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7 Reasons No One Reads Your Blog (Except Maybe Your Mom)

Posted By Guest Blogger 8th of October 2011 Miscellaneous Blog Tips 0 Comments

This guest post is by Beth Hayden of Blogging with Beth.

You wake up in a cold sweat.

You bolt upright and gasp for air.

You’ve just realized that your blog has only one true fan—and it’s your mother.

Your biggest fan

Image used with permission

Dear old mom reads all of your posts. She comments every week with supportive but embarrassing encouragement. She even calls to tell you what a great job you’re doing with your site and how much she loves your writing.

Your mom is great. She’s always there for you. But if she’s your only true fan, you’re in trouble.

Here are some reasons your mother might be your blog’s only reader.

1. Your blog doesn’t have enough tension

A woman recently came to me for help for her blog. The site detailed the life lessons she learned from her pet. I didn’t have any major complaints about her design. The writing was a little precious for me, but it wasn’t BAD. I couldn’t figure out exactly what feedback to give her on how to make her site more compelling.

Writing and creativity coach Cynthia Morris says blogs can really fall flat if they don’t have enough tension. Tension indicates there’s some central problem you’re trying to solve, some shared issue you want to work on together. Tension helps readers know they’re not in it alone—that they’re part of a team of superheroes working together to fight bad guys.

With my client’s pet psychology blog, there was no common problem holding the readers together, no psychic tension creating a line between the author and her readers. Tension creates interest. Without it, your readers won’t come back, because their curiosity won’t pull them back to your site.

Does your subject matter have enough tension? Is there enough to keep your readers coming back for more? Your mom won’t care about this, and your readers may not even be able to articulate it—but they will care. Find the tension, find your readers.

2. You’re not connected

Are you connecting with others in your field? Are you regularly reading other blogs in your niche, and commenting on their posts? Are you talking with your peers using social media tools, and making a real effort to truly connect?

Networking with other bloggers is one of the all-time best things you can do to make your blog better. Other bloggers can inspire and transform your writing and grow your audience through online and offline support. Once you start connecting, you’ll wonder how you ever survived without your online community.

Make sure you’re using your Twitter account for networking, instead of just wasting your time. (Hint: if you have to pause to consider the last time you brought in any business or made a critical business contact using Twitter, you may be wasting your time.)

Commit to making this a regular part of your blogging life, not an afterthought. Because it’s connections—both with other bloggers and with the influx of new readers you’ll get when you revamp your blog—that will assure that your mother is not the only one cheering you on from the stadium bleachers, not the only one waving a big #1 foam finger for your blogging team.

3. Your blog’s not getting enough exposure

Is your mom your only fan because she’s the only one who knows about your blog?

Your writing can be good enough to win a Pulitzer, but if you don’t have enough eyeballs seeing it, you still have to rely on Dear Old Mom for comment love. Are you truly doing everything you can to bring traffic to your site?

If you’re developing relationships with other bloggers (see #2), you can also start to approach your new friends for guest posting opportunities. Guest posting is one of the fastest ways to grow your audience and get new readers and customers. For advice on doing your research and approaching people for guest posting spots, make sure to check out Jon Morrow, the King of Guest Posting.

You can also use email marketing in conjunction with your blog, and both will benefit. Grow your list and you can grow your blog.

Make sure you’re truly doing everything you can to get more eyeballs to your posts. As your traffic grows, your fan base will, too.

4. You’re not engaging your readers

Your readers need to feel like you truly understand them and get their problems. If you’re writing about the care and feeding of guinea pigs, then make sure you know everything there is to know about guinea pig owners and their needs.

Stop talking about you. Start talking about them.

One way to start doing this is to write a post and ask your readers some questions. What’s your biggest problem with X? What are you struggling with right now? If you don’t have a ton of readers, then publicize the heck out of this post via social media, email and forums on your topic. Get as much feedback as you can.

Then make sure to use the feedback you get from that article to write more posts that answer their questions or address their frustrations. The more you can let your potential readers know you understand their needs and can truly give them answers to their biggest and most pressing questions, the more they will love you.

Inquire, get feedback, respond. A simple and powerful recipe for great content that will keep people coming back over and over again.

