Every blogger starts out with high hopes of their blog becoming a hit and seeing readers flock to the site. Unfortunately, the majority of bloggers wind up being discouraged by a lack of growth, and many give up rather quickly.
Other blogs may start out pretty well, but maybe at some point the growth plateaus, which often results in a lack of energy or excitement from the blogger.
If you’ve found that your blog growth is stagnant and you’re frustrated, there are some things you can do that will help to put the life back into your blog.
With the right approach and some effort you can get things headed in the right direction again.
Here are 9 things that you can do to revive a struggling blog:
1. Re-evaluate your purpose
If it’s been a while since you first launched your blog it is a good idea to re-evaluate your purpose, motivation, and vision for the blog.
These things often change over a period of time, so it may be helpful to re-evaluate your situation because it should have a huge impact on the direction that you take with the blog.
If your purpose or motivation has changed but you’re still just going through the motions of blogging it is almost certain to have a negative impact on your blog.
This is the foundation of your blog, so be sure that you have a clear idea of why you want to grow the blog. Re-evaluate and you may wind up looking at your blog from a whole new perspective.
For example, I started my first blog with the goal of using blog content to attract visitors in hopes of converting some of those visitors into paying clients for my web design services.
I published articles that I thought business owners might find if they were searching for something related to web design.
After several months my posts started to shift and many of them were more useful for web designers rather than business owners looking to hire a web designer.
So I re-evaluated my purpose and found that I no longer really wanted to use the blog to attract clients. Instead, I preferred to write for other designers.
At that time my blog content and my audience was kind of a mess, because I had been writing for two different audiences. I decided to change my approach and focus only on the audience of designers, and growth started immediately.
2. Re-evaluate your target audience
When you’re re-evaluating the purpose for your blog your target audience will sometimes come up as well, as was the case in the example of my old blog, but it’s worth mentioning separately.
In order to have success with your blog you’ll need to be able to clearly describe your target audience.
Sometimes your target audience may change over the course of time, and in other situations you may have lost a little bit of focus and allowed your posts to drift in a way that turned your target audience away.
Take the time to make sure that you know exactly what type of readers you want to attract to your blog. Once you’ve identified your audience you can be more effective at crafting content for them, and even setting up your site to be most useful to them.
3. Survey your current readers/subscribers
A great way to revive your blog is to make sure that you are covering topics that your readers care about. Post a survey for your readers or newsletter subscribers to get their feedback about the topics and the types of posts that they would like to see the most.
In terms of the types of posts, you could ask readers if they prefer tutorials and how-to guides, informative posts, news posts, opinion posts, interviews, podcasts, videos, resource or link posts, etc.
WordPress users can set up basic polls and surveys very easily with plugins like YOP Poll, Polldaddy Polls and Ratings, and Opinion Stage. If you’re using GetResponse for email marketing you can easily create surveys and invite your subscribers to respond.
The cure for a struggling blog doesn’t always need to involve attracting a ton of new readers.
Sometimes just doing a better job of connecting with your existing readers and publishing the right content can do wonders to bring more life to your blog. See The Essential Guide to Creating a Survey Your Readers Will Love.
Sometimes you may not even need a survey. David Risley of Blog Marketing Academy encourages you to ask your readers “What is your biggest challenge right now?” Simply ask your subscribers in an email, or ask your readers in a blog post.
The responses may give you all the input you need to be able to create content that will get better results.
4. Analyze your results
Take some time to look at the measurable results that you’ve been getting.
Look at the different types of posts that you publish, as well as the various topics.
Which ones are getting the best response from readers in terms of comments, social media shares, and traffic?
Which ones are getting the least response?
Use the results of your analysis to determine if there are types of posts that you should eliminate due to a lack of reader interest.
Are there topics or types of posts that seem to always get a great response from your readers?
If so, focus your future posts in those areas.
5. Adjust your posting schedule
How frequently and consistently have you been publishing new posts? Many times a lack of consistent publishing is a contributing factor for a blog’s struggles.
You don’t need to crank out new posts constantly, but you do need to avoid big gaps between posts, which can cause your readers to lose interest.
There is no ideal posting frequency that is best for every blog.
You’ll need to evaluate your situation, the amount of time that you have for the blog, the types of posts that you publish, and other factors to determine how frequently you should be publishing. For most blogs, two or three quality posts per week is plenty in order to get things moving in the right direction.
I recommend that you consider posting on the same days each week, as it can help train your readers to look for a new post from you at certain times. However, this is general advice and may not work well for every blog.
6. Prioritize networking
From my experience there really are two keys to blogging success that stand out from everything else: 1) content, and 2) networking. So far content has been the focus of the article, but now it’s time to look at the importance of networking.
Every successful blogger is well connected.
While it’s true that it is far easier for someone with a popular blog to make connections than someone who is relatively unknown, most successful bloggers could not have achieved what they ave without the help of a strong network.
What have you been doing to connect with other bloggers and influential people in your network? Have you been active at social media sites like Twitter and Google+.
Have you reached out to people via email? If you haven’t been made it a priority to build your network, change that ASAP.
Set aside a little bit of time each day to be active at whatever social networks are popular with other bloggers in your niche and be pro-active at reaching out.
Having a strong network can help you in so many different ways.
It can open up opportunities for guest posting, allow you to reach more people through getting your posts shared at social media sites, lead other bloggers to be quick to link to you in their posts, give you someone to reach out to when you have questions or need advice, and much more.
One of the keys to networking is to give more than you take.
Don’t approach networking with only your own benefits in mind. Think about how you can help others and you’ll wind up with a much stronger network.
7. Narrow your focus
One of the contributing factors that I see to the struggles of many bloggers is a lack of focus, or simply being spread too thin.
Take a look at everything that is consuming your time. Are there things that are unproductive that you could eliminate?
If so, you can use that time that you are saving for working on your blog content and for networking.
Do you have multiple websites or blogs? If you have several different sites and you’re struggling to get traction with any of them, you’re likely to get much better results if you narrow your focus to just one blog. Many bloggers find themselves being spread too thin, and if you can regain your focus it can give you much more time and energy to devote to your most important projects.
If you only have the one blog you’ll also want to look at how you have been spending the time that you’ve dedicated to the blog.
Are you spending too much time on several different social networks without getting results?
Have you been using too much of your time on post topics that aren’t generating interest from your readers?
Are you using all of your time to research the latest and greatest SEO tricks to get your blog to attract more search visitors?
Evaluate how you have been spending your time and see what you can do to get back to the basics of creating content that your readers want and building your network.
8. Develop a content plan
Now that you’ve taken a look at the purpose for your blog, your target audience, and the types of content that you want to publish at your blog, it is time to put together a plan for your blog’s content.
The posting plan should help you to decide what posts are a priority for you to write, and fill your days of the posting schedule that you deciding to use going forward.
Without a posting plan it’s easy to get in the rut of just creating posts to get something new on your blog.
If you want to revive your blog you’ll need to make a strong impact with your post content, and to do that you’ll need to make sure that you are making each post count rather than just going through the motions of getting new content on your blog.
When you’re trying to bring some life back to a blog that is struggling I recommend making an attempt to have a big splash with a post that is ideal for sharing via social media.
If you can get others sharing your next post it could provide the kick start that your blog needs to start gaining momentum.
When you’re looking to make an impact through social media or links from other blogs there a few approaches you could follow that are none to work very well.
You could write a post that lists or mentions other bloggers in your industry with the hope that they will share the post with their social media followers or even with a link from their blog (egobait).
If some influential people share a link to your post via social media it could provide a huge spark for your blog.
For much more detail on this approach please see A Guide to Producing Effective Egobait by James Agate.
Another type of post that can great for encouraging social media shares is the list post.
Popular list posts often wind up with huge numbers of tweets, likes, and shares at other social media sites, and a good list post is possible regardless of what topic your blog covers.
See The Top 10 Qualities of High-Quality Lists Posts for some tips.
Long, detailed, and highly useful posts can also be a great way to get some attention for your blog.
Pillar content or epic content can help to get attention for your blog, to establish your expertise, and to attract links and social shares. This could be written in the form of a tutorial or how-to guide on some topic that will be of interest to your target audience.
See the Guide to Epic Blog Content for more.
Whatever approach you take to make a splash with your upcoming content, writing an amazing post is only part of the equation.
You’ll also want to give it a little bit of a boost to help other people notice it, and hopefully it will wind up being shared over and over again.
You can use Google+ or Twitter to notify other bloggers that are referenced or mentioned in your post, and maybe some of them will wind up sharing the link to their followers.
You can also email other bloggers in your niche to let them know about your post, and if there are blogs that publish weekly, monthly, or periodic roundups that link to top posts in your niche, you can contact them to request consideration for your link to be included.
9. Examine your blog’s theme
The last item that we’ll talk about here involves the look of your blog, and specifically the theme or template that you’re using.
Is your current theme meeting the needs of your blog and your readers?
Does it present your blog in a professional way that will make a positive first impression on new visitors?
Is it easy for visitors to navigate the archives and find the content that interests them?
Are visitors being led towards your most important or most popular content?
Does the theme promote your social media profiles and encourage visitors to subscribe to your blog or newsletter?
If your current theme isn’t doing an effective job, sometimes a new theme can help to bring new life to a blog.
If you’re a WordPress user there are thousands of free themes available for download, but if you’re looking to make money with your blog I generally do not recommend using a free theme.
There are also thousands of premium WordPress themes available that you can purchase for less than $100, of often less than $50.
Spending a little money will allow you to get a theme that looks better, functions better, and allows you more flexibility and customization options.
Summing it up
If your blog is struggling, it’s time to step back and make sure you know exactly what you want to get out of your blog.
Once you do that you can work on a plan to improve the content of your posts, and work on strengthening your network by building some relationships with other bloggers in your niche.
The two most important factors for a successful blog are the content that you publish, and the network that you establish.
When in doubt, focus on these areas and your blog is likely to grow.
Do you have anything to add?