This post was guest blogged by Ryan L. of ClubBlogger.Com.
Let’s be honest here – there is nothing like the excitement of starting and launching a fresh new blog. Those feelings of being bent on taking over the blogosphere (and the world while you’re at it) are hard to top, and any motivated blogger knows the feeling that I’m talking about. I mean seriously, if you weren’t pumped and motivated, you wouldn’t have started a blog in the first place, right?
Let’s fast forward 3 months. It’s Tuesday night, and up until the last week or so, you’ve been steadily posting at least one new article every day, like all good little bloggers should. Except, tonight, you just can’t muster up the energy to write another post. Traffic is down, RSS subscribers are plummeting, and you’ve simply lost that love and feeling of writing a fresh new helpful post for what loyal readers you have left.
It happens to the best of bloggers, and from my personal observations and experience, it seems to peak at that 2-3 month mark. At that critical time in your blogs childhood, you typically aren’t seeing much income, if any, and your readership is on the edge of falling off if you don’t come up with something quick. If you can make it past this dreaded speed bump, your chances of success increase greatly – but if you fail to eat that bowl of motivation soup, you’ll likely slump off to the point where you completely give up.
Right now, at the tremendous rate of new blogs popping up, it’s probably safe to say that quite a few of your reading this are at this very important place in time with your blog, and below, we’ll look at three easy ways that you can start having fun again with your blog. Remember, your blog is your baby! And if you’re really serious about making a difference and actually making a name for yourself, you need to try extra hard to get things moving. If this helps just one blogger, my job is done, and the blogging gods will bless me with good fortune. I hope.
1. Have An Awesome Contest
Look, nothing motivates readers more than a good contest. People simply love free stuff, and they especially like free stuff, if said stuff, is cool stuff. Yes, I just used the word stuff in the same sentence 4 times. Seriously though, a lot of contests out in the blogosphere just aren’t “cool” enough, and that’s where you can capitalize. If you’re really, truly serious about running a successful blog, you’ll have to invest some money along the way to get there (unless you’re John Chow!), and there is no better way to do that then give away a bad ass prize. I’m talking Nintendo Wii’s, fancy IPods, or big chunks of cash. When your prize reaches the $200 level, people get interested. Anything above that and you’re really talking some major publicity. Any contests I’ve held on past blogs at that prize level have given me an awesome return on:
- RSS Subscribers
- Overall Readers
- Clicks On Contextual Ads
Above all of that, when you buck up and actually give away something worth talking about, it’s a load of fun for you! Seeing the immediate benefits, such as the aspects listed above, is super motivating, and just may be the weight you need to “tip” your blog over the edge. One big contest can set your blog up for a long time to come – especially if you couple that with good content. Give it a shot, and I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.
2. Network With Peer Bloggers
This doesn’t sound as exciting as number one, but trust me, it is. Here’s what you do: Take about an hour or two and compose a list of your favorite blogs that you routinely read, and start gathering contact information. In some cases you may need to use an email address, and other times you’ll have to use a contact form. Either way, start sending out emails introducing yourself. This is truly an amazing way to network and be friendly with fellow bloggers, and believe me; this can lead to all kinds of great benefits.
When you reach out and initiate conversation with other people in your niche, you can build long lasting relationships, which will lead to links to your articles from them, which leads to more traffic to your blog, which leads to more subscribers, and so on. Just imagine making friends with 30-50 bloggers in your niche. Think of the SEO benefits of having relevant sites linking to you on a regular basis? Although this gratification isn’t as immediate as the contest strategy, it’s an important thing to do if you’re serious about making your blog a success in the long run. Spend a day getting in touch, and it may be the best time investment you’ll ever make for your blog.
3. Become A Master Of (insert subject here)
This one, while it sounds more like homework, is actually another fantastic way to build the long term success of your blog. Just take a minute and think of things that you use for your blog every day: plugins, hacks, social communities such as MyBlogLog or Technorati, Twitter, and countless other programs and tools. Seriously, it doesn’t take more than a week of studying and reading to become an expert on most things Web 2.0 related, and by branding yourself as the “go to” guy or gal on a particular subject can do wonders for your blogs reputation, as well as your own personal reputation. When you master a tool, especially an up and coming one such as Twitter, or Facebook – and then you start writing about it, not only will you have droves of interested and eager learners flocking to your site, but you’ll also have a continuous stream of articles that you can write whenever you feel like it. Personally, I think it’s key to become an expert in a specific subject, as we move further into 2008. In order for your blog to succeed, you need to be known for something, and with all the available things you can specialize in, there’s really no reason you can’t establish yourself as the guru of something. Point being with this one, when you make yourself the pro, you’ll always have people to talk to, you’ll start having fun again because you’ll be guiding people who have questions, and you can also start monetizing your expertise by making niche specific recommendations, and it’s really all down hill from there.
I know this is a long one, and there are other ways you can start having fun again with your blog, but the above three are the ones that really stick out in my mind whenever I need a refresher or a boost of confidence. If you’re super motivated about making a success out of your blog, then do two of the above or even better, try all three! I think most experienced bloggers would agree that investing in your blog, whether it be in the form of money or time, can be very rewarding in the short and long term, and when your blog is on the fast track to success, that’s when you have the real fun.