Blogging

Tough Love Reasons Why Your Blog Isn’t Growing (Plus Free Workshop!)

Have you ever looked at your analytics and asked yourself, why isn’t my blog getting any traffic? 

You’re doing everything you’re supposed to be doing: posting consistently, pinning like crazy, participating in all the Facebook group threads…

…but every time you look at your stats you end up…frustrated af. With all that hard work you’re pouring into your blog, it really stings to see that it isn’t paying off.

Oh, girl…I’ve been there. Actually, that exact feeling is why I rebranded my blog earlier this year.

Now, this post is NOT about totally overhauling your blog (you can read a whole post on that here), but this post IS about getting real about what you’re doing that’s sabotaging your growth.

Keep reading if you’re prepared for some tough love. This post is going to tell it like it is when it comes to why your blog isn’t growing. Then I’m going to tell you what you need to do to get on track to success. To sweeten the deal I’m hosting a live workshop next week to help you get your blog prepared for 2018 so stick around for details on that!

Why Your Blog Isn't Growing and How To Boost Your Traffic

Save this Post For Later!

I encourage you to bookmark this post and come back to it when you have some time to intentionally move through each point!

Be Open To Change

Disclaimer: you might not want to hear some of the things in this post. If you’ve gotten to know me, you know that I like to keep it real. Like really real. I’m not going to sugar coat anything.

Because you won’t grow from that.

My goal for this post is to motivate you to take action. I think constructive criticism is great for that, so I want you to be open to changing some things in your growth strategy. If it’s not working, WHY KEEP DOING IT?!

10 Tough Love Reasons Why Your Blog Isn't Growing (And What To Do About It!) Click To Tweet

1. Your Content Isn’t Helpful

If you show up to your blog every week, post pretty pictures, throw in some affiliate links, and call it a day, do you really think you’re going to get loads of traffic and commissions?

Girl, this lazy-approach to blogging is a thing of the past and is NOT a realistic “strategy” whatsoever. This might work for some bloggers, but it’s not for new bloggers fresh on the scene.

The solution: Figure out a way you can combine what you’re passionate about writing with your natural strengths and how you can create content that helps someone solve a problem, answer a commonly asked question, or provide inspiration and motivation to do something.

Blogger tip: Killer blog content blends your passions, strengths, and a problem your audience needs solved! Click To Tweet

2. Your Blog Topics Are All Over the Place

I truly believe that bloggers don’t need a niche to be successful, but there are a few things your blog DOES need and you have to be willing to tweak your growth strategy to make it work.

A blog that posts about lifestyle, fashion, beauty, blogging tips, career, food…is WAY too over the place. I would only show up and read your blogging and career tips…while someone might only show up for lifestyle and fashion.

Now, there is a way that this can be done with grace: by having a strong focus that connects everything together. If you can create a mission statement for your blog that ties allll these things, then blogging about multiple topics can work for you.

The solution: spend time creating a message that you want to share with the world through your blog. Then every time you sit down to write, figure out how you can connect your post topics back to your message.

Create a message you want to share with the world through your blog that makes an impact. Click To Tweet

How To Boost Blog Traffic

3. You’re Too Focused On You

While our blogs do center around us, your content needs to find a balance between you and your readers.

Our readers are the driving force behind our blogs. Without them, where’s the traffic going to come from? With that said, you need to make it part of your mission to grow a community around your blog which will allow you to grow an engaged audience.

Build a community around your blog and focus on what your readers need without them evening knowing it. Click To Tweet

Community building mistakes you might be making:

  • don’t respond to your blog post and social media comments
  • don’t visit other blogs
  • don’t share other bloggers’ posts on social media
  • don’t include call to actions to encourage engagement
  • no interest in being part of the blogging community

The solution: get active in the community! The best way to start is switching up your social media strategy. Start leaving thoughtful comments on the accounts you follow. Plan to spend 15-20 minutes a day interacting with your followers.

4. Your Blog Doesn’t Stand Out

How many blogs are out there? Like, over 300 million? That’s a damn lot, isn’t it?