5. You’re not posting enough

Posting once a month is not going to get you lots and lots of readers. If you’re not happy with the amount of traffic you’re getting—if your comments section is filled with lines like “Go, honey! We love you!” then make a change in your posting schedule, and make it today.

If you’re hesitating to hit “Publish” because you’re waiting for your post to be perfect, you need to let go of the idea that that there IS such a thing as a perfect post.

Write a couple “good enough posts.” Get your thoughts down on paper, make sure your grammar and spelling are as good as they can possibly be, correct typos, then put your posts out there. Allow yourself to feel vulnerable and scared. It builds character and helps your blog.

Then let all those “good enough” new posts start to build a road right to your doorstep. It’s a simple fact—the more you publish, the more traffic you will get.

6. You’ve got a site design only a mother could love

One of the things that really turns people off a blog is ugly site design.

If your site is so filled with peek-a-boo social media widgets, flashy banners and Google Adsense ads that your readers can’t tell what your site is about, you need an overhaul. If you’re still using a template from four years ago, and it wasn’t that attractive when you originally put it up, you need an overhaul. If your readers can’t tell in under ten seconds what the topic of your blog is, you need an overhaul.

Build your design using lots of white space—it truly puts the spotlight on your content and allows your readers to absorb what you’re trying to say. Add a gorgeous, professional banner with your site name and a great tagline that tells them exactly what you’re about.

Then add a few classy, attractive graphic elements to the design. Remember that they say “less is more” for a reason.

Web professionals can really help you create an amazing design that represents who you are as a blogger, writer, and businessperson. Consider consulting a design professional who can help you bring your site’s design in line with your content and your business goals.

7. Your writing needs work

If your site is filled with run-on sentences and spelling errors, people will notice. And they will leave you alone with your mother in a sad desert of bloggy loneliness.

Clean up your writing by brushing up on your grammar basics—Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style is a great start.

If comma placement and spelling still confound you, find a great editor. An editor will not only help you with grammar and punctuation, but can truly help you make your writing better.

Editors also give you someone to mentally speak to on the page when you’re struck late at night and don’t know what to write. Editors are your best friends. And no—it doesn’t matter if your mother is the world’s greatest editor. You need someone else, someone not related to you, to help you clean up your writing.

Bring it home

Mom’s a fantastic fan. But you need more people supporting what you do and cheering you on—but put some effort behind these seven areas, and you can get them, one new fan at a time.

Pretty soon you’ll have a stadium full of fans, all waving #1 foam fingers with your name on them. And your mom will be standing there with them, yelling at the top of her lovable lungs.

Beth Hayden helps business owners make more money by helping them create fabulous websites, blogs, and social media campaigns. Get her best tips for achieving blogging nirvana by downloading her free report, From Blah to Hurrah: 25 Ways to Make Your Blog Bigger, Better and More Profitable.

About Guest Blogger
This post was written by a guest contributor. Please see their details in the post above.
  1. Great choice of article Darren! Thanks Beth! I’m feeling the need to make a tremendous amount of changes to the look of my blog. For so long I worried about getting more views and readers, but have since worried I’m not staying true to me and want to clean it up! This hits the nail on the head! Thanks! kg

    • Thanks, Kerry! So glad it was useful for you! And yes – definitely stay true to you and think about what’s going to be really, truly useful for your target audience. Good luck!

  2. EXCELLENT pts! I try to engage my readers with topics that speak to their emotions and experiences!

  3. Fun to read AND helpful, too. Thanks Beth. All great points. I especially like #2. I’ve found that building even a small circle of like-minded bloggers for the purpose of masterminding and cross-promotion has done wonders for my site traffic. If you can’t find one, start your own! Go out there on the interwebs and find blogs that you love that are about the same page rank and reach out to the person behind the words. I continue to find and add wonderful people to my “Blog Posse” every month.

    • Thanks, Tea! I hope I can consider you part of MY Blog Posse! Thanks for your support. Your writing is fabulous and fun and it’s been awesome getting to know you in the Guest Blogging class. I *love* the Internet for making relationships between like-minded people possible! :)

  4. i love this article. sure mom read his child blog. To get readers you need to be good writer and a good social circle. update about latest events sure people love to read your blog…

  5. Thanks for good advice! Sadly, my mother doesn’t read my blog. Despite that I do have some followers and hopefully more after applying some of this advice.

