CNN. People only come back to you over and over again if you have something Fresh & New. The more often you freshen up, the more often your readers will pop in to see your latest and greatest offering.
You can see significant improvement in your Alexa when your readers return on a very regular basis. This plan requires a great deal of commitment, so be sure to count the cost beforehand. If your posts are less frequent you will need more readers to even the score.
Now here is a dirty little secret about Alexa numbers. If you have the Alexa bar on the browser you use for your WordPress Blog, and you are constantly saving your work (a habit you will have acquired from losing your work often during the early PC days) " You can actually improve your Alexa number significantly from Traffic you generate by your own writing and editing.
But of course [cough] no one I know would abuse such an anomaly... (Opposing postion says If You Cite Compete Or Alexa For Anything Besides Making Fun Of Them, Youre A Moron but we're talking real life here).
Angels and Demons and Blogs, Oh My!
I enjoyed watching Tom Hanks as Robert Langdon, dryly observe that he was investing years of his life writing a book that all of 10 people would read.
I have heard for years that most published books, and movies, lose money and pretty much go nowhere. But the companies manage to stay in business because of a few Best Selling Blockbusters each year that neutralize the losses.
Funny thing is, in the Movie biz, Children's movies rated PG tend to be the overall Profit Center. Yet, most movies made are Rated for Teens or Adults. They could make a lot more money if they would target the most profitable demographic.
If you want a large audience for your Blog, provide what a large Audience prefers to consume.
If you're writing for a Business audience you don't want to be warning people that our country is in so much debt they will soon be selling their children to Russian oligarchs in order to pay their Cable bill. Instead, encourage them with stories of Success and inspire them to invent the Next Big Thing.
You may prefer to travel your own path, but the Lone Wolf starves while the Pack get Fat.
Blogs are People Too
Speaking of running with the pack, the quickest way to get people interested in your Blog is for you to be interested in their Blog.
- Do a Search for Blogs that are Similar to Your Own
- Visit Each Blog
- Leave Insightful and Entertaining Comments
- Go to Twitter and Follow Them
But before you leave Comments on anyone's Blog, be sure you have your Comment Luv Plug-in working properly so everyone reading your Comments can come visit you! They could click on your Name, of course, but why not entice them with a clever Post Title?
Once you have your Twitter Followers build up, each new Post will have a much greater opportunity to gain traction from your new Twitter Friends.
Social Networking isn't just a Job, it's an Adventure!
Social Networking tactics work pretty well, but you do end up "preaching to the choir." If you and all your Blogger friends are visiting each other to help each other's Traffic, is this Really Traffic?
The answer depends on your goals, and is food for an entire article on its own.
So Non-Tech, I'm My Own Virus
Some people are so good with Technology their mere presence is all that's required to fix the average PC problems.
While others, not so gifted, have two black Techie Thumbs"and not from changing the Toner.
But that's OK, because in many instances, Simpler is Better. Too many Plug-ins can slow load times, and earn a Frowny Face from Google
I have seen some pretty simple sites that I love to visit because the Content I'm interested in is of high quality. I have also seen many sites so loaded with Plug-ins and Java Script that maneuvering around is such a chore I finally leave in disgust, never to return"regardless of how important the information may be.
Common is as Common Does
One of the greatest investments you can put into your Blog is to practice your writing and hone your craft.
Editing is your most valuable tool. But sometimes what you need to Edit is not the eloquence of your prose, but the direction of your nose. That is to say, you may have to alter your:
- Reading Level
Or a host of other elements that have the potential to increase the accessibility or popularity of your offering.
Good writing is a joy to read, but to be honest, some enjoy it more than others. Become very familiar with who it is you're writing for. You may discover that your biggest fan is yourself. And that's OK.
HOWEVER, there is a direct correlation between the size of your Audience and the "Commonality" of your Content. Everybody likes Tom Hanks because Tom Hanks is "Everybody." Only, he's just a little bit better.
Everyone likes a Blog they can relate to and feel comfortable with, but they want that Blog to give them more than they can give themselves.
There is so much more I could add to this. What are your ideas?