For any Internet marketer who has been spending an insane amount of time in front of the computer building up his website and doing all that are “proven techniques”, there’s a sense of desperation to see some results. Results in the form of blog traffic, sales, leads or sign-ups.
And when they do not happen even after a year of working your ass off, it can be really demoralising.
It takes a long time to see results from your website, they say. You’ve heard that so many times.
But what is it that is missing from your website that people are simply giving it a miss?
Are you one of those thousands (is it millions?) of mediocre bloggers who nobody gives a crap about. Serious question, isn’t it? Something that beckons you to do a deep soul-searching.
You’re doing the very things other successful bloggers are doing – writing blog posts regularly, the social media stuff, building lists, catchy titles, keyword research, good featured images, and the SEO, both on-page and off-page.
But still, there’s not even a hint of a rising traffic. Your blog traffic or the number of daily visitor count is erratic as usual. Some days it hovers somewhere in the 30s and yet there are days when the visitor count is in single digit.
And when there’s a slight spike in the traffic graph, you’re clueless as to what’s causing it. Just like you don’t know why so few visitors land on your website on certain days.
Most of the time, you’re confused about what works for you and what does not.
It’s all a guessing game and mostly a shot-in-the-dark routine.
It’s almost like waiting for the jackpot on the slot machine.
Does this sound familiar?
I cannot pretend to be able to tell you things that would work wonders for your blog traffic.
However, I can tell you things that should be avoided if you’re a beginner blogger.
I’m not sure if you already know about them or if I’m going to offer anything new for you here.
Hang on and just see if what I say resonates with you. They might and they might not.
Do You Do a Lot of Keyword Research?
Some people swear by the many keyword research tools available.
They say a keyword tool is a must-have for any blogger who’s looking to write posts that would rank well in search engine results pages.
Initially, I was also excited with all the research and the results that are thrown up during searches for low-competition keywords.
The power of keywords and all.
I even had a list of low-competition keywords built up for potential future blog posts.
I cannot remember when I stopped these exercises but I realised later that I was no more doing the keyword research for my blog posts.
I have nothing against keyword research. In fact, I favour it if you’re a beginner.
But this is more to get an idea of the role of keywords and the best practices for using them in your posts.
Beyond that, I do not consider it something that you should be investing a lot of time into.
Even if you rank well with certain low-competition keywords, if your website is new, the high ranking is short-lived. For your post to stay atop the ranking pages, there are a lot many other factors other than the freshness of content.
With experience, you’ll realise that these keywords research is an overrated technique for rankings.
Write for your audience and not for the search engines. The rankings will happen.
In any case, the posts that consistently rank high in search engine result pages (the top 10 positions) for different keywords are the older ones. Those posts that are more than a year old mostly.
Do You Try Hard To Be Original?
Most beginners are under the pressure to be original.
But try as hard as you may, it can be safely assumed that in any niche, most things that needed to be said have already been written in the many blogs on the web.
This means, what you think is an original idea would have already been thought of and put up in blogs somewhere.
If you are obsessed with being original, it might become difficult and frustrating to come up with ideas for your next blog post. You might procrastinate. Your writing may suffer as a result.
If you’re a beginner, it will not be easy to come up with original ideas.
The best thing is to find new ways of saying the same thing that resonates with your readers.
You can say the same thing differently that your readers can relate to easily.
Instead of trying hard to be original and getting frustrated with finding new ideas, it makes more sense to find new writing angles. Give old ideas new perspectives, a fresh lease of life so to say.
Blogging or being in the online business is a lonely venture where you have to figure out on your own what works for you and what doesn’t.
But when you’re a beginner, you will have to follow the beaten track. You’ll have to follow the experts and listen to what they say.
This does not mean you should be following them blindly.
As they say, “To know the road ahead, ask those coming back”.
You will have to follow the proven techniques of the successful people before finding your own unique way to do things.
You will need to master the things that work for many people. Then and only you will know how to invent your own techniques.
Following other people should not make you feel unoriginal. It should not freak you out.
If you’re a beginner, it’s more of a time-wasting exercise trying to be authentic.
Do You Build List First?
Most beginners are swamped with blog posts or tips on the need to have a good following on the social media and to have a long list of subscribers in order to get traffic. So what they’ll do is get themselves all worked-up on the best practices of the many social media channels for traffic.
It gets to the point where instead of learning to create better content every time, they are overly worried about how to follow relevant people on their many social media handles in the hope that it would result in an increase of blog traffic.
Of the many areas where most beginners get frustrated and clueless is email marketing.
Having heard from many Internet gurus about the importance of building subscribers’ list, they try hard to master the email marketing techniques, the best-practices about designing opt-in forms or pop-ups. Which, of course, is pretty pointless unless you have a good body of work on your blog.
