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One of the most common ways that I see a blog ‘go under’ is when the blogger gets distracted from the overall task of blogging by one single aspect of blogging.
Here’s the thing – for a blog to become successful you can’t just work on one aspect of it – there are many tasks to work on as it grows. These include writing content, engaging readers, watching what’s going on in your niche, building networks with other blogs and sites in your niche, working on the design of your blog, moderating comments, promoting your blog/marketing, finding, managing and optimizing income streams, search engine optimization, tracking your blog’s metrics…. and more.
It’s a bit of an overwhelming list isn’t it!?
When a blogger becomes obsessed with any one aspect of the list, that comes at the expense of the other critical aspects of blogging.
Each of the things I’ve mentioned above are legitimate things to work about on your blog (some more important than others at different stages of a blog’s life) however a blog grows best when you’re working on them all and not just when you do one of them.
Five Types of Obsessed Bloggers
Let me share five common scenarios that I see:
1. The Design Maniac – perhaps one of the most common examples of this is the blogger who becomes so obsessed about how their blog looks that they do little else but tweak it visually by playing with their CSS, touching up logos, trying different layouts, testing new menus and navigation….
Not that there’s anything wrong with any of this – but if it’s all you do when are you going to write content, do some networking and moderate comments?
2. The SEO(bsessed) – I went through a phase where I became obsessed by Search Engine Optimization. Symptoms of this disorder include writing for Search Engines instead of human beings (you know, posts with the same keywords 400 times, all bolded and in heading tags), spending more time tweaking your templates more than you spend time writing content, making every post you write link to your ‘make money online’ page which is filled with affiliate links, checking your page rank every morning before you moderate your comments and sending out hundreds of emails to other bloggers you’ve never heard of before asking them to link to your post….
OK – again, SEO isn’t evil, Search Engines can actually be a rich source of traffic for your blog – however SEO is also enhanced by quality content, well coded sites and the best sites rank well in SE’s because they get linked to for their quality.
3. The Social Media Sell Out – this is something most bloggers go through at one stage or another too. They hear about the masses of traffic that a site like Digg or StumbleUpon can send and they write post after post specifically with the hope of getting on the front page of social bookmarking sites.
You know the posts I’m talking about – 419 Stupid Britney Spears Quotes, 10 Ways to Skin a Cat…. Really!, Ron Paul (insert anything here)….
These types of posts can draw a lot of traffic to your blog, the problem is that it can be a rather empty experience if you’ve not worked on your blog’s design and worked out how to keep the readers. It can also frustrate your regular readers who are wanting posts of substance. Lastly the traffic can be quite destructive (both to your servers and the comment areas on your posts – particularly if you draw 10,000 angry little Digg users into your blog). Sure – write some posts and experiment with social media, but don’t get obsessed.
4. The Money Hungry Blogger – There’s nothing wrong with monetizing your blog but if someone arrives at your blog and there is NOTHING but ads above the fold of your blog you might want to have a think about the first impression you’re creating.
If every post you write contains an affiliate link or is a paid review, welcomes another sponsor, calls for new sponsors or launches your latest ebook – then you also might want to consider the reputation that you’re creating for yourself as a blogger.
5. The Stat-a-holic – if you wake up in the morning and before you have a coffee, head to the bathroom, kiss your wife or pick up your screaming baby from his cot…. you’ve just got to check your blog’s stats – YOU’VE GOT A PROBLEM!
Once again, most bloggers go through a stage when they start out when they seem to check their blog’s stats more times a day than pretty much doing anything else – but for some bloggers they never grow out of it. They spend hour after hour not only checking visitor numbers but have a daily process of checking where every reader arrived from, how many pages they viewed, what links they clicked, how long they took on each page and where they headed to after leaving.
Knowing how people use your blog is good – but…. if you spend more time checking stats then anything else you’ll notice one big stat – no one comes back because you’re not putting enough time into writing content!
The List Could Go On
I could go on describing bloggers who obsess over promoting their blog, networking, building reader community, writing on only one aspect of your niche, exploring new blog tools etc – but you get the picture.
You’ve got to keep some balance!
Tips for Single Minded Bloggers
Do a Time Audit – Take some time out today and think about how you use your time when it comes to blogging. Where is the majority of your time going? List all the tasks in the order that you put time in and ask yourself – am I in danger of obsessing over any one of them? What am I ignoring that I should be doing more of?
Once you know where (if) you’re out of balance it’s time to do something about it.
Give Yourself a Schedule – One thing that I did in the early days of blogging was to set myself a schedule. At the time I was working two jobs and studying part time so only had a couple of hours a day so my schedule included a little time in the mornings for checking emails, an hour before leaving for work to write a post or two and then in the evenings I devoted my time to networking, email and moderating comments. Once a week I also put an hour aside for some SEO and once a month I’d put aside time for design.
Create a Points System – Another system that some bloggers use is to create a ‘points system‘ where they give themselves different ‘points’ for achieving certain goals on their blog.
Get Feedback from Others – I’d also recommend asking someone else for their feedback on this. Sometimes it’s easy to get distracted on one aspect of your blog without realizing it. Ask another blogger or a trusted reader or two for honest feedback on how they think you’re going. You might be surprised with what they come back with.
Have Your Say
What is your obsession (or has been) as a blogger? Are you in danger of getting out of balance? What do you do to keep yourself more balanced?
This post was first published on Jun 27, 2008 and updated Oct 28, 2021.