I got an email yesterday that sounded all to familiar. It was as if I was writing an email to myself a year ago.
Here were some of the questions:
I am struggling. I can’t seem to get to the next level and have thought about giving up.
On the other hand, I really do love blogging, but would hate to really know how little I am making if I broke it down by the hours that I spend.
If you had an extra 30 hours in your week and wanted to use it to increase your income, how would you do that?
This is what I replied with:
Disclaimer: this response was given as though the person is trying to blog as a business. If you are blogging for fun, you should simply stop blogging the moment that it becomes not fun.
It sounds like you are where I was with my deal blog about 6 months ago. I would post what I could, when I could. Some deals, some coupons, some frugal living etc. What I have learned is that you really have to find a focus. Do one thing and do it well. Some of the most successful bloggers I know have a main focus that they build their blog around. While the focus is their main point of interest for their blog, it is not too general. For example, in the deal blogging world, a good focus would be “How to save money at Safeway” or “Saving money in Sacramento” but maybe not “saving money” or “retail deals” since those topics are covered by literally thousands of blogs and it would be difficult to cover every facet of those topics.
My point is, narrowing your focus is important. Be known for something. What do people expect when they come to your blog? Anything specific? Do you have a blog plan every day or do you just do what you can? Without a focus, your blog will lack direction and it will show to your readers. People like to expect something when they visit a blog and they want that blog to deliver.
Think of some of the top blogs in your niche. Ask yourself, “why should someone visit my blog instead of _____, or _____”? I couldn’t answer that question about my own blog, so I basically abandoned ship. Yes, I gave up on one of my blogs. I knew what I was doing wasn’t unique and the way I was going, the blog didn’t have much growth potential. I started focusing on other sites that we own and am only recently starting to put more effort back into my frugal/finance blog. I am still working on finding my focus with the site.
If I had an extra 30 hours/week to work, I would write more comprehensive blog posts both for my finance site and for this site. I would be more active on social channels and try to connect with people that way too. I also spend quite a bit of time working on my own SEO and would invest even more time into that as well.
None of that matters though if you don’t have focus. You have to have a plan for spending your time on things that matter or else you’ll just be wasting it.
Having a blog is frustrating, I get it. Getting zero comments on a blog post that you think is awesome totally sucks. Going 2 days with no social shares is the pits. But it happens. Sometimes it can feel like you’re in the middle of a crowded room shouting at the top of your lungs and no one is listening, but you have to keep shouting. Nobody will hear you if you are silent.
You’re at a very tough part of blogging that many of us get to. Do you quit or continue? Only you can figure that out. You have to love what you are doing and see it succeeding. It takes an honest (sometimes, painfully honest) look at your blog, the time you have to put in and the effort you want to give.
I’m not trying to be discouraging here and sure hope I am not! These are just things that I have learned from my own experiences and from other successful bloggers.