Blogging is a challenge; there is no doubt about that. Whether you are a small blog just finding your feet, or an established blog influencing your niche, you will come upon struggle and challenges along the way.
These challenges are various and differ in intensity, and more often than not you will find yourself feeling alone and overwhelmed.
So what do you do when you face challenges? Well, you can always give up and delete your blog, but no one wants to be a quitter. The fact is you need to find a way to prevail over whatever difficulty comes your way, so that you can move on and become better.
Luckily for you, there is nothing new under the sun. Whether you are struggling with finances, promoting your content, hosting your blog, or finding your audience, another blogger has been there before you.
Below we will look at the most common blogging challenges that you will encounter, and I will give you tips on how to beat each one of these challenges.
By the end of this post you will have mastered the art of kicking ass at blogging.
CHALLENGE 1: You are not tech savvy
Whenever I listen to talk about coding, HTML, and CSS, my mind wonders. I think of simpler times, beautiful places, and beaches. One thing that I am sure of is the fact that I am not the only one who struggles in this area.
So what happens if your page goes haywire and you have no clue of what to do? What happens when you need some tech knowledge to fix your site but you can’t afford a developer?
Well, here is how you can solve your tech problems without having a degree in IT.
HOW TO BEAT IT
1. One of the best pieces of advice I got before I started blogging was to get web hosting. I currently use JustHost, but there are plenty of other hosting companies that offer great prices and great services (Al-Amin from Marketever recommended SiteGround). I have now seen the advantage of hosting my site, as each time I have had a technical problem I was guided in the right direction by my hosting company.
2. Use WordPress support. There are plenty of tech savvy people who are willing to offer their services for free, and they congregate at the WordPress support forum. All you need to do is post a question regarding your problem, and someone will come along and offer you a solution that you can try. I used WordPress support to help me with a security plug-in that was giving me issues, and I found excellent help.
If you do not find sufficient help on this forum, you can post again or select another option on this list. There should also be an equivalent support forum for Blogger users.
3. Sometimes I check and uncheck a few boxes on my WordPress dashboard, and leave feeling like an MIT graduate. Sadly, I am not. However, what I can do is learn.
While coding and tech knowledge does not pique my interest, I need basic knowledge to keep my blog running. It is therefore important for bloggers to take the time to learn basic steps, like how to customize your theme, how to tailor plug-ins to your site, and how to embed code into your posts. Luckily for you there are plenty of tech posts that have been simplified, illustrated, and made consumable for the non-tech audience.
4. I have also found that YouTube is a perfect place to find help. I mean, how tough can it be to make some tech changes when you have someone giving you a visual play-by-play on your screen? The beauty with YouTube is that it simplifies jargon, and guides us through our tech journey.
5. Blogging groups are an excellent source of information. Whether you are using Facebook or Google+ or even an internet forum for bloggers, you can find help from those who have already gone before you. Fellow bloggers understand your struggles, and they are often very willing to help you out. And because many bloggers started their blog with minimal tech knowledge, you will find that they give simple, straightforward, and practical advice.
6. If you find that you can’t get sufficient help anywhere, then you will have to bite the bullet and hire a developer. Some problems will require a credible developer and that may cost a lot of cash, however, sites like Elance, and Fiverr, have made it much easier to come into contact with affordable online services such as developers and designers.
CHALLENGE 2: You struggle with producing fresh and interesting content
With so many blogs on the internet, you may find it tough to stand out from the crowd. There are constant calls to distinguish your blog, create exciting content, and keep your audience engaged. However, this is not so simple.
So how do you keep your audience coming back week after week? How do you make sure that your content is the best it can be? Well, there are a few ways to boost creativity and produce fresh content on a consistent basis, and we will look at them below.
HOW TO BEAT IT
1. Create a blog that is centered on your passion, otherwise you will not have the steam to come up with innovative ideas for your posts. If you do not like what you are doing, then you will not have the motivation to do it well. So if you find that you have created a blog in a niche that you do not enjoy, then it might be time for you to shift your focus and direction; you will be better for it in the long run.
