By Sheila Beal
With great enthusiasm, I started blogging about Hawaii vacation planning three months ago. I’ve been plugging and posting away and know that I’ve definitely been bitten by the blogging bug. From my experience with blogging, I now truly understand the definition of a labor of love. I’ve learned that in the early days of a blog, the effort outweighs the rewards.
As I have been traveling up the steep learning curve, I’ve been searching for advice on how to make a blog successful. Recently, Problogger posted an excellent guest post from Tim Hamm on 10 techniques he used to grow his blog from 0 to 12,000 RSS subscribers in seven months. Point number five really resonated with me. It says “Don’t give into negativity.” I think it is human nature to feel a bit frustrated and unmotivated when your blog isn’t an instant success, but you can’t let it get the best of you.
As much as I hate to admit it, I’ve caught myself veering towards the negativity trap a time or two. So, I’ve developed a list of ideas to keep me focused and motivated towards progress.
- Stay Excited – Remember the passion and excitement that you had when you first started blogging. Reflect back on that enthusiasm that kept you up late at night brainstorming. Recapture and renew your excitement. For myself, I love going to Hawaii and helping friends and family plan their trips there. So, it was natural for me to want to blog about a place I love. I often tell people that by writing a blog about Hawaii vacations, I get to go there everyday in my mind. It’s really quite nice.
- Recognize Improvements – Recognize that you are constantly improving your skills as a blogger, writer, and communicator. If you don’t believe me, go back and take a look at some of your posts from the early days. I have certainly noticed a marked improvement in only a few months. So, I pat myself on the back for having raised my own bar.
- Be Realistic – Accept that some industries naturally have a larger audience. Internet marketing, self improvement and political blogs are all high demand blog topics. So I should accept that, a blog about general travel will naturally have more traffic than a blog focused on travel to Hawaii. Perhaps your blog is more of a niche blog like Go Visit Hawaii is, so set realistic traffic expectations.
- Be Patient – Recognize that blogs don’t become successful overnight. Even the most successful blogs started out with only a handful of readers. Look at the overall trend for traffic and comments. If it is moving upwards, you are gaining momentum. At first, it would be rare for me to see a comment on my posts, now even my new blog has posts that get multiple comments. (Woohoo! Someone’s reading!)
- Stay Focused – Resist the urge to obsess over web analytics or the number of RSS readers. Instead, focus on what you can control and that is producing good quality content and networking with other quality blogs. I went through a phase where I was constantly checking my analytics. Knowing the data is good, but spending too much time analyzing it is not.
- Investing for the Future – Remind yourself that all the content you are writing now will pay off dividends for years to come. Most everything you are writing now will eventually come up in someone’s search results whether now or three months from now or even three years from now. I continue to get traffic for a post I wrote three months ago about a Girlfriend’s Getaway Promotion in Maui.
- Celebrate Small Goals – Appreciate what you have, whether it’s that faithful commenter or the unexpected trackback. Relish, nourish, and bask in the good feedback and interaction you are getting.
- Build Friendships – In the short period of time that I’ve been blogging, I’ve already made blogger friends and that has been fun and exciting. By making these new friends and seeing their progress, it has been motivating for me to continue blogging.
- Have Fun – If you are not in the mood to blog, don’t force yourself. Instead, step away from it, read, see a movie, or go for a walk. I know there have been days that I just didn’t feel inspired to blog and though I felt pressure to blog, I didn’t. The next day, it seemed that I had renewed vigor for the blog. Sometimes, a vacation day from your blog can be very refreshing.
I hope that you will find these ideas useful. You’ll notice that this list is not your typical “top 10”. I’ve intentionally left it at nine so that the tenth idea comes from you. So, please tell me what techniques or ideas you’ve used to tell Negative Nelly to talk to the hand?
About Sheila Beal
Sheila Beal is the editor of Go Visit Hawaii a blog for those planning a vacation to Hawaii or simply wish they were. She’s also the wife of Marketing Pilgrim’s Andy Beal, but she hopes you won’t hold that against her.