This post is part of my “How to Start a Blog” series. If you’re reading this and haven’t started your blog yet, feel free to click over and read the “12 Secrets You Need to Know Before Starting a Blog.”
If you’ve been blogging for a year or two and getting lackluster results, these may be the reasons. Today I’m sharing with you the 11 mistakes you’re making in your blog and why no one is reading it.
#1 You’re not sharing or weaving your own experiences into your blog posts.
The best way to blog is to write from your own experience. Otherwise, your writing and what you say won’t be any different from Wikipedia. It’s not about giving the most information, it’s about sharing relevant information that people connect with. And when people are reading your blog, they want to hear from your personal experience.
So what can you do?
Write about a topic you love and can write freely about.
Before I started this blog, I was writing about skin care with an emphasis on Asian/Korean skincare and monetizing through affiliate marketing. When I felt that stage of interest was over for me, I had two choices: to write about personal development or blogging.
I know I’d personally struggle with sharing my own stories in relation to self-development. Meanwhile, because my last job was in tech and digital marketing presenting analytics and tech tutorials comes second nature to me.
#2 You’re not taking an opinion on your topic.
This is like not giving your blog soul. Sometimes not every article warrants a deep and thorough opinion, but if you never take a different stance on the topic, you won’t stand out.
When I teach tech tutorials on my blog, it’s a straightforward process. Tech can be dry sometimes. But still, I like to put my own spin on things and this is what makes tech fun… when there are so many options.
For example, every blogger swears by ConvertKit. But I use and love ActiveCampaign as my email service provider.
So many big players love to use Asana, but I find Trello easier to play with. Other than Asana’s brand colors, I love everything about Trello more.
Each piece of software has its own pros and cons. It’s when you can delve deep into the nuts and bolts of things that make your perspective valuable and memorable.
#3 All your opinions or experiences sounds conventional or mainstream instead of controversial.
Contrary to what many people think there are many topics that don’t have one single answer. There isn’t one path to creating the most successful blog in the world. There isn’t only one niche where you can make money through affiliate marketing.
But we like to believe there is because it gives us a sense of security and a plan of action to hold onto. Some people like to follow or be lead so they think there’s only a single solution to a problem.
Every now and then, share something on your blog that contradicts mainstream advice. Then back it up with your own experiences about why it works for you.
It might work or not work for others, but it brings new fireworks (I’m writing this on the weekend before July 4th) to your content. It also shows that you’re someone who is willing to experiment and then share your results.
#4 You use an illegible font that’s under 11-point, gray and thin.
This reason isn’t hard to pinpoint. One of the reasons why no one is reading it is because they can’t see it.
So what can you do about it?
I recommend sticking with sans serif fonts, minimum 12-point, and regular style. Not thin or bold, just regular. Adelle Sans, Proxima Nova, and Montserrat are among some of my current favorites.
#5 You cover a wide range of topics but don’t deep dive any of them.
Pick 3 subtopics or related topics and just focus on those three. If you’re reading this and haven’t started your blog yet, I’ll recommend that you open a Google doc and write about a few topics to see which 3 you like most. Once you write about more than 3 topics, people’s perception of your expertise on one starts to dilute.
If you can share deep insights or the nitty gritty details of your topic, you won’t need to write about so many topics.
Again, it’s not about the number of topics, it’s about the value and depth of each you’re able to go into.
#6 You’re focusing too much on content creation and too less on optimizing your traffic channel.
This is a mistake I made years ago, but that’s before I ever knew about monetizing blogs. I only wrote because I like to write. And if that’s your goal, then yes, you won’t need to worry about optimizing your traffic channel.
At this point, I need to disagree with the cliche, “content is king.” The truth is if you can’t get your content in front of the right eyes, even the most amazing content won’t see the day of light.
In fact, if you don’t know anything about social media, it helps to take a crash course on any specific channel you want before you start your blog. Otherwise, your blog will just be sitting there with no readers until you know how to reach those people.
Here are a few reliable sources for traffic:
- Facebook groups
- Facebook ads
- Pinterest organic traffic
- Promoted pins
- Google SEO
#7 You don’t have an image of yourself in your header or sidebar.
