Help! I think I suck at blogging!

Blogging tips and tools from http://lifeblooming.com

Having a blog is hard work. You spend hours writing and promoting your blog and more hours maintaining it. And for what? Your traffic stats blow and you feel like nothing you do is working.

Yeah sure, it’s nice to have a creative outlet but why did you choose to write on the internet instead of curled up on your bed with a nice journal, a bottle of wine and some ‘insert music of choice’ playing in the background? Because of the audience baby. So if you write a post but no-one reads it, does the post really exist?

It’s gotten to the point where you’re wondering if it’s all worth it. You’ve given up every spare moment you have for this freaking blog. As well as the occasional shower.

Do you, might you, actually suck at blogging?? You’re not alone. Plenty of bloggers go through those moments of self-doubt. I’ve wondered it myself.

As you know I’ve been experimenting with ways to grow my blog traffic. While I’ve seen a teensy bit of movement in the right direction I’ve still got a lot of work ahead of me.

Today I’m going to share the method and tools I use to get through these blogging moments of doubt and come out the other side much better for it.

What to do when you’re not sure you’re blogging right

Doubt is your brains way of saying “WTF? What are you thinking? You and I need some serious sit down time. I miss how connected we once were. When did we start drifting apart? Let’s talk. Hug me.”

Listen to those doubts. You need to assess how realistic they are and respond accordingly. And this is how you’re going to do it.

The 4 ‘R’s

The 4R's method for dealing with doubt via http://lifeblooming.com

The 4 Rs is a method for taking a criticism or in this case, a doubt and turning it to your advantage.

We’ll look at each of them separately. There are questions in each section. Take notes as you go as you’ll need the information further on. There’s a list of all the questions at the bottom of the post.

REVIEW

A review is only as good as the reviewer. You need to take an honest and objective look at your blog and your blogging. This will give you a snapshot of where you are now and where you want to be. Later we’ll work on how to close that gap. The more BS in your review, the more likely it is you’ll end up working on the wrong. damn. thing.

Your vision

Before you created your blog you may have identified your vision for it. If you didn’t, have a look at the post A newbies guide: How to decide if you’re ready to start a blog. It has some questions to help guide your thinking in this area.

When you’re ready we’ll review your blogging vision:

  • Why did you start a blog?
  • Where do you want it to be in 2 years time?
  • Are you on track to achieve it?

Your blog

Your blog is comprised of lots of different elements. For the purpose of this review we’re going to categorise them into the following to make it easier to assess:

Content : Form : Function

Make a note of everything you need to improve on:

  • Does the content meet your readers needs?
  • EG The range of topics, whether the topics provide value to your readers, the quality of writing

  • Does your blog look good?
  • EG The blog layout and format, post layout and format, quality of images

  • Is your blog user-friendly?
  • EG Navigation, how easy it is to find things, whether your blog looks good on a range of devices

Your blogging

You may have once thought that blogging was just writing a post and publishing it. Now you know better. Blogging is a b!tch.

Make notes of what you need to improve or research:

  • How well do you maintain your blog?
  • Do you need to fix anything?
  • Do you know how to effectively promote your blog (and do you do it)?
  • How well does blogging fit into your life?

Bringing it all together

It’s time to bring all the pieces of the puzzle together.

You know where you want your blog to be in a couple of years time. You know what’s not working as well as it should. But does that matter?

Your final review task is to identify which part of your blog or which blogging activity will contribute the most towards your goal.

  • What do you need to do to reach your goal?
  • What are your priorities over the next few months?

Now you’ve finished the review you should have a better understanding of the areas you need to work on. You’ve gained insights into your own blog that not many other bloggers have.

You’re in a great position to start making improvements. The next step then is to find out what those should be.

RESEARCH

Research will give you inspiration, tools and solutions. Because you took the time to identify your vision as well as the areas you need to work on, you have a better research brief. Think of it this way:

Blogger A and Blogger B both have the same broken widget. Blogger A researches how to fix it and quickly has it back up and running. Blogger B however knows what blogging success means to her and where she wants her blog to be in 2 years time. She’s thought about it and realises she doesn’t want to fix the widget. She needs to replace it. Because she needs different functionality to get her closer to her goal.

