Blogging is fun until you begin to encounter challenges. You started your blog because you simply wanted to connect or write or network and here you are battling with stuff you didn’t know any Blogger ever faces. For a moment, you are thinking, really? I guess no one told you. Blogging like any other field, career, venture comes with its own troubles. I do not say this to discourage you, I say this to prepare your mind.
The other day, a client of mine called to ask why some her paragraphs were not clearly spaced despite how much she had spaced them on the editor. She had just opened her blog. I was with her all through the process and I know for sure that all she wants to do is share about her OCD, connect with people with the same challenge and let out steam. She just wanted to find relief through writing and there she was with her first blogging challenge.
Another client of mine (turned friend) chatted me up to share with me how much of desperately she wanted to shut down her blog. It had become a lot more of work than hobby. She started out to simply write and connect and all of a sudden, the blog became a job. She had a responsibility and devotion to fulfill towards it because the blog gained immense exposure. I had been there before so I asked her to take a break until she doesn’t feel like the next thing to do is shut down the blog.
Blogging troubles are either unique or generic. Some of the challenges you will encounter are totally unique to you. Many of the rest however are common and have been encountered by other Bloggers. I made a compilation of 5 of them and I want to treat in-depth how to overcome these challenges.
1. Getting blog readers and building a tribe
Many times we want to publish that blog post and go to bed. If only people would naturally come to check our blogs by themselves and interact with what’s on it. It rarely happens this way. Thing is that it gets to a point where you as a Blogger have built influence so much that people literally go to google or their address bar to type in your blog’s url. Yes, you’d get to that point if you are consistent and you make sense.
But until you build a tribe of loyal blog readers, what do you do? You look for blog readers and we all know, it’s distracting. It’s distracting because you are thinking of where to share that will give the most impact on the article. Smarter Bloggers are also thinking of how to get these first time blog visitors to stay and become subscribers.
It’s so much of a trouble if you haven’t built a following prior to when you opened your blog. Social media audience may therefore be out of it. You are either left with building a social media audience and then redirecting them to your blog articles or other methods of blog traffic generation like sharing bc’s, email marketing etc…
I do not have a quick fix to this particular blogging challenge because in reality, there is no quick fix. I only have proposed solutions that will get you started up on the road to building a blogging tribe.
i. Collect traffic from search engines
Yeah, collect it. Organic traffic is one of the best forms of traffic because it not only comes in numbers, it converts well. What happens here is that your blog post is already an answer or solution to someone’s problem, so they are first of all glad when they get to the landing page. If the blog post is really good, they go on ahead to click on another one similar to it and if they really can’t get enough of your thoughts, they are off to click on the home page. These first time visitors become blog subscribers and there you go, loyal people whose thoughts and wants resonate with yours. More people are added to your blogging tribe. Search engine optimization is therefore a good way to source for new blog readers.
Where I see the problem is that Bloggers complain of the much distraction SEO has on them. I totally understand because if you don’t watch it, you lose your voice, lose your message and have your intent thoroughly diluted. You will have to be very creative to make your blog posts work with what you have in your head while you optimize.
Another complaint bloggers make is that some of the topics they really want to write about are not those with high volume keywords. Imagine that what you want to talk about is your house help and her troubles. You check Google Keywords Planner or SEMRush and realize that practically nobody is searching for that.
This is what I would advise, write all of what you want to write and then edit here and there to optimize. Don’t start writing with SEO in mind, you would not communicate the way you want to and what’s the essence of having a blog with posts you are not proud of.
Also, if many of your blog posts are those of which can’t get much of traffic from search engines because search volume is low or totally nil, try to optimize for some other keyword variations within that same topic. I would explain further on this if you want me to in the comments section.
If you are really looking to get search traffic on your blog and you naturally don’t have topics that are in demand, write what you want to write and dedicate some time to look for good keywords to write on. Out of 10 articles, 2 of these might be from researched keywords whose articles you are intentionally and purposefully intending to drive traffic from. If you get it right, people from these specific blog posts will find a way to other blog posts. It’s about getting them to land on your blog in the first place.
I will explain with a case study.