It’s rare that anyone trusts anyone without an image of themselves on their website. Unless people are reading major publications like Huffington Post, Elite Daily or Life Hacker, there’s no reason for someone to read a blog they have no connection with.
And having a smiling image of yourself is the best way to go about this. It doesn’t even have to be professional by the usual tux, suit, or gown. In fact, I connect better with bloggers who dress casually but are more happy and open in their images.
It might be scary to go all-header with your photo. Too much visibility might not be your thing, but a convenient sidebar photo will allow people to know who they’re reading from immediately.
I’d admit that I’ve gotten more comments on my blog ever since adding a photo of myself to the header.
#8 You’re not writing to others; you’re sharing random stuff about yourself.
There might be some confusion between the advice of “writing from your own experiences” and “writing for others and not for yourself.”
And for many years, the whole “lifestyle blogging” is very in. I’m sure it’s still booming but I’m over it. Both as a “content consumer” and “lifestyle blogger.”
When you’re writing, you’re writing to others. Meaning, you’re writing like you’re having a conversation with them in front of you. At the same time, your experiences support the things you help people with.
For example, if you’re a parenting coach, you might help parents better understand the needs of their children. If you make a statement about how casual debates on the dinner table can help children better articulate their needs to their parents, then you want to share your own experience in relation to that.
(Btw, I’m not even a parent so don’t try that at home, moms!)
When you’re writing to others, you should always start off by reminding your people of their problem before you share your experience with that problem.
It will set the mood for your readers and they know why they’re reading your post.
This is the main difference between someone who writes a “lifestyle blog” and someone who solves a real problem. The former dives immediately into what they ate for breakfast.
And then they make the reader wonder, “so where’s my plate of hash browns and eggs with ketchup?”
#9 You’re not crystal clear and articulate about what you write about and who you serve.
Whether you’re writing your “About page” or you’re sending over your bio for a guest post, you need to be able to articulate this.
If you don’t know what you’re about, people won’t go figure it out for themselves.
A good framework to write a mini bio for your website is:
“I help (insert specific group of people) with (something you do) so that they can (why is what you do important to them?)”
If you don’t have an About page crafted yet, don’t forget to grab your free worksheet here!
#10 You’re not putting forth that one thing that makes you different and crazy enough to others.
You don’t need to find a million ways to stand out. You just need that one way that makes you really memorable.
For Kimra Luna, it’s her blue hair.
For you, it might be your storytelling experience as a Hollywood scriptwriter.
I use to think you need to be different in a million ways, but people’s ability to collect, digest, and remember information is very limited.
A friend once told me that once someone gets to know you, they will put you into a box that will help them remember you better. It may sound meh to be stereotyped, but people have to digest so many things every day, they already made their effort.
#11 You’re focused on too many strategies at once. You’re not a master at any.
Again, this is one of the mistakes I made when I started this blog.
Facebook groups, oh let’s meet people! Promotional threads sound like free organic traffic. Before you know it, you’re getting sucked into all these people with scarcity mindsets and drama.
Guest posting? Let’s make a list of blogs I’d like to pitch to and come up with a few topics I can write about. Why isn’t my traffic increasing?
Is Facebook ads the fast track to more leads and subscribers?
Can you get free organic Pinterest traffic without having to battle your way to the top of Google’s first page? Heck yes, let’s try that too.
Really, just pick one and master it. I’d choose something a little more sustainable like organic traffic or paid ads. Posting to Facebook groups’ promotional threads may be an easy way to get traffic at first, but it won’t make you profitable if you need more traffic. Plus, it’s also a lot of manual work upfront that’s not scalable.
I’ve tried all of the above. While promoted pins have tripled my email list in two months, it’s not a long-term strategy unless you have a huge budget to burn every month. Before testing paid ads, Pinterest organic traffic was the largest traffic source. But the downside to this is that you’ll have to create content consistently. Then get your pins in front of many eyeballs. I like and am good at writing and Pinterest is a scalable and reliable traffic referral, so this is the intersection that works for me.
On the other hand, if you want to grow your email list quickly because you already have a product to sell and you don’t have 10 hours to create content each week, then you might want to use paid ads.