There’s nothing worse than having a blog that sucks. Well, actually there is – famine, flood, war, an alien invasion. But a sucky blog is equally a terrible thing.
Here are some of the things that could be ruining your dream of being a “Full Time Blogger”
1. Your Writing Sucks
I know it’s a sensitive topic. Telling other artists that their work isn’t up to scratch automatically places me on the Evil Guy list. But we have to be honest. I KNOW that you know your writing belongs in the trash bin. But somehow, someway, it managed to escape and paste itself on your blog page for the whole world to see.
Now everyone knows that your verb-nouns do not agree; you don’t know when to use commas, you don’t know the difference between its and it’s, their and there etc. Need I go on?
What it does: Poor writing tells your audience that the author is careless or incompetent. Your target audience is literate and getting more and more sophisticated by the day.
Poor writing hinders understanding. According to research by Loewenstein, author of The Gap Theory, it’s important to remember that knowledge gaps are painful. A gap in our knowledge causes mental pain. When people leave your blog feeling unsure about what you were trying to tell them, you might as well be torturing them with your terrible writing.
Solution: repeat after me – editing, editing, editing. Get an editor. Your editor is like your pastor – you confess your sins and he helps you fix things.
2. Most (all) of your content is from other websites
You claim to be the owner of a news blog, yet most of your “breaking news” was lifted from other people’s website. Not only are you looking for trouble, the internet will punish you by neglecting your hard work (1 minute of copy and paste is a lot of work, right?). Google’s search algorithm blacklists duplicated material.
What it does: there is no motivation for any reader to come back to your site since whatever you are giving them can be gotten directly from the source ie Bella, The Guardian or TIME.
Face it, you’re a hack and now everybody knows. It makes you look bad, never mind the fact that what you’re doing is unethical and greatly frowned upon. People have lost their jobs for plagiarizing.
Solution: Add value. Instead of duplicating what already exists, why don’t you write a well researched opinion piece? Present another dimension to the issues being discussed. That means you need to have a solid grasp of the issues. The only way this is possible is if it is right in your turf.
If your interest is politics, write on politics;
If you’re a video game addict, write about videogames;
If you’re fascinated by human relationships, write about how to make friends (or lose them);
In other words, stay in your zone.
3. You have ads on your site from day one
I have been to some websites only to discover that they are ad depots. There is barely anything of value on the site. Miserly content, poorly written, and the side bars are riddled with all sorts of shady advert banners. If you fall into this category, seriously, what the hell are you thinking?
What it does: Ads from day one send out the wrong message to your audience – this site is all about the money. There is no way for you to build trust with your audience when it’s obvious from day one that “Show me the money!” is your blog anthem. I mean, look at that guy in the picture. Would you trust anything he said? Well, that’s how you look to all your readers.
Research has shown that people develop ad blindness after a while on the net. So, what happens whenever some serious minded person visits your blog is that, they see little or no valuable content on your blog. No wonder they leave your blog scratching their heads and wondering, “What the hell was that blog about?”
Solution: You know what this means – take down the ads. Every single one. I mean it. Concentrate on building an audience, finding your voice and improving your writing. Eventually, your audience will let you know what types of things they would like to get from you. Then you can start to plan how to make something people would be willing to pay for.
4. You’re not friends with at least 5 successful bloggers
In short, you’re Robinson Crusoe. You live on your own island. No one knows you’re there (at least, no one influential).
Maybe you’re scared to approach them. I don’t blame you. Having any one of the problems listed above would make me hide my face too. But you can’t continue this way. You need to build a tribe of your own, and the only way to do that is to “leech” off some of their own audience.
What it does: Your blog is like a baby – it needs help getting up and standing on two feet. Your audience reach is limited. Having no influential online friends is like trying to design, plan and build a house all by yourself. That’s why you’re not gaining much traction.
Listen, the web is all about links. The more links you have to (and from) other websites, the more people know about your blog. And the more likely those people will visit. Sadly, the reverse is equally true. If people don’t know all the hard work you’re putting into your blog, how are they going to be able to visit?
Solution: before you run off to look for Bella or Tunde, hell bent on introducing yourself (and probably asking them why they haven’t heard of you yet, afterall, your blog is the newest craze thing in town) start visiting their blogs. Leave sensible, intelligent comments. Address the moderator(s) by name. In due time, site owner is bound to take notice. Or at least, when you do decide to walk up to their front door, laptop bag slung over your shoulder, they’ll recognize you from afar and roll out the red carpet, right?
Offer to do a guest post on their blogs. Sign up for awards and competitions. Put your blog address on your business card (seriously). Shove your name in everyone’s face.
A sucky blog can be fixed. All it takes is a little genuine effort.
Are there any other tips on fixing a blog that sucks? Please leave them in the comments.