This month BlogPrefect has focused on restarts. It is an activity that some bloggers will undertake during the length of their blogging career.
Return to Blogging
In this fine month of June I have covered a selection of restart topics, not necessarily in their logical order. You should tackle each as ordered below.
- 10 actions to restart your blog – This article provides 10 thought-provoking ways to promote activity on restarting.
- Blogging Momentum – This article details reasons behind why as a blogger you might falter and what you need to bear in mind and have ready when blogging.
- Spending the Right Time on Blogging – This article looks at the 60 minute challenge, a method I devised in 2014. This method helps keep overall writing time short but provide a readable article that helps fill a gap. A note is not to rely on this kind of article all the time but it helps to pad out and experiment with niche related ideas in a low time versus risk method.
- How to create a free guide – Guide creation is something that you can do to boost a number of areas of your blog, namely the mail subscription and by means of providing a giveaway to your audience. Giving helps establish a relationship. This article provides some insight in how to go about it.
The Penalty of Stepping Off the Gas
I’ve always known there was a penalty for inconsistency.
BlogPrefect’s traffic analysis for the past 6 months will be unveiled on the 4th July. In two of those months namely April and May, there were no articles written and as you might expect, overall site views and engagement tanked. Some of the figures resemble numbers seen back in the gloomier days of 2014 and BlogPrefect began its light in the sun mid-June of 2013.
The truth of blogging is that you have to continually push out content to hold station otherwise all the hard work you put in to grow is eroded.
I’ve managed to post consistently for the whole month and the green shoots of recovery have returned. Charting by the middle of the month of June it was clear to see that many of my measures had demolished the previous month’s tally.
How Do You Determine What’s a Normal Level of Operation?
It is difficult to determine what should be a normal level of operation when monthly totals can fluctuate.
What is more sensible to acknowledge is that all figures shouldn’t retreat more than 5 – 10% of the previous month because your site will be receding.
If you are losing more than 10% you could be hemorrhaging which is as unpleasant as it sounds.
Older Content Often Out Trumps New
Commonly older content has had more time to shine and dig its way into the search engine algorithms.
Something that might have done badly when you initially threw it out into the wilderness comes back again later with more ferocity because it is on topic again. This only happens if you had some minor pickup in the start.
Minor pickup? The article got some warmth in its inception. That is to say that a number of readers in the order of 10 or more viewed it.
I’ve always found it surprising over the 3 years of BlogPrefect.com to see what resurfaces again. I have written over 190 articles and some I’ve poured many hours into. Some of those articles have resurfaced but not the ones I had expected.
Don’t be disheartened if you have a shallow splash up front. It might come back again later but if not, just make sure you haven’t spent too long developing it.
Length of Time Spent Per Article/Post
You know how those teachers at school, when giving the class generalised feedback on how they did in the mock exam, would extol the virtue of working smarter rather than harder on their revision?
If you haven’t got that kind of memory, you would have at least heard of the saying “Work Smarter, Not Harder.”
There is some truth to that.
As you can already guess by now, this article you are reading seeks to summarise the month’s activities and consolidate thoughts on a restart to a blog because it is something that BlogPrefect.com has had to go through.
In order to maintain the schedule and regain momentum, I had to create one article using an old method I had pioneered back in 2014. This method still works by the way.
I wrote 10 or so 60 minute articles and found a number of them got some mild interest. Focusing yourself to write for 60 minutes helps the creative juices flow and teaches you a lesson on gathering information.
The only sticking point is that you need ideas to base around so it is down to the quality of your research.
Trending Culture Cynicism
Following popular trends are what you should do but is not always the best thing to do.
Why Headboy? Why?
The answer lies in a deep labyrinth of curiosity. Sparking audience imagination is valuable. If you only ever cover what somebody else has been writing, what can you claim is your own?
There is a lot of wheel reinvention for some bloggers to capture the same thin market. It is not always about who was first on the topic but how well they rocked it. I feel though, despite this, you can only flog a dead horse so far. Who scrolls to the tenth page of a Google results page?
