Reality Check: 6 Reasons Why No One Reads Your Blog

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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.

Sound familiar?

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.

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52 Responses

  1. Swati Ailawadi

    Oh this gives you a reality check doesn’t it. And it is not like you may be doing all of those wrong, maybe we all can improve on something or the other you have written above Jenine. You have been like a true friend to all your IFB members here I am sure, since a true friend only can appreciate you by saying good things about the blogging community but also pointing it out bluntly when you are wrong.

    Thanks a tonne ! 🙂

    Swati @ The Creative Bent

    Reply
  2. Ashley "Ashe" Robison

    I LOVE that you pointed out how oversaturated the najor fashion blogging niches are. A little creativity is okay! A little change or your own personal way of doing things? Worth the chance.

    “You’re not taking enough risks.” Given the number of posts I’ve seen lately, I feel like many older bloggers have been feeling that pressure and are starting to push back against it. I HOPE that more are, because what’s the point of trying without taking any risks?

    Reply
    • Jennifer Nini

      Yes you’re right!! Although sometimes I think I take too many risks as I first started off incorporating a lot of political posts into my eco ethical fashion website and then thought I was being too controversial. So then I relaxed a little bit. But now some of my longer term readers are starting to think I’ve ‘sold out’ so I have to start bringing those sorts of risky edgy topics back in!

      Reply
  3. SWAGGERWARD

    great article very resourceful i feel that some bloggers are upperty when trying to network like your going to steal information from the i’m new to the fashion blogging game , i have a degree in fashion design and finearts illustration, but because of a disabilty had to do some new with my creativty. my blog is called the southerner swag blog check it out if you have time i love that your a straight shooter. good article thanks

    Reply
  4. Amber

    I totally agree with you on staying away from being self-indulgent. I have had my blog for over a year and realized quickly that simply having a diary just won’t cut it. My question is, though, how do I get out of my comfort zone? I have voice, but I don’t know how to have one that matters.

    Reply
  5. Sabrina Dinucci

    As always, your fresh approach to blogging motivates me to push harder. I do love the quote from MArk Zuckerberg “…if you do please everyone, you’re not making enough progress.” I’ve struggled with that for maybe 5 seconds in my life – lol!! Standing apart from an already very saturated blog world is all of our missions, I guess. I think what I need to develop is PATIENCE.
    Thanks for all your insights!!
    Sabrina @weloveaquaskye

    Reply
  6. dacy

    great stuff for someone starting out to hear. also just read “quitter” by jon acuff, which had a lot of the same advice – the one i need to hear most is to have patience.

    Reply
  7. The Chic Spy

    OMG! Jennine, this is a great post. One of my issues is posting provocative content. I am always compelled to “play it nice.” But lately have been trying to burst out of my nice bubble and create more content that asks readers questions and promote social commentary. It’s a struggle trying something new but the process is actually exciting!

    Reply
  8. Margot

    Yes. This is spot on! I am finding more and more that what people really want online is a spotlight to shine on them. So if you want to have an engaged audience, you have to engage them in a dialog. My Klout goes through the roof when I ask simple questions. People jump right in within seconds to share things like, “Coffee…hot or cold.” I am starting over with a new blog after years of blogging, the first blog was so personal and transparent, people actually warned me it might cost me work in the conservative DIY craft industry. I ended up taking down four years of posts, which I still mine for books and other projects. The second blog was a little too…all work and no play. This new site allows me to have the best of both worlds and write about topics that get me excited and get my readers commenting.

    And even Martha has slipped, from network TV to Hallmark channel and now PBS…it’s a never ending battle. So while you’re hot, you better maximize it just like she did!

    Cheers,
    Madge

    Reply
  9. Amie

    Such a thought provoking article thank you!I am always trying to be increasingly aware of offering something to my readers…yes that content does take more time to create but so fulfilng getting so muh feedback about it!

    Reply
  10. Emily Friday

    This post is so helpful!

    I’ve had my blog for just over a month now and while it’s not doing too badly, the traffic hasn’t exactly been soaring. I think the main reasons for that is an interlink between content and me being self-indulgent – that’s probably the problem with my posts at the moment!

    Obviously, I try to engage with my readers in every post, but usually, it’s just about me, what I wore, what I like etc… I’ve forgot about the true intentions of my blog in the first place, which was to help others embrace their beauty!