  6. Will you ask that “mom” from above to follow my blog? I can’t get my own mom to read my blog faithfully, let alone figure out how to leave a comment. Would love that kind of support.

    Great tips, love having a list to use to evaulate my blog. Maybe if I follow all these things, my mom will actually become my biggest fan. Thanks!

  7. Hi Beth,
    I learned some really good writing tips in your post to help keep my readers engaged. I like the tension idea, that is what most TV shows do in order to retain their audience. I have found that networking with other bloggers is a powerful resource tool.

    I am also a big fan of blogs that write/post 3 or more times a week. This keeps me coming back for more.

    • TV shows have mastered the art of tension.

    • Hey Justin – I agree, I like to see really regular content, too. I work with clients who are very confused about why they’re not getting any traffic…and then I look at their blogs and they haven’t posted for six weeks! Eeek!

  8. Great post. I just launched my blog one month ago and I’ve been thinking about ways to increase my readership and interaction. Most of these are easy to identify but I love the comment about not having enough tension. There has to be something in it for the reader, some problem solved.

  9. I agree that writing a post each day is the best. I try to do two posts a day. Yes, keep the tension so they come back for more!

  10. Great post. Love the humor.

    I have to emphasize #3 here. Especially the part about guest posting.

    Guest posting is a wonderful way to gain exposure and markets that you wouldn’t otherwise be exposed to. It’s a must for new blogs.

  11. tension and networked with other bloggers are two most important ideas along with design. It is learnt that people judge books by it’s cover, so try to improve your design first and then try to do another things later on.

  12. I think my issue here would be #6, site design. I have quite a few websites and I have had some come and go in the past. I have designed every single one of them on my own.

    On my current blog, I decided to lay off of my photoshop skills for a bit and learn to use what the web languages give me. I feel like there are some advantages to it.

    1. I definitely don’t overwhelm my readers with too much fluff that distracts them from the content.
    2. I don’t have to worry about images being turned off or not loading. Everything is almost the same even if there are no images.
    3. I would assume loading times are faster and readers can surf my blog a lot easier.

    Nonetheless, though, I wonder how my design really stands up to the test. I’m still trying to figure out if people actually appreciate the things I just mentioned or if they want bells and whistles.

    Good article.

  13. Hey Beth, great post! I’m really curious to hear about your (and other readers’) concrete experiences with increasing the frequency of your posting schedule. My old blog was one that I updated daily, but when I started my current blog I switched to a 1-2x/week posting schedule because I’m finding that’s how much time it takes me to write truly quality content in addition to working my day job.

    I know you said it doesn’t have to be perfect, but do you have any tips for how you balance the need to post valuable, well-written material with the need to post often?

    Thank you!

    • Hi Maria – this is a great question and I’m actually sort of torn on this issue myself. I do know that most of my clients can’t keep up with a daily posting schedule and still create good quality content, so for a lot of people I actually advise them to post LESS often in order to focus on putting together great articles with attention-grabbing headlines. But I also have clients who let their blogs stagnate and don’t write anything for months at a time….I tell them to post more! So it totally depends on the blog and the writer. But the focus on GOOD content is paramount.

      As for advice – I’m a HUGE fan of batching your writing. I’m schedule 2-3 hours at a pop and try to write as many posts as I can at that time (even if some of them are just really rough drafts.) That way I get into the groove of writing, can turn off my email client and the phone, and can just focus on cranking out as many posts as I can during that time. It’s working well for me and I’m more productive this way. If I get a couple of posts done during that time, I can schedule them to publish this week, then next week, etc., and have the peace of mind that comes with having the all queued up and ready to go.

  14. I agree with the part about connecting with your readers. I think I need more work in this area.

  15. Thanks a lot, Beth. You just helped me to realize that, in my gardening blog, I have been solving the problem without stating and examing the problem to begin with. Your key word for me is “tension.”
    I made myself a sign to put on the wall by my desk which says,

    State the problem
    Examine the details of the problem
    Solve the problem.

    I’m going to change over to that format next week, and I’ll bet I will see the difference.

    thanks, again.

