That last blog post was really good. It was supposed to be the one. The post that launched you into blogging stardom. Right into the spotlight. Making you an overnight success.
That post was supposed to change everything.
But it didn’t. Instead, it received the usual handful of tweets, smattering of likes and a gaggle of comments. Barely enough traffic needed for a respectable flash mob. And a majority of the traffic you did get either came from you or from people that share your bloodline.
It’s frustrating, isn’t it?
Frustrating enough to make you question what you are doing. Or if you are any good. Frustrating enough to make you wonder if blogging is even worth it. Or if anybody even cares about what you have to say.
Frustrating enough to make you want to give up. Stop writing. Quit.
Now, before you fold your arms and stomp off into the sunset never to blog again, there is something you should know. This is normal. Every blogger that has had an ounce of success has been here. At this very same fork in the road. Staring down the same choice of whether or not to give up. Lucky for us, they chose to keep going.
And you should too.
So, before you throw in the towel, let’s talk about how to curb some of that frustration a bit so you can get back to striving for blogging fame and fortune.
Step 1: Stop whining
You are not working in a coal mine. You are not living in a third world country. And you have not been sentenced to life in prison for a crime you did not commit. You are writing. Put it in perspective. Stop feeling sorry for yourself and making things out to be worse than they really are.
I get it. You have something to say. A message to share with the world. And nobody is listening. Or at least that’s how it feels sometimes. But whining about it is not going to make it any better. In fact, it’s only going to make it worse. Stop getting caught up in creating a meaning behind the numbers. Dig deep and rediscover the reason that you started your blog in the first place. Find your purpose.
Step 2: Find your purpose
There was a time early on when you woke up in a cold sweat. You had an idea. A way to help others. Sure, you thought you might also be able to make some money at it along the way, but it wasn’t originally about that. There was a greater purpose behind it. Something you were passionate about. Something so strong that you were willing to put the work in early on even though you didn’t have a single visitor or make a single penny.
And now it sounds like you have lost sight of it. Not on purpose. It just took a backseat as you started to value other stuff more like the number of visitors or how many people are sharing your posts. You need to rediscover your purpose. It’s easy to do. To start, just change your focus.
Step 3: Change your focus
If you are frustrated over your blog’s performance, take a look at where you are focusing your attention. Chances are that it is on the numbers—how many hits, Tweets, Likes and Pins. When you are too focused on the numbers you tend to make bad decisions. You begin to focus on what you can gain from the relationship versus what you can give. It affects the quality of your writing. It affects what you write about. It affects how often you write. It affects the tone you take in your writing. And your audience will notice.
If you have to focus on numbers, start focusing on different numbers. Numbers that you have more control over. How often you publish. How many words you are writing each day. How many other blogs you are reading and commenting on. It doesn’t mean you should turn a blind eye to the number of visitors you are getting, just stop checking your stats so often.
Step 4: Stop checking your stats so often
We’re all guilty of it. You publish a post, Tweet it, count to ten and then log into Google Analytics to see how many people have read it so far. Stop it. Seriously. You are going to drive yourself mad. Keeping the window open all of the time so you can hit refresh after every Tweet is going to get you more and more frustrated.
Try checking your stats only once a week. Maybe once at the end of each day if you are really neurotic about it. Staring at your stats ten times a day isn’t going to make it better. If your writing is good and your message is powerful, the visitors will come. You just need to have faith.
Step 5: Have faith
If you don’t believe that you have something of value to share. Something the world needs to hear. Than we as your readers aren’t going to either. It comes across in your writing and how you share your posts. Do you do enough or do you go above and beyond? Do you care about your subject matter or are you passionate about it?
You need to feel strongly about what you are doing and where you are going and have faith that you will get there. Having faith will help you get through the times when no one is reading. When you are up at 2am working on a new post. When you know it can be better. With a little bit of faith, you can accomplish just about anything. As long as you set realistic goals.
Step 6: Set realistic goals
Frustration often comes from having unrealistic goals. Goals that are too far out of reach for you to get excited about. Goals like having 100,000 subscribers by the end of your first month. Or making $1,000,000 in advertising without any traffic. Your goals need to be attainable. Just a hair out of reach. Enough to make you stretch but not too far that it seems unreasonable to keep going when it gets tough.
Don’t get me wrong. I am not trying to squash your dreams. I am just suggesting that you not set yourself up for failure. I once met a guy who whose goal was to be the first trillionaire in the world. He’s going to fail. It’s too far out of reach. He is not going to surpass the valuation of Apple from his Moms basement with no ideas and no prospects. Set goals that are reasonable. Win a few along the way. Get excited about them. And stay committed.
Step 7: Stay committed
You have come this far. You have developed a blog. You have been posting regularly. You have a bunch of readers. You have a purpose and reasonable goals. See it through. Stay committed to it. Don’t lose sight of your dream. Make sure that you write your absolute best stuff every time. Post consistently on the same day(s) every week. Wake up every morning at the same time and write for an hour or two. Create a religion out of it.
If you are asking your readers to commit to you by reading your blog each day than you need to commit to them and yourself. Being committed means giving your best. Not missing a post. Even when you don’t know what to say. Even when it gets tough. And when it does get tough (which it will), look to others for inspiration.
Step 8: Look to others for inspiration
You aren’t the only one that has been here. Struggling to find an audience. Wishing a post would catch on. Disappointed by the numbers. Every blogger goes through this and the best ones are the ones that make it out alive. Stronger than how they went in. Read their stories. Find solace in their struggles. You are not alone.
Chris Brogan wrote a post not too long ago about how it took him eight years to get his first 100 subscribers. If you were to ask him, I’m sure he felt like giving up a bunch of times throughout those years, but he didn’t. And that seemed to have worked out pretty good for him. It’s inspiring. And there are plenty of stories out there just like his. Make sure that yours is one of them some day.
After all that, if you are still frustrated, there is only one thing left to do about it. No, not quit. Write. Write about how frustrated you are. Maybe it’s a post. Maybe a private journal entry. Maybe a comment below on this post. Whatever it is. Leverage your ability to write about it. Get it out of your system. You will feel better and then you can get back to doing what you do best.
Marc Ensign is not a Guru, Jedi, Rock Star or a Ninja. He’s just a guy that knows an awful lot about a bunch of stuff and likes to write about it on his blogs MarcEnsign.com and NotAnotherSEOBlog.com. His stuff is good. It’s different. It’ll make you think (in a good way). You should check it out. You never know, you might learn something. If not, it’s a great way to kill a couple of minutes.