A. Your blog is faith based
B. It is Nigerian audience mostly
C. You are really looking into tapping organic traffic
For many of the articles you will be writing on, they may not have as much search volume as they should have. What you can do in this case is to write normally, your articles on getting close to God, being a devoted Christian etc. On the side, think up things Nigerians naturally search for that are close to faith and write on them. Use this as support to the other normal articles you have on the blog.
Let me give you examples of faith based SEO articles that can drive traffic to your blog while you write what you want to write;
1. Blog posts on Open Heavens Devotional. This seems like it’s going to be a daily affair. If you have the strength, go for it. You only have to copy and paste what’s been written already, no fuss. If you have more strength, you can add your own commentary under to increase post length.
Other devotionals too, tap into them. You will shocked how many people are looking to read this online everyday. Check up on SEMRush and see for yourself.
2. Write biography of men of God. People are constantly searching for names on Google. You doubt me? Check your keyword volume tool. Search for names of many of these well known men of God. It includes Pastors, motivational speakers, gospel musicians and actresses, the gospel entertainment brand names. You will shocked at how much of keywords you are not tapping into yet. By the time you are done, you have so many things to write on that you’d be wondering why the heck you racked your brain that hard when you had nothing to write on, when you had writer’s block.
3. Add a bit of spice to your faith blog and write on some lifestyle topics affecting Christians. It could border around fashion, books, career. Think about it.
4. Write Gospel book and movie reviews. You know already, I don’t have to start to explain all over again, the search volume for some of these gospel books and movies are high!
5. Gospel song lyrics! Dear Faith Blogger, if you are not tapping into this yet, oh no. Some of the songs that have lifted you so much, that you are obsessed with, can’t get over, some of them are in so much demand online. You would run the search volume of some Gospel songs and you’d be like wow, wow, wow. Surprising is that the competition for some of these keywords are so low that you’d practically rise up to first page of Google even if you didn’t optimize the blog post at all.
I would stop here for now. I have two more other solid points for Faith Bloggers, but I’ll stop here. My paying clients can have it all. But really, even with these free pointers, if you tap into them you are good to go.
I would like to use Personal Bloggers as the next and final example. It might have sounded difficult before now to optimize your blog for search engines because of the nature of blog posts that you write. I’ll give you hints on ways to optimize posts around what you really love to write about.
If you are writing a review about your favorite restaurant for example, optimize your blog post around that restaurant. You don’t have to worry about too much of SEO. All you have to do is write everything anybody needs to know about that restaurant while you share your own personal experience in relation to the restaurant itself. Talk about even as little as who owns the restaurant.
This goes for all of the things you want to write about. If you see that anything around that idea has something to do with what people might be searching about, check your keywords planner and investigate.
Depending on your niche, I can draw up a workable and great SEO plan for you. You’d never have to complain about nothing to write. You’d also never have to worry about writing meaningless things all in the name of SEO. Shoot me an email on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please give your blog 6 months to 1 year to begin to fully reap the rewards from these keywords.
ii. Build your email list
Try to start building your email list as soon as you start up your blog. People who willingly subscribe to your blog are in short, your tribe. These are the ones who want to hear from you every time. Build and communicate with them when there is a new post or something you want them to know about.
iii. Create a mini whatsapp blog
I have written a detailed post on how to create a blog on whatsapp. This will help you build a much more targeted and loyal tribe.
iv. Join Blogging groups
In Blogging groups, there is a type of ginger that you have in there. You get encouragement, advice and working tips on how to get your audience. You may eventually also realize that part of your audience is in there too. You see, it might be lonely on this path. Sometimes, you just need someone to give you what’s working for them. I have in here a blog post on how to connect with other Bloggers.
v. Social media
Well, yes, social media. With social media, you can build such a beautiful following if you get it right. I would have loved to share so many tips here but this will make this blog post ridiculously long as I have so many other things I want to address.
This one tip, however, I am going to share. Interact!
Interact with people. This is why it is called social media. I see a lot of Bloggers who come on to social media to just dish, dish and dish content. They are not engaging with their followers enough. How would they get interested in your page? We are not even talking your blog here.