  16. Some great suggestions. Also the power of referral goes a long way. Ask a few friends to get it out there on their social media. Another adjunct to guest posting is to get someone with a big blog readership to mention your blog on theirs.

    • Agreed, Nat! It’s amazing the way your blogging friends can help you get the word out about specific posts. A great addition to this list.

  17. Hey who told you mum was my number one fan ;P
    Scurrying off to analyze my content… thanks for the great blog!

  18. Great sharing. I have not tried writing guest posts. I will try it to gain more reputation and more readers to my blog. :)

    • William, I’m new to guest posting, but it has been GREAT so far! It just takes courage to email popular bloggers and pitch some ideas. If you want the world’s best guidance on the guest blogging process, I highly recommend you check out Jon Morrow’s course at http://guestblogging.com/. Good luck!

  19. That and a site that is slow.

  20. Blogging is not just writing. You need to actively network, put yourself out there and be great at what you do. There are so many elements to be a great blogger, but writing is obviously a key part to it all.

  21. I need more connection for now, but it’s not a big problem already because I already understand that blogging needs extra effort.

    About tension? Yeah, maybe I lack with it, so I must take that idea seriously. And the connection? Yes, sometimes I don’t care about it, but today you have kindly reminded me, so it should be a part of my blogging schedule.

    Content is the king, but today I guess it’s promotion, and your connections (blogger friends) can best do that for you :) well, I have to make my best effort to have more blogger friends from now on :)

  22. Ah, yes Beth.

    A blog only a mother could love.

    Some very practical advice.

    I can see a few boo boo’s I am making whilst going through your list.

    Come to think of it, I seem to be finding a lot of things that need to be improved on my Blog, lately.

    That’s either a good sign(I am becoming more perceptive and critical) or, my site is just so on the nose that it needs a major overhaul.

  23. You know I just started my blog up and these tips I think will really help out. I especially like the point of posting more and working with others in your niche. Thanks for the tips.

  24. YES, that makes sense. I had never thought of blogging like storytelling, but I can get closer to it now with this frame, and it makes writing infinitely more enjoyable to do, let alone to read.

  25. Lol, I liked that. I don’t think mu mum even reads my blog! She has certainly never left a comment. I find that some posts get loads of attention and then others nothing at all. I have spent a lot of time working on the ones that get attention, now I am trying to find ways to boost the lonely ones more. I try to make a post a talking point but maybe people are not getting to the bottom of the page to leave a comment.

  26. In my case my mom is the only person who doesn’t read my blog!

  27. I guess a lot of it had to do with the type of content you write. Depending on your subject matter, tricks aren’t always going to work to gain new readers. Some content is bland by nature :) Your Mom understands that and just wants to help.

  28. In the beggining of this post are really appraciated because of the “You’ve just realized that your blog has only one true fan—and it’s your mother”. it absolutely appreciating to continue on… but the last reason, reason 7 having a bit of problem that “error of writting” is normal. But those others helping to find out more ways to obtain infomation to my site.

  29. The idea of having tension on your blog was new to me, and it’s a great idea. Solving a problem on your blog with the help of readers is very engaging – thank you for the tips, Beth!

  30. Darren & Beth, thanks a lot of such eye openers. The points above are pretty practical and i’m sure it must be happening with lot of us. I can relate to few for sure and will try and improve. thanks again.

  31. Great post and perfect timing for me as my blog is just starting to get traction. Loads of great advice. Thanks.

  32. Wonderful tips Beth! Unfortunately mom’s computer illiterate. So, dang, I’m starting out with one less assumed follower!

    #2 caught my eye. I’m guilty of the “wasting time on Twitter” syndrome. At least one thing I’ve learned, without direction and focus it becomes a productivity sucker with little return. Took a break from it. Not certain how to approach. Would appreciate hearing your take on it.

    Thanks for your direction. And love your site — http://bloggingwithbeth.com/ — too!

    • Thanks, Garry! I appreciate you checking out my site! As for Twitter (or Facebook) being a big time suck…I struggle with this, too. One of the things I try to do is go into the Twitterverse with a goal in mind (specific people to try to connect with, find 10 people to follow who are in my niche or who look like potential clients, answer 3 questions, etc.) That really helps me stay focused when I can do it. It’s not easy!