Use your prioritised list to guide your research. Take notes including your key discoveries and where you found them.

Blogs in your niche

Begin by finding blogs that are doing what you want to do – well.

  • What do they do better than you? Be inspired.

Blogging experts

Many successful bloggers are incredibly generous with their knowledge. Learn from them.

  • What do they suggest? Absorb their knowledge.

Replicate

Now it’s time to implement the things you have learned. Treat this as a test period. Some of the changes might not work as well as you’d hoped. See if you can work out why that might be and move on to the next solution.

Replicate success.

Rock on

You were worried about sucking at blogging.

If you have worked through the exercises in this post you can rest assured you don’t suck. You’re a freaking ROCK STAR baby and your blog is only going to get better.

ROCK ON.

I suck at blogging.  What you need to do to fix blogging suckiness.  via http://lifeblooming.com

– – – – – – – –

The original pic is from the choice peeps at Gratisography. I twiddled with it.

Comments

  1. says

    I love this post!! Such good points about looking at things honestly and how to implement change. Thanks for the awesome visual at the end too – Rock On!! :D

    • Lisa says

      Thanks Celeste! I really appreciate your support. I’ve seen how well you’re doing and it’s inspiring!

    • Lisa says

      Thanks Meredith! Whoops – auto-correct wanted me to call you merry ditty. It can be incredibly frustrating the whole blogging lark (incl the ol’ auto-correct imp). No, you’re definitely not alone!

    • Lisa says

      Hi Holly and welcome! Thanks! I’ve checked out your blog and you certainly DO NOT. I’m going to have to head back over there and take my time to browse through when I get a cuppa tea this morning.

  2. says

    Wonderful. I love your posts, they are always so informative and inspiring. I always find myself returning to your blog. Sometimes I feel like your stalker…haha.

  3. says

    Great post and awesome advice! I’ve come to learn that the self doubt about my blog and how it or my writing may or may not suck is all part of the process. It’s a love hate relationship but mostly love so I keep on keeping on.

    • Lisa says

      Hi Nicolette! Thanks so much! I think it might be a common feature for people who work on something in isolation? Blogging whilst it has its social aspects is still mostly done by oneself.

  4. says

    I love this – I totally suck at blogging! It’s more if a time issue than anything, I have a lot on my plate and don’t put in all those extra hours on my blog. I do want to start a new and more organized and better executed site, so this will come in handy! Stopping by from SITS!

    • Lisa says

      Hi Kristin! Thank you! Oh man, I hear you about having too few hours to get everything done. I find it helps hold off the ‘blogey man’ as well. Doing this sort of stuff gives me an idea of how much time I want to spend on the blog – it means I’m not constantly thinking ‘argh – I’m not getting to my blog’!

    • Lisa says

      Hey Susie! I’m pretty sure someone famous once said something about doubts being the motivation to learn, being behind great discoveries. If they didn’t they should’ve right? You’ve got this! x

  5. says

    I cracked up reading your post. I definitely suck at it now. I’m new to blogging so I still hear crickets when I check to see if anyone is reading or commenting! I am going to rock on and blog my ass off.

    • Lisa says

      Hey Michelle! I’m glad you enjoyed it. Haha – I’m getting tired of damn crickets too. I’m heading over to your intriguing sounding blog to read n comment today – let’s battle the crickets together!

    • Lisa says

      Hi Marcia! Thanks so much – I’m very grateful for your support. I love the name of your blog btw – I’m heading over to everyone’s blogs after lunch at mum-in-laws so I can browse them all over a cuppa. x

    • Lisa says

      Hi Sarah Ann! I’m so glad you find them useful! Fantastic – blogging addiction (and to be honest a coffee one too) are helpful in getting over the blog blues hump!

  6. says

    I definitely feel like I’ve put blogging on the backburner. It’s a hobby of sorts, but it’s always nice to see some days more people decide to check in on what I write and put out there for the world to see. Man, that’s a mouthful. Your blog is super helpful though and I enjoy reading what you have to rant about! :D

    • Lisa says

      Hey Rachel! No wonder it’s on the backburner – you’ve recently moved towns so that settling in and finding your own groove in a new place would use your energy up! It’s a good hobby to have because the skills are so transferable – whether it’s writing for school or work – you’re doing heaps more than I was at the same time!