One of the biggest problems new bloggers face is getting their voices heard when it seems like everyone and their mom has a blog. And they all blog about the same damn things!

Now it’s pretty much impossible to be original anymore. What you can do, however, is take note of what everyone else is doing and do it differently.

In order to stand out online, let your personality be the shining star. Readers want to connect with someone who’s relatable. And authentic. Someone who creates content that makes them give a damn.

While everything has certainly been done before, it hasn’t been done from YOUR perspective.

The solution: Take 5 minutes and write a list of similar bloggers in your niche/focus and ask yourself: how can I differentiate myself from her? And her? Yes, there’s a little competitive edge to this exercise, but it’s meant to help you discover what makes YOU worth following.

Blogger tip: Take note of what everyone else is doing and do it differently. Click To Tweet

5. You Want Everyone to Like You

I made this mistake for three and a half years. I wanted everyone to read my blog.

Actually, the root of the problem is that I’ve always been a people pleaser. I wanted everyone to like me. (I hate conflict, let me be.) But that’s enough of my inner trauma for one blog post…

The point I’m trying to make is that so many bloggers try to write for everyone because they think if they write about more topics, more people will be interested in their posts and more people = more traffic, right?

Wrong. Well, right and wrong.

Sure, writing about beauty, your favorite recipes, and sharing blogging tips is a good way to attract different kinds of people to your blog, but once they show up, read what they came for, then see nothing else that interests them…they’re going to exit out.

Bye, bye, bye. That’s not how you grow an engaged audience.

The solution: Create your content with just one person in mind aka your ideal reader. Come up with a biographical profile for them and get really nitty gritty with the details. Basic demographics are good but get in their head. Understand their goals, struggles, and what they care about most. Write your content for them.

How To Get More Blog Followers

6. Your Blog Design Sucks

There’s nothing worse than landing on a website that hurts your eyes and makes you jump through hoops to get to what you’re looking for.

I’m talking clashing colors, unreadable fonts, a million ads, a cluttered sidebar and…pop-ups.

Pop-ups can definitely be done well, but most are notorious for increasing your bounce rate (meaning people are more likely to exit as quickly as possible to escape.) Like, I just got here and you want my email address already? Girl, we didn’t even meet yet.

Don’t be that blogger.

The solution: Ask another blogger to give your blog a browse and give you constructive feedback. Is your web page design aesthetically pleasing and easy to read? Is it easy to navigate? Does it stress them out?

Can’t find a blogger to ask? Join my Facebook group. There are over 300 bloggers who would love to help you out! (Myself included.)

7. Your SEO Sucks

Whoops. I said sucks again. This is really some tough-love, isn’t it?

FYI: Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a growth strategy to send organic traffic to your blog by making your website look more appealing to search engines, so they rank you higher in the search results page.

Another way to look at it is making your website look good enough for Google to notice and reward you. Meaning your chances of being discovered organically (via someone googling and finding your blog) increase.

Your SEO sucks if:

  • your blog post titles are too witty aka don’t make sense to anyone else but you
  • you aren’t using subheadings in your posts
  • you aren’t writing meta descriptions (or have no idea what they are)
  • you aren’t optimizing your images for SEO
  • you aren’t placing the right keywords throughout your post

The solution: I know SEO is scary. That’s why I’m going to cover simple SEO strategies during my workshop. You’ll get a complete breakdown of what you should be focusing on!

SEO is worth investing time in because once you learn the basics, you can implement easy tweaks to your content to instantly boost your traffic. And improve your Google footprint.

SEO doesn't have to be scary! Once you learn the basics you can boost your traffic and improve your Google footprint. Click To Tweet

8. You don’t have a strong social media presence

Social media is one of the best ways to drive traffic to your blog. But it’s not just great for getting people on your website, it’s also an on-point strategy to grow your audience.

People LOVE following their favorite bloggers on social media to stay up to date and truly get to know you beyond the blog.

Yes, people want to get to know you!

