We love blogging.
We believe in it, and we suggest it to our clients all the time. But we know how hard it can be.
You lose motivation, or you run out of post ideas. One week without a post turns into a month and next thing you know, you’ve given up your blog altogether.
But just because something is hard doesn’t mean you should stop (in fact, it usually means you’re doing the right thing). We still believe in blogs and what they can do for your business. So we’ve come up with a list of 10 common blogging problems and provided a potential fix for each one. So dust yourself off, get back on that horse, and get back on track for blogging success.
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Problem 1: I’m having a hard time coming up with blog post topics.
We touched on this previously when we talked about how to start a blog for your business, because it’s probably the #1 obstacle to blogging.
The first step is to make sure your blog has a specific focus. When you’re willing to cover any topic, it’s easy to fall victim to “blank page syndrome.”
My poetry professors in college used to assign no less than 10 various features we had to fit into our poems (“must include an uncommon color,” “must be in sonnet form,” “the poem must discuss your parents lives as they were before you were born”).
It sounds hard, but my poems were way better (and way easier to write) than when professors let me write whatever I wanted.
The second step is to think about the FAQs you’re constantly answering from customers and clients. By providing answers before people even ask questions, you’re building a valuable foundation of trust that makes you look like an expert.
A famous example (well, famous in the marketing world) is the pool company that answered a common question—”how much will this pool cost me?”—in a blog post. A conservative estimate shows that the company sold between 24 and 57 pools based on this blog post alone…generating $2 million in sales!
While we can’t promise that your own FAQs will hit the jackpot for your bank account, we can assure you that they will help boost your blog volume.
Problem 2: I can’t write a quality post every day.
Awesome! You shouldn’t.
Remember my rant about the Entrepreneur blog clogging up my RSS Reader? Over-blogging is a real problem that can cause your readers to leave in droves. (I did end up unsubscribing from Entrepreneur.) Rather than posting once a day (or, God forbid, multiple times a day!) the magic number is between 1-3 times per week.
If you can hit that number, great. If you need to spread your posts out a bit more, don’t feel guilty.
Some of our clients only post twice per month (frankly, so do we). When it comes to blogging, quality is more important than quantity.
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Problem 3: My blog post is boring.
So you’ve got the informational aspect of your blogging down pat, but can’t seem to make it interesting? Well, the good news is, the tough part is over.
Try speaking your post to a person or a recorder and then transcribing what you just said. A more conversational tone can make you seem more relatable.
And don’t underestimate the power of images to help break up your post or illustrate your point. Using a free stock photo site like Pexels as well as a photo editing site like PicMonkey can help liven up a desolate post. (I use PicMonkey to create all of my blog headers.)
Finally, don’t forget to include anecdotes, metaphors, and analogies to illustrate your point.
In fact, studies have shown that analogies, similies, and metaphors make people more likely to agree with a statement. The next time you make an important point in a post, sit back for a second and think of an example or analogy you can use to drive your point home.
I should point out that stories are effective ONLY if they relate to your topic. I can’t tell you how many times I follow a Pinterest link for a great-looking pasta dish only to have to scroll past some 1,000-word story about how the blogger potty-trained her kid before I can get to the actual recipe.
Instead, the post should have talked about how the blogger came up with the recipe or how her family reacted to it. (See? That was an anecdote to illustrate my point.
Problem 4: My blog posts aren’t long enough.
Ah, word count. The pebble in the shoe of many a small business blogger.
Back in the day, 200-300 well-written words were considered the perfect amount for a blog post. (And even then, some people thought that was too many.)
But Google’s current algorithm prefers a more “information-dense” style of writing, averaging closer to 2,500 words.
Dude, that’s practically a book! How am I supposed to write that much?
First of all, don’t panic. This isn’t life or death. Second, books are usually about 100,000 words, so 2,500 is practically nothing. And third, most people will skim your article anyway.
Yeah, recent studies estimate that most people only read about 20% of the average long-form blog post.
Why make the blog post longer if no one’s going to read all those words, you ask? Who knows. People are weird. All I can say is, if Google tells you to do something to get farther up on the SERPs, you do it.
The easiest way to get the most information as possible into a blog post is to think of it as the “ultimate guide” to something. Pack as much information about that topic into your blog post as you can.
Make an outline. Create headers and subheaders. Throw in some bullet points. People LOVE bullet points.
Take that one sentence that pretty much explains everything and expand on it. Provide metaphors and stories. Give examples.
And if you’re self-conscious about your writing, remember that people are probably just gonna skim it anyway.
Problem 5: No one is reading my blog.
Maybe no one knows about it.
Every time you publish an article, remember to post it to all of your business’s social media sites. You may even decide to pay the extra bucks to “boost” the post on Facebook.
Once that’s done, make sure the search engines are able to find it. Use a tool like Ahrefs or a plugin like Yoast to target a keyword and increase your SEO score.
If you’ve got extra blog post ideas floating around, you can write a guest post on another popular blog related to your industry (use fresh content for this; don’t recycle your old stuff). Your amazing content just might bring readers from that blog to yours.
