At some point, we all get disheartened with blogging. Maybe we feel out of touch with the readers, or maybe it’s simply a matter of level or slightly falling traffic. Maybe it’s just a sense of isolation and disinterest in the topic.
This is perhaps the most important period in the life of your blog, and this moment is what separates successful blogs from unsuccessful ones. Successful blogs are the ones that reach this point and keep going, doing whatever they need to do to keep on posting.
I’m not suggesting a big recommitment to the site; these usually never work and end up in failure. Instead, the best way to keep the relationship alive is to rediscover where exactly the value is in your blog.
What you’ll find out, in the end, is that what really separates blogging from other venues of writing is the people. You are very, very close to your audience when you’re a blogger and they’re with you with every single word you post. It is this relationship that is the heart of blogging, and it is people that often provide the impetus to keep it up.
Here are some ideas for keeping the flame alive.
Save the powerful comments and emails. Whenever someone posts a comment or sends you an email telling you how much they enjoy your blog, save that email in a folder somewhere. Then, when things get rough, read through the emails in that folder. Remember how much your writing has really impacted people.
Get inspired again. Read those blogs that really spurred you into blogging. For me, when I get down, I read dooce, lifehacker, and several others. Their words and interesting ideas remind me again and again how powerful and amazing blogging can be.
Talk to fellow bloggers. Relationships with fellow bloggers are vital in keeping things up. If you don’t have a forum to communicate with other bloggers, then just look for similar blogs to yourself and just strike up a conversation. Ask them why they blog and what keeps them motivated.
Post a survey for your readers. Ask them what they like about the site – and also what they don’t like. The important part is that surveys like this often reveal that what you’re blogging is important to someone, and it is this sense of importance that provides a new direction for blogging.
Slow down your posting schedule. Some people become overwhelmed by the expectation of posting every single day, or three times a day, or twice a week – whatever their schedule is. If you find yourself feeling like you can no longer keep up, just back off with the posting schedule for a while. I’d suggest halving it on a trial basis; go to posting every other day, or three posts every two days, and see how that fits you.
Take a break. Allow yourself a certain amount of time to just step away from the blog, with a commitment to return in a week or two weeks. Although I’d encourage you to leave your readers with something to remember you by, it’s more important that you get your mindset right for the long haul. Step away if you have to, but step away with a plan.
Building a Better Blog for 2007 is a month-long series at The Simple Dollar, outlining steps you can take to build a long-term healthy blog that will attract readers. Jump ahead to the next essay, Be Lucky, or back to the previous one, Money Doesn’t Matter.