Sometimes you have to step beyond what everyone else is talking about and cover a topic meaningful to you and your select audience. It may not be on point with everyone else but it doesn’t really matter as long as it is important to your audience.
Following Cycles is Better
Not motorcycles or bicycles but cyclical topics. These are the kind of topics you can dip your feet in for a time, leave, then return to later when you know and have researched more.
You can apply this to any type of blog, in any niche. Heard it here first.
There will always be one element of whatever you are tracking that will come up time after time.
As an example I have considered what a boat building hobbyist blog might cover repeatedly:
- How to waterproof your new boat
It is something that everybody has to do when they finish their project before they take their new boat out on the water. It’s time consuming and there are some tips and tricks. Better methods might be brought to the market over time.
- What tools to have in your toolkit
Subjective as it is, there has to be a base minimum set of tools that any boat builder needs from novice to veteran. As new flashy equipment is made over time, that toolkit can change.
- How you can save money on your build
Everybody is money conscious so there are bound to be new ways to cut costs whilst maintaining quality. Methods of making those savings can change over time.
Remaining in Niche Topic
This will be critical to your success. Diverge and invite doom.
A certain Big Wig Blogger suggested that on a rare occasion you should cover a passion topic because it makes you easy to relate to. The problem is that until you have a tribal following with email subscribers bursting through every orifice, you should hold off on the personal passion angle.
If remaining in your topic boundary means that you have to postpone the launch you had planned for week X so that you can deliver on topic in week Y, you should postpone.
Big Wig Bloggers earn their personality/ego posts through having done enough in the early days to get enough willing participants to buy into their philosophy.
- You don’t have those numbers yet. Be honest.
- Your approach can only change when you are a true leader.
You can add some small sprinkles of your stories, your anecdotal evidence, and the analogies that were important to you when you were growing up.
It is just important not to wade too deep into self-indulgence. Self-indulgent posts were a topic I covered in detail, they are a type of post you should avoid writing unless you are on a free hobbyist platform such as blogger where everybody is self-indulgent.
Norms Are the Enemy
Not people called Norman. Not invading French.
“Normal is an inflexible concept in a diverse world.”
You should work to rules but try not to stick to routines that don’t return.
The only way you will know this is looking at your statistics.
- Try something new
- Look for the gaps that other people have left
Robust Methods of Analysing Statistics
You have to spend time with purpose when looking at your stats otherwise you can spend hours chasing your tail.
Stat watching is a fun pastime. It is perhaps the most favourite element of my blogging work. I take great joy in analysing my data even if some might perceive my numbers to be awful. I have no shortage of passers-by, stuffing in cold calling emails through my contact page about how they can get me more traffic.
You can get carried away with over analysing data that in truth is completely uncontrollable. You are often at the mercy of your audience.
So if you have a transient audience
- Your data will be erratic
You could liken your audience to simple passers-by at a remote gas station. You might see the odd few regulars but most people will be passing through and may never grace your door again.
If you have a loyal following
- Your data will be predictable
You could liken your audience to a quiz night at the pub. The same old faces and occasionally some new ones will turn up for a fun evening and will come back repeatedly. The important aspect is community spirit.
Bounce Rate is Not Wise to Dwell on in Google Analytics
Blogs are traditionally high bounce compared to sites like Amazon because of why you are likely to arrive at a blog and what as a reader you are likely to need there.
With Amazon, you already have the intent to buy, or at least see what’s on offer. You arrived there organically (through typing in the address, following your bookmark or being prompted by an email). There are many items that could catch your eye so you are likely to visit many pages on your visit and the overall duration of your stay is likely to be high.
With your blog, how deep is someone likely to permeate? How long are they likely to hang around? It may only be 1 post that interests that reader, they get what they want then leave. Hence the high bounce rate.
