Thursday, May 31, 2012

Thursday Review—5 Reasons Your Blog isn’t Growing


Today I’d like to propose a challenge—review your own blog. 
It’s easy to get into a blogging rut and now that we’re almost into summer, it’s a good time to see how you’re doing this year. Below are 5 reasons your blog may not be growing. These things are critical to the success of ANY blog, no matter what the focus. Take a few minutes to see how your site holds up to review.
#1. Keeping a Regular Schedule. This is one of the first stumbling blocks to blog growth. If you’re not a big name in your industry, you need to be blogging on a schedule. We want our blog followers to stop by on a regular basis to visit and leave comments, they should be able to expect the same kind of regular commitment from us.
#2. Answering Your Reader’s Comments. If someone is willing to take the time to leave a comment on our blogs, the least we can do is acknowledge them. Reader comments don’t always have to be answered, but we can thank them from stopping by. If your blogging platform doesn’t allow you to reply to individual comments, or even if it does, it’s fine to group several acknowledgements together in one reply from you. 
#3. Social Media Interaction. Do your readers know how to follow you on Twitter and interact with you on Facebook? How easy are these buttons to find? I can’t tell you the time I spend looking for your Twitter names when I want to give you a shout out on social media. Most people won’t bother and you’ll have lost meeting new and potential readers.
#4. Do Your Blog Followers Have a Way to...Well...Follow? Most of the blogs I visit are much better at this than in the past, but I still see a sizable number that miss this critical component. Every blog needs a Follow by Email and Follow by RSS option. It doesn’t matter that you don’t know what RSS is, those who use it to read blogs are passionate about it and won’t cross over to receive blog updates by email.
#5. Are the Components Above EASY to Find? The way you organize the sidebar of your blog is vitally important to blog growth. You should have things in the order of importance. For example, if you look to the left of this you’ll see the first option for readers to take action is Follow by Email and Follow by RSS. After this is my Follow me on Twitter button, etc. People are much more likely to spend money than time, so you have to make this easy for them to come back and visit regularly.
Now I’d like to know how your blog stacks up. Just to be honest, while I was writing this I realized my Follow me on Facebook button had migrated to the bottom and I had to make a few changes to get my own site up to standard. 


If you’re still not sure about your own site’s growth, stay tuned for my next post, Reasonable Expectations for Blog Growth.
Don’t forget to join the conversation!
Blessings,
Edie

24 comments:

  1. Edie, thanks so much for your blog. I met you at the Blue Ridge Conference last week and so appreciate your heart and authenticity. After the conference, I am praying about starting a blog on discipleship, which is my passion. But I'm not sure how to even start. Your blogs are a great resource. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Crickett, I loved meeting you at Blue Ridge! I'm happy to help you get started with your blog. Send me an email and we'll work out a time to talk. ediegmelson (at) gmail (dot) com.

    Michelle, thanks for stopping by! I love your blog and all the great stuff you always have for writers.

    Blessings All, E

    ReplyDelete
  3. As always, your tips rock, Edie! I think I need to move my social media widgets up on my site. :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hmmm, I'm following all of these, but the comments on my blog are not always consistent. And I'm not sure really how to track actual hits on my blog...the Stats button on blogger doesn't seem accurate. Maybe it is...any posts on this? :P

    ReplyDelete
  5. You've nailed me, Edie -- maintaining consistency is my ongoing challenge. It definitely goes in waves for me.

    Where do you think a spot for newsletter sign-up should go? I have it at the top right now, followed by a widget with buttons for RSS, FB, Twitter, G+ and my kids' blog. I have a separate widget for signing up for my blog by email. Wondering if I should move it to the top instead of the newsletter sign-up.

    Always something to learn or try ...

    ReplyDelete
  6. Going to make these corrections right now! Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Edie, great tips. I think I'm following them all so far, and I look forward to your next post on realistic expectations about blog growth! I've been wondering a lot about this and can't wait to read your thoughts.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Another question: I notice that you don't have us show word verification to post a comment. Can you comment on why you have chosen this option? It definitely makes it easier to comment, and I know a lot of people find the "spam bot detector" irritating.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Julia is right, and today they changed it. Instead of 2 garbled words, there is one garbled word and one fuzzy photo. It's getting crazy.

