Why I Quit Blogging (and What to Do If You’re Struggling)

About four years ago, I quit blogging.

It wasn’t anything dramatic. I didn’t get drunk, delete my blog in a fit of rage, and tell everyone on twitter to go to hell (although I’ve been tempted).

No, I just kind of walked away. I stopped posting, let the blog go stale, and then canceled the hosting account.

The best way I know to describe is it was a kind of “learned helplessness.”

I wrote lots of great content, but no one linked to it. I optimized for search engines, but I couldn’t find my site anywhere in the first 100 pages. I tried submitting my posts to social bookmarking sites like Digg.com, but I couldn’t pick up a single vote.

Eventually, you just get fed up, you know?

You do everything popular bloggers tell you to do, but it doesn’t work, and so you feel like, “What’s the point?” Obviously, you’re doing something wrong, but you have no idea what it is.

And so you quit.

At Copyblogger, I’ve called it the glass ceiling of the blogosphere. If you do everything people tell you to do, you can get up to about 100 visitors a day, but then it’s like you hit an invisible wall, and you can’t go any further.

For me, it didn’t just happen once. It happened three times in two separate niches. At first, I thought it was just the topic, but then when the same exact thing happened to me with a different topic, I knew something else was up.

And the honest truth?

I never figured it out. Big, fancy pants “traffic genius” Jon Morrow couldn’t put two and two together.

After about six months of licking my wounds and thinking about it, I finally decided to hire Chris Garrett (co-author of the Problogger book) to look at everything and tell me what I was doing wrong.

Here’s what he told me:

Nobody knows who you are.

At first, I didn’t get it. I said, “Yeah, but isn’t that the point of publishing great content? You write lots of great stuff, and then the word spreads, and popular bloggers find out about you?”

“No,” he said. “Popular bloggers find out about who you are, and THEN they read your content, and THEN they link to you. Connections come first. Great content comes second.”

You see, I had it backwards.

I thought great content led to connections, but really, it’s the other way around. Feeling like an idiot, I decided to give it a shot.

I wrote about the same topics. My writing didn’t improve at all. I promoted my posts in exactly the same way.

The only difference was I made some friends with popular bloggers first, and then I asked them to help me promote it. Here’s what happened:

Within one month, I was averaging 1000 visitors a day from StumbleUpon, Delicious, and Digg. Why? Because I got to know Brian Clark, and he connected me with social media power users who promoted my posts.

I got nominated for the Best Business/Money Blog in the world. Guess who was on the nomination committee? Yep: Chris Garrett. I’d love to think it was a coincidence, but I know it’s not.

I got linked to by Lifehacker, one of the most popular blogs in the world. How? Brian introduced me to Tamar Weinberg, who wrote for Lifehacker at the time, and I wrote posts I knew she would be interested in.

One thing led to another until, nowadays, I know almost everybody.

The Power of Connections

Sure, I’ve improved as a writer since then, but what really makes it possible to get so much traffic is all of the connections I’ve picked up over the years. Recently, I helped a consulting client launch a new blog, and we picked up something like 200,000 unique visitors within two months, starting from nothing.

How?

Connections.

I’m not saying great content is superfluous. It’s not. You just need connections before it matters.

The cool thing?

Guest blogging helps you get both

Everyday, popular bloggers wake up with tens of thousands of readers hungry for something insightful, fresh, and amazing, and they have to keep them supplied. Privately, we call it “Feeding the content beast.”

And so what’s the one thing you can offer them that they’ll always be interested in?

Guest posts.

They don’t just want them. They need them. And if you can become a reliable provider, most will want to get to know you and do everything they can to help you, including introduce you to other powerful people.

Also, your content gets better the longer you write for them.

For the past three years, I’ve written for Copyblogger, and Brian Clark has edited my posts and given me feedback. Do you think that helped my writing? You betcha.

I go through my posts word for word, line by line and look closely at what he changed. It’s taught me more about writing than a degree in English Literature.

The coolest part is the price. For three years now, I’ve been mentored by one of the best writers in the world, and it didn’t cost me a dime. In fact, he paid me.

Of course, you might say, “Well, that’s easy for you to do. You’re in the blogging niche where there are tons of huge blogs. In my niche, there aren’t any big blogs to write for, so obviously this won’t work for me.”

But listen to this:

My first popular blog was about lessons I learned from investing in real estate. Guess how many popular real estate investing blogs there are? Zero. If you don’t believe me, Google it. The closest big niche is personal finance, and I didn’t write for any of those blogs either (although I should have).