You see, it takes twice as much effort to move away from the social media platform they are currently on to another platform entirely e.g. your blog. But with quality, meaningful engagement, you can get potential readers and actual readers obsessed about the totality of your work. So, engage.
Morgan Timm has an awesome post on building a tribe, you may go check it out to learn more.
2. You are not making enough money from your blog
A lot of Bloggers initially start out to share their content for the sole purpose of establishing online relationships. Along the line they realize that they can make a lot of money from their online brands. It’s interesting to make money from your online ventures because it not only makes you fulfilled, it keeps the blog running.
There are times that I have been down and exhausted. In some of these situations, reflecting on how much I have made as a Blogger (not millions yet, sadly), helps propel me and pushes me. It may not even be the most recent connection, or gift or anything, it may just be a flashback to some good money I made recently.
Not every Blogger has this to say about their blogs. This is such a prominent challenge for many Bloggers especially if they have tried one or two methods already and they do not seem to work.
In one of my blog monetization articles, I treated the subject of focusing on wrong areas of making money. If you are a new Blogger, chances are that you don’t have enough audience to brag about just yet. It is also possible that you are not a new Blogger but you just don’t have the blog traffic to convince brands to work with you, or earn significantly from Google Adsense, affiliate ads or direct advertising.
What I propose in this case is therefore to go in search of Blog traffic in order to earn off your people power or you sell yourself, pick one. I didn’t believe that you could make money from your blog with just a small traffic. That’s all changed now.
The clause here however is that you should be working with targeted, interested traffic. If you are a beauty Blogger without much traffic and you want to earn from your blog, you have to be sure that first, the audience you have is interested in beauty and not just beauty, the particular niche of beauty that you talk about.
Let’s say that you are a skin care Beauty Blogger, your audience is definitely not going to be interested in buying makeup. This means that to sell makeup products on your Blog, you will have to talk about makeup, makeup application techniques etc.
If you are deciding to sell natural skin care products, you see that your type of blog posts will have to differ from a makeup enthusiast’s own. This is why I say to make money from a blog that doesn’t have as much traffic, you should make sure that the traffic is targeted.
If you are a personal/lifestyle Blogger, your targeted traffic is traffic that is obsessed with your brand, resonates with what you write, shares your content and talks back to you. If you therefore need to talk about a product, service or be an affiliate for any event, it is going to be easier to make money from it because your audience listens.
3. Writing Quality Content
On writing quality content! Bloggers can be worried sick about perfection. They are asking over and over again if their content is quality enough to qualify as a standard blog post. There are two scenarios here:
i. the excessive, undue need for perfection
ii. the justified need to pursue after quality
In cases where Bloggers won’t push the publish button for days because they are afraid that they are going to flop, I usually tell them, “own your crude”. Every renowned/pro Blogger started a certain way. If you have to go check some of the first set of articles we wrote on our blogs, we’d be shocked to see how much silly writing we did. Improperly formatted blog posts, posts with faulty reasoning and logic, posts with very poor pictures etc..
So, I say to you to publish anyway. You are going to grow into quality. After editing, asking someone to look through and doing all you have to, you can go on ahead and publish. You really can edit after publishing, so why not just publish. If you have people who watch your back or followers who are genuinely interested in you and what you have to say, they’d point to you your mistakes. Isn’t this what blogging is all about? To truly connect?
To the second set, they know that they have to work on their content and that it could be more quality than it is already, how then do you create quality content?
i. write from the bottom of your heart
If you are going to create quality content, you will have to write your heart’s content. To connect truly with your blog readers, you should be original and true. If you are sincere with them, you have written all they need to judge an article as quality.
ii. attach stunning and captivating images
Bland blog posts might be a problem. Images have a way of drawing the reader in. So, get them interested with good images. If you have a good camera or access to a nice photographer, taking your own personal images helps to tell your story better. In fact, people connect more with you when they know what you look like.
iii. Include inbound and quality outbound links
This helps to substantiate your blog posts. People stick more with people who point them to other places where they can learn more. Inbound links are links to blog posts on your blog while outbound links are links to blog posts on other blogs. If you are particular about linking to too many blogs, it’s okay to make them no-follow. I talk about this from the SEO stand point. You see, having too many blogs linked from yours can dilute some of your search integrity on some levels.
