With the time and effort that goes into maintaining a blog, there’s no wonder that we constantly question if we’re doing it right, how we can do it better and why we’re not as successful as blogger X. From how many followers we have on social media, to leader board rankings and Domain Authority scores, our ‘success’ is constantly being measured and it’s impossible not to compare ourselves to others or question why we even bother.
I admit that I’ve had a few instances over my two years of blogging when I’ve been obsessed with my blog traffic. And other times when I’ve become a little disillusioned with blogging entirely. It’s true that there’s always something to improve upon, but I feel like I’m at a place now where I’m content with my achievements so far and I’ve accepted that without so much to do, it wouldn’t be half as much fun!
So here’s ten sure-fire ways to help you to gain some perspective when you’re feeling ‘meh’, kick that bloggers’ doubt into touch and grow your blog.
1. Celebrate your achievements
As a blogger you find that you’re constantly moving the goal posts. What starts out as a goal for 500 Twitter followers, quickly shifts to 5,000 and whilst once upon a time you’d have been elated with 100 page views a day, all of a sudden that’s not good enough. You aim to get featured in the Huff Post, you want to monetise your blog, you’d love to win that award…
If you’re looking to build your brand and monetise your blog then you most definitely need to have goals. But it’s important to celebrate all of those amazing achievements along the way and remember where you started – from nothing. So before you create your next list of ‘monthly goals’ write down everything that you’ve achieved and give yourself a big pat on the back.
2. Just keep writing
I’ve certainly found that the more I write, the more ideas I get and the more focused I become. Throughout the first year of this blog I would only post once or twice a week. I really didn’t have any idea where it was going and just posted because I enjoyed writing and hoped that my friends and family would enjoy reading it. Once I ‘got serious’ about blogging I started to post a lot more often and good things started to come my way – more brands wanted to work with me, my page views grew, social media followers increased organically and I was also able to hone my own style and tone of writing. Just keep writing and good things will happen…
3. …But only write when you feel like it
If you’re going to post often, a post schedule will definitely help you to stay organised. But how rigid you have your schedule is up to you. I’ve tried on a number of occasions to use the Editorial Calendar WordPress plugin, but it just doesn’t work for me. I find it difficult to sit down and write a ‘set post’ for that day – my head isn’t always in ‘that space’ and the words don’t come. On the other hand, some of my most popular posts have been thrashed out in under an hour with no pre-planning whatsoever – the idea just came and the words flowed.
I like to have a list of post ideas to choose from in any given week, and then I write them up in any order that suits me (aside from any sponsored content with set deadlines.) If a post idea comes to me that I’m itching to write, I will scribble out a rough version in my notepad there and then. Find a balance that works for you and don’t put too much pressure on yourself to post every day if you really don’t feel like it – it will be evident in your writing if your heart’s not in it. Which brings me on to…
4. Be true to yourself
If you’re going to build a confident brand online, you need to find your own voice. Every day you will read a post written by another blogger that you wish you’d written myself. Finding inspiration from other bloggers is a must, but make sure that you don’t try to ‘be’ them. Realise that you have something special in your own viewpoint and tone of voice and stick to it in every single post that you write. If you try to be someone else, or write about topics that aren’t really of interest to you, it will be obvious to your readers. Find what you’re passionate about and stay true to your beliefs. Not only will others enjoy reading your posts, but you’ll also enjoy writing those honest posts so much more.
5. Don’t sell yourself short
When you first start to get contacted by brands it’s really exciting and you will probably jump at the chance to review any product for free. And in the beginning, that’s exactly what you should do since it’s the only way that other brands are going to see you’re good to work with. But as you start to get more opportunities come your way, it’s important to know your worth.
Don’t forget that the time you spend writing those posts is taking up your personal time – and you need to be paid a fair price for that. If you accept every collaborative opportunity that comes your way for little money or low-value products, you will soon find yourself feeling like a sell out. You’ll forget what your blog stood for in the first place and the financial rewards won’t even seem worth it. I’m definitely an advocate of working with brands and think bloggers should never feel guilty about earning an income in return for all of the hard work that goes into maintaining a blog. But make sure that you call the shots – negotiate a fair price and only accept content that is relevant to your blog.
6. Be active in the blogging community
One of my favourite things that has come out of blogging is gaining a sense of community. If you only blog in your own little online space, you’re never going to get that sense of achievement or the feedback you need to feel like you’re on the right track (aside from the odd comment from your mum perhaps). Join in with linkys, engage on social media and set about finding your own tribe. If you engage with other bloggers’ posts, they will start to engage with yours. I find that the blogging community are like my ‘virtual work colleagues’ – people to bounce off, learn from and gain encouragement from.
7. Set realistic goals
There’s no point in setting yourself over-ambitious goals that you’ll struggle to achieve. Not only will you feel like a constant failure, but you’ll also stress yourself out and lose the enjoyment of blogging. If you want to grow your blog it’s a great idea to have long term goals of the ‘big picture’ (where you want to be at the end of the year, where you see your blog in two years’ time…), but try and stick to measurable monthly goals that are within your reach. Do push yourself a little harder, but realise that you aren’t going to become a blogging sensation overnight.
8. Stay focused
There’s so much more to blogging than simply publishing posts and at times it can get a little overwhelming. As bloggers we want to be good at everything! From photography, to social media, to SEO and vlogging there’s just so much to learn and we want to do it all – RIGHT NOW. But we also run the risk of not doing anything that well when we try and do everything at once. Instead, focus on one or two goals that you want to achieve right now and set about making them happen.
9. Realise that not everyone will love your blog (and that’s okay)
When publishing your thoughts to the world, it can be all too easy to become a bit of a people pleaser and try to appeal to everyone. It can also be tempting to fall into the trap of providing content that you think other people want to read, even if it’s not necessarily what you want to write about. The sooner that you realise you can’t please everyone all of the time, the better. Accept that for every person who doesn’t ‘get you’, there’s someone else who will.
10. Believe in yourself
Never think that you’re not good enough. You will always think that other blogs are better than yours, cooler than yours, funnier than yours. But as long as you stay true to yourself and keep your readers in mind, people will relate to you, and your blog will grow. When I first put myself forward for the Britmums Brilliance in Blogging Awards earlier this year, I never in a million years thought I had a chance of winning. In fact, I wasn’t even planning to nominate myself and wouldn’t have done if it wasn’t for the encouraging words of some of my lovely blogging pals. Guess what? I won! People ‘got me’…If you don’t believe in yourself, nobody else is going to do it for you.
Do you plan to grow your blog? Are you often plagued with self-doubt?