The odds of opening a successful restaurant are not good. In fact, 1 out of 5 restaurants fail within the first 6 months of operation and 9 out of 10 are gone after 2 years.
Since there’s no Chapter 11 for blogs to file – we really can’t measure the success rate of a blog. What we can do is look at some common reasons why your blog might be struggling.
1. Hopelessly Devoted To You
It doesn’t really matter the event: golfing, dancing, chess or blogging. If you want to find success you have to be devoted. Tiger Woods has said that he often hits a thousand balls at the driving range a day. Folks, that’s devotion!
There’s no doubt about it, lack of dedication is the number one reason for struggling blogs. How many hours do you devote to your blog a day?
2. Going Solo
Did we learn nothing from Roger Waters or David Lee Roth?! Sometimes going solo is not a wise choice.
If your blog is of the more personal nature where you show off family pictures and give your opinions of movies then it makes sense that you would go it alone. However, if you are taking on a more commercial subject you may be kidding yourself trying to do an adequate job alone.
You may need to put your pride in check and get some help. This blog was created to provide webmasters with information on all aspects of the web including: design, development and promotion. That’s a huge task! The best move I made was bringing in others that specialized in areas where I was weak.
According to Technorati, there are over 175,000 new blogs every day. It’s a saturated field and it’s only getting worse. It’s my opinion that the blogs of the future are going to be run by teams, not individuals.
Yes, I am aware there are some highly successful blogs out there run by individuals, but people like Guy Kawaski, John Battelle, Darren Rowse and Brian Clark are rare; these guys are pioneers. It’s not that it can’t be done, but the odds of long-term success are lower.
Also, remember what we talked about with devotion? Having a team can help you pick up the slack. Together we stand — divided we fall.
3. You Gotta Serve Someone
Who knew that when Bob Dylan said, “You gotta serve someone” he would be giving such great blogging advice? Who is your blog serving? Really, if you struggle to answer the question then I’m betting your blog also struggles.
If you can fill a niche or solve a problem, people will beat a path to your door and hold it open for others!
4. It’s Not About the Money
Whenever they say, “It’s not about the money” – it’s about the money!
Far too often people start blogs simply for the monetary gain. When it comes to blogging, I don’t think money is a good motivator. I think that if you lack passion for what you’re talking about your viewers will notice. Intrinsic motivation is always stronger than extrinsic motivation.
Don’t get me wrong – making money from your blog is not a bad thing, but if that is your sole motivation I don’t see your blog standing the test of time.
I would also caution you on using Adsense on your blog. I agree with Rand Fishkin when he says:
“I hate AdSense on blogs. Usually, I ignore it, but I also cast a sharp eye towards the quality of the posts and professionalism of the content when I see AdSense. That’s not to say that contextual advertising can’t work well in some blogs, but it needs to be well integrated into the design and layout to help defer criticism. Don’t get me wrong – it’s unfair to judge a blog by its cover (or, in this case, its ads), but spend a lot of time surfing blogs and you’ll have the same impression – low quality blogs run AdSense and many high quality ones don’t. I always recommend that whether personal or professional, you wait until your blog has achieved a level of success before you start advertising. Ads, whether they’re sponsorships, banners, contextual or other, tend to have a direct, negative impact on the number of readers who subscribe, add to favorites and link – you definitely don’t want that limitation while you’re still trying to get established.” 
5. The Bandwagon Is Not a Good Ride
You might be tempted to post that big industry news story on your blog because it fits in so well with your blog’s subject, but I would caution you on that. Unless you can add something to the story I’m not so sure I would post it. Nobody wants a dozen stories about Apple’s iPhone or whatever the hot news is in their RSS reader — especially ones that say the same thing as the first entry they already read. This can get people to unsubscribe to your feed — not good.
It’s been said before and it will be said again — there is no substitute for well written original content. To quote Seth Godin, “Cover bands don’t change the world…”
6. Give The People What They Want
The beauty of the internet is the ability to track everything in real time. Using tools (often free) like Google Analytics you can see things like: how many visitors your site received, which pages of your site are the most popular and the average time spent at your site. You can also see things like what your viewers searched for within the search engines; how many pages on average your viewers read on your site; how much time they actually invested in your site, and whether or not they are a new visitor or a loyal reader. Simply put, you can know your visitors — what they like most — and give it to them. Any other medium: TV, radio or newspapers would kill for that type of information available to them via a handful of mouse clicks. Make sure you are using it!
I think the article How to Promote Your Blog may also be worth reading on this issue.
7. Prune Your Website
When you prune plants you cut back parts of the plant to better shape it and improve fruiting. Your website should see a considerable amount of pruning too. One of the more powerful features of a website is the ability to rapidly change something that isn’t working. As we already talked about in point six, we have the ability to track everything and know if something is not making conversions.
You wouldn’t or at least shouldn’t leave dead parts of a plant still attached, they should be cut back to allow the parts that are still alive to thrive. The same is true for your website; either fix or remove what isn’t working so that the parts that are can thrive.
I will expand on this point in a future post…
8. Use An Editor
Find yourself an editor – anybody – just get one! An editor is someone who will look over your post before it goes to publication.
A good editor will find and fix punctuation, spelling and grammatical mistakes. They can tell you if something doesn’t make sense, if you need a better transition, if you should restructure a sentence or cut away an entire paragraph that’s deemed unnecessary or if you are being too braggadocious and need to tone it down. Simply put, they can clean up your post and improve upon them greatly.
It doesn’t matter if the editor is your wife or a friend; they can help! Of course you, the author, should be the first editor, but you should not be the only editor. Editing your own work is most difficult. This is because the mind can trick you! When you read over your own work the mind fills in the gaps for you. This is because in your mind you know exactly what it’s supposed to say, regardless of what it really says. So when someone else reads it – anybody else – they don’t have that problem and can see the mistakes.
An editor can mean all the difference in the world…
9. RSS Feeds
Thanks to RSS and feed readers itâ€™s become common-place that your blogâ€™s content gets read from a source other than your website. Because of this, you should optimize your feeds. Here are my recommendations:
- Some people estimate that half their bandwidth goes to RSS feeds. Let FeedBurner take the hit for you by offloading your feeds to FeedBurner. Try the FeedBurner Feed Replacement plugin. This plugin will detect all ways to access your feed and redirect them to FeedBurner so you can track every possible subscriber.
- Enable FeedBurnerâ€™s FeedFlare feature – Itâ€™s located under the Optimize tab once logged into FeedBurner. FeedFlare allows you to place a footer at the bottom of each post with such choices as to Digg this post or to add to Technorati or del.icio.us. FeedFlare is certainly worth checking out.
- In the WordPress Admin Panel, under Options – Reading, make sure the ‘Full text’ radio button for Feed Syndication is ticked.
10. Post Titles = Title Tags
The rookie blogger will often times create snappy post titles that are fun and humorous to humans. But, after the post is off the front-page and well into the archives the best chance it may get of being read is from the search engines.
Because of the significance of title tags on search engines one must be mindful when selecting a title for each post. This is not to say that you should neglect your human viewers in order to please a bot; never do that. A balance must be struck.
The next time you are thinking about titling a post think about the keywords that may be used in the search engines later to find it. Then try to create a title that’s still pleasing and appropriate to humans, but also includes keywords for the search engines.
For further reading on the importance of Title tags read “Title Tags – A Search Engine Optimization Cornerstone.”
If you have a blog that is struggling, try implementing some of the suggestions given and hopefully you’ll start seeing it spring back to life.
 21 Tactics to Increase Blog Traffic