Email marketing is indeed an evergreen strategy to gain a good following or turn subscribers into your customers but it is best done when you have mastered other more important areas of your business like creating valuable content.
For beginners, learning email marketing can be a distraction.
Do You Write Irregularly?
Google loves fresh content. If you have a new blog, it is important that your content-creation is regular.
You need to work out a strategy to have a blogging schedule.
Life happens and there will be times when you are unable to keep up with your schedule.
But if you have a schedule and a target that is reasonable, it’s a positive way to bring out the best in you in trying to keep up with the routine.
You have many important things in your life. Like your job and your family, for instance.
But if you can prioritise blogging as one of your important things, you will always manage to find the time to blog.
As a beginner, if you write only when you feel like or only when you feel inspired, you will realise that you manage to find the best excuses not to write.
If you do not write, it’s only natural that there will be only a few visitors to your blog.
Most successful bloggers write regularly.
Most successful blogs update their content regularly.
Do You Have Multiple Blogs?
You only have 24 hours in a day and if you’re already with a 9-5 job, then it will not be possible to dedicate more than 15-20 hours on your blog in a week. Unless you’re planning to sleep less than 5 hours a day.
You need to be watchful of your health.
You do not want an early burnout, do you?
There are beginners who dabble in more than one website in different niches.
If you have two websites and if you have only 20 hours a week that you consider as “free time” for your blogging activity, it means you will dedicate only 10 hours on each website.
It translates to a little more than an hour on each website daily.
You cannot be as productive as you would have loved to which affects everything – content creation, learning, and focus.
If you’re a beginner, it’s in your best interest to focus on only one website.
But if you branch out too early, you get thinned out on your resources.
All these ultimately affect your blog traffic.
Are You Obsessed With the Length of Your Posts?
Studies reveal that longer posts tend to outperform their shorter counterparts.
By longer posts, I mean those with more than 1800 words.
Longer posts are seen as more thorough on what they have to say and hence are shared more readily on the social media.
And when you’re able to give your readers a well-researched article, they tend to stay longer on your posts, which is a positive ranking factor.
However, if you become too obsessed with the number of words or the length of your post, it is possible that your writing may suffer.
In trying to keep up with the word target, you might become too wordy which could result in more bounce-rates.
Nobody likes to read a circumlocutory narrative.
If you tend to digress from the main topic, you cannot be expecting your readers to lap up your writing.
Never try to write a 2000-word post that could be expressed in only 1200 words.
Is Your Website Unprofessional-Looking?
Looks matter as far as websites are concerned.
The visuals are the first to strike a visitor when he lands on a website.
A clean and professional-looking website gives out a good impression of your brand.
A well-designed website has better chances of halting visitors on your page.
The first few seconds (or microseconds) when a visitor lands on your website are crucial. They can either get intrigued to check out more of your website or jump away instantly.
A clumsy-looking website with poor images makes it look unprofessional.
Even if you write good content, if your visual elements are poor, it gives out a negative impression of your brand. It makes you look careless.
Does Your Website Have a Poor Load-Speed?
Not all but some free WordPress themes tend to have slow load speeds. This is mainly because of poor coding and poor compatibility with some popular plugins.
Also, having too many plugins in your pursuit for increased functionality of your website also result in slow website speed.
In this sense, I would prefer a Premium theme over a free WP theme. They tend to be better coded and have enhanced functionalities without the need for many plugins. Of course, a Premium theme does not guarantee fast loading but at least, the support from its developers will be available.
Slow loading speed is one important factor that negatively affects your website’s ranking. It gives a poor user-experience which is one of the many ranking factors.
People hate slow-loading websites and hence, the slower your website’s speed is, the more will be the bounce rate.
Are You Very Loud?
Most people hate being bombarded with really loud sales pitches.
In all the din, in order that you are heard, you will have to promote yourself vigorously. Being loud is an acceptable behaviour in marketing, and especially Internet marketing.
As a beginner, things will not be easy for you to stand out from the crowd. But in your endeavour to be heard, if you become too loud in your promotions and campaigns without even a good body of content on your website, you might upset your audience.
It also makes you sound desperate and cheap.
Don’t go overboard with your promotions.
Promotions are necessary but this should be at the cost of irritating your readers.
There’s Nothing Wrong or Right in Blogging
The best thing about Internet marketing or blogging is that there are no hard and fast rules for doing things for better online visibility.
What works for other people might not work for you, and vice versa.
It comes with experience and after having committed many mistakes to figure out what works for you and what does not.
However, if you’re a beginner, you will have to follow the proven techniques of successful bloggers. It’s clichéd but it takes time for the traffic to build up.
The more work you put into your website, the better are the results in terms of traffic and sales.
You cannot expect the desired results to happen when you are able to dedicate only a few hours every day on your blog.
And if you’re working part-time with a full-time job already, then it is going to take even longer.
Keep learning. Just keep on working.