I’m a big fan of animated movies. My wife doesn’t really understand why I like them, but I enjoy them as much as our three young kids. One of my favorites is “Meet The Robinsons”.
The theme of the movie is to “keep moving forward”. This is a quote from Walt Disney focused on never looking back, but to keep pursuing our dreams. If you haven’t seen the movie, it’s about a young orphan boy who tries to invent a machine to read his mind to see who his mom was when he was an infant. Well, things go crazy when his son from the future travels back in time to get his help tracking down someone who has stolen another time machine. Throughout the movie, the main character searches for his identity by pursuing his past, but becomes frustrated with his pursuit because of a lack of confidence in himself and his ability to move past his failures.
When it comes to blogging, I find that if I keep moving forward, going past the frustrations and failures, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Some of the common frustrations I face regularly with blogging include:
- Lack of visitors
- Lack of comments
- Not enough time to blog or chat with followers
- Lack of search engine ranking
I’m now on my 41st blog post and I’ve spent a few days looking at the content I’ve created and the community of followers. I can see a definite improvement in writing skills and content focus. Some of the original entries are almost laughable. So I’m going back to some of my older blog posts and beefing them up, fixing issues and removing ones that have no real value.
I am starting to get a little traffic from search engines, but most of my traffic comes from twitter and Facebook users. Fortunately, that is increasing as well. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a very tiny audience. Lapses in my blogging schedule have been directly related to the frustration around lack of traffic and the ability to blog regularly. I do have a great small audience (Christian and ministry marketing professionals) and the blog does get good feedback.
Some lessons learned?
- Just keep blogging – don’t give up. Keep blogging. Try your best to make it a routine task. Like any sport, with practice it gets easier, but don’t take breaks. It’s harder to get started again.
- Get the word out – if you don’t use Twitter, Facebook and email to get the word out about your content, it will probably take much longer to build a following.
- Write what you like but also what people read – if no one reads your blog, then you are an audience of one. Write what you like, but also what your readers would enjoy.
- Design is important – if it’s an ugly blog, people don’t enjoy the experience. There are lots of blog templates out there for free, use them. Also use images in your blog as it enhances the experience and helps people connect with what you write.
- Platform is important – it’s very important that you are comfortable managing your own blog. One that has lots of bells and whistles that you can use to tailor the user experience. It should also have all the social plugins and be SEO friendly. WordPress is your best choice for blogging.
- A little technical skill goes a long way – I’m a tech geek by nature, so I can figure my way around WordPress. There is an army of people out there willing to help you with any blog platform. It can make the difference between a plain blog and something truly unique.
- Post in the morning – posting your blog entries in the morning enables you to post multiple Tweets across the course of the day to drive traffic. This way the blog is available to your followers first thing in the morning for them or any time of the day.
- Schedule your blog posts – I find myself writing a couple of blog posts at the same time. I can then schedule them to appear anytime in the week I choose. This helps spread out the traffic boost to your site across the week rather than all at once.
- Use email – many people forget about you easily. They are just busy. Nothing personal. Use email and Feedburner to get content in front of your followers weekly so that they don’t have to remember to come back to you (hint: people have bad memories).
I do see my traffic going up and an improvement in my writing. But like most people, I was delusionally hopeful for instant success when I launched my blog. Instant success can happen, but it is usually backed up by years of experience, trial and error in other ventures. So if you blog, or just run a website with only a few visitors, don’t give up, try new things, constantly strive to do better and keep moving forward.