      The other thing I’ve been doing lately is setting a timer. Yes, I know that sounds stupid. But it honestly does help! I set mine for 25 minutes, the spend some time on Twitter with a goal in mind, and then when the timer goes off, I try to step away from the computer. That usually breaks the momentum of mindless surfing.

      I’m still working on making the most of my social media time, and I’m definitely not an expert, but I’m trying to take little baby steps.

      Good luck! And let me know how things go for you!

  33. This is terrific–lights a campfire under me and my blog to apply these points! Really appreciate what you say and how clearly you say it. Hope to see more of your posts on ProBlogger.

  34. TENSION! That’s brilliant. Know that about books and short stories. Why wouldn’t it apply to blogs? Good job. Great insights. Timely material.

  35. Go hon! We love you! (Just kidding!)

    Great post Beth – you genius you. I especially loved the point about a blog having tension, or a problem to solve. Sometimes I think perhaps my blog has a little TOO much tension, but there you go. It’s because of your coaching that I have readers who are not my mom. In fact, even though my blog’s been written up in the New York Times, my mom still tells me she thinks it’s “very nice.” Translation – she doesn’t read it! Thank goodness other people do. Thanks to you!

  36. Thanks, Beth. Helpful suggestions and easy to read.

  37. Beth, you are SO right! Anyone who follows these seven tips is guaranteed to improve their ratings and their subscribers. I’ve fallen behind lately on my online postings and you’ve inspired me to get out of reverse and into high gear! Thank you–hope to see more from you on here in the future–

  38. Love these reminders, Beth! I’ve been lax in several areas, tinkering around with different ideas, and looking for motivation. You always give me that! Thanks so much.

  39. Hi Beth, great post. The frequency and quality issue is one I grapple with all the time. I post weekly because I really don’t have anything worth saying more often than that. I am going to do more networking thanks to your nudge.

    • Alison – I think guest blogging would be GREAT for you, considering your niche. There are so many parenting blogs out there that could really benefit from your great writing and your wonderful point of view. And it’s an incredibly way to build your readership (and your mailing list) quickly. I highly encourage you to give it a shot. Good luck!

  40. Thanks alot,now I know what I need to work on.

  41. Totally top-notch article here! Thanks for the helpful and applicable tips!

  42. I love my mom… but I don’t want her to be the only one to read my blog. Thanks for these tips — great stuff.

  43. What about offering a prize to draw readership? I was thinking about offering and iPod or something for the person who was the biggest contributor . Think that will draw some people in?

    • Hi Mark – I actually recommend you go about this a slightly different way. Have you thought about running a contest for your readers where you offer free consultations with you as the prize? You can write a blog post announcing that you’re giving away a free consultation to 3 people, and to enter, they only need to leave a comment on your blog explaining what their biggest problem is in [your niche here]. Then pick the best or most compelling responses and give them the free consultations to those folks. Jon Morrow (of Copyblogger) did this a couple of years ago and got something like 300 comments on one post AND launched a consulting business that kept him busy for months!

      I’d definitely offer your services as the prize, and promote the heck out of it. Good luck – and let me know how it works out for you!

  44. Thank your for pointing out the tension. It was something I never considered before and understand why those posts receive more comments that others! Great ideas for all level of bloggers.

  45. Many thanks for introducing me to the idea of guest bloggers.

    I clicked through to the Original Impulse site and she is right: all bloggers need to find their juju and make their blogs the best they can be.

    If you would you like to help me find mine, please take a peek at my blog.

    I await your comments. (^_^) xx

  46. Beth, I’d love some examples about tension in a blog. It seems like an important point. Thanks.

  47. Everyone likes a little drama – we know that from shooting the tv show. I guess a blog isn’t much different.

  48. Thanks for the great post. Now I’ll consciously try to incorporate more tension into my entries.

  49. Agree with you
    But the problem is that i am not able to create good content and don’t know how to post as a guest blogger. I’ve tried it many times but get deny.

  50. Thanks for the post. Its hard for a new blogger to get the blog up and have a lot of people looking at it and following it. If by any chance would you be able to check mine out and give me a few pointers? Ive only just started mine but if i can get some feedback now it will help my blog get better and i wont hit a flat spot.
    Thanks and keep up the good posts.

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