Starting a blog is challenging. And that is why many blogs fail before they make any money.
There typically is a long period where you do a ton of work and have no results.
And no customers.
That is typically the timeframe when most bloggers quit.
And the problem is that it isn't a set amount of time. And it can be an intimidating period of time.
Some blogs take off after a few months, while others remain in this phase for years.
I'm going to give you some insight into why most blogs (like my first ones) fail.
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Failure of My First Blogs
Before I get into the reasons behind failure in more detail, I wanted to talk about my blogging past briefly.
I started a couple of blogs around ten years ago. I started a blog on lawn care and another about action-adventure movies.
At the time, I also had plans to start a fitness blog about fitting more activity into the tasks you do every day, but it never materialized.
The lawn care blog began with this Google Earth image of my old neighborhood:
The greenest lawn was mine, and that was how I was going to capture my reader's attention.
But I didn't put in the time and effort that was needed. And it would have been much easier back then than today.
It would have been (and was) difficult to maintain between my job and family back then. However, looking back, it would have been worth it to keep pushing forward.
The other website was going to be around action-adventure movies.
The problem with that one is probably pretty apparent. If I couldn't keep up with an evergreen topic like lawn care, I was never going to be able to keep up with something that could change every week.
Not saying it couldn't work for others, but in general, a non-evergreen topic like that is not an ideal blog topic for a beginner blogger.
Needless to say, neither of those blogs were successful. However, I was able to learn a lot about what not to do from them.
Now that I find myself blogging again in a time where it is much more challenging to be found on the internet, I really regret not pushing through with my blogging efforts back then.
Reasons Blogs Fail
Creating a successful blog takes a lot of hard work. A lot of new bloggers underestimate all that is involved in blogging.
While there are other reasons for a blog failing, these are why most don't succeed.
Not Writing for Your Audience
While not focusing on your audience at the beginning is difficult because you may not have an audience yet, you need to anticipate what they need.
Don't write about what you “think” is going to be a good topic or what you want to write about yourself.
Perform keyword and competitor research to figure out what is a good topic.
And as you build your blog audience, ask them what they want to hear from your blog.
Read their comments. Ask them in emails.
Get to know your audience and understand their pain points.
Once you have a better grasp of what your audience wants, you can create content around those topics and address their needs.
That is what will keep them coming back.
If you don't, your blog will likely fail.
Spending Too Much Time on Unimportant Tasks
When you first start a blog, pick a theme, and move on to creating content.
It doesn't have to look pretty (within reason).
But if there is nothing to read, nobody will visit.
If someone is interested in your article, it won't matter how your site looks.
There are plenty of WordPress themes that look great without much setup.
Getting content on your site early on should be your priority.
Later on, after you've built some traffic and started making some money, you'll have more time and resources that you can devote to how your site looks.
A successful blog that looks like crap but has good content is much better than a pretty blog that has failed.
Not Putting in Enough Effort
To become a blogging success story, you need to put in the work.
Promote your posts.
Rinse and repeat.
And promoting should be more than half the effort.
You can write the most magnificent blog post in the world, but if nobody knows it is there, they aren't going to find it.
Whether you have a backlink building strategy or use social media to promote your blog, you need to focus on that to generate traffic.
Failing to do the work is why most blogs fail.
Just like most things in life, you get out of it what you put in.
And trust me, I know how easy it is to get sidetracked into reading every blog post out there on what you need to do to be successful in blogging.
It still happens to me often.
Do yourself a favor and stop reading everything and devote that time to building your blog.
There isn't one right answer on how to be successful. But continuously changing direction isn't going to get it done.
Prioritizing Monetization over Building Traffic
For most people who are serious about blogging, making money is a priority.
However, you can't make any money if you don't have any visitors.
This reason could probably fit into the section above on Spending Too Much Time on Unimportant Tasks, but I don't want to call monetization unimportant.
While it is important, don't spend time creating digital products to sell in the beginning. Use that time to create content and promote it.
Then when you have an audience, you'll be able to create those products and actually have someone to buy from you.
The one aspect of monetization that I've always felt different than most others is concerning affiliate marketing.
Most recommend not adding any affiliate links to your site until you have good, consistent traffic.
While I don't recommend spending too much time on this early on, I also don't see any harm in adding some affiliate links when they fit into your content naturally.
It isn't likely you'll make many sales early on, however, if you don't have any affiliate links, you aren't going to make any that way.
Additionally, some affiliate programs won't accept you if you have low traffic, but there are many that will.
Again, don't spend much time on joining affiliate programs early on, but don't be afraid to add a few if they fit naturally into your content.
Giving Up on Your (Failed?) Blog Too Soon
When people give up, it is typically due to one of the reasons above.
However, it is crucial to understand how difficult it is as a new blogger. If you go in with that understanding, you have a much better chance of success.
Alex and Lauren over at Create and Go have a great article called The 4 Phases of Online Blogging Success: Poop to Profits.
That article provides excellent insight into what a new blogger faces.
It is tough for many to persist and make it through the poop stage. However, just about everyone that has had success with blogging has been there too.
How to Prevent Having a Failed Blog
While there are no guarantees, these tips are crucial to success as a new blogger:
- Create a plan
- Plan your topics and posts by doing keyword research.
- You can adjust this as you learn more about your audience.
- Plan how you'll promote your posts.
- Don't try and do everything at once.
- Pick a method (Google search engine optimization (SEO), Facebook, Pinterest, etc.).
- I recommend focusing on one social media platform while doing beginner SEO for Google on your blog posts.
- Use a tool like Tailwind to automate your social media marketing.
- Once you have driven consistent traffic from one source, you can move on to others.
- Google SEO takes time to generate organic traffic.
- Plan your topics and posts by doing keyword research.
- Start your blog
- Only focus on what you need to get started posting content.
- Create blog content on a routine basis and promote it to build traffic.
- Repeat, repeat, repeat…
- Stick to the plan
- If you keep changing direction, you'll never figure out what works for you.
- The internet is slow to move when it comes to starting a blog.
- It can take a few months to see the impact of the actions you take today.
- Remember, the success of your blog is going to be related to how much work you put into it.
- Have patience!
As you can see, there are many reasons why a blog might fail.
But hopefully, this doesn't deter you from moving forward with your own blog.
The great thing about failure is what we can learn from it.
Have you had any experience with blog failure? Are you currently pushing through that “poop” phase? Please share your experiences in the comments below.