We live in a time where it seems like everyone and their mother runs a blog. In the United States alone, it’s estimated that there will be nearly 32 million bloggers by 2020! Whether it’s corporate business owners, food bloggers, fashion gurus, movie commentators, etc., anyone can write blog posts that can potentially be seen by the masses.
While so many hopeful bloggers have grand plans for what they will write about, many struggle with the crucial task of getting people to visit the website – or even know that it exists. Now, getting tons of web traffic isn’t something that normally happens overnight. It’s usually a long, gradual process that requires a great deal of consistency, attention to SEO, and of course, awesome content.
If you’ve been slaving away for months and months and your blog essentially functions like a personal diary, there are several overarching reasons as to why you are struggling to find an audience. Let’s talk about four of the big ones.
The Name Isn’t Catchy
Take a look at some of the most popular blogs in the world: Lonely Planet, TechCrunch, Gizmodo, The Next Web. The names are concise, memorable, and give readers a good idea of what the site is all about. It’s no secret that attention spans are on the decline. The reality is that most internet users are quick to judge a book by its cover. If your blog doesn’t have a catchy, recognizable name, gathering an audience will be a challenge.
In most cases, coming up with an awesome name doesn’t just happen in an afternoon. Being as how this is typically the first major step in launching a blog, you don’t want to rush here. Do some deep thinking.
- What is your niche?
- What type of readers are you trying to appeal to?
- What are their motivations?
- What is your brand archetype?
These are just a few questions you should be answering in the process of coming up with a name. If you are really feeling stuck and have a hard time getting creative, a name generator can be a good way to get the juices flowing.
The key is to not fall in love at first sight. Take your time and make a nice list of potential names, sleep on it, then refine.
Topics Are Too Diverse
People generally visit blogs for a specific reason; they want answers about a particular topic. When you are trying to build up an audience, the topics you blog about need to be laser-focused, especially in the beginning.
Blogs that deviate too far from their niche early on will almost always struggle to find an identity. Think about it this way. If you see a food blog publishing posts about fashion, hiking, or celebrity gossip, is it really a food blog?
When you are just starting out, chances are that you have (at the very least) a handful of topics you want to write about. When those run out, you can’t just throw posts at the wall and hope something sticks, even if it technically falls under the umbrella of your niche. This is a mistake that tons of new bloggers tend to make.
Before you launch the website, there should be a
Let’s go back to the food blog example. One of the content pillars could be about Asian food. Subsequent topic clusters could then discuss things like “Signs You’ve Found an Awesome Chinese Restaurant” or “Best Vietnamese Restaurants in San Diego,” and so on.
Your blog can certainly evolve over time. However, you are wise to wait until you build up a decent following before you start branching out. Moreover, you don’t want to deviate too drastically from your niche; even if you have gobs of faithful readers. If you built your audience around food-related topics, jumping to subjects like technology or cars will likely alienate your readers.
If you want to explore new topics, there needs to be logical connections back to your primary niche. For instance, it’s not inconceivable that a food blogger transitions to cover travel-related subjects or environmental awareness; as there are plenty of ways to tie those subjects back into food.
Always remember, “A jack-of-all trades is a master of none.” This quote is especially true when choosing topics for your blog.
You Aren’t Answering Pressing Questions
In order to get organic traffic to your blog, the posts you write need to answer trending questions. Generally speaking, you shouldn’t always choose topics on a whim. Now, you’re probably thinking, “But it’s my blog, I can write about whatever I want!”
This is certainly true, but keep in mind, what is fascinating to you might not be interesting to the masses. If you are only writing about obscure topics, you won’t likely get much traffic/build a solid audience. When you choose topics, you need to have at least a surface level understanding of trending keywords and questions. This will give you an idea of the interest/potential audience. Fortunately, there are all kinds of free tools you can use for this.
Let’s say you run a travel blog and are writing a post about the best resorts in San Diego. Using the web browser keyword tool, Ubersuggest, you can get a quick look at the trending keywords and phrases related to your topic.
With this information, it’s clear that the trending questions are related to:
- Resorts for families
- Resorts near the beach
- Resorts in Mission Bay
- Resorts near the zoo
So, addressing these questions within the post should ideally help you gain interested traffic. The key is understanding what people want to know. In other words, the majority of the posts you write need to be for the reader, not yourself.
You Aren’t Capitalizing on Your Best Posts for SEO
While awesome content is the backbone of any popular blog, SEO is the key to keeping those traffic numbers up. You need to be keeping a close eye on your Google Analytics and Search Console information to see what keywords your posts are ranking for. Google’s undying goal is to provide users with the best and most credible content to match their search query.
For instance, let’s say you are a sports blogger and wrote a post about playing rugby. If you are ranking well in Google for the keyword rugby tips, this means that Google sees your website as an expert on this term. So, it’s very possible that the search engines will see you as an expert and rank your content for similar trending keyword/phrases like: rugby skills and drills, rugby strategy and tactics, tactical skills in rugby,etc. That said, writing posts about these types of topics will likely help bring in more traffic down the road. This is a foundational concept of topic clustering.
When you have a post that ranks well on Google, you shouldn’t let it sit there and rot. If you can, do your best to update it periodically. Perhaps this means adding new data, tips, examples, etc. Doing so will help keep the content fresh and maintain its ranking.
If you want to expand beyond typical blog posts, you can repurpose your trending pieces into different formats, such as an infographic, SlideShare, or even a podcast episode or video!
Over to You
Anyone can start a blog. Building an audience isthe tough part where many struggle. Keep in mind, unless you have a team and are dedicating large amounts of time and money, getting a good flow of traffic is probably going to take a while. There’s a good chance the initial posts you write won’t be seen by many.
The underlying key to blogging is consistency. The search engines like to see that you update your blog with new content on a regular basis, understand what answers people are searching for, and create high-value content that can’t be found anywhere else.
Hopefully, these tips have given you a decent idea of how you can launch/maintain a blog that attracts interested eyeballs!
This post was written by Kevin Svec. He is a Senior Copywriter and Content Strategist at E2M Solutions Inc. He spends his days researching the latest tactics to help businesses produce compelling content that resonates with people of all interest levels. Kevin also hosts E2M’s in-house podcast: The Marketing Microscope. When he’s not rock climbing or hanging out at one of San Diego’s many beaches, Kevin is writing for Impulsive Wanderlust, a travel and leisure website he founded. Connect with him on LinkedIn.