Plus you have the power to add even more value by offering exclusive content they can’t find anywhere on your blog (think bonus tips, polls, questions, engagement, behind the scenes.)

The “big 4” platforms you should be focused on:

  1. Pinterest
  2. Facebook
  3. Twitter
  4. Instagram

Pro Tip: Use social media with intention. Mix your promotional strategy with content that allows your readers to get to know you and build a community!

The solution: Focus on 1-2 platforms to get really good at AND that your target readers hang out on. If your time is limited, choose just one! Trying to be everywhere will hold you back and only overwhelm you, which we don’t want!

Up your social media game by mixing your promotional strategy with content that allows your readers to get to know YOU! Click To Tweet

How To Get More Blog Traffic 2017

9. You’re Wasting Your Time On Strategies That Aren’t Working

I get it. Once you learn something and it becomes a part of the routine, it’s easy to nestle into it and go with the flow.

But if you’re not experimenting and your traffic still isn’t growing, then why are you complaining? Try something new.

The solution: Start tracking how long it takes you to do certain blog tasks and you’ll see what areas you’re spending a lot of time on vs. what areas that you’re spending less time on.

From there you’ll be able to figure out what you need to focus on more.

Are you spending too much time writing and not enough time promoting? Maybe cut back the number of times you post each week.

10. You’re Impatient

Growing a blog takes time. Expecting overnight success isn’t realistic and we need to stop having such high expectations.

Embrace the struggle to grow as a challenge to push you beyond your comfort zone. At the end of the day blogging is meant to be a fun way to express ourselves, remember?

But Sheila…as time goes by, when should I notice if my strategies are actually working or if I need to switch it up?

The solution: While there is no specific answer as to when you should notice results, I always suggest giving it about a month. If you’re implementing strategies and still aren’t growing, switch it up.

Growing a blog takes time. Stop having high expectations. Slow and steady wins the race. Click To Tweet

Let’s Review: Why Your Blog Isn’t Growing

  1. Your content isn’t helpful
  2. Your topics are all over the place
  3. You’re too focused on you
  4. Your blog doesn’t stand out
  5. You want everyone to like you
  6. Your blog design sucks
  7. Your SEO sucks
  8. You don’t have a strong social media presence
  9. You’re wasting time on strategies that don’t work
  10. You’re impatient

What if I told you we could hang out and tackle all of these problems in one night?

Join me LIVE Wednesday, December 20th at 8 pm Eastern to learn my top strategies to make your readers fall head over heels obsessed with you and your blog!

I’m SO excited to be hosting another live workshop to hang out with y’all and teach you some bomb growth strategies. It’s gonna be so fun!

Here’s what you’ll learn:

  • Authentic strategies to grow an engaged audience who keep coming back for more
  • 3 traffic myths you’re probably believing that’s sabotaging your growth
  • My top strategies to get more clicks to your website (and turn visitors into followers!)
  • 6 elements of viral content and how to get more shares on your posts
  • Simple SEO strategies to implement now to instantly boost your traffic

SIGN UP BELOW TO SAVE YOUR SEAT!

What’s one area of your blog you spend a lot of time on? Writing? Promoting? Let me know below!

And please share this post on Pinterest to help others!

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  • This is so so so helpful! I will definitely be rereading this post a couple of time, absolutely loving your tips! So motivating!

    Anika | anikamay.co.uk

    • Awesome Anika! Definitely book mark it and revisit it when you need 🙂

  • Sepideh

    First of all, I spy with my little eye… new stationary!? That pink with the white and black speckled notebook is SO CUTE!!! #WANT
    Loved this blogpost because it drives the point for me of what I’ve been doing that has worked this month (I surpassed my page view goals for the month of November!! WOOP WOOP!) and other details that I should also figure out to continue on the right track.
    I’ve applied most of your tips and I have noticed a significant difference. I think the next step for me is to be more analytical about the strategies and figure out what’s really working and what isn’t worth the time.
    For example, I realized that 85% of my traffic is from Pinterest and the third biggest driver is disqus! However, visitors from Disqus stay on my blog longer…!! The bounce rate with Pinterest views is a lot higher (so I’ll have to figure out why..) but anyway…I need to do a more frequent analysis of my strategies 🙂
    Can’t wait for the workshop!
    http://www.elleisforlove.com

    • WHY THANK YOU FOR NOTICING. I got that at T.J. Maxx and it’s by Fringe, one of my fav companies! The inside has 2018 and 2019 calendars and even a spot to put the date!

