We can talk about blogging strategies until we’re blue in the face. But let’s be clear about one thing before I begin this post in earnest.
Visitors are oxygen. Without them your blog will stop breathing and eventually expire.
Okay that’s a dramatic statement. However the truth is that blogs fail without traffic because most people quit blogging if they don’t get visitors!
Ultimately, increasing visitors is the most important of all blogging goals. Sure, there at lots of personal / developmental things you can get out of blogging, but ultimately we want people to read the things we write about.
Nobody in the history of blogging has ever said I don’t want visitors… and if they did, they’re not blogging, they’re writing a private journal.
A private journal is not a blog!
The truth about blogging is that when you start it’s very easy to get distracted, after all its an exciting time and there’s often lots to do. You’ll be completely fired up and ready to get stuck in.
You’ll also likely have read all sorts of blogging strategies and are eager to try them all.
This is why at the start of any blogging journey there’s a real risk of forming problem habits:
- Taking on too many things at once.
- Focusing on perfection.
- Fostering unrealistic expectations.
- Believing everything you read.
- Assuming others are doing things right and copying them.
While it’s super important to be optimistic and enthusiastic about starting a blog, I’m here to advocate taking a breath and remembering what I said at the beginning of this post.
Visitors are oxygen.
Why Say This? You’re Bringing Down My Blogging Buzz!
I don’t want to dampen your enthusiasm at all… far from it. Blogging is hard work and the initial blast of excitement and enthusiasm can be like rocket fuel to get you through the early days.
My intention in this post is to keep you focused on the most important goal from day one: growing your visitors should always be your primary aim.
Choosing Blogging Strategies and Finding Puzzles You Can Solve
Since visitors are your oxygen, you’ll need to focus upon the most important activities using the most effective blogging resources to ensure your blog continues to breathe.
Its easy to get distracted by… well… distractions!
Distractions are the things that take you away from your goals… and there are many of them. They are things that appear to be valuable for growing your blog but that actually aren’t.
The sheer number of blogging strategies you’ve read about can be a major distraction:
- Blogger X promotes this strategy that seems to work
- something.com uses these techniques
- Whoever’s blog recommends these strategies
There are dozens of blogging strategies you could try out and therefore dozens of distractions that can strangely pull you away from your goal of growing visitors: the very thing these same strategies are trying to help you with.
You need to focus.
For me distractions are certain social media strategies like some I’ve seen for Twitter and Instagram.
Wait a minute before you shoot me down!
I know that Twitter and Instagram can and do generate visitors for some bloggers in all sorts of niches. I know that some people make a good living just using these channels too.
However for me, I have never found I’ve been able to build consistent traffic without a massive effort. Even when I have gained traffic it hasn’t been at a sufficient volume to justify the effort.
Now I’m not advocating that your don’t give strategies for Twitter, Instagram or any other platform a run out to see if they work for you.
I am instead advocating that whatever strategy you test to build traffic, do so with an objective eye… and don’t overcommit yourself.
Learn what you can from a given blogging strategy to give yourself the best shot at finding some success. And test it thoroughly. But if it doesn’t work out, don’t cling on to it desperately seeking a secret to making it work.
This is a major blogging wall you’ll need to navigate. But remember… you don’t necessarily need to climb walls. If you can’t climb over them, why not walk around them and look for another wall you CAN climb?
Test strategies out, but don’t devote your life to solving something that may be unsolvable for you.
But the Blogging Strategies I’m Trying to Follow Worked for So and So!
Sometimes people get lucky. Sometimes people stumble into something that works out.
However two people could try exactly the same strategy and both get completely different results.
Don’t sweat it… learn from the process as best you can and try to make it work.
If you can’t get positive movement with a given strategy and you’ve given it a proper shot, choose a different blogging battle to try to win traffic elsewhere.
An Example from My Back Catalogue of Battles
My personal blogging battle has been Pinterest.
I know several bloggers who claim to drive massive traffic with Pinterest. I’m not disputing that they do enjoy the traffic they claim, but I’ve followed their strategies and so far it hasn’t worked out for me.
Worse than than, I’ve had an absolute nightmare with Pinterest. To date I’ve had to overcome:
- Pinterest account suspension for spam at least twice (I’m in no way a spammer by the way)
- Several occasions where my Pinterest impressions went down without reason.
- Losing my Pinterest Business account (for SideGains) when it unattached itself from my personal account.
I’ve overcome each of these issues but the time it has taken me to straighten them out could have been better used to try to generate traffic elsewhere.
For me now I’m in a place where I get traffic from Pinterest but nothing like the volumes some bloggers get. It’s traffic worth having, but not worth devoting my life to.
I’ve tested Pinterest substantially and now I’m in a place with it where I know how much time I’m prepared to spend on it for the rewards I enjoy.
I move on to another blogging battle: not defeated but not a victor either!
A Word on Niches
When you’re choosing a battle to try to grow your traffic, remember that all blogging niches are equal. Remember too though that some niches are more equal than others!
What do I mean by this?
The point I’m trying to make is that most niches are tough to crack. Most niches are competitive. However, some niches are way more competitive than others.
You can choose your niche battles too!
In terms of traffic strategies for niches, some work better in Pinterest than some others. The same is true for Twitter and Instagram.
However, even for niches where demand for content outstrips supply, things still might not work out for you as you’d like.
If that’s the case, test thoroughly but don’t keep flogging a dead horse. Choose another battle and move on.
I’ve meandered a little in this post, but there is a point.
The point is that you must always keep your focus on traffic and working to figure out ways to encourage growth here.
Never get hung up on one blogging strategy if it doesn’t work out for you. Test thoroughly and move on if it doesn’t work out.
You should also be selective in the number of blogging strategies you choose to take on at one time. There’s no way you can do everything at once to the best of your ability, so don’t try.
Choose your blogging battles!
Choose one or two strategies and give them your all. Learn from them. Find out what works or doesn’t work and when you have this knowledge you can build upon what you’ve learned in a specific traffic generating channel or move on to another one.
Maybe what you’ve learned will help you elsewhere.
Try to be objective in how you approach strategies. They’re not personal and you shouldn’t treat them as such.
Choose your strategies and your blogging battles wisely and don’t take on too many at one time.
That’s all for now.
What are your personal blogging battles? Drop me a comment below and let’s try to figure it out together.
Lisa Sicard says
Hi Paul. I love this one! I do struggle with Pinterest, it was working very well for me a month ago and then they made changes. Not sure now what’s up. But I’m finding guest posting here and there works well as well as Twitter.
Traffic goes up and down and readers come and go throughout the years. I’ve been at it 10 years and realize you always need new folks to read while trying to maintain your current readers.
I love the points you made here Paul!
Hi Lisa… and thanks for taking the time to add a comment here.
Pinterest feels a little like “The Emperor’s New Clothes” for me. I’ve not given up on it, but I’ve scaled back my effort and concern about it to put to to better use elsewhere!