When you are committed to success, stagnation is not a word to love. Signs that your blog may be trapped on a blind alley are not hard to detect: after a decent start, your subscriber base is not growing anymore, traffic is dropping, Alexa rank seems to have frozen (not to mention Google Pagerank) and you don’t seem to be cited or linked to. If this is happening, you may need to recalibrate your content and promotion strategy.
One thing I can say for sure: ALL bloggers I know, whether independent speakers or company representatives, have experienced tough times with their platforms. Crisis is a natural part of our lives and is most often followed by reconstruction.
Most frequent reasons your blog may be on decline:
- You ran out of time and resources. Managing a blog can be daunting sometimes. The moment you realize you need to quit your job to handle all the work is a landmark in your blogging carrier – the opportunity for a fresh start.
- Experiencing niche issues. Pitching a too crowded market segment is maybe the most common obstacle for a newcomer. It may also happen that you write for people with other reading habits, who don’t regularly digest blogs but prefer other sources of information, for instance mainstream media.
- The topic you write about is just not engaging enough to sustain a blog on the long run. If you chose to speak about paper bags, maybe there isn’t enough strength in the topic itself to keep readers’ interest alive for months.
How to reinstate your blog’s growth?
- Pinpoint your SEO issues. Check your site for crawling problems on Google Webmaster Tools: 404 error pages, wrong denied access, robots.txt fetching errors. Once you’ve done that, ask yourself whether there is any reason to get de-ranked. If you recently exchanged links with “bad neighborhoods” or you over-optimized pages for keywords, make sure you undo it to be safe and clean.
- Carry an online survey on your website or via newsletter to test people’s real topics of interest and reading habits. This is a great starting point for any change plan. A survey reveals data about your public that you never thought about and is also a trust bonus you give to users. People love to feel that their opinion matters and they will surely reward you for the courtesy of asking.
- Find new and engaging topics to write about. There is a certain value (or non-value) index of the topic itself, which you cannot surpass regardless how brilliant as a writer you are. This is where you should embrace change. Find a newsworthy niche which constantly brings hot topics to talk about and new angles to discuss them.
- Wipe out stale content. Any post that’s older than 4-5 days is a complete turnoff for readers. Proofread your older posts again, not only for orthography, but also for their overall tone. Are you warm and empathetic? Do you provide value to your readers? Make sure your posts are easy to scan through and create that good timeless connection with your readers.
- Revamp your design with a great theme. If you run the blog on WordPress, the classic couple Thesis-Genesis theme may bring a pick for you. Your loyal readers will surely be pleasantly surprised by the novelty and new users will naturally associate the professional interface with your brand.
- Use web forms to become more reachable. Users need the shortest possible way to get in touch with you. Forms are of great help here. Not only you gather valuable insights from visitors, but you can also grow your email marketing lists at the same time. Design a short feedback form and let people choose from a dropdown list the reason they are contacting you for. It’s short, simple and stands as prove for your openness.
- Strengthen your social media profiles. Become a public figure that people get accustomed to, by regularly posting on Facebook, Twitter and Google + about your own niche. Make it simple for people to comment on your posts directly from their social media accounts.
- Be freehanded at giving incentives. You should work a bit upon your reward system for loyal readers. Anything can be considered, from free e-books for download to membership to private areas of the website. Why not even go out for a pint of beer with your closest local fans? It’s a great way to show you’re a real person who values friend connection.
- Build new relationships with fellow bloggers. You have to give in order to get, so be the first to link to other blogs and comment actively. As your network grows, you will receive brand exposure, credibility and new opportunities to grow as a blogging authority.
- Put on a positive mindset and don’t get discouraged. Even if you swim in troubled waters, there are plenty of tools and inspiration to help you out, just get your rear in gear.
Guest Post By: Laura Moisei writes for 123ContactForm, a service that helps users create beautiful online forms and surveys for any webpage. Laura is a dedicated blogger and business consultant with a passion for technology.