4. Trying to strike Blogging-Work-Life Balance
It gets to a point in your Blogging that it begins to seem more like a chore than fun. In fact, you might become so overwhelmed that all you want to do is shut down your blog totally. I have been there several times. I have a few of my clients and friends that have been there too.
So many things influence this feeling. One is the need to strike balance. You are probably a student who has a lot of assignments, tests and exams to prepare for. It becomes invariably difficult to keep up with maintaining a blog. It’s same for if you are working class. The demands of your job and the need to also have a social life may get in the way of your blogging.
Listen, there are different seasons and times. At periods when it seems like your blog is a curse, drop everything! Stop looking at your blog or thinking about it. Just drop it and do something else in the heat of the moment. I have had to delete my blog before and thankfully, Blogger won’t let you delete permanently straight away. I think the permanent deleting feature is in there now but as at those times when I deleted, they allowed three months to get into your senses.
Striking a balance can be a really serious challenge for Bloggers. Imagine you were a working mom too. I absolutely forgot that there are mommy Bloggers. These are steps to take when you begin to experience a melt down as a result of imbalance.
i. Take a breather
Go on a break love. Just take a breather and take time off your blog. Try to focus on some of the very pressing life issues that you have and let your blog rest for a while.
ii. Plan and schedule
When you get back to finding your feet, plan and schedule your blogging. If you are a student for example, take bulk photos for your fashion blog. Plan a weekend of different outfits and do your shoot. In fact, you can write your posts and schedule them too.
iii. Set realistic blogging goals
You see, dear Blogger, one very serious problem that we may have is being too strict and not flexible at all. We can be so hard on ourselves. Remember that I said earlier on that there are times and seasons. There will be periods when you won’t have as much time as you had. Set realistic plans and goals during this period. You can shift from blogging 3 times a week to once a week until you can find your feet.
iv. Don’t spread yourself too thin
One of the misconceptions we have as Bloggers is that we think that jumping everywhere online is the way we can get noticed. So, we are on every single social media platform. Not only are we there, we are trying to be active on every single one of them. We are building followers and commenting on five different social media platforms. Achieving balance is simply going to be difficult. Choose one or two platforms and stick to it. Trust me, all of your other platforms will benefit from doing exceptionally well on just one or two
5. Lack of resources for effective Blogging
Nigerian Bloggers will complain about this over and over again. So, there was this time I desperately wanted to be out of the country. It’s not like I know what goes on outside or like I know what it means to blog overseas. I just wanted to be able to publish whenever I wanted to. I forgot that getting a camera for example will cost me the same amount, here or there. I forgot that I would have to buy a good system whether I was here or there.
There are moments when you will get so stuck and angry as a Blogger because you do not have all that you think you need to create the kind of quality you want to. You might even have a camera for your makeup documentary but you would like a ring light, you need a tripod stand etc. In all of these, there isn’t enough money to get you to where you are from to where you aspire to be.
In short, you lack resources and it’s draining you. Know that you are not the only one. I think I need you to understand that except for rare scenarios, no particular problem is totally peculiar to you. Other Bloggers have faced it, they overcame or outgrew it.
You see the difference between you and the Blogger who has made it work is that they have made use of what they had. I know that it might be a strain to constantly think of improvising, looking for alternatives everyday but I tell you, many Bloggers have a very beautiful story out of the problems they faced.
Sit back and think. Who can you collaborate with to get their own share of resources? Who can you partner or work with? Do you have photographer friends or roommates with a laptop? Which of your friends has a generator or lives in a place with constant electricity? Think hard. Be assured that this isn’t going to be forever, it’s going to be better. For now, use what you have to get to where you want to be.
What other challenges are you facing as a Blogger? Would you like me to work with me to get you up from your Blogging shackles? Just send me an email at email@example.com. You can also send me a dm on Instagram @estheradeniyisblog
If this blog post has helped to solve some of the challenges you have as a Blogger, I would be glad to have you share it with your other Blogger friends. Thank you.