      Again, congrats on hitting your traffic goal!! That is amazing to hear because I know how hard you’ve been working. I think your bounce rate is low for Disqus because you always leave long and thoughtful comments on other blogs and people can really get to know you through them (powerful, right?) And maybe on Pinterest your pin images aren’t translating to the people who are clicking on them. Maybe their expectations are different?? Definitely something to think about!

  • LuckyLoveLife

    I am sooo guilty of number 7. Witty headlines that no one was getting but my closest buds. I’ll have to save the inside jokes for when my audience is already well established lol. I think one of my pain points is #9. I wasn’t measuring results, just throwing some random strategies out there that I heard work, but not crawling through the results fast enough, and trying new things. So thanks to my blogger buds who poked me into changing things up! Looking forward to the workshop!

    • Hahaha yes I have been guilty of this too. Using song lyrics or titles or quotes. Making sure everything is CLEAR first then cute and clever second, is really important to get those clicks! And yes can’t wait to see ya there!! xx

  • Nichole

    As always another great post. Seriously, I genuinely appreciate how real you are and cut to the chase. It’s really to sugar coat things anymore. Honestly this was pretty hard hitting and made me take some time to reflect on somethings and maybe should rethink as far as my ‘focus’. Maybe I do blog about too many topics. I’m not sure. It’s always hard because you have to wait sometime to figure out what is and isn’t working for you. I especially liked that you suggested tracking your time and seeing if the time your using is beneficial or not. Definitely going to try this, and I think it would help with my productivity. Of course I’m going to try to join the workshop- it’s always weird with the time changes. Again, thanks for always keeping it real!

    Nichole / thedailypursuit

    • Hey Nichole! You are 100% right about riding the wave and figuring out what topics you should focus on most because you really don’t know unless you try! That’s kinda how my journey went. Started with fashion, moved into lifestyle, then personal development, and then blogging. After that long trip I realized blogging is where it’s at for me. Can’t wait to see you at the workshop and I know the time change is sooo wonky hahah hopefully it’s not too early for you lol

  • This was AWESOME, Sheila!! I’m definitely sharing and saving this. Honestly, my pageviews have been beyond sucky for the past few months – super stagnant. Ugh. Going through these points, the one I think I need to work on is point number three. While I am a lifestyle blog, I definitely have my main categories. I always love to keep my posts helpful and reader focused, but some recent ones have been life updates and DIYs. For example, yesterday and today’s posts were home-related. Coffee bar and whitewashed fireplace. Both sponsored. But both are brands I love, love, LOVE and wanted to recommend them to my readers. So I’m stuck. I feel all my content is geared towards my readers in one way or another, but I guess I’m still not translating? Signing up for the workshop right now!

    • For some reason, it won’t let me sign up unless I sign up for ConvertKit – let me know if I can signup elsewhere 🙂

      • Thanks for letting me know! Others have been having issues to so I just reached out to tech support lol. Seems like a glitch. I think I fixed it, but here’s the landing page that should work haha: http://insearchofsheila.com/blogworkshop

    • I love all your posts but I can see where some topics might get lost! That’s why I always stress knowing your target reader. Maybe your girl is a blogger who is newlywed or is engaged and is looking to buy her first home! I think the workshop will help point you in the right direction and I’m excited to have you there!! xx

      • Yeah, I’m not even sure! My main readership are ages 18-34. So mostly millennials. My most read posts are blogging tips and self-care, but I don’t want to blog about just those things. It’s so hard! Pumped for the workshop for new eyes!

