Over on Twitter last week @ChrisGuthrie asked me – ‘At what point should you quit a blog and move onto the next project?’
It is a good question and one that I’m not sure that there is any single answer for – however I can certainly talk about what has led me to quit some of my previous blogs. There have been a variety of reasons – in fact in most cases it was more than one reason that led me to quit a blog. The reasons included:
- Lack of Passion/Interest in the Topic – I went through a phase where I decided to choose topics to blog about that I thought would be profitable – rather than choosing things I had an actual interest in. After a few months of blogging on these topics I soon realize that I simply could not sustain them.
- Lack of Traffic – there have been a few instances where I started blogging on certain topics that I did have some interest in – but which didn’t attract traffic. In one case I think it was because the niche was too narrow and people just were not searching for the topic, in another instance there was so much competition in the niche it was difficult to break into but in other instances I think it was probably more to do with my lack of passion for the topic shining through (people can tell if your heart isn’t really in it.
- Lack of Profit – this one tends to flow out of a lack of traffic (which can flow out of a lack of passion….. see how they’re all linked?) but at times I’ve quit a blog simply because I couldn’t justify keeping it running for the amount of time I was putting into it.
- Lack of Engagement/Lack of Personal Satisfaction – one of the blogs that I quit a couple of years ago actually got quite good traffic (mainly from search engines) and actually was quite profitable – however I found the idea of developing a blog purely for search traffic to be quite un-stimulating and unsatisfying. The lack of reader engagement and the fleeting visits from visitors didn’t really leave me feeling I was doing much that was worthwhile – I so I let the blog die to create blogs that were not only profitable but also hopefully more engaging.
- Running out of Things to Say – this one relates to a few of the other reasons however is worth saying. I can recall one blog which I started which I simply couldn’t think of more than a handful of posts to write about. The niche was too narrow to really sustain it over the long haul.
- The life of the Niche Ends – one of the first profitable blogs that I developed (in partnership with another blogger) was one on the Athens Olympic games. While it was an amazing experience to blog about it and it was a very profitable time in the lead up to and during the games – the niche simply ended. We could have possibly extended it with blogs on future Olympics but in the end we felt we could do better by concentrating on different niches.
I’m certain that other bloggers will have quit blogs for other reasons (please share yours below).
Two Extra Thoughts
There’s two more things I want to throw into this discussion:
Don’t Quit Too Early – One thing I do want to emphasize is that I think many bloggers quit blogs too quickly. Not every blog will be hugely profitably or get loads of traffic – however those that do often take quite a few months (if not a year or two) to start reaching their potential.
In having talked to thousands of bloggers over the last 6 or so years I’ve found that most bloggers who quit blogs tend to do it in the first 2-3 months. While you can get a bit of an indication on some factors in this time (factors like your own passion for the topic, whether there’s much to say about the topic etc) it is certainly not long enough time to expect your blog to have reached its traffic potential.
It takes time to build a profile, to get ranked by search engines and to develop an archive of useful content. In my experience 3 months is just the tip of the iceberg of a blogs potential. My own blogs have not really ‘taken off’ for at least a year to 18 months after launch.
It is OK to Quit – The other balancing factor that I’d throw into the mix is that it is ok to quit a blog. I’ve talked to a number of bloggers over the years who ended up feeling trapped by their blogs. They realized early on that the blog wasn’t getting traction and that they might not have had a real passion in their topic – but because they’d been writing content every day for it for a period of time they felt guilty in giving up on it. As a result they continued to blog for years to come despite knowing that it probably wasn’t worth doing.
Hanging in there an giving a blog time to grow is one thing – but continuing to blog on a blog that you know deep down isn’t really going anywhere it probably not a wise thing. In this case I’d be encouraging a blogger to consider either ending their blog, hiring or partnering with someone to help them blog or even selling their blog – all of these things will enable you to move onto something else that perhaps is a better fit for where you are.
Tomorrow: How to Quit Your Blog
In my next post I’m going to continue this train of thought and share a few options from my experience on HOW to quit a blog.