    Thank you for this article! 🙂 I will work on improving this haha.

    Emily x

    http://emiliciastyle.blogspot.co.uk/

    Reply
  11. Winston & Willow

    This is a great article. I feel like I need to be more patient when it comes to my blog. Although mine is fairly new, I get frustrated when I don’t feel like it is growing fast enough. I guess it does take years to build a sound following!
    Charlotte
    http://www.winstonandwillow.com

    Reply
  12. marvaseaton

    A very interesting and informative article. You are quite correct, success do not often come about over night. It usually takes a lot of hard work and dedication for you to get the results that you desire.

    Reply
    • Jennifer Nini

      I agree with you 100%

      It means I have to keep improving and getting better and in a way, that’s a fantastic thing. This blogging journey has been a wonderful one so far and I’ve had my moments where I haven’t written for 5 weeks but I always come back to it fully refreshed and inspired!

      Reply
  13. MissK

    That’s a really good article. My blog has been growing a little faster the last couple of months, but still, i feel like it takes forever. Well, it’s probably what you said, the whole fashion blogging-here-is-my-outfit-and-my-breakfast-thing is over-saturated. But I’ve had my blog for 3 years now and I can’t and I don’t want to give up on it. So I just go on, and do my best to succeed in any way.
    First thing I’ll do now is check which posts provide the most traffic. Thank you so much for this article!

    http://missk-enroute.blogspot.de/

    Reply
  14. Nadya Helena

    I’m a strong believer that when you truly work hard for it, you will eventually achieve where you want to be. But only if we truly, truuuuly work hard. There’s this 10,000 rule that I believe, if you spend 10,000 hours honing in one skill, you will achieve world class expertise (from Malcolm Gladwell’s book).
    So that’s what I’m doing, honing in my skills 😀

    Nadya
    eyeshadow illustrator
    http://thedillychic.com

    Reply
    • Jennifer Nini

      Love your comment, and I agree 100% Lucky I don’t want to be a singer! As I really don’t think it matters how many hours I get in, I think I will always be a little on the mediocre side! LOL! x

      Reply
  15. Ana

    I really needed to “hear” that! ahaha Hope i can make it work now with all those tips

    Reply
  16. Tanvi

    I couldn’t agree with you more. Saying what REALLY on your mind, is what makes the blog connect.

    Reply
  17. claire lynette

    I can see how doing all of these things would help, but some of my once favorite blogs I no longer read because their content is so different from what they used to do and isn’t what I came for. Doesn’t mean they aren’t hurting for readers so I suppose it’s all in what type of reader you want and catering to them. I only do outfit posts as of now but will be expanding into showing how I create some of the garments I wear because I think people would be interested in that. I’ve been blogging for two years and still don’t have any type of real readership so I know I could be doing more to promote my blog – and I will work on that but this bit

    “…Brands aren’t flooding your inbox with amazing gifts and trips around the world. Frustrating!”

    is not what I’m after so sometimes I think I should exit this blogging game because that isn’t for me and it seems to be what a lot of people are going after. Still, I read this article so I haven’t given up entirely because I believe I can have a good personal style blog with good readership eventually. Also, I quite like blogs like this:

    “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.”

    they happen to be my favorite and if there are that many out there doing the same thing I’m having a hard time finding them lately because everyone seems to be clamoring to get into various Fashion Weeks shows, instagraming their weekend and food, sharing their visit to some atelier, and doing outfit posts where nearly every item is c/o. I guess I miss the old school. It was so relatable.

    Reply
  18. kenya

    The truth is that people love controversy, I ran a moderately successful blog in which I said what I was thinking. Theres a million blogs keeping positive but that’s not really organic, as with everything theres a balance.

    Reply
  19. Rebecca

    Great post! Especially liked the part about not having to please everybody. It is so easy to be over-positive in what you write so that was definitely an eye-opener.

    Reply
  20. Gisela

    It’s true!
    Many bloggers in Brazil, are daughters of millionaires, which are sponsored by parents until he reached the top! This factor can not be considered ..
    Of course many bloggers Brazilian has talent, but with help $ $ $ everything is easier!
    http://www.vivercommaissaude.com.br

    Reply
  21. Jasmine Rochelle

    This is a great post!