2. Write on a consistent basis, regardless of whether you feel like it or not. Once you form a habit of writing on a regular basis, then you reduce your incidences of ‘writers block.’ Many times you will not be in the mood to create a blog post, but if you push yourself you will break down all limits that you have placed on your content; ideas start to flow when you push your boundaries.
3. Take a look at what other blogs in your niche are doing, and gain some ideas. Before we go on, there is a big difference between imitating content and curating it. Imitating content is simply plagiarism, while curating content from other blogs is picking ideas and presenting them in different ways. There is nothing new under the sun, and you can create a fresh piece of content from another bloggers old piece of content.
4. Write down your blog post ideas as they come, so that when it comes to writing you do not blank out. You can note down these ideas on a piece of paper, or even use Evernote to organize your thoughts. When you have multiple ideas jotted down throughout the week, you will have no trouble producing content when the time comes.
5. Change the format/structure of your content, so that you can keep your blog fresh and interesting. While I have focused on how-to tutorials for this blog, I have also created a weekend roundup, guides, and a case study. There are plenty of other directions that you can go in, including videos, influencer roundups, and interviews to name a few.
6. Listen to what your audience is saying, and gather ideas from them. Whether they are asking questions in blogging groups, or leaving comments on your blog or similar blogs, pay attention. I wrote a post on getting rid of referral spam from your Google Analytics account, and that idea came from someone asking for help on Facebook.
7. Do your research, keep up with trends, and find out what content is in high demand and low/inferior in supply. Then create a fantastic piece of content that puts the others to shame. Research is crucial; as there is no point in writing a good piece of content that no one is interested in reading.
8. Sometimes your audience is not growing because you are not giving them what they want. That is where Google Analytics comes in, as it gives you the opportunity to know your audience.
With this analytic’s tool you can find out the gender, age, interests, and behavior of your audience, and you can therefore work towards giving them what they want. When you know who your audience is and what they are looking for, then you are more likely to give them what they want in the most effective manner.
P.S Many successful bloggers do not consider them good writers, so do not be worried if grammar was not your strongest subject in school. When you are writing about something that you love, your passion will shine through and that is what will attract your audience. And there are plenty of tools like Grammarly to help you out.
CHALLENGE 3: Your audience is not growing
Some people write blogs for themselves, and are therefore not concerned with numbers and statistics. However, if you are looking to grow your blog, sell your products/services, or monetize your blog, then these statistics matter. It is highly unlikely that a first-time blogger will see a dramatic growth in their numbers, but you should be seeing some growth however small it is.
So what happens if your numbers are stagnant? What can you do to reach the goals that you have set for your blog? How can you get people to listen to what you have to say?
HOW TO BEAT IT
1. Create content that will engage your audience. Think about it like this; as a reader, what attracts you to a blog? What kind of quality do you expect from a blog that you subscribe to? If your blog is disorganized, ill-formatted, and has poor quality posts, how can you expect your audience to grow? It therefore becomes imperative for you to create high-quality content.
2. I have come across several blogs with stellar content; unfortunately they also have low volumes of traffic. The problem is that people are not aware that these sites exist. So whose fault is that? Well, the burden lies on you as a blogger to get the word out about your content. First you need to find where your audience lives, and then engage with them. Once you have promoted your content to your target audience, then you can start witnessing increases in traffic.
3. Optimize your blog so that people can find your content when they type relevant keywords in the search engine. For example, if your niche is classic cars, then you should work to get your content to the first page of Google or Bing by optimizing your blog.
4. Network with other bloggers in your niche, via forums, blogging groups, social media and even networking events. Once you have created friendships with other bloggers you can learn from their methods, cross-promote each other’s posts, and even guest post on their site. Just imagine networking with a top influencer in your niche, and getting them to tweet your post to 100,000 of their followers? You shouldn’t be struggling with traffic after that.
5. Start building your email list from day one. There are many people who will only visit your blog once, never to return again, and so you need to increase the number of people who visit your blog on a regular basis. However, how can your followers know that you have published a new piece of content if you do not have an e-mail subscription option or RSS feed for your blog?
Just imagine having a surge in traffic because your post has been promoted by an influencer in your niche, but you have no way of converting that traffic to loyal subscribers. That is why you need to create a method for people to subscribe to posts, updates, and news about your blog.
CHALLENGE 4: You do not know how to finance your blog
If you are creating your blog with the intent to turn it into a business, then you need to put some money into it. This could be in the form of paying for a premium theme, hosting, logo designs, promotions, or an email service.
But how are you supposed to finance your blog before it has started generating an income? How can you sustain any blogging related expenses?
HOW TO BEAT IT
1. Start selling immediately. If you have a product or service to offer, begin selling it as soon as your blog goes live. In this way, you can open up your blog for business, with any revenue going to paying for your blogging expenses.
2. If you are not selling any products initially, then you can monetize your blog in many other ways, including sponsored posts, ads, and affiliate links. The money coming in can be used to finance your blog.
3. However, many bloggers (including me) do not have plans to monetize their blog or sell products in the near future. So what now? Well, in this case you will need to pay for your blog through your personal finances. Hopefully, you have money that you can spare from your main job (unless you are a full-time blogger). The good news here is that there are many services which are quite affordable for bloggers on a budget.
When it comes to a theme you can always go with an excellent free theme. In terms of logos, you can opt to use a site like Fiverr to get an inexpensive logo which you can update at a later date. Email services like MailChimp are as low as $10 a month, and you can get professional web hosting without breaking the bank.
CHALLENGE 5: You do not know which social media platforms to use
One common challenge that bloggers struggle with is that of social media. Social media plays a big part in engaging with your audience, networking with other bloggers and influencers, and promoting your content. Thankfully, we have plenty of platforms to choose from, each one of them boasting of their own benefits and drawbacks.When I first started out as a blogger, I had
When I first started out as a blogger, I had Twitter and Google+ accounts. Then I read a post about the huge amounts of potential traffic from Pinterest and so I joined. And then I read about the amazing benefits of Scoop.it and so I signed up.
Then I learned about the beauty of LinkedIn so I created a profile. After that it was Facebook, so I created a page. Then there was Reddit which I skipped, and StumbleUpon which I joined. As you can see, I was juggling too many social media accounts at once, many of which were bring in little to no traffic.
That is why I deleted my Scoop.it account and then left my Pinterest groups, as they were doing nothing for my blog.
Twitter, Google+ and Facebook are what work well for my niche, and that is why I use them. I have also kept my LinkedIn account as I see potential. I know that you might be in the same spot, as there are so many articles touting every social media platform out there. So what do you do?
HOW TO BEAT IT
1. Do your research and find out where your audience lives online. If you are in the fashion or culinary niche then your audience is probably on Pinterest. Google+ and Twitter are home to a huge number of marketing experts, LinkedIn is bursting with business professionals, and Facebook is perhaps the most versatile of these platforms.
Select the platform(s) that is home to your audience, and then focus all your energy there.
Don’t make the mistake of half-assing multiple platforms like I did, and in the future you can choose to expand the number of platforms you are on.
Blogging is like steeplechase; every few meters there are hurdles for you to jump over. And for the last 3 decades, Kenyans have dominated this sport by mastering how to beat each hurdle that looms in front of them.
Thankfully for you, many bloggers have overcome their biggest blogging challenges, and you should therefore not feel like you are floundering and alone when the challenges hit you.
It is possible to thrive amidst challenges and competition, and using the tips above you can learn how to succeed in this tough online world. I also understand that you might feel discouraged when you look at other blogs thriving, especially when yours doesn’t seem to be going anywhere.
When this happens, remember that many of the most successful blogs out there have taken years of back breaking work to reach their current level. So don’t give up!
If you have any questions or want to discuss some of your blogging challenges, drop a comment below. Also remember to share this with your friends, and sign up to the Business Broken Down newsletter for weekly updates on everything related to this blog.
Have a great week, and I’ll see you next Monday.