A guest post by Anastasiya Goers of Balance In Me
If you’ve been blogging for awhile now, you’ve probably found yourself feeling once or twice (maybe more?) that your blog has plateaued. This is a natural process of growing, yet it makes you wonder, “Is this all I can get out of blogging? I’ve done everything I can already and I don’t know what to do next.”
These feelings of doubt and uncertainty can ruin any blogging spirit. These plateaus can happen whether you’re just getting your first readers (you seem to be stuck at 50 subscribers–half of whom are your friends and relatives), or when you’ve reached 500 (WooHoo!), 1000, or any other number of subscribers. It happens to everyone; however, you can choose to stay stuck or you can choose to grow without stopping, no matter what.
I learned the hard way how important it is to get your blogging momentum going. When I started blogging I reached a whopping number of 20 readers (Do you remember being there? It almost feels embarrassing to be a blogger with 20 readers!), and I got stuck there for six months. Not the best way to start my blogging career, right?
After changing some priorities, going through amazing blogging training and changing my attitude towards blogging, I’ve finally broken through that blogging plateau. Now my blog keeps growing steadily month after month.
If you feel stuck or if you’re afraid that you’ll get stuck soon, here are some ideas to keep your blog growing no matter what. If you’re a virgin blogger, then these strategies will help you go from 0 to infinity.
Main rule: Try new things constantly.
Trying new things with the blog is the main strategy that keeps my blog growing. I have a plan to try something new every two weeks. Finding exciting ideas for your blog is not difficult if you follow Problogger, Copyblogger and of course Virgin Blogger Notes. Implementing those ideas on your blog is the difficult part.
Make it a rule to try a new tip every week or every month (depending on how much time you can spend with your blog). Keep using the tips that work, and throw away the ones that don’t.
The amazing part about trying something new on your blog is that:
- it will keep you excited about blogging all the time (it’s your vaccine against writer’s block and that kind of stuff);
- trying something new is difficult, but once you get the hang of it, it gets really easy. For example, starting to tweet might be challenging at first (How can you put so much meaning into just 140 characters?) but after 20-50 tweets it gets really easy. Writing posts at first is difficult (if you aren’t a pro writer, of course) but soon it becomes easy (Look at Darren Rowse, Leo Babauta or any other A-list blogger. They’ve written so many posts that now they can probably write one while they’re sleeping!). Check out these 6 things that get easier if you just keep blogging;
- you don’t have to invent the wheel on your blog. You can use someone else’s idea and benefit from it. It will still be new to your readers and to you;
- while trying something new, you will become a better blogger yourself.
It’s a good idea to have a list of new things that you can try on your blog. Here are some of the ideas that I’ve been using lately and that have worked wonders for me (the trick of course is to constantly update this list):
- Write guest posts. If you’ve written guest posts for bloggers in your niche, then you should branch out into a different “market”. Make sure that this new market still has readers that you want to reach on your blog. Virgin Blogger Notes definitely does not have much in common with life balance (the main focus of my blog), but this guest post is my “branching-out.”
- Write a mega-list post. If you don’t have one yet, then it’s a good time to write one. Try to keep it creative and fun, and don’t bore your readers to death.
- Collaborate with other bloggers. Make a post with links to a lot of other bloggers in your niche, and notify those bloggers about this post. Most of them will enjoy the free publicity on your blog, and they’ll spread the link to your content on social media or even mention it in their own posts. This strategy brought a huge traffic boost to my blog (check out my Book of Wisdom post). Don’t be afraid to contact even the biggest guys in your niche (the worst case scenario is you won’t get a response, so you’re not losing anything) because most of them will be glad to help you.
- Change your design. Sometimes it’s a good idea to take a close look at your design (or ask someone else to do it for you). Is it time to make it more personal, less cluttered or more usable? I didn’t realize how bad my first design looked until I heard it from someone else (actually I heard it from Leo Babauta. Embarrassing!). A new design definitely made my blog more attractive for readers, and the subscriber count started growing right away.
- Take a blogging course or join a community. There are plenty of online training courses for bloggers that will give you a deeper understanding of what you’re doing (or should be doing) to get better results). Most of these courses provide very valuable information, and they let you connect with like-minded people. I was lucky to get on board with the first A-List Blogging Bootcamp by Leo Babauta and Mary Jaksch, and it was a huge turning point for me. Right now I’m a member of their A-List Blogger Club, and I get a lot of inspiration from this community.
- Try a different style. Very often bloggers (me included) get stuck in a certain writing pattern. You find what works (lists are definitely great, such as titles of “10 Ways to…”, “How to …” etc.), and you keep using this patterns constantly. Sometimes it’s fun to mix things up by writing a very short post or a very long one, writing an essay or a story from life, copying the style of another blogger, adding a poll, doing an interview, or asking your readers a question.
- Add video. Video seems to be the new big thing online. Even Google seems to be placing more importance on video entries (they pop up on the first page and seem to stay there), so talking to your readers aloud can be your next big thing.
- Play with your traffic sources. Chances are you’re already focusing on one source of traffic for your blog (social media, search engine traffic or other blogs). Try to focus on the source of traffic that you’re using the least now because you might be missing out on a lot of opportunities.
- Optimize your blog posts for search engines. I get a lot of traffic from search engines because a few of my posts have great rankings there. Search engine traffic is stable, and you can count on staying at the top of Google for weeks, months or even years (unlike social media popularity).
- Keep this list going. Depending on your niche, you can come up with other ideas for your blog. Do you want to add a forum or a membership site? Are you ready to introduce a newsletter? Are you already offering a free product to your customers? You’ll never run out of new things to try on your blog!
I’ve learned so much since I started blogging, and I know that there will be plenty more opportunities for me to learn. I find it fun and exciting to try new things on my blog and in my life because this novelty does not let me get bored and helps me stay in balance (I tied this post to life balance after all :-)).
Your turn: What new things do you want to try?
Author Bio. Anastasiya writes about life balance on her blog Balance In Me. Download her free eBook The Book of Wisdom: 50 ideas for the all-around balanced life and keep your life (and blogging!) balanced!