Big Wig Bloggers are a great deal more effective at enticing passers-by to go deeper by pushing the right buttons and by having the depth of content that can fulfill enough solutions. The way they display their content is logical and they’ve spent time designing the user’s journey. It’s all about funneling you through to get to a certain goal.
If you have not been blogging long, or just don’t produce at frequency, it will take time to develop enough trapping or ensnaring content.
One thing is certainly true with bounce rate; the less you are doing, the higher it will be.
I wanted to conclude the article with more than a few words on motivation. Blogprefect.com had to take a hibernation for two months to allow me to perform well on my final project. Without that time I knew that I would not be able to provide quality in my final work. For me, the motivation was always with completing my degree. I’ve spent time, money and effort in furthering myself. The degree came first without compromise therefore BlogPrefect.com had to take the compromise.
Understandably, that’s not great for you the reader.
When you have written consistently for a period and build up all of your research, analysis and handling techniques — continuing to provide quality is easy. It is when you pause from the conventions you’ve built up that the task becomes harder.
- Approaching a big article to return to your audience with, is daunting.
- Producing a big article after months of consistent planning is easy.
- Downing your tools is never good, especially with Blogging.
Before considering more than two weeks of non-blogging activity, consider what difficulty you might have getting started again. If you think of your blog as a nuclear power-plant then consider how long after decommissioning it will take to bring the plant out of “moth-balls” to an operational state. That time will always be longer than you think.
You Can’t Be “On The Pulse” All of the Time
You are going to have some posts that perform poorly regardless of the time you spend marketing them. The timing might be wrong, the topic might be wrong or how you chose to present the information might be wrong. If you don’t get the feedback, you won’t know. Regardless, it’s wrong.
Sometimes you just have to accept that your product was an NI or Needs Improvement event and move on. Failure teaches more than success.
You have to know when to surrender and fight a new battle.
Social media and other veins of marketing require you to be up to a level of reciprocity, activity and dependability before they yield warm numbers again. For all the time you waste trying to push something new on the block from a time in pause, you are wasting your overall effort on getting back on track. You should be producing consistent content instead.
- Not all tactics work forever.
- Novelties often wear off.
- At some point you will need to explore new options again.
Maximising the Good Times
When you are on a roll you should do more than the satisfactory. Having ideas in the bank saves you when you have no ideas on the boil. Returning to a WordPress posts list in the dashboard to find you have no drafts waiting is a bad feeling. You’ll be left scrabbling to understand what direction you need to head.
There is a problem keeping drafts too long though. You should aim that all drafts shouldn’t sit for longer than a month. You should intend to use every piece you craft otherwise you waste time needlessly. If there is an exception to this it should be an Epic post. With an Epic post you have to know when to release it.
In terms of continuing, you should have some form of checklist that reminds you what the purpose of your blog is. Many Big Wig Bloggers have a mission statement buried away within their blog. It could be in their welcome, on their about page or somewhere near. Some Big Wig Bloggers keep pinboards or shoe boxes full of emails, letters and other signs that their audience love and have gained from what they are doing. Sometimes you need praise to keep you in the hunt, even old praise.
You always get people who knock. These are the people who cast dispersion on what you’ve done. The important thing to remember is that if readers make noise on what you are doing wrong, you are having some effect. You are getting noticed.
Participants on the Internet or the web are fairly polite. Rather than tell you what’s up they simply ignore you. It is the positive reinforcement trick. Do a good job, someone might give you a treat. Do that job wrong, expect to be ignored.
Occasionally you will get one person who is “brass necked” or courageous enough to tell you that you have a major failing and the argument they present is worth looking into, even if you don’t initially agree. You can be as magnanimous in defeat as you want and seal that hole but you better make sure you seal it good.
- Pull up your socks and get out there.
- Make some noise.
- Savour every blogging day.
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Featured Image via Pixabay by Suedelbien
Bike gears image via Pixabay by Stux
Cake image via Pixabay by Cbaquiran