It could also be that readers aren’t finding your topics that relevant.
Re-focus your posts to trending topics, controversial subjects, or things that readers actually want to know. How do you know what people want to know? Think about the FAQs you get from customers and what’s trending on the news (and how it relates to your business, of course).
Lastly, if you’re sure your post is great and the SEO is spot-on, maybe it’s your headline. Now is not the time to get clever or vague. Say exactly what the reader is going to get out of your post. Think about the headlines that grab your attention on Facebook or Google. Chances are, they have a clear structure of problem/benefit that makes you want to click.
Problem 6: No one is commenting on my posts.
You may not have enough followers. Focus on building a great fan base to ensure that your ideal demographic has consistent access to your blog. Building a fan base (or “tribe,” as they are sometimes called) is not something you can do overnight, but it’s crucial if you want a strong foundation of followers that will carry your blog (especially if your blog is your business).
You can build a fan base by promoting yourself on various social media sites, creating an email newsletter with unique content, and including “subscribe” and RSS Feed buttons on your blog page.
Sometimes, the best solution is the simplest one: You want comments? Ask!
Ask a thought-provoking question at the end of your post and invite people to weigh in. Respond to the comments that you do get in order to foster a helpful discussion.
In the end, remember that much of this is out of your hands. You can’t put a gun to people’s heads and force them to comment.
We’re serious. You CANNOT do that.
Problem 7: I have a great SEO score, but my post isn’t gaining traction.
This is a sticky area. If you’ve read our post titled “SEO vs. Content Optimization,” you know that there is (spoiler!) a time and a place for both. You want your post to be found by the major search engines, but you want to make sure you have a great post as well.
The fix is simple: write for people first, SEO spiders second.
Remember, search engines don’t buy from you, people do. So you may need to sacrifice a perfect SEO score if your post is not informative or readable.
The good news is that Google is now looking at how good (i.e. informative, shared, etc.) your post is rather than how many times you repeat your keyword. So if your post is well-written, don’t worry about your “score.”
Trust yourself and publish it. [Tweet “Search engines don’t buy from you, people do. #iwantclarity”]
Problem 8: My blog isn’t earning enough money.
This is another sticky area, because there are two vastly different fixes for this depending on whether you run a stand-alone blog or a business blog.
Business blogs are a unique animal, because your business (rather than your blog) is the primary avenue for making money.
So while your business blog may not be depositing money into your bank account, you’ll likely see an upswing in your business’s income.
Remember, the whole point of running a business blog is to create and maintain trust between you and a potential customer. But this kind of trust (and the income that follows) doesn’t happen overnight.
Building consumer trust and creating a viable content trail can take years.
If you run a stand-alone blog without a corresponding business to keep things afloat, then not making money is a problem.
Affiliate marketing, advertising, and offering premium content are all great ways to make money from your blog once your blog is already established. No one pays for something if they’re not sure they will like what they get.
So—while the strategies are a bit different—the ultimate answer for both situations is the same: be patient and focus on great content. Once your readers catch on (and you actually deliver), you’ll be smiling again.
Problem 9: Writing a great blog post takes too much time!
DUH! And cooking a fantastic brisket takes more time than driving down to Burger King for a Whopper, but it’s worth the extra work, isn’t it?
Remember, you shouldn’t be posting every day, so you get a bit of leeway regarding the work you’ll have to put in. But if you can’t carve out even a few minutes every day to write a blog post, try having a business partner, employee, or client write a “guest post” for you (don’t forget to read it through before it’s published!); you might be surprised by the wealth of knowledge they have.
If writing just isn’t your thing (or doesn’t translate well for your particular field), try other avenues to get your content out there. Post a video on YouTube, create infographics, or make your own memes.
It isn’t specifically “blogging” that’s so great, it’s “content marketing.” And content can come in many different forms. Pick the one that’s easiest for you and run with it.
Problem 10: I’m really, really bad at writing.
Some of us at Clarity (coughOurCodercough) aren’t that great at writing either. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. Writing is a talent that you either have or you don’t (like being able to ride a unicycle).
Your talents lie in other areas (like whatever it is you do for your business).
An easy fix is to recruit someone else to do it: either another staff member or a company like us.
You can either take the valuable info in your brain and use it to flesh out an outline (a qualified content writer can polish it up in no time) or give them a topic and see what they can create.
Either way, your schedule has been freed up.
When you get down to the meat of the matter, a blog is just a vehicle for you to share your expertise with the people you want to care: your customers.
Blogging doesn’t have to be scary: if you can speak to (or email) a potential customer, you can blog. The important thing is that you are doing something to build the trust of customers without them having to shell out money and hope for the best. (The trust gap is a real thing and it’s even scarier than blogging.)
What other blogging obstacles do you have? Let us know in the comments section below!
Clarity Creative Group is a web-based solutions company located in beautiful Orlando, Florida. Our talents lie in growing businesses and rapping along to Hamilton.
Just don’t ask us to ride a unicycle.