      I’m so glad you enjoy visiting. x

  7. says

    I feel like giving up ALL THE TIME! WordPress is killing me but I have so much time invested in it I don’t want to let it go. The little technical problems drive me crazy and I am so tired of searching the Internet for youtube videos where someone shows me how to solve the problem (thankfully those videos exist if you can figure out what your problem is!). But it does make me feel better when others feel like giving up too and keep going instead. It is hard when you write what you think is a great post and then no ones sees it but your family and close friends, lol. But, when you try to get a book published you have to face constant rejection so I think blogging may be the same thing. You have to keep trying and eventually it will catch on. One can hope! — Nicole @mindovermessy.com

    • Lisa says

      Hi Nicole! One of the hardest things I found was actually working out what question to ask. Because I didn’t know what I was doing I spend a lot of time searching for the wrong answer! Feel free to drop me a line if you hit the wall – odds are I might’ve struck the same thing at some point!

      I read a 2009 article that said 95% of existing blogs hadn’t been updated in 120 days – they were considered abandoned with the blogger having given up. It’s a million times (literally right) harder to stand out from the exponentially larger crowd these days. In that way, low traffic is normal. It takes longer to make your mark. Yes a few people hit their stride earlier (like some kids walk quicker) but it doesn’t mean others won’t hit their own milestones later. Even if you’re doing all the right things it’s still pretty much a marathon. You just gotta be in the 5% who stay in the race!

  8. says

    Such a relief to hear that most bloggers hit the wall at some point! Somedays..I feel so lost. Like why am I not out on weekends doing something real… ! Blogging is an addiction, more of a love hate relationship! Some posts are a breeze and some would take me weeks. Not shocked to hear that 95% blogs are abandoned. I left my blog for whole 4 months this year. and I honestly felt so calm and relaxed in that time. but since starting with it again..it’s always on my mind these days- what to post next, a new way of taking pictures perhaps! I have planned so much for my blog though.. need to get layout sorted and stuff… but laziness and day job consumes the better of me…! RANT OVER!
    Loved your post! Made me think….

    • Lisa says

      Hi Nishu!

      I’m the same – it can take way too long to write a post. I”ve got a new system going now – I have several posts on the go (I have a few different categories of topics) then if one’s like drawing blood from a stone I give it the flick and jump on a different one. It makes me feel a bit more in control of things!

      Getting some guest posts and doing some light writing topics spread over the month are great. The design/clothing ones for me are easy peasy (lots of pics!) and I can schedule them ahead of time so I can take time away from the blog. You need to find a few ‘blogger helpers’ to take the pressure off otherwise the blogey man will hide under your bed. Ugh.

    • Lisa says

      Jennifer!! Hello!! Thanks buddy – I’m following that advice you sent through! Whhoooooo!!! (Ok, all the exclamation marks are a result of several days of 3-4 hrs sleep + loads of coffee and a bit of chocolate too).

  9. says

    Oh dear, I’ve been feeling that way and uninspired for some time now, and I’ve only been blogging for a few months! Great post! Your graphic at the end is perfect . I’m pining it, so I can refer to it whenever I open my laptop and refresh things in mind.

    • Lisa says

      Hi Zoya! Thanks so much for that! I think it’s a pretty common feeling for us newbies – we’re all finding our way. It’s a little connection we all share – so from one new blogger to another – I wish you all the best for rockin’ it! x

    • Lisa says

      Hey Lapaka! Thank you! I’m glad it struck the right note with people. We all need a little reminding sometimes! x

  10. says

    Thanks Lisa for this post. I love structure, so the questions to ask and the organization of your post will be very helpful for me. I haven’t been “frustrated” yet, but on the other hand haven’t really found my groove. I hope to have posts ready in advance, but always seem to be writing/editing/publishing the day of my “deadline.” I have lots to learn and hope to “rock on.” Thanks again.

    • Lisa says

      Hello Caryn! Thank you – I’m fond of structure myself and find it helps me see where any issues are a lot quicker. I hope you find your groove soon! Yeah that write/publish cycle’s tricky – have you got some ‘quick’ topics you can do? Guest posts might be helpful too!

