Last week I spent a few minutes responding to an interesting query by Mary Jaksch of writetodone.com and A-list Blogging.net, about what makes blogs fail. I often hear from my clients and students—both book bloggers and general bloggers—that they can’t keep up with their blogs, or they have basically stopped blogging. They might post once a month or less, if at all.
They aren’t alone.
According to Caslon Analytics, an Australian research, analysis and strategies consultancy, several studies indicate that most blogs are abandoned soon after creation. In fact, 60-80% are abandoned within one month and few are regularly updated. Those are pretty sad statistics. How do you and your blog avoid becoming one of the 60-80%?
Caslon quoted The Perseus Report, which noted that 66.0% of surveyed blogs had not been updated in two months, “representing 2.72 million blogs that have been either permanently or temporarily abandoned.” Additionally, The Perseus Report showed that1.09 million blogs had just one post, nothing more, the average duration of the remaining 1.63 million abandoned blogs was 126 days, and 132,000 blogs were abandoned after a year or more.Despite the fact that some estimate there are over 6 million blogs, and more are started each day, I believe now is the best time to start a blog.
Yes, millions many of these blogs serve as competition for a new blogger, and some niches are more crowded than others—some with quite successful blogs, but that doesn’t mean a new blog can’t rise to the top. And you can reach more readers with a blog than with a book in many cases. So blogging a book is a better idea than ever before.
So how do you ensure that if you start a blog, or even decide to blog your book, your blog isn’t one of the many left to die, especially once your book has been blogged? Here are 7 ways.
The reason most blogs fail comes down to the bloggers level of commitment. It’s damn hard work to get a blog up and running successfully and to keep it there. Most writers who take on the task of blogging have no idea what it really takes to gain readers, so they give up before their blog ever takes off. They just don’t have the commitment level necessary. They hear all the stories of over night successes, bloggers who had 10,000 subscribers or unique visitors in just a month or two, and they think that will happen to them. They want it to be easy. Well, let me tell you, that’s a rare case, and most of those overnight successes came with hard work, too. So, commit to the blog and to the hard work and length of time it takes to make a blog successful. And commit to writing and publishing posts every week for several years…or longer. Someone once told me you need at least 1,000 blog posts before your traffic really takes off. Figure out how often you need to post and for how long to get to that point. And commit to writing those posts and filling them with phenomenal content.
2. Develop Tenacity
You can’t give up. Period. Along with commitment you must have a refuse-to-fail attitude. You must be determined, perseverant and persistent. No matter what, a blog post must show up on your blog on the days you committed to publish. When obstacles present themselves, as Diana Nyad, the 64-year-old swimmer who made the record breading swim from to Cuba to Florida, says, “Find a way.”
3. Create a Schedule
A blog becomes discoverable because the blogger produces new content often—usually 2-7 times per week for at least the first year, if not longer. So create a schedule and commit to it. Put your tenacity to use. Stick to that schedule no matter what.
4. Develop a Plan
Plan out your posts for each month or quarter or even the whole year. If you are blogging a book, plan out the whole book so you can easily blog it. Then create a plan to help you blog about your book or the subject of your book once the book has been published. A plan makes it easy to sit down every day and have something to write about. If you have to stare at a blank screen, you will soon give up.
5. Don’t Compete
Don’t be put off by the competition but rather inspired to do better. To often bloggers give up because they feel intimidated by successful bloggers in their niche. Instead, see what they are doing that is working. See what they are doing that isn’t working. And determine what you can do that is unique, better, necessary. In other words, do a competitive analysis, and then get on with your blogging. And while you are at it, stop by those other blogs for inspiration as well as to comment on their posts. You might even ask them for a guest post or an interview. Befriend those bloggers. The contacts will come in handy when you want to do a virtual book tour or have help promoting your book or blog in some way.
6. Plan for Obstacles
Many wannabe bloggers have children, jobs, disapproving spouses, elderly parents, and a variety of other commitments that stop them from blogging or blogging consistently. Many wannabe authors have the same issues and, therefore, don’t write their books. The question I ask is always the same: How badly do you want to achieve your goal? If you really want to do something, you will. Find a way. Commit. Develop tenacity. But, knowing that life gets in the way sometimes, plan. Have a few blog posts written in advance and ready for publication. Or have a few blogger connections you can call on for guest blogs in times of emergency. Be ready for what life throws you so you don’t ever abandon your blog—at least not for more than a few days or a week.
7. Write Short
You don’t need to write much to make your efforts worthwhile. All you need is 300 words to get cataloged by Google. A 300-word blog post doesn’t have to take long to write (if you are a writer). Those who tell me they are spending more than an hour or an hour and a half on their blogs per day are the ones who don’t stick with it for long. (There are a ton of cheap and free sites where you can quickly find a photo to include with your post, too.) You can probably find an hour a day to accomplish your blogging goal. What could you give up? The news? A television show? A little bit of sleep?Blogs fail because people allow themselves to fail. Remember, when you give up on your blog, you give up on yourself and on your dream.