It’s not hard to start a blog; anyone with Internet access can sign up for a free blogging platform, use a WYSIWYG editor to build a site, and start writing posts. It’s a greater challenge to gain an audience, but it can be done, especially if you have a clear target audience, a unique angle, and enough commitment to generate long-term interest.
But it’s much harder to keep things going over the long run.
The Challenge of Ongoing Blogging
A range of factors can interfere with your ability to maintain a blog for a year or more. You could start to run out of ideas, or deviate from your original message and appeal; you could take a new direction that doesn’t sit well with your established readership, or you could become upstaged by a competitor.
These are just a handful of potential death sentences for an otherwise solid blog. So what can you do to keep your blog running indefinitely?
Keys to Indefinite Success
Here are some tips that can help keep your blog active and flourishing:
- Learn more, all the time. As entrepreneur Sam Ovens points out, it’s vital to learn new things on a steady basis. Whether you’re an entrepreneur or just a blogger out to make some cash, you need to push the limits of what’s possible, constantly, by improving yourself. The more you learn — about your industry, about blogging, about your audience, and about the world in general — the more you’ll be able to share and the stronger your posts will become over time. Without that ongoing flow of new information and ideas, your posts will become stale, and you could easily be outpaced by a competitor who is doing more to keep developing new material.
- Keep your quality consistently high. After blogging for a period of months or years, the quality of your writing runs a risk of decline. Almost anyone experiences burnout, and grows tired of his or her blogging efforts. You could simply run out of unique or interesting things to say. It can be difficult to recognize when you hit this point because it tends to happens gradually, but you need to recognize it before it’s too late. If you find yourself backed into a corner in this way, try branching out to new types of content, or bring help into the fold by working with guest posters and contributors.
- Introduce new types of content … slowly. People naturally grow tired of reading the same kinds of content over and over — but brand consistency is also important. Strike a balance by introducing new types of content (that features new topics, new mediums, or new angles), bit by bit. Don’t disrupt your current audience, which has grown to love your blog for what they initially discovered there, but put out feelers to new audiences to maintain growth into the future.
- Engage with your audience regularly. One of the best ways to build an audience is simply to engage actively with the audience members you have. If someone makes a comment on one of your posts, thank them for reaching out and respond to their remarks. If someone asks you a question on social media, go out of your way to answer it. Doing this will ensure that readers continue to be interested in your blog, but it also demonstrates your commitment to them. In turn, this will attract even more people to your platform.
- Ask for feedback. If you want your blog to keep running, you need to give people what they want. But it can be hard to figure that out. You don’t have to overcomplicate the matter with guesswork. Instead, ask your readers directly what they want. Write a post on your blog and social media profiles that asks your readers for their opinion, and submit a survey through your email list, if you maintain one. Find out how satisfied your readers are with your current content strategy, and if there’s anything they’d change if they had the chance. You can learn a lot from this kind of feedback and make substantive adjustments to your strategy and content.
- Be willing to adapt. Situations change all the time. New technologies emerge, reader preferences alter, and competitors come out of nowhere. The more you’re willing to adapt and change with the times, the better chance you’ll have at surviving such threats. For example, when a new medium of content becomes popular, incorporate it into your editorial calendar. When a competitor beats you to a given topic or piece of news, you can up the ante by responding to that post with a new entry. Learn from your mistakes, and keep improving indefinitely.
With the above keys in mind, you should be able to keep your blog alive and well no matter what changes come your way. By keeping yourself sharp and focused, you’ll continue to reach a high-quality threshold, and by remaining flexible, you’ll become able to respond to any threats that might surface.
This doesn’t mean your blog will last forever, but you’ll stand a much better chance of keeping it alive for as long as it’s valuable to you.
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