    When I first started blogging I just knew what I loved. I kinda just took all those things and put them together, and posted it on the blog. Big, no no!! I didn’t really take the time to think, ‘How can I help my readers?’ And, honestly that is the most important task of a blogger.

    Because, I didn’t take the time to plan I have gone through two name changes and several graphic designs. Ugh! But, now I’m finally moving in a direction that I’m comfortable with. The bottom line is it takes time, the more you plan, the easier it will be. Take my word for it, don’t rush.

    Reply
  22. Pudji Siregar

    Very nice tips! I’m building a fashion blog together with a friend of mine and as new bloggers,this article is very eye-opening.
    Our blog concept is basically about fashion and travel by two people from different nationalities; we want to share our stories, reviews and of course our friendship.
    I would be appreciate it if you guys want to visit our blog and give advice on what to improve,like the do’s and dont’s.
    Check our blog on http://www.2-spots.com

    looking forward to your comments..! xx

    Reply
  23. Dee

    Great post thanks for the tips. I definitely need to start more seriously tracking popular posts and tweak some content 🙂

    Thanks again,Dee

    Reply
  24. E-M

    I was so glad to read this post, it gave me a lot of thoughts. I’ve been blogging for only 4 months now and during that time I’ve got to realize those things as well – you have to step up, get wilder, get bigger and be BOLD! You have to take all the chances, you have to be able to step out of your comfort zone and there is ONE thing that matters the most – DON’T blog to get famous!!! I know there are some who blog just to get some fame, they have hundreds or thousands of fans but all of that just because they go around the internet saying “like 4 like”, “share 4 share”, “follow 4 follow”. You have to blog because it’s your passion, your life, your heart. You have to be willing to put your heart in soul to your blog, to WANT to work on your blog for more than half of your day. That’s what makes it all happen! :)) And of course – always be open-minded and stay true to who you are. This was a great article! 🙂

    Much love to you all,

    http://zerxzastyle.blogspot.com

    Reply
  25. Zoey Fai

    really a reality check for me. it’s true that the blogosphere is becoming oversaturated and get pulled into what-to-post-for-readers-to-like-me mentality. glad to have read this article. I will concentrate on finding my voice!

    Reply
  26. Debbie Burns

    I’ve always been the type to struggle with people pleasing so perhaps that’s something I should explore on my blog. This is my second blog go round. My first was Thrifty Girl Vintage with a focus on outfit posts and thrifting. I took a break and thought about my goals. For my present blog, I chose the name I Love My Lemonade Life, because lemonade is sweet AND SOUR, and while I want to be a positive, helpful presence on the web, I also want to keep it real. I’ve not been blogging long this go round and I’m in the process of figuring out what categories to have, what type of posts, how do I want to be of help to others. I’ve been reading lots of the IFB posts and you guys have really been a help AND an inspiration. Thank you for keeping it real…and for helping us to do the same. Debbie @ ilovemylemonadelife.com

    Reply
  27. Rachel Guerrier

    So true and very great points…when I first started blogging I had more time to put into it and was getting a good response from readers. But there are so many other things I’m into aside from fashion that I feel I can incorporate in my posts. Lately I’ve been uninspired and I know it’s because I’m holding back. I see it and I’m sure my readers do too. I’m only showing one aspect of myself and feel its reflected in my blog.. I have been communicating and still getting my reach out through fb, instagram and such but have left the blog itself alone until I can do it correctly. I might even start fresh with this new perspective. I take everything I do and put my name on seriously and don’t want to just put anything out there.
    http://www.modehaven.onsugar.com
    http://www.modehaven.blogspot.com

    Reply
  28. Emily Ulrich

    When so much time has been invested into blogging, it can be a tough pill to swallow, no doubt. It’s true that people expect immediate success–sometimes feeling entitled to it without even realizing. But you just have to remember the longer the journey yields the greatest satisfaction. I definitely believe these perspectives into blogging help maintain a sense of reality into the blogosphere.

    http://hazylaughter.com

    Reply
  29. Jennifer Nini

    This really resonated with me! I have been blogging in the eco ethical fashion world for 3 years and although I get press releases, have been interviewed for a print magazine and invited to my first store launch, I feel that attracting the audience has always been very hard. And I am in a niche! Thanks for the advice once again IFB, and especially you Jennine for such a wonderful platform in which to engage with other fashion bloggers!!

    ps. I have a giveaway for US residents! Ends April 29 2013. Details of how to enter are listed in the blog post! xxx

    http://ecowarriorprincess.net/2013/04/earth-day-2013-the-leakey-collection-ethical-jewelry-give-away/

    I love this organisation and what they stand for (helping Kenyan communities rise out of poverty through ethical fashion) so really hope you can help out (and enter the give away yourself as well!!)

