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 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.
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.
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 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?
- Does your blog look good?
- Is your blog user-friendly?
EG The range of topics, whether the topics provide value to your readers, the quality of writing
EG The blog layout and format, post layout and format, quality of images
EG Navigation, how easy it is to find things, whether your blog looks good on a range of devices
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 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.
Many successful bloggers are incredibly generous with their knowledge. Learn from them.
- What do they suggest? Absorb their knowledge.
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.
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.
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The original pic is from the choice peeps at Gratisography. I twiddled with it.