“I started writing a blog but, after a few months, no one was reading it, so I gave up on it.” I’ve heard this excuse from countless people as they explain why they quit writing for the site or blog they started. Unless you are a celebrity and have a few thousand Twitter followers eagerly awaiting your every blog post, you probably won’t have very many people who even know your site exists at the beginning. It is going to take some time for the number of viewers to grow to the point where you feel like someone is actually reading your articles, but many people stop just short of that prize.
There is really only one solution to grow a base of followers that are going to stick around for the long term and continue returning to your site just to see if you have posted a new article. You just have to keep writing.
I once heard someone say that writing in a web-based economy is like walking along the beach right where the waves come ashore. Every few seconds a new wave is going to wash away your footprints and wipe away any legacy that you hoped to leave behind on the beach. With the amount of new content that gets added to the web every day, the only way you can continue to be relevant, continue to influence people, and continue to expand the reach of your words, is to just keep writing.
Eventually you will hit your first tipping point and realize that all the writing wasn’t all a waste of time. You will wake up one morning and see that a huge number of visitors found your site the day before. For me, it took eleven months of writing a few times a week before I hit that first significant jump in site visits. The reality is that it takes time to create enough content on your site where people feel comfortable telling their friends about “this cool new site” they stumbled across. That reader who found your site (probably by accident the first time) was intrigued by the first page they saw, decided to bookmark it, came back a few more times to see what else you had written, and then deemed it worthy to pass on or link to.
Pushing through the hard times is what will pay off in the long run. For one, through this entire process you will become a better writer. Writing is a perishable skill, and when it isn’t exercised, it atrophies. For those of us in the military or law enforcement, the security industry is not exactly known for strong or even grammatically correct writing. But with continuous practice, the quality of words you put to paper will only get better and better.
Another reason to keep writing is that the more content you add to your site is giving Google additional reasons to put your site on the first page of their search results. Without digressing into a conversation about SEO (search engine optimization), the more articles that you write that cause people to comment, link to, and pass on, is reflected in how high your site comes up on the search results page. This is tied to the perceived quality of the post, which in a web-based world has the same merit as a reader referring your site.
One more benefit of writing continuously is that you will begin to know your audience better and better. Through emails, social media comments, and in countless other ways, you learn about specifically what interests them, and you naturally begin writing posts that they find value in. For instance, I could have named this post “The Secret To Blogging Success” but I’ve learned that you would have seen through that attempt to grab attention. Also, if you are still reading now, you are probably giving serious consideration to the benefits of starting your own blog, so let me knock out a couple more excuses that you might be considering:
I Don’t Know What To Write About
The Internet is a great thing for writers because it has reduced the barriers to entry for businesses, writers, and influencers to just about zero. You can get your own site for free and begin writing on whatever it is that you are passionate about. You can become a thought leader in any area that you want if you are willing to put in the time to show people how much you know. To paraphrase a 21-year-old CEO from Silicon Valley, the Internet allows you to show your expertise in Disney characters if that is what you are interested in. It doesn’t matter what the topic is, but if you have the courage to expose yourself and your writing to others, the opportunity to do that is readily available.
If you are still stuck, here is a blog post that I like with 25 different sources of inspiration for people who don’t like to write. It was written by Pam Moore who write about blogging, social media and marketing.
I Don’t Have The Time To Write
Writing for a blog is certainly time consuming. I won’t pretend that it isn’t. On top of the time commitment to write (and revise) a post you are proud of, the inspiration to write comes and goes. There will be days when, no matter how badly you want to get a new article written, it just isn’t going to happen. You don’t have to post an article on your site every single day to make a blog interesting and worthwhile. If you write one article a week, by the end of your first year, you will have over 50 articles and will be well on your way to creating a site with true depth that can bring in a new reader and drive them to keep digging deeper into your past articles. Here is an article that highlights the overrated blogging guidance that you have to post every single day in order to “make it.”
Thinking Like An Insurgent
If you think it is hard to get people to read your articles on your site, think about how hard it must be for an insurgency to get off the ground in the beginning, and the continuous struggle for it to recruit new members. Writing is all about the ability to communicate in a way that influences people to take action. The whole premise for this series of articles is that you can become more capable of identifying the insurgent by understanding how he operates. To do this, though, you have to put yourself in his shoes. By trying to gain an online following, you are learning one of his methods of communication (the written word). Remember that the insurgent is not stopping when the path gets rough and when he isn’t reaching as many people as he would like. If you still are on the fence, don’t let the insurgent be more committed to influencing others then you are.