    Much love,

    Jen aka Eco Warrior Princess xx

    Reply
  30. Maria

    This was a great read for me today. I have been blogging for now 2 years and sometimes you have days when you second guess your direction. There is a lot of over saturation of the same ol same ol. This post is a great reminder to keep moving forward because even the biggest names in the world hit a stumbling block.

    Maria @fashionista622

    http://www.onestyleatatime.com

    Reply
  31. Pete

    I love this article. Very well articulated.

    I’m a successful blogger and all of these pieces of advice are spot on. I’d share my insights and experience like this:

    “You haven’t given your blog enough time” – it took me two years of blogging daily before I got an audience. It took 3 years before I made any money. It took me 4 years to make enough money to live on. If someone offered you a job and said “Work hard every day and in 4 years we might pay you” would you take the job?

    “Your niche is over-saturated” – my niche is the geekiest business niche I know. When you start, you cannot be too niche.

    “Your content is missing the mark” – Don’t be precious. Listen to what people say. Don’t argue with readers. Experiment. When you get a good reaction, try to understand what you did right.

    “Your blog is self-indulgent” – people value expert insights and opinions on your niche topic. You are not your niche.

    “You’re not engaging with the community” – don’t be anonymous. Meet your readers. Phone them up. Invite them to contribute.

    “You’re not taking enough risks” – this is my favourite – You’ll never get everyone to love you and for everyone who loves you there’s someone who hates you. You might get everyone to kind of like you but no-one reads blogs of people they kind of like. Don’t try to please your audience. Don’t try to be someone else. You know when you’re getting it right when you get hate mail.

    Reply
  32. Taiwo

    Thanks for this analytically explanation of blogging. I am just 2 days old into the world of blogging and need all it takes to have a charming blog site. I have been having numerous pageviwers but no comment hence the search for the reason.
    Thanks.

    Reply
  33. Jeff Mazza

    Hi and thanks for your article. My blog may or may not be “viral” worthy. I don’t know for sure. When someone reads it they tell me how much they enjoy it. I’m worried that perhaps I have done something wrong on the technical, behind the scenes side tha is keeping my traffic down. How can I tell. I’ve been bloging for a few years now but the jargon is still like another language to me. Is there a simple way to see if everyting is set up as well as possible. I think I’ll have an easier time working on content once I can relax about the technical part.

    Reply
  34. Aditya

    I would like to add a 6th reason to this list: blog with a focus. What is it that you are passionnate about, have expertise in or are interested in? Blogs that I tend to follow and appreciate are those where content is always, or almost always on topic. I don’t mind the occasional off-topic rant, but if I come to one’s blog to read about marketing, social media, politics or whatever, I expect to read about this content, comment or share accordingly.

    But some bloggers don’t get that and content is all over the map. How can they build a followership? Unless you are a known celebrity, nobody will bother following your blog because there is no compelling reason to do so. This can be rather easily overcome by working on a editorial calendar for the next 3-6 months, for example, thus helping to create a clear focus on what topics to write about, and why.

    Reply
  35. pamela

    I am not a year in yet pamelabarber.blogspot.com.au
    my husband and I have a laugh’ he thinks I am a real ”nu- ta” as I have not had ”one” comment ! GIGGLE GIGGLE Not even sure if anyone looks but it does say I do have lookers but I think many of them are my own’ even though I don’t ‘think’ I track my own but come on ”not one comment’ my husband & now my sister thinks it hell-arias!! Anyway as Ellen would say have a laugh or a aaahhhhhh moment from Oprah! I am having much fun writing each week to myself and hubby…….. ”HAPPY BLOGGING EVERYONE”

    Reply
  36. cristian

    This is a great inspirational post for people who is beginning in the world of blog. Thank you! I’m gonna check this blog more often I find it very interesting.

    Reply