The “If you build it, they will come,” mentality only guarantees more traffic if you're building a freeway in Los Angeles.
You've built your blog, you write your posts. And it's not growing, or it's not growing fast enough. No one is featuring your blog. Your comment count is low. Brands aren't flooding your inbox with amazing gifts and trips around the world. Frustrating!
A friend of mine who works at Facebook, was telling me over brunch one day that some of their biggest concerns was increasing traffic and user engagement.
The truth is, no matter big you are, how established you are, accumulating a dedicated following is hard for everyone. Influence is not a given for anyone. Even Oprah had A LOT of difficulties building her network, OWN, after decades of amassing a cult-like dedicated following. If the most powerful people in the world are having the same problems we are… what makes bloggers exempt? Nothing. We are all subject to the same issues, feeling bad your blog doesn't get featured is just negative self-talk, talk you don't have to listen to (be nice to yourself!). Thinking that some people are getting “more attention” is the wrong way of thinking. It's envy, and it will get you no where.
Do you think Oprah is thinking, “Why does Martha Stewart get all the attention?”
Do you think Oprah is thinking, “Why does Martha Stewart get all the attention?” (though, regardless of Martha Stewart's commercial success I don't know if anyone would want the headlines she attracts… )
She might have thought it, but I bet that thought was quickly followed up, “How can I make OWN better?”
While other people getting attention is not a real reason for no one reading your blog… here are five reasons to consider.
You haven't given your blog enough time
How long does it take to become a top-tiered blogger? While some have appeared to succeed overnight, I bet they put their hours in honing in other skills to apply to their blog. Some bloggers have been online for 10-15 years… and their current blog might only be their most recent iteration of their digital life. The only blogger I know that appeared overnight and stayed successful is Tavi. Everyone else, either worked in professions that were applicable (ie. journalism, photographer, stylist, etc), spent time online (Gala Darling, Bryan Boy, Keikolynn all were online years before their blog), or had a very short moment at the top.
Your niche is over-saturated
The fashion blogging vertical has been over-saturated for years. Getting noticed today is a lot harder than it was six years ago, the competition to create the best content has gotten more and more fierce. That said, within the fashion blogging vertical, people who develop a specific angle, or a strong voice continue to make it through the masses.
If you're looking to be a personal style blogger, merely posting your outfit every day with some text about what you ate for breakfast isn't going to cut it. There are literally thousands of blogs out there doing the same thing.
Your content is missing the mark
Maybe your blog posts aren't exactly boring, but they could use some tweaking. Are you keeping track of which posts do the best on your site? Yesterday I wrote a post on how to use analytics to improve traffic and engagement. It's a great way to understand what your content needs to hit the mark with your readers.
Your blog is self-indulgent
In real life, what do you think about people who constantly say, “Look at me!” Well, the same is true for digital world. While it's important to write about your passions, if your only passion is yourself, then expect to be your blog's only reader. Your blog has to give something to your readers, whether it be inspiration, useful information, joy, whatever… you may be the vehicle for delivering the message on your blog, but don't indulge too much. That was interesting in 2003 when there weren't many online diaries…but today? It's cliche.
You're not engaging with the community
Developing real relationships in the blogging community is one of the best ways to improve your blog. Why? Blogging alone can be dangerous. It's important to have a trusted ear to bounce ideas off of. And besides, no one succeeds alone…
How will people get to know you? Well, Ashe has written a great post in jumping into the blogging community. So don't just harass people on Twitter to check out your blog.. get real with your fellow bloggers and discover the real beauty in the community.
You're not taking enough risks
One of my favorite parts in Sheryl Sandberg's Lean In, was when Mark Zukerberg told her, that desire to be liked was holding her back… that “…when you want to change things you can't please everyone. If you do please everyone, you're not making enough progress.”
“…when you want to change things you can't please everyone. If you do please everyone, you're not making enough progress.”
It's my opinion, but a strong opinion… Fashion bloggers don't take enough risks. I hear a lot of people say they only want to post “positive” content, but what they really mean is they don't want to step outside their comfort zone. And that comfort zone is not rocking the boat. Provocative content doesn't have to be negative, it can be productive and positive. Pushing yourself to stand out means taking risks. Writing content your readers feel passionate about, really passionate about means exploring beyond the pedestrian, the mundane, the ordinary. Say the things that need to be said, maybe some people won't like your blog…
But maybe most will.
[Image credit: Shutterstock.com]