We’ve already looked at reasons to write a blog. But what are the reasons for not writing a blog, or for taking an informed decision to stop writing one, even if you started?
Note that this, like the last post, is mainly targeted at business bloggers. However, if you have a blog that you want to gain an audience and maybe earn some money from in whatever way, these points will interest you, too.
So, what are the reasons NOT to write a blog, or to give up?
1. You are only doing it because someone told you that you should
I go on about blogging to people ALL THE TIME. I even did it when I was buying vegan food from a stall in Greenwich at the weekend. But don’t just do it because someone tells you to. OK, it’s worth looking at the reasons why having a blog is good (see my previous post) and making an informed decision, but if someone just tells you, “start writing a blog” and you do, it’s not so likely that the habit will stick and it will be useful and fun.
2. You actually dislike doing it
So, you’ve started blogging and you’ve got into a routine, and then you realise that you’re just dreading writing that next post. I’m going to talk in another post about slumps and maintaining momentum (if I forget to link to it here, look in the index). But what I’m talking about here is hating it all the time, disliking putting fingers to keyboard and putting the thing together, resenting the time it takes up. If you don’t enjoy doing it
- get someone else in your organisation to do it
- pay someone else to do it
- stop doing it entirely
3. You haven’t got time to post regularly
Although if you have a personal blog and you’re not worried about statistics and search engines, you can get away with blogging very irregularly, if you are doing it so as to appear in search results and get more exposure for your business, you really do need to post regularly. I find that, for me, three posts a week are the sweet spot. When I publish three posts a week, I get the most visits to the blog. It’s worth noting that not all of those are long posts (my Troublesome Pairs certainly are not), but it’s regularly updated content, full of relevant keywords and useful to different groups of readers.
Once a week is, I think, the minimum you can get away with and still gain value from the process. If you don’t have the time to do this, again, consider outsourcing, or consider not doing it at all.
4. You’re not organised to post regularly
Following on from the time issue, you do need to be organised enough to generate new content fairly regularly. Again, I’m going to talk about this in detail in another article, but you do need to be able to plan what you’re going to talk about, gather photographs and illustrations for the posts, and organise yourself to sit down and write them, and then publicise the posts and deal with any comments that might ensue. If you fly by the seat of your pants and do everything as and when, and find organisation in general to be a tricky thing, blogging for business might not be for you.
5. You’re only in it to make money
You do read loads of posts about making money from your blog. And you can make money from your blog, for example by …
- Allowing adverts to appear on your blog (but be very careful with this and make sure you only allow adverts relevant to your readers or this will be a big turn-off. The best way to do this is through carefully selected product placement that matches with your content and readership)
- Hosting affiliate links on your blog so that readers can click a button or picture on your blog to be taken through to buy a product, while you get a percentage of all sales (this is notoriously difficult to make money from)
- Selling your blog to a publisher to make into a book (but not many people make money writing and selling books, and there’s more to a blog-to-book than just bunging all your blog posts in one place – I have direct experience of this)
It’s not common to make money directly from your blog. It’s hard to say how many page views you need per month to do well out of advertising, but recommendations start at 10,000 unique visitors per month. Not many publishers convert blogs into books outside the big ones we’ve all heard about. What my blog does is let people know about me who then become customers … but that’s using your blog to build your business, not to make money per se. If you’ve read an article or been to a seminar about easy ways to make money online, be VERY careful what you sign up for and get into.
6. You are not interested in engaging with your readers
People who read blogs like to comment on them. People who comment on blogs like to see the blogger reply to these comments. I know that personally I’ve stopped reading and commenting on blogs when I’m never responded to, especially if I can see that the blogger never responds to any comments. This is actually one of my Top 10 Blogging Sins, too.
If you’re not actually interested in having a conversation, in engaging with your readers, in replying to their comments, and you just find it a chore; if you just want to broadcast and don’t want to engage in two-way conversation, I don’t personally think that blogging is for you. You will lose readers as fast as you gain them, and it will never be personally or professionally fulfilling for you.
7. You are not interested in engaging with other bloggers
This is similar to point 6, but we’re talking here about other people in the same line of business as you (whether that business be small business support, engineering or book reviewing). If you see other people blogging on a similar topic to you as rivals, and you want to keep apart from the, set yourself apart and distance yourself, then you may not find blogging to be useful. You probably can’t “beat” the most successful blogger in your industry, and if you don’t want to engage with them, share guest blog spots, link to their material and comment on each other’s blogs, then it might be wise to disengage with the process.
8. You haven’t got anything interesting to say
If you’re boring yourself with your blog content, you will probably be boring your readers. If you’re constantly scratching around for topics to write about, or covering the same ground time and again, consider scrapping that series, if you have various topics you cover on your blog, or the whole thing. I used to post up an update about what I’d been doing in the previous month at the beginning of each month. Although some readers said they enjoyed it, it was becoming very repetitive and boring to write. So I stopped doing it and added something else in that slot on the blog.
Note: what you think isn’t interesting might be to other people – it’s always worth doing some market research. When I meet people like locksmiths, carpenters and electricians, I always tell them they should write a blog about their daily lives and the jobs they do (keeping their clients’ confidentiality, of course) as many of us would find that sort of thing really interesting. I’m talking about when you’re struggling for ideas and you’re maybe not getting any positive feedback or a growing readership, and your blog becomes bogged down and repetitive. Have a rethink or ditch the blog!
9. Your blog isn’t relevant to your target market
If you’re blogging for business, your blog posts need to be relevant to your target market(s). For example, I blog about …
- Word tips and hints – because most of my clients and target market use Word
- Language tips and hints – because my business lies in improving written language
- Business tips and hints – because I’ve written a book about business and I am passionate about engaging with other businesses
- Blogging tips and hints – because I get asked about this a lot and because of the business reason above and because I noticed that I get searches coming through to my blog on that topic already, so people want to know about it
If you sell garages but blog about hairstyles, the people who read your blog are not likely to have a huge overlap with the people who are going to buy your services. If you have a book review blog and want to engage with mystery authors but only review romance, that’s not going to engage your audience. There needs to be a big overlap between what you talk about on your blog and the people you want to attract to read it. Even “the general public” has niches – people who like to read about fashion, or the work of an ambulance driver, or about low cholesterol eating.
10. Nobody is reading your blog, even after 6, 12, 18 months
It takes time to build a blog and its audience. Both of mine have grown over the months, pretty gradually. My book review blog wasn’t growing its audience much for a while, and I did wonder whether to cancel it. I actually published a post asking if people found it interesting to see whether anyone was reading it! What I found out was that many people were reading it on blog aggregators, which don’t show up on my statistics. So it was worth doing, but I also took steps to add value, beefing up my reviews, adding some more web pages to the blog, and importing a whole wodge of old reviews from another blogging service I used to use. My traffic improved and the blog was saved. But if you do that, and you change things and no one’s looking, maybe it’s time to consider other ways to market and raise awareness.
These are not necessarily ten reasons to stop blogging altogether. They certainly are reasons to stop, look at what you’re doing, reconsider things and maybe tweak your posts, style, content or other aspects.
Have you stopped writing a blog? Why?
Coming soon …
WordPress blogging 101