  11. says

    Thanks for this. It gives me a lot to think about. I am in a tiny niche (I don’t even know if my niche exists), and am trying to grow, but your point about blogging vision is important. When I had a blog int he same tiny niche in 2007-2011, I felt much more successful than I do now because I didn’t compare myself to Mommy/lifestyle bloggers (who have a much larger niche) and didn’t expect traffic from people beyond my niche. Now I wouldn’t have discovered this blog post if I didn’t reach beyond my niche with my current blog, so well.

    • Lisa says

      Hi Astrid! The number of blogs has grown exponentially since then so it’s a lot harder to find an audience now. I think that makes that sense of success a longer fought battle. I try to read a variety of blogs too – I’m very glad you discovered this post.

  12. says

    I’m so glad I found your post (through SITs – love those gals). Just this weekend I’ve been having a serious pity party. I wrote (what I thought) was an awesome post and then it had terrible traffic. It’s so hard not to get frustrated. I’m going to work on your tips and see what happens. The first thing I think I need is an outsider to review my blog. I feel like I”m too close to it to see it clearly.
    Thanks!

    • Lisa says

      Hi Stephanie! Gah – that’s such a pain when that happens – the tragedy of the unread brilliant post! I’m sure we’ve all got those. SITs is cool – I actually asked the same question on the SITs Facebook group (a review of my blog) – and got a few good pointers!

  13. says

    This is so true! Sometimes when someone finds out that I blog, I think they just don’t get it! Even if I spent all day on my blog, I still wouldn’t get everything done, and I have kids, another job, and many, many other things to take care of. Blogging is work. I know there are so many things to learn and work on, and I want to. So, small goals. I love what you have posted here because to be really great at blogging it is constant review and revamp! Thanks for a great post!

    • Lisa says

      Hi Elizabeth! Gosh that’s so true about people not understanding blogging – I was guilty of it myself before I began my own. It’s a lot of work so it really does come down to the value we place on our time and making sure the things we do are the most effective for growing our blogs. Easier to say than to do!

  14. says

    I totally suck at blogging! I’m going to use this guide to to really sit down and figure why I’m blogging and where I want my blog to go. Thank you!

    • Lisa says

      Hey Erin! Seriously, that’s the most fantastic feedback – I’m thrilled you found it useful. Good luck finding your groove!

  15. says

    This post was so inspiring! I have a lot to learn. There are days when a post doesn’t do so well and I do say, “I’m not very good at this!” However, I know blogging takes persistence and patience!

  16. says

    Hi- I have been looking at you for a while and like the clarity of your thinking. I printed the bloggin check list last time. I am organizing my new blog on wp. It just does not seem to be coming together. I want it to be life style design with twist of business. Cover to cover about how as women our personal and private lives are intertwined. Having trouble coming up with look that I want. Take a peek and give me an idea of where to start organizing- just a sentence or too would help!

    • Lisa says

      Hi Tanya – I’m more than happy to! My blog’s gone through lots of facelifts and my niche has evolved along the way too (it’s ongoing) so I’m familiar with what you’re going through.

      • says

        Thanks you thoughts would be great – I am looking for template like yours. Checked out your designers are you pleased with them and ease of site?

        • Lisa says

          Yes I am. I’ve got the Genesis theme and the Modern Blogger Pro child theme. I’ve customised it a fair bit which is easy to do even for a complete novice like myself. Although to be fair in the early days it did take a bit of time to research what I wanted then a wee bit of cussing as I figured it out.

          The reason I bought Genesis is mostly for it’s ease of use and it’s streamlined, clean coding (fewer issues, better for seo). I got the Modern Blogger Pro because it came with a lot of functionality I was after – the widgets, layouts, options, e-commerce ready etc).

          I’ve been pleased with the support to date although that’s been around the documentation and set up info – I haven’t needed much in the way of trouble-shooting.

    • Lisa says

      Hey Sonia! Thanks so much! Yeah I love that linky – I joined a month or so ago and then couldn’t remember where it was haha (I blame the sleep deprivation and 4 kids). I’ve found you guys again so I’ll keep joining!

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