Today we are going to tackle three reasons why your blog isn’t growing. This is the first in a series of Why Your Audience Isn’t Growing.
I see people asking questions constantly in Facebook groups about growth. Specifically people want to know why their blogs aren’t growing. It’s a complex question, but the answer 90% of people give has to do with promoting more on social media.
- Join Facebook groups!
- Get on Pinterest group boards and pin 200 times a day!
- Use MeetEdgar to send your content out daily!
- Buy this course on Facebook pages!
Have you heard these? Today I’m going to talk about what I almost NEVER hear people saying when this question is asked. If you don’t work on these three things, NO amount of promotion will help your blog grow!
Keep reading or listen to the episode!
Listen to Episode 107- 3 Reasons Why Your Blog Isn’t Growing
Three Reasons Why Your Blog Isn’t Growing
1. You’re Writing for Yourself, Not Your Audience.
Ouch. As a writer, this one really rubbed me the wrong way when I started considering my blog growth intentionally.
We all have different reasons for blogging. (And you really should know the why of your blog!) For many of you in my audience, those reasons have to do with loving to write. Yes, maybe you want to also sell books or sponsored posts or make money by having traffic an ads. BUT YOU LOVE THE CREATIVE WORK. I know you!
So it can feel like a personal insult to hear that you’re being too self-centered about your work. (Plus, who likes being self-centered??) I’m not really telling you that you are self-absorbed, only that your blog isn’t outward-focused ENOUGH.
Why do people read blogs?
Not sure? Think about why YOU read blogs. For me, I might click through to read a blog post if the title grabs me. It relates to me. It’s interesting or relevant or solves a problem I have.
People read blogs because those blogs offer something. They GIVE to the reader. There is a benefit. Maybe that’s a how-to or a series of tips. Maybe that’s entertainment or encouragement or inspiration. But there is some kind of exchange wherein the blogger (that’s you) gives something to the reader.
Readers will not read blogs that don’t give them something. And when we write blog posts that are just like online diaries, focused on telling just our life story, people are generally not going to want to read. (The exceptions are if you are already a celebrity, you have a really unique story, you have some kind of “it” factor, or you’re a really KILLER writer. Usually we are NOT as interesting as we think we are.)
We need to invite readers IN. That doesn’t mean we can’t write about ourselves and our stories. If we leave our own story out, our blog could be interchangeable with any other blog out there. Not good.
Our unique story and our voice NEEDS to be there, but readers need to know there is a place for them. It has to be relatable to them and give some kind of benefit. Even if that is a simple as a few minutes of enjoyment.
How to Fix This: If this is your problem (and MANY people struggle here), you need to consider how you can write what you want to write, but also think outward. Consider how you can use your blog to benefit other people and what you are giving them. What does your blog give? What does it offer that a complete stranger might want to stop and read?
2. Your Blog Design Detracts from the Content
Just when you thought the first reason was hard to hear…I give you this. But I just want to write! I don’t care about blog design, you say. Plus I have no money and don’t know blogspeak.
I know, friend. I know. I was there! I started on Blogger (which, unless you have a lot of money, will ALWAYS look like a blog on Blogger) and when I started paying more attention to design, I didn’t want the clean, white look. I had bright colors and busy backgrounds. It was a hot mess.
Here’s the thing about design: it impacts the way people read your words.
When Rob and I were looking for our first house, we looked at all kinds of places. Some were in pristine condition, some were foreclosures with no flooring and holes in the walls. We are good at vision, so we could see SOMETHING in most places.
Except one house. It was older and had original mustard-yellow countertops and shag rugs. It was clean, but it was just so much ugly. Most of all, though, we HATED the layout. We struggled with a vision for the house because we didn’t like the floor plan. Countertops you can change, but layout is layout.
We bought another house and a few months after moving in, I had this realization as I walked into my master bedroom: this house had the same layout as the house we hated.
I couldn’t believe it. Even with all our open-mindedness and visioning, we hated a house for (we thought) its layout, then bought a house with the same floor plan…but modern updates. Honestly, we were both floored.
THAT IS HOW MUCH DESIGN MATTERS.
You cannot underestimate the impact of how you package your words. So if you are a writer and hate thinking about this stuff and don’t want to learn to code and don’t want to pay someone…you have to consider the cost.
You don’t have to have the most beautiful blog, but you DO need to have a blog that doesn’t detract from your content.
How to Fix This: If you don’t have a lot of money for design, you can use a simple free wordpress.org theme and just keep it SIMPLE. Simple looks so much more professional than busy. Or consider Squarespace, which is something like $7-10/monthly and is drag and drop. Very clean, very professional. If you’re using Blogger, it is REALLY HARD (ie- expensive) to make it not look like Blogger. I love working with Merri from WPTech Cafe and I also love the themes from Restored 316. I’m an affiliate for Restored 316 and am currently using their Refined theme, if you want to check that out. (Being an affiliate means if you purchase a theme, I get a commission at no extra cost to you!)
3. Your Writing Style Isn’t Unique
This is where it gets confusing sometimes. Because I told you in #1 that it’s not all about you, and now I’m telling you that it needs to be uniquely you. What gives?
Your blog DOES need to be about other people enough to draw them in. But your unique story and voice and perspective will keep them reading. If you don’t have something unique, your blog will be like every other of the million blogs out there. Why should they read or come back to yours?
This can be really difficult and takes practice. It will also shift over time and depending on content. But learning to find your unique voice and find how you can weave your story and perspective through the posts makes you stand out. And, even though you’re being uniquely YOU, it will draw in the readers and keep them.
What IS your story? What IS your writing voice?
You need to consider these questions in order to help your blog grow. It’s not enough just to write helpful tips for people. Your helpful tips need to have YOUR spin. Otherwise they’ll get lost in the sea of other helpful tips.
How to fix this: If you haven’t been training in a lot of the writing spaces, these may not be questions you’ve thought about at length. But I’ve got just the resource for you! Check out my post How to Brand Your Writing Voice.
These three aren’t the ONLY reasons why your blog isn’t growing. The other big key to blog growth is promotion. We’ll hit on that a bit in the second part of the series when I talk about why your social media isn’t growing. But just so we’re clear…you can’t write a blog post and think people will find it. (Unless you are an SEO wizard.) Promotion totally impacts this.
But you can promote like a crazy person and if people don’t feel included, are turned off by your blog design, and don’t find something unique, your blog will not gain and retain new readers.
So…how are you feeling at the end of this?
I want you to know: these are not the only reasons your blog might not be growing. And they might be hard to hear. If they ARE, please take some time after you read this or listen to the episode. Be grumpy. Complain. Send me an email about why you disagree.
Then come back a few days later when it feels less personal and really LOOK at your blog. Could these actually be the reasons your blog isn’t growing? Ask a friend who is impartial if you need help looking with honest eyes. I do NOT mean to be discouraging or hurtful.
What you ultimately need to consider is this: DO YOU REALLY WANT TO GROW?
If so: HOW BIG?
Because if you want to really grow and really want to grow large, you need to seriously consider these three things. But if you want to write for writing’s sake or because of a particular passion, then you can worry about them less.
If you want to really grow a platform or build a giant blog, you need to take it seriously. You have to think about why your blog isn’t growing…and then what you’re going to do about it.
Want to share your tips for growing a blog? Leave a comment!