  • Lisandra

    This is the most helpful article on this topic that I have ever read! I have been having trouble with my blog and have been slowly implementing some of these topics but with just my own intution I had no idea if I was making the right changes. Thank you for this!

    • Soo glad to hear that, Lisandra! I know how confusing it can be trying to grow your blog with you have nothing guiding you along the way and telling you what you’re doing right or wrong.

  • Okay I was so afraid to read this post…I was ready to check off the list and be like “That’s me, that’s me, OH YEAH that’s me”…but I’m actually pretty pleased to say that the majority of these are things that I’m working on EVERY DAY! Except…the impatient one. I’m definitely impatient. lol!

    Thanks for this post, I am soo looking forward to the webinar!

  • Double claps to you girl for always being so honest! It can definitely be hard to hear some tough love about blogging, but that constructive criticism is the thing that will help us grow! I can’t wait to tune into the live workshop for those SEO tips! I feel like I’ve finally gotten into a grove with my mission, content, design, and social media/community building, but SEO and organic searches are something I’m still struggling with!

  • Dee ☕️

    I am SO pumped for this workshop! Because increasing my traffic is definitely something I still struggle with. It’s definitely improved a lot since I first started my blog 6 months ago, but ever since thanksgiving week it’s gone down some. I’ll have some days that are randomly low (which I’ve noticed are on the weekends for the most part…weird) and then some days it goes back up again. I’m not super into examining my analytics and I definitely think that’s something I should actually start doing. I need to find a way to make that fun somehow because for some reason it isn’t (maybe because Google analytics is still super confusing for me…I need a translator..lol)

    Also, I was so guilty of number 2 when I first started out, because I wanted to blog about anything and everything. But I’m happy to say that ever since finding your blog and learning all about mission statements and that sort of thing I’ve been able to narrow down my topics so much and it definitely does make blogging easier and less overwhelming.

    See you on December 13! 🙂

    Dee // http://www.morningcoffeewithdee.com

  • Melanie 👩‍💻🍃

    Sheila, this is truly one of the *best* posts I’ve read about improving your blog… thanks for the refreshing real talk, I LOVE it! And it comes at the perfect time as I’m busy doing a bit of rebrand for January when I make my first product live. I’m also working on a Pinterest strategy and really just digging deep about my mission and making more time for reading blogs. Which I started today again, yay! *small wins* Lots going on, but really appreciated this post – the timing was perfect, thanks! 🙂

  • This is such a great post Sheila and something I definitely needed to read! I think my problem is that I am really all over the place with my topics but I’m also confused myself because in some ways, I kinda like my blog being my own personal little space on the internet to share my life (basically my online diary) but on the other hand I do still want to make it a useful resource where people can come for inspiration! I know I really need to take readers into account if I decided I want to get serious about growing my blog, but this whole thing is definitely something I need to knuckledown and have a good think about!

    Lauren x
    laurenloveslaughter.com

  • Girl #1 hit home to me!!! I want my blog to be helpful not just pretty photos! I will surely be referring to this post a ton!

    Katie | http://www.sunshinestyleblog.com

  • Stephanie

    I seriously loved this post! 🙂 Honestly every single one of your posts is jam packed with information. I’m so so grateful for your blog! This post really had me reflecting on my blog.

    I think I need to work on building a community. Sometimes I feel like I have so much to do that I neglect responding to my blog comments, but if someone is taking time out of their day to write a heartfelt comment, then I really should take the time to respond because I really do appreciate them! 🙂 It just sometimes feels like there’s so much to do, so little time haha.

    I also loved your point about how crucial it is to have a social media strategy. I used to just pin my blog posts randomly & cross my fingers that someone would re-pin them. I discovered your blog & realized I need to revamp my strategy. Aaaand *drum roll* the results have been incredible! Major increase in my traffic. If I wasn’t honest with myself & how my current social media strategy wasn’t working, then I wouldn’t have made the change. Thank you for this post & can’t wait for this week’s workshop!

    xo, Stephanie
    lifestylebystephanie.com

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