Guest Post - Our host is Allan Watson, who points out some of the unseen mistakes you may be making that are affecting your blog.See How To Become a guest author on Spice Up Your Blog.
As a blogger there is nothing more nerve-wracking than losing traffic except possibly not ever getting any in the first place, though it is possible that isn't actually worse. When you lose it, it means that you had it and then you did something wrong and usually we don't know what that is. It can kill your motivation, drain your muse, and make you wonder if maybe you should just give up.
The thing is, most of us have seen the articles and heard the common advice about gaining popularity and keeping your audience. If you haven't, or you need a recap, this post by Blogging Basics is a great one. You want to have personality, proofread, post consistently, use images, and make sure that what you are writing is something that your audience is going to want to read.
But what if you are covering all of the basics and you're still not getting traffic or you're losing it? Then something else is wrong and you might not know where to start looking. There are, however, some key elements to having a successful blog that you may be overlooking.
If you are an established blogger and are noticing a decrease in traffic, you may be losing your audience because you are getting too comfortable. You don't want to get cocky in this business because it will come back to bite you. Write every article like it's your first!
Make it look good. Add images and links and proofread it to make sure there are no spelling or grammatical errors that will make you look sloppy and like you don't care.
Be consistent. Your readers will notice if your posts are getting shorter and shorter over time because you can't be bothered to write the 1000 word posts like you did in the beginning.
Stay Interesting. Make sure you're still coming up with great, new ideas and not just recycling the old stuff that worked in the past. If you hit a wall, this article about fighting off writer's block has some excellent suggestions.
Stay Original. A terrible habit to get into when you are losing your muse or your energy is to start copying others. It is one thing to see a great idea and take inspiration from it, changing it and making it your own, but it's another to plagiarize or spin what someone else has done because you can't think of your own.
This is one that gets new and old bloggers alike. Brand new bloggers usually don't know that this is part of what they even should be doing and some of the older ones maybe did it before, but don't any more. Networking is a crucial part of blogging, especially now that there is so much competition out there. You need to get exposure for your blog in any way that you can.
Linking. This is another one it can be easy to get lazy about, but linking is crucial in good blogging. Link to related blogs, interesting articles, and popular sites. Not only does this help you with the search engine rankings of your blog, but it can catch the attention of those you're linking to as well, giving you some excellent exposure.
Commenting. If you want people to come to your blog and comment on it, you need to be willing to do the same! You will form relationships, create a network of people who know who you are, and drive traffic back to your blog.
Guest Posting. First, guest posting is fun, so there's that. But also, guest posting connects you with a whole new audience who may not have known you existed and it also helps you form key relationships with other blogs.
Not Utilizing Resources
As a blogger in a field where the competition in your area alone probably numbers in the thousands with everyone else trying to get your readers, one of the things that can separate a well-written blog with only a few readers and a blog with thousands is utilizing your resources properly.
Meta data. Make sure that you are completing your Meta keywords and descriptions on each and every post. Slacking off here will cost you.
Catchy Headlines. Most people will decide whether or not they are even going to look at an article by the headline alone. Make sure yours are intriguing, to the point, and make your audience want to know more.
SEO. SEO used to be something the experts did to get ahead, but these days it's becoming an integral part of blogging. If you aren't familiar with it, this article about how to do it right may help.
Widgets. Use them! There are so many widgets and add-ons created to help bloggers succeed. Here is a site that is literally just about blog widgets.
Not Being Reliable
When you begin to build a following of loyal readers, there is something about your blog that draws them in. Usually it is a mixture of your content and your personality. They come back for more and will continue to come back so long as you keep giving them what they want. Which is where the problem comes in when you stop giving them what they want.
Post regularly. This is one of the basics of blogging, but it bears mentioning again. As soon as you miss an update, readers start to think maybe the blog is dying (which is reasonable because blogs die so often) and are less likely to come back. Keep them updated so they know there is a reason to visit your blog again.
Use a reliable host. You will also lose your readers if they try to come to your blog only to find that it is down. Whether it's your fault or not, it makes them lose confidence in you. Make sure you're with a good host.
Back up your blog regularly. You may go years without ever needing to use a backed up version of your blog, but you never know when that mistake might happen or that virus might hit. Not only should you back it up, but do so often. Some do it every day, but once a week or two is probably sufficient. This also makes it easy to get your blog right back up and rolling without causing readers alarm.
Small things can have a huge impact on the traffic for your blog. Make sure you're keeping up with the changes and that you're following the above guidelines to keep your blog successful. What unexpected things have caused your traffic to take a hit?