If one of the main reasons you started blogging is because it’s easy to start one, by now you already know that it is a lot of hard work to maintain one. The availability of blogging technologies make it easy to start a professional looking blog in a few minutes. My friend Dave Taylor says that a blog is nothing but a personal content management system. A good content management system (CMS) provides excellent support to manage content.
A blog is only as good as the content within it.
While it takes time and effort to build a great blog, it does not take a lot of effort to kill one. Here are some ways:
#1 Focusing too much on the form and not the content
Blogging engines are very sophisticated now. You can customize and enhance the look and feel of your blog endlessly even when you don’t have a programming background. In other words, you can get carried away with the form and not focus on the content. Having a great format is like having an attractive store in a mall.
You can get people to walk in but if the goods inside the store are not attractive, no one will buy anything.
#2 Too many ads
Of course, making money may be one of your motives. However, there are very few people who are making a ton of money on ads on the blogs. You can try to be one of them or you can focus on other kinds of leverage from your blog.
Now, on a lighter note: Think about it for a second. The way you make money on an ad is when a person clicks on the ad and goes away from your blog. Do you want to take money to send people away from your blog?
Of course, ads in moderation may be a good idea. Excessive ads are also a distraction. You don’t want your audience to search for your content among the ads.
#3 Stealing content
Stealing is probably a strong word but if you pick up content from another place and post it on your blog without proper attribution, technically it is stealing.
Sooner than later, people will figure that out. Stealing may be more harmful than helpful.
#4 Lack of focus
Unless you are a celebrity or a recognized thought leader, you may not get a license to just dish out opinions on everything under the sun (Note: Not that I am saying someone is doing it now.)
The best would be to focus on a subject where you are an authority or on the way to become an authority. This will help you to focus your message to an audience and build credibility amongst them.
On the other hand, once you lose focus you will start losing your audience too.
#5 Not respecting your readers
John Maxwell said it brilliantly – “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”
The key reason your blog exists is because there are some readers reading it. If you don’t want readers, you might as well write your thoughts in a diary.
Assume that your readers are intelligent and engage with them in a conversation or risk losing them forever.
#6 Not building enough credibility to back up whatever you are saying
You can say whatever you want on your blog (and say that it is your right of speech.) However, if you don’t have the credibility and qualification to say whatever you said, very soon people will start losing respect on you as a person. After a while, the blog won’t matter anymore.
Maintaining a blog is hard not because writing is hard. It is hard because you have to be constantly growing outside of your writing for your blog to have a meaning.
#7 Bad attitude
Did you know that you can get angry on your blog. You can. But should you?
Your attitude shows up on your blog. If your intention is anything less than genuinely helping your audience with their concerns, you need to re-visit your blog objectives.
Bad attitude is bad on or off the blog. That’s the fastest way to alienate yourself.
#8 Lack of relevance
You can have a great focus but not be be relevant to your audience. My favorite metric is ROII
(return on investment for an interaction.) Does your blog provide the right return on the investment of their time in reading it? If not, remember that your audience can run away from your blog in a heartbeat. They can substitute your blog with some other blog that has provides a better ROII
#9 Attack someone needlessly
Blogs provide you a lot of power only until you mis-use it. You got to pick your battles in your blog (and in your life.) You can attack someone. If the person counter-attacks, you enter into a battle. Do you have the luxury of time to engage in this battle? Is that the best use of your time?
Why do you think your audience would want to be spectators in this game between you and someone else?
When the personal gain from the blog far exceeds the gain by your audience, there will be a problem. Actually, a BIG problem.
#10 Create controversy without basis
They say that if you want to appear intelligent, you should keep making controversial or contradictory statements. The keyword here is “appear” and not “be.” You can catch someone’s attention by creating baseless controversy but you can’t hold on to that attention. If you do this more than once you will get an entry into the “Cry Wolf Club” and no one will bother to listen even when you have something substantial to share.
#11 Excessive self-promotion
Self-promotion – a bit here and a bit there should be OK. If you make this your personal achievement newsletter, people will get ticked off. Nobody has time to read about someone endlessly talking about what they have done in their life.
Creating a blog that provides great value will lead to enhancement of your brand which I think is better than self-promotion.
I am sure you have your own list. Feel free to comment. Let’s collectively increase the longevity of blogs 🙂
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