    Here's one of my pet peeves, and I'm posting about it next week on Blogmama -- include your NAME somewhere in your sidebar!! I can't tell you how many times I've gone on a site-safari looking for somebody's name!!

    Can't wait for your thoughts on reasonable expectations.
    Thanks, Edie!!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Susan is right. I look for names all the time and can't find them, on Facebook and blogs. Funny how we overlook such a simple thing. Off to fix my blog the best I can. I guess Wordpress has Follow by RSS ... going to find out now. As far as regular posting, once upon a time I was so good. Now I have lots of excuses - that's going to take a little more work to fix.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Edie, I have a widget that just says RSS and one that says RSS Links. Are either of those the same as Follow by RSS? Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Great advice, Edie! Thanks for always finding ways to encourage me on this journey!

    ReplyDelete
  13. I don't have the RSS either...I'll have to look for that one. Great post...you know I'm loving blogging! ;)

    ReplyDelete
  14. Sorry I'm behind on answering everyone's comments. Yesterday afternoon our youngest graduated from high school and I've had a house full of company.
    I'll spread my answers to everyone out over a few comments.
    Melissa, I'm always having to move my widgets back into place. I've decided that's a good thing (and not just to make myself feel better) it shows that our blogs are growing and changing with the needs of our readers!

    Lindsay, I think most of us will always struggle with consistency. As far as stats for your blog, the blogger stats are actually a variation of Google Analytics, because Google owns Blogger. As long as you have the "Don't Track Your Own Page Views" button clicked you should be getting pretty accurate info. I think you're right though, I need a post on how to interpret blog stats, hmmm...

    ReplyDelete
  15. Sorry I'm behind on answering everyone's comments. Yesterday afternoon our youngest graduated from high school and I've had a house full of company.
    I'll spread my answers to everyone out over a few comments.
    Melissa, I'm always having to move my widgets back into place. I've decided that's a good thing (and not just to make myself feel better) it shows that our blogs are growing and changing with the needs of our readers!

    Lindsay, I think most of us will always struggle with consistency. As far as stats for your blog, the blogger stats are actually a variation of Google Analytics, because Google owns Blogger. As long as you have the "Don't Track Your Own Page Views" button clicked you should be getting pretty accurate info. I think you're right though, I need a post on how to interpret blog stats, hmmm...

    ReplyDelete
  16. Leigh, good question and keep in mind I'm answering with an opinion. I'm not certain there's a hard a fast "right" answer. I think email sign-ups should go first and here's why. These are the people who read your blog on a regular basis and have committed to it. Newsletter readers, although great, have a slightly lower commitment level. Again, I can't stress enough this is an opinion. You know your audience better than anyone. I'd definitely group both of them high up on your sidebar no matter the order.

    Daisy, thanks for stopping by!

    Julia, I did away with the word verification because I began looking into how accessible my site was for those with disabilities and challenges. What I learned was the word verification adds almost nothing in preventing spam and is a HUGE block for those who are visually impaired. This is also in line for a future blog post.

    Susan, you're right about the name thing. But, if you have your Twitter and Facebook right up at the top, your name is easy to find and there's also a picture! I love that so much more than the standard "about me" widget.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Kim, thanks for stopping by, as always! Choose the RSS option rather than the RSS Links.

    Vonda and Celeste, thanks for dropping in and leaving a comment!

    Blessings to you ALL! E

    ReplyDelete
  18. Embarrassed to ask this question.

    Oh! Hi Edie!

    What do you put in the box that says Feed URL? Is that the blog address? Doesn't it already know it? Yep, I'm a goober.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Kristi, there are no stupid questions! Don't just type your blog address, go to the home page of your blog and copy the URL, then paste that in. I know...I did it wrong the first time.
    Blessings, E

    ReplyDelete
  20. Thanks Edie, for sharing your hints and guidance - making changes now!

    ReplyDelete
  21. Verna, thanks so much for stopping by! Blessings, E

    ReplyDelete
  22. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete