Survival Mode: A Bloggers Black Hole
Are you in a Blogger’s Black Hole? You’ve been blogging for quite some time. You’ve spent weeks, months, even years building your audience on Facebook, Twitter and through good SEO practices. All of a sudden something changes and all your traffic gets sucked into a black hole – it’s gone! Perhaps Google released a new update (remember Penguin? Panda?), Facebook changes their algorithm, or Twitter — well twitter doesn’t mess with stuff often….but you get the idea.
When something like this happens, your human instinct kicks in – fight or flight! What are you going to do? Are you going to post more, tweak your posts, add more or different types of status updates to your social media accounts? Try new networks? Explore your options? Or are you going to pack your blog up and run away? Hide in the closet all day, cry on your pillow all night?
When you go into survival mode and start messing with stuff, you fail to concentrate on the important thing – your blogs true focus! “Extra giveaways will help drive traffic to my blog!” — “Facebook giveaways will help raise my engagement and reach!” So? You’re likely not getting very high quality traffic or high quality engagement…and you’ve forgotten the most important thing – your blog! Do you think that kind of traffic is going to stick around to read and interact with your blog? Yeeeeah, not impossible – but not very likely.
If you’re running a lot of giveaways to raise engagement and drive traffic, you’ve forgotten the focus and purpose of your blog. Unless you’re a giveaway blog, your main purpose isn’t to give stuff away. Remember? You used to be passionate about your content..now you’re just panhandling for visitors – it’s kinda gross.
If people are not visiting your blog for your natural content, you may as well not post at all.
Stop. Take a deep breath. Chill out.
When major changes are made to major traffic producers like Google and/or Facebook, you need to stop and think about why these changes affected your blog and how to protect your blog going forward. How can you can drive visitors with your content using a labyrinth of techniques? How you can maximize exposure? How can you target the right visitors, you know – those people who are actually interested in reading your blog? How are you maximizing SEO? Are you optimizing only for Google?
Are all of your techniques rotating around one black hole, just ready to be sucked in? Did you move from one black hole to another? For example, are you now running giveaways to produce traffic and engagement? If you stop those giveaways, will your traffic and engagement slow to a trickle, too? If the answer is yes, then you’re just playing peek-a-boo with another black hole. You need to make some serious changes..or quit.
How to fix it:
- Optimize for Bing, Yahoo as well as Google.
- Expand social reach by using a variety of networks – Youtube, LinkedIn etc..
- Use Social Bookmarking Sites such as StumbleUpon, Delicious and Blog Frogs.
- Set Smart Goals and stick to them.
- Blog about your blog (yes!) on Blogger, WordPress.com, Squidoo and other free sites.
- Build and maintain a quality newsletter.
- For my top 5 tips for promoting your blog – check out this post.
Building up these new avenues will take time. Remember how long it took to build your following elsewhere? It might take that amount of time, perhaps even more time on lesser known outlets, to build that type of following. But, in the long run – it’s worth it.
Starting today, you can move away from the black hole. Use the several avenues of traffic above as well as good tried and true SEO practices and you will start to notice better traffic, converting traffic and clicking traffic. When a good chunk of your traffic is forced traffic – your conversion rate suffers, you don’t get proper click-through rates, numbers are wonkey and your engagement is worthless.
Am I saying not to host giveaways and do fun stuff for your visitors? Certainly not! But do it for your visitors, the ones who actually read your blog. If you have giveaways and the only people who enter are passer-by giveaway mongers, you’ve spent a lot of time and energy and you’re not reaping any long term benefit.
Analyze your blog, create top notch content and drive the proper traffic! 200 visitors who are interested in reading your blog is better than 2000 who only stop by to win a trinket.
image credit: NASA