The truth is, it doesn’t matter. You’re targeting readers, not topics. I wrote for Copyblogger because most bloggers are interested in learning how to make more money. The same thing for Brazen Careerist. Your career is a big part of your income, and so I wanted those people.

You can do the same thing for any niche. I’ve had students who focused on drawing stick figures, vegetarian fitness, and even a blog about nothing but tomatoes. We found related popular blogs for all of them.

The point?

You can do this.

If you’ve been struggling, it isn’t because you’re a bad blogger. It’s because you’re trying to do it all by yourself.

Getting your blog going isn’t about learning yet another traffic strategy. It’s about surrounding yourself with powerful people who can support you, and the best way I know to do that is guest blogging.

Granted, maybe you’re stuck in the whole “learned helplessness” phase, and you can’t believe it’ll work for you. If that’s the case, here’s the deal:

I’m probably going to regret this, but if you’re wondering whether guest blogging will work for your topic, leave me a comment below, and I’ll take a look at your blog. Try to keep it as short as you can (no more than three paragraphs, please), telling me what your blog is about, who your readers are, and what you’re hoping to accomplish.

If you’ll do that, then I’ll do for you what Chris Garrett did for me: I’ll personally respond back to you and give you some ideas. Free charge.

Fair enough?

Well then, what are you waiting for? Get started writing that comment! :-)

Amazingly, we are at over 2,000 comments now, and we’ve been able to answer every one of ‘em. It’s a lot of work, of course, and I’ve considered closing the comment form, but everyone seems to be getting a lot out of this, so instead, I’ve handed over the answering duties to my Assistant Instructor Marsha Stopa. You’ll be able to get a much faster response from her, and she knows this stuff just as well as I do. So, have at it! Marsha is waiting for ya. :-)

2,468 Comments

  1. Joanne Wiklund
    Apr 22, 2014 @ 15:47:25

    Thanks for the insightful words from your experience. I started a blog because my regular weekly column in a local newspaper got cut, and I knew I’d have to have somewhere to put the words that come together in my head.

    I also have two facebook pages, a personal one and a professional one, Joanne Wiklund, author. I don’t have a website because I’m still thinking about what I want it to do. My ebook, titled An Angel For Duane & Gladys in online.

    I don’t Tweet because I don’t think in 140 characters, even as a journalist for over 30 years. I’ve turned to writing fiction because as a newspaper reporter I had to write so many stories where I didn’t like the end of the story. Thanks for the Internet Insights. JW

    Reply

  2. Jazz
    Apr 22, 2014 @ 11:41:30

    Such a great article, very useful. I shall be using your advice and start connecting. I was kind of wondering why no one is remotely ‘interested’ in my new blog. I shall work harder!! Thanks. :)

    Reply

  3. Maree Mortimer
    Apr 22, 2014 @ 05:41:12

    My blog is about getting children into the kitchen and teaching them to cook. And as a result encouraging them to be independent, have a healthy balanced diet and understand where their food comes from. My target audience is parents with young children (under 12 years old).
    My main aim, along with getting parents to involve their children in cooking, is to improve the health of children by giving them the skills to be able to prepare their own meals and not rely on take away foods.

    Reply

  4. Ruth
    Apr 19, 2014 @ 10:59:15

    I have just returned to blogging having experienced the same ‘what’s the point, nobody reads my stuff anyway’. I promoted my most recent post from the blog on facebook. I had one comment – just one – and that was on FB, not the blog site – and it was disparaging, not a ‘yeah, great stuff’. I’m not in the blogging ‘business’ for the money – I just want to get my ideas out there and people to read my perspective on life (no, it isnt about ‘me’, but it is about some deeply held ideas/beliefs that are shared by others). Just wish it wasnt to discouraging!

    Reply

    • Ruth
      Apr 19, 2014 @ 11:00:05

      sorry, that was supposed to read ‘so discouraging’

      Reply

  5. J Stewart Dixon
    Apr 13, 2014 @ 14:43:52

    Hi Marsha. I’m in the wellness/spirituality business. I teach, write, blog. I resonated with this advice as I have a very small audience. I know there is a spiritual/wellness/mindfulness blogging world out there but have been lazy and timid about pursuing guest blogging or affiliating myself with other bloggers. Is this what I need to do to achieve “escape velocity”? Mired in the mud- Jeff

    Reply

  6. Wendy Kendall
    Apr 12, 2014 @ 07:50:38

    Jon, you’re my blogging hero and this post rocks! Thank you. Also, many thanks in advance to Marsha. I’m really looking forward to any advice you might be able give.

    My business and blog is about launching and growing your global career. I launched the website and blog at the beginning of the year but I’ve been working for the last 10 years for big international companies helping them to grow their own leaders and managers. Now I’m focusing specifically on their employees who have moved abroad for their career development. I help them to translate and reposition their talents and strengths, regrow their networks, upgrade their resilience, re-establish their personal brand and hit the ground running when it comes to creating new value for their companies. The alternative is going through the legendary expatriate employee ‘performance U bend’ as employees try to pick up their career momentum again – these days no one has time for such a downturn as they’re often being sent to fast moving emerging or immature markets. My clients are either HR/talent management or mobility professionals who are responsible for these people working in large companies, or the people going on international mobility themselves.

    My intention for the business this year is to launch two online programs successfully i.e. have paying clients for them. One is a 6 week intensive program called Talent That Travels and the other is a private members’ club called Moving On Up. I’m already networking with consultants in my niche with a view to forming some strategic partnerships, as well as going back to my network of previous clients who fit my ideal client profile. I would love to extend my reach beyond European companies.

    Thanks for any feedback you can give me and over the weekend I will also take some time to go through the rest of the replies and see if there’s anyone on here who might be blogging in the same or a related niche. Also, if anyone out there is interested in connecting with me, please let me know via the website at http://www.globalbusinessstarsacademy.com/

    Have a great weekend, everyone!

    Reply

  7. Tahila H.
    Apr 11, 2014 @ 07:46:39

    Hi, thank you for posting this helpful article. I am trying to build my blog all by myself and it isn’t working. I’ve tried a couple different blogs to promote my writing, and truth is I have no idea what I’m doing wrong/right. If you’re still taking a look at people’s blogs, I would appreciate it very much to be considered. My goal is to set up a site where I can blog about the stories I’ll be publishing soon. Thank you again.

    Reply

  8. Josh Ludin
    Apr 11, 2014 @ 07:34:10

    Thanks for this opportunity – I am building my blog – NeverJobHunt.com – with the intention of sharing ideas of how to make money online. I am targeting college students and post-grads who are looking to take their fate into their own hands and start earning income online, allowing for the flexibility to travel. My personal experiences are from eCommerce, affiliate marketing, trading stocks and options, and Fulfillment by Amazon.

    My plan is to discuss successful and unsuccessful methods of each, and share stories of other people who have had great success in these fields. I certainly believe that there is a method to earn income online for everybody, regardless of marketing skills or technical skills, so sharing these ideas and strategies is my goal.

    I plan to build step by step tutorials on building an eCommercewebsite, starting a Fulfillment by Amazon account, building a blog, etc. As well as sharing inspirational success stores.

    Any and all feedback would be greatly appreciated!

    Reply

  9. Valentino Diaz
    Apr 10, 2014 @ 14:44:53

    I just started up a website, the primary purpose of which is to market my self-published novel. I also have a few self-published short stories, and after reading multiple websites/blogs about promoting writing I figured including a blog section with updated content would be a good way to drive traffic to my site and hopefully sell books.

    So far I’ve found many suggestions on this blog very helpful, particularly the advice on networking. I have written to several bloggers requesting to guest post, but so far no luck. I assume perhaps I have to be a little more active in their comments section but any advice would be helpful.

    Ultimately I want to get people to purchase copies of my stories. Currently I don’t make very much (if any considering the time spent) money, but I really want to get my name out there. Thanks for all the great content and any feedback would be greatly appreciated!

    Reply

  10. Greta Boris
    Apr 08, 2014 @ 15:21:16

    I’m afraid you’re going to tell me everything you’ve told all the fiction writers who’ve left comments. I’ve been blogging for quite a while. When I began I was writing about fitness and hoping to promote my nonfiction book on the topic and to promote myself as a freelance writer.

    I have since segued away from writing exclusively about health and am writing now on how to have a healthier, happier life from an odd angle. I’m writing on the 7 deadly sins and their angelic counterparts. I just finished 7 weeks on lust and/or love.

    I believe the kind of reader who might enjoy a post on how to overcome envy, or an inspiring true story of someone who rose above being a greedy so-and-so may also be the type of reader who would enjoy my fiction when ready for publication.

    Any thoughts, advice, greatly appreciated.

    Best,
    Greta

    Reply

  11. Erik Matlock
    Apr 08, 2014 @ 08:10:44

    I am running two blogs at the same time, two different subjects. Both get great response and I enjoy them both. But, it would be nice to make these connections and grow them into something profitable.
    I sincerely appreciate the wisdom you shared freely here. I will take some time and try to implement all this. However…
    I have attempted to work with other bloggers and get involved like this. Not much response. Curious about who would be the big dogs in terms of marriage and family blogs. Maybe someone I haven’t heard of. None of the ones who have been willing to promote me seem to send much traffic.
    My primary blog is at erikmatlock.com, it is focused on everything I learned while saving a marriage that I destroyed. Twenty years of bad decisions and almost four years of counseling teaches you a lot. We are great now and teaching others.
    My other on is at artofthesoundcheck.com where I teach about the things I learned during a twenty year career in pro audio. It has been picked up by a few magazines, but still doesn’t have steady traffic.
    It does feel like I am missing something simple. This needs to become a full time venture, but it’s a slow process.

    Reply

  12. Louise Eistrup
    Apr 08, 2014 @ 07:42:51

    Hi all,
    I have read with great interrest this article, but I am wondering if you can help me as my website is in danish?
    I have been writting a new article every week for the past nine month and no new subscribers or contacts or customers.
    My hope is to attract new customers by giving diversified information so they can see that I have a wide knowledge. I offer private consultations and I go out and hold a speeches. I also have a Facebook pages sexistens where I am allmost active every day in order to try and capture interrested people this way.
    I have a IT guy who at the moment is re-doing my website so that it looks more professional and he is also working on a new website where I will promote conferences/speeches on a more specific topic: sex and food. Basically, it will be about: How you can get better a sexlife and sexdrive, by keeping healthy and eating the right stuff.
    I think that my biggest problem is that I cannot figure out where to do guest blogs.
    I hope you will be able to help me.
    Thank you in advance.
    Louise

    Reply

    • Marsha Stopa
      Apr 22, 2014 @ 13:59:08

      Louise,

      Interesting concept for a blog. ;-)

      I’m afraid you won’t get very far blogging or guest posting in Danish. I have nothing against the Danish language; it’s the same problem that every non-English blogger faces. The blogosphere in non-English languages is not very large or well developed yet. So there will be few or no blogs on your topic, or they will be very small with few readers. Or they may not be that familiar with guest posting.

      You’ve given it a valiant effort for 9 months. I doubt it will improve. Your English seems to be excellent, so why don’t you blog in English? Then it would be easy to find personal development blogs, food blogs, health and wellness blogs and fitness/exercise for guest posts. Check out Alltop.com to find the top blogs in those niches and check to see if they accept guest posts.

      You have combined two very popular topics — sex and food and how to get more of the former. Your guest posts could be hugely popular on English personal development blogs, and the other kind of blogs I’ve listed above.

      I hope that helps a little.

      Best of luck,
      Marsha

      Reply

  13. Karen
    Apr 05, 2014 @ 15:48:44

    We have a fishing charter business in Australia and I am trying to grow our email list so Ryan does not have to work so hard on the water. He always helps people learn his techniques to catch Australia’s premiere sportsfish Barramundi and we are building an ecourse to sell to fishermen explaining it all. Obviously we would like to build our list and by doing so help keen anglers catch more fish. Thanks so much for taking the time to respond to all these comments. Cheers Karen

    Reply

    • Karen
      Apr 05, 2014 @ 15:50:22

      • Marsha Stopa
        Apr 22, 2014 @ 13:50:43

        Karen,

        Looks like a very exciting life. :-)

        You’re doing a lot of things right. I suggest offering a “freebie” to get fishermen to sign up to your list. “Free tips” has become so commonplace that people don’t even see it any more.

        Think about the questions Ryan gets asked the most. What are the top 2 or 3 things that people ALWAYS ask? Create a “cheat sheet” that answers those questions, and offer it as your email opt in freebie. Use photos, make it at least 10 pages in length. Give it a provocative title like, “Ryan Moody’s 5 Secret Techniques for [fill in the blank.]” Make it something that people would pay at least $20 for AND would get fishermen talking to each other about.

        Will it keep people from signing up for your class? No. Here’s why: Give them a valuable cheatsheet that shows them WHAT to do, and they will come back and pay you to show them HOW to do it. Let’s face it — you can’t give away his decades of experience in 10 pages or a short video.

        Jon does this kind of cheatsheet at http://guestblogging.com. He even does a video walkthrough of the cheatsheet. You could do that as well, filming Ryan on the boat demonstrating the tip or technique. Don’t make it as extensive as your course, but give people a valuable taste that makes them want more.

        You may need to test a couple of different offers to see which one resonates with your audience best. Don’t be afraid to do that. The goal is to get at least a 30 percent sign up rate among the visitors to that opt in page.

        Best of luck!
        Marsha

      • Karen Rudkin
        Apr 22, 2014 @ 19:51:59

        Thank you so much Marsha for your valuable advice specifically about our site! You have no idea how much we appreciate you taking the time to view it and leaving such valuable comments. You and Jon ROCK!

  14. Edmond
    Apr 05, 2014 @ 14:25:34

    my blog is http://www.gridchat.net . this blog is all about personal development. this blog is for everyone but especially youth. the problem is to grow it.

    I sometimes blog about spiritual topics that seems people want to know. my aim is to help people know who they are and live the purposeful life. hoe cam I grow this blog?

    Reply

    • Marsha Stopa
      Apr 22, 2014 @ 13:36:49

      Edmond,

      Your topic and target audience need to be more focused. After landing on your blog, I had no clear idea what it’s about and who it is for — the topics are so diverse it’s hard to tell the theme and it doesn’t seem to “speak” directly to any particular audience. That’s where I would start. Be clear about what you do and who you do it for.

      I would also remove the ad for “link bucks” at the top. It screams “spammy site.”

      I would also make the site design less cluttered and easier to read. Reduce it to two columns and create easy-to-read categories in the right column.

      Also check out Jon’s headline resource at http://headlinehacks.com/ to learn to write better headlines.

      Good luck,
      Marsha

      Reply

  15. Joshua Omundson
    Apr 04, 2014 @ 11:44:58

    This was a great post and something that I needed to be reminded of. My blog (www.thotivity.com) is about helping people live better lives. My original focus was on positive thinking, as that is the foundation for positive living. I haven’t found a lot of sites that focus on positive thinking so I feel I’m in the right place, and able to expand.

    There are a few sites that I am going to start guest blogging for, and will be revamping my home page to make it a little more clear on how I can help the readers. My overall goal is to offer personalized coaching solutions to help people overcome their circumstances and obstacles in life. To really get to the next level.

    My problem is that I have so many great ideas for articles. Although they are all related to personal development, and things that my market is interested in, I feel that I am all over the place as far as topics are considered. Would it be better for me to concentrate on one topic at a time before moving on to another one or continue to write about multiple topics and bring them all together somehow?

    Thanks for your help and input.

    Reply

    • Marsha Stopa
      Apr 04, 2014 @ 15:32:31

      Joshua,

      The concept of changing your thinking to change your life has become a movement, so while you may not find blogs with “positive thinking” out there, there are a lot in that category.

      Your home page is difficult to navigate with the blog post excerpts running the full width of the screen. You’re wasting the sidebar real estate with that layout, FYI.

      Looks like you’ve been writing for a while. So you don’t have to guess — look at your stats. What are your most popular articles in terms of views? Which ones have the most comments? The most tweets and shares? What are readers talking and asking about in the comments?

      Spend some time analyzing what’s already there. Then do more of what works. If you decide to throw a new topic into the mix, consider it a test and observe how it does. If it bombs, try promoting it more on Twitter, Facebook or wherever. Sometimes it’s just the day of the week. If it still doesn’t take off, pay attention.

      I suggest working on your headlines. Given your topics they could be much more provocative. Get Jon’s cheat sheet Headline Hacks: http://headlinehacks.com.

      All the best,
      Marsha

      Reply

      • Joshua Omundson
        Apr 04, 2014 @ 17:58:28

        Thank you Marsha for the feedback and the resource link. I know my headlines have not been the best and it’s something I’m working on. The resource you provided will help me a lot. Thanks again!

  16. Carole Marek
    Apr 02, 2014 @ 05:44:27

    Hi Jon,

    Thank you for inspiration and help that you give so often and for this opportunity to ‘get going’

    My blog is about raising confidence and self belief. As yet it is not targeted to a niche of readers and I would like to ask if the niche really should be one that I have some affinity with? I’m not sure if they would want to read me if I couldn’t show some personal connection with them, or am I wrong?

    Also I know that a lot of people think personal development to be ‘airy fairy’ and of no commercial use but I don’t believe this and want to target those who do find it useful and who will pay for products to learn how to make personal improvement. Thank you for taking a look :)

    Reply

    • Marsha Stopa
      Apr 04, 2014 @ 15:23:59

      Carole,

      Very smart question and insight.

      Yes, it’s most helpful if you have some affinity with your niche. Otherwise, you’re talking to them as an outsider and that subtly works against you and your message.

      Ignore people who think personal development is “airy fairy.” The personal development and self help commercial market is HUGE and growing. You are definitely on the right track.

      Unfortunately I’m unable to open your blog to take a look. Please check and let me know in a reply.

      Marsha

      Reply

  17. Noel
    Apr 01, 2014 @ 19:52:32

    Hi Marsha,

    My site is about quotes which aims to inspire and encourage women. Recently I’m trying on guest posting on self development and life hack sites . Do you think guest posting is the only way to bring traffic for my case? Any other suggestions? Thanks in advance :)

    Reply

    • Marsha Stopa
      Apr 04, 2014 @ 15:18:28

      Noel,

      Cute site. Appropriate for your market.

      Why not also deliver inspirational quotes by email? Why make women have to come to your site to get their daily inspiration? It looks like you might be selling ad space. If so, a large email subscriber base is valuable.

      It might benefit you to set up a Facebook page, since quotes are standard consumed fare on Facebook. Make sure your quotes are in images, and embed a link to an email opt-in page you set up on Facebook to build your email list. You might try promoted posts on FB, too.

      Best of luck!
      Marsha

      Reply

  18. Ava
    Apr 01, 2014 @ 14:32:43

    Help! Since first posting a question here I have moved from blogger to wordpress and tried to narrow my blog focus. I’m a novelist and I know you have said blogs are unsuccessful for novelists, but in novelist circles you simply can’t exist without one. So I tried to design my blog for a particular focus (single women between 30-45 who are trying to be their best selves) for particular content (anything to encourage women to feel extraordinary). I didn’t want the content to be my writing because I’m uncomfortable with the exposure and copyright issues. Also because I know the blog should be about what I can give the reader, not so much about myself.

    I also know that social media doesn’t bring readers to the blog, it should be vice versa. But how do i get people to my blog first? No one from my blog is hitting my Facebook. I’ve friended lots of people there and my comments don’t even seem to show up. Am I missing something? Thank you and I won’t be greedy and write in again. :-)

    Reply

    • Marsha Stopa
      Apr 04, 2014 @ 15:13:55

      Ava,

      I’m confused. You say you can’t exist in novelist circles without one, yet you don’t want the blog to be your writing for fear of exposure and copyright issues. Because you don’t provide the link to your blog, I can’t take a look but it sounds like either you’ve been given bad advice or are over-reacting.

      It also sounds like you want to write a personal development blog. If so, there are lots of good blogs in the personal development space that target that market and topic. Guest posting on those blogs will drive readers to your site. That’s probably the best way to get people to your blog first.

      More and more, social media platforms exist in a world of their own. It’s often wasted energy to spend time there trying to get people to come elsewhere. So, take the lesson you’ve learned so far on Facebook and put your energy elsewhere.

      Hope that’s helpful.

      Marsha

      Reply

  19. Dave
    Apr 01, 2014 @ 09:38:48

    Hi Marsha,
    I have just started a fitness blog. This is something that I’m truly passionate about, but there are so many fitness blogs already that I’m finding it very challenging to stand out. I am trying to set myself apart from the crowd by focusing on changing small habits, as the way to get fit. Still working on developing my own voice, and unique approach.
    I’ve reached out to several other bloggers, but given how new my blog is, I realize that it’s going to take some time before I am able to make any lasting relationships.
    I would love to hear any insight about making a name in such a saturated market.
    Thanks so much,
    Dave

    Reply

    • Marsha Stopa
      Apr 01, 2014 @ 12:57:24

      Hi Dave,

      Good for you!

      Actually, we have an entire module in the course on how to network with other bloggers. :-) Just sayin’…

      It doesn’t really matter how new your blog is. The secret key is to offer something of value — in your case, a guest post on how changing a small habit on a common fitness problem can make a huge difference. Study the other blogs, find a missing piece you can fill and offer them a guest post.

      Be helpful. Share their stuff on social media. Offer to help out during a launch or to fill in when they go on vacation. Give before you expect to get. Be a super nice guy.

      Hope that makes some sense.

      Cheers,
      Marsha

      Reply

  20. Teslim
    Mar 31, 2014 @ 18:29:06

    Hi Marsha,
    Your response are really insightful. My website focuses on teaches and encourages Muslims to endeavour to be part of the world solution. I give advice on personal development to community development. In short, it is a faith-based approach to help make the world a better place. My main challenge of course is traffic.
    My question: Rather than guest blogging, why don’t market my site through the social media to generate more traffic to my site? And what do say about google’s warning about the death of guest-blogging?

    Reply

    • Marsha Stopa
      Apr 01, 2014 @ 12:53:31

      Hi Teslim,

      You can try to market through social media, but it’s a lot of energy and effort for little result. The truth is actually backward from most people think: A lot of social media traffic doesn’t drive much traffic to your blog, but a popular blog drives social media traffic.

      Actually, the personal-to-community focus of your blog is perfect for many personal development blogs. I strongly suggest studying several of them to find topics for guest posts.

      Jon discussed Google’s misstated warning here: http://boostblogtraffic.com/guest-blogging-is-dead/

      All the best,
      Marsha

      Reply

  21. Finn Tallaksen
    Mar 29, 2014 @ 14:50:57

    Hi, Marsha:

    I’m setting up a new author site to make sample chapters of my historical fantasy about early Vikings, In the Company of Stones, available to readers. The goal at this stage is simple platform building. I’ll be migrating a series of posts on Viking Foods over from http://inthecompanyofstones.blogspot.com/ – even after three years of neglect, those posts still get a few dozen clicks/day. It’s a place to start.

    I’ll mostly be sharing fun and arcane bits of Dark Ages/Viking lore, technology and culture, maybe some about being Norwegian-American and historical reenactment.

    Will it blunt the focus to include ‘writers life & process’ type posts, or should I stay tight focused on my historical era? Second, what kinds of places should I look for as guest posting vehicles?

    Tusand Takk!

    Reply

    • Marsha Stopa
      Apr 01, 2014 @ 12:47:50

      Finn,

      I had to break the news, but guest blogging and blogging doesn’t work very well for fiction authors. By design, fiction such as yours exists as an entity and a world by itself. And most successful blogs (at least right now) do well if they help solve a reader’s problem. Hence, a huge disconnect.

      I suggest you spend a few months researching social media platforms to find out where readers of Viking lore hang out online. See if you can find any existing online communities – maybe on Facebook and Google+. Study what the popular authors (if there are any) are doing and how they interact.

      My guess is you *might* be able to build a community on a social media platform and through clever commenting, get people over to read your blog posts. But no guarantees. You may look at publishing your posts on Google+. Some folks have success at that.

      Take some time and do lots of research. Test Facebook and Google+. Be patient.

      Hope this helps.
      Marsha

      Reply

  22. Stéphanie
    Mar 29, 2014 @ 10:32:25

    Hi Marsha and Jon,
    My blog is ourdiversityatwork.com and its about helping ethnic minorities (like me) better integrate and progess in the labor market. My blog is both in english and french.
    I had not planned to write a natural hair (Black women hair) or fashion blog, but those posts are the most popular. Plus, since African American have these subject on lock, my post are more popular in french.
    For example, this article had 24 likes in english :
    http://ourdiversityatwork.com/2013/11/27/our-diversity-our-diversity-my-ethnicity-at-work-a-natural-hair-perspective/

    While the same article in frech had 239 likes
    http://notrediversitealemploi.com/2013/11/21/notre-diversite-mon-ethnicite-a-lemploi-une-perspective-cheveux-naturels/

    I am a Ph.D student studying the professional integration of ethnic minorities and I LOVE IT but the subject seems to serious.
    My goal is to have more subscibers, to live from the advertisers I will attract and to be a diversity consultant to ethnic minorities (Skype, phone, etc).

    Thank so much,

    Stef

    Reply

    • Marsha Stopa
      Apr 02, 2014 @ 17:34:35

      Hi Stef,

      Your readers are sending you a strong message — they’re telling you what they do want to read.

      You’re right — this is a very serious topic. Besides that, it’s an abstract, academic topic: Exactly what does “diversity at work” look like?
      Well, your readers have told you what it looks like — natural hair (or not) at work. People respond to concrete topics they experience in their lives — like hair. :-)

      Unfortunately, your academic studies may work against you in the blogosphere. You’re going to have to be extra vigilant about “keeping it real” for your readers and not writing too abstractly. Otherwise you will have trouble selling your consulting services.

      You might want to do some keyword searches or study other similar blogs to find the most popular topics people are talking about and see how you can adapt.

      Also, I suggest making your blog more user friendly. It’s difficult to find topics on your blog — the Categories in the sidebar are very broad and abstract. Break it down to language and topics your readers use. A huge list of tags as you have only makes your readers’ eyes glaze over.

      Two suggestions on your text: Make the body text bigger and a rounder font. Don’t make it bold. Also, the bright green text in the tags is too hard to read. Darken it.

      I almost missed the top nav menu completely. The dark gray against the black is almost unreadable. Make the tab labels a higher contrast.

      You have an important mission.
      Wish you the best,
      Marsha

      Reply

  23. Rosanne
    Mar 29, 2014 @ 09:14:35

    I’m in the same boat as the above poster. I jut finished a children’s book and that is the audience I want to write for, specifically middle school fiction. As you said, a fiction writer writing about writing isn’t really going to attract actual readers. So, I started a book review site children’s books – picture books through young adult (although I may refine that to just middle school and ya eventually). My target audience for my blog is parents, teachers and maybe librarians.

    However, I also need to make income. I currently write 2 articles a week for my local newspaper, but it really doesn’t pay a lot and takes a lot of time. I’d like to transition into better markets, but I am unsure if I should have some kind of section on my reading review blog about my what I offer as a writer – content, editing, etc. or if I should do something different.

    I also have another blog that focuses on spiritual things. I have one domain name, but the spiritual blog is rosannebowman.com/DivineOrdinary, while my book review blog is simply rosannebowman.com. Since I plan on writing under R.V. Bowman, I have thought maybe the review blog should move to that domain with my website under my full name. It’s all rather confusing. I just started my blogs this month, so I don’t really have a lot of readers/subscribers. I did join a book blog community in the hopes of getting to know that niche better. My main contacts have been in spiritual/inspirational blogs.

    I appreciate any advise or tips you can give me. Sometimes, I feel like I’m just dumping my writing into the black hole of cyberspace! :)

    Reply

    • Marsha Stopa
      Apr 01, 2014 @ 12:39:48

      Rosanne,

      I’m a bit confused as to what you’re trying to achieve with all these blogs. It sounds like you want to make money as a writer so I’ll start there.

      You need a writer website that only exists for that reason. Ideally, that’s the one that should be under your full name. And no, you don’t have to blog there but you do need samples of your work there, anything that shows your writing skill. Carol Tice at http://makealivingwriting.com gives details on effective writer sites.

      You’d probably do better for the review site under a domain name that gave an indication that it was about children’s book reviews. Less confusing for readers, better for organic search. Look for clear, not clever.

      You can guest post on the spiritual and inspirational topics on personal development blogs. Most allow at least one, often two links in your bio back to your own site. Link back to your writer site and an opt-in page on your inspirational blog.

      You can weave these together but you have to think about it from the reader’s perspective, not yours. Jon’s rule is “one blog, one topic.” Lumping everything together under one domain will likely cause more confusion.

      Hope that’s helpful.
      Marsha

      Reply

      • Rosanne
        Apr 02, 2014 @ 12:17:54

        Thank you so much Marsha. This is very helpful as I have gotten conflicting advice. I appreciate your time. :)

      • Rosanne
        Apr 02, 2014 @ 12:29:47

        I forgot to add, the reason I have two blogs is that as a writer of children’s fiction, I was trying to figure out a way to connect with future readers – thus the book review site. I haven’t really seen a good way for fiction writers to gather readers through blogs unless they are already well-known. I thought a review site for kids’ books would build trust with future readers.

        My inspirational blog is just something I enjoy doing and I’d like to write religious studies eventually, so that is the reason for that blog.

        Thanks again for your help and suggestions! :)

  24. Eva
    Mar 28, 2014 @ 11:03:58

    Hi Marsha and Jon! My niche is fashion blogs, which I guess you’re not too familiar with, but I’d appreciate it if you could offer some general common-sense advice regardless of that.

    I’ve been struggling with my blog for a while because it’s different from 95% of fashion blogs in the sense that I actually write about fashion. The most popular fashion blogs feature bloggers posting photos of their outfits. Text is not important at all, only pretty images. This is also why guest post opportunities in fashion blogging are basically non-existent. Even if I network with the most popular bloggers in the niche and they share my posts, I won’t get new subscribers because most fashion blog readers aren’t actually interested in reading.

    What are your thoughts?

    Also, I’m currently installing a new design on the blog, so sorry if some things look a bit wonky!

    Reply

    • Marsha Stopa
      Apr 01, 2014 @ 12:28:18

      Hi Eva,

      We don’t have to be familiar with fashion blogs to see what you’re doing wrong — you’re bucking the trend in your niche and wondering why it isn’t working. If fashion blog readers aren’t interested in reading, I’m afraid you can’t change them.

      Fashion IS pictures. Maybe you don’t post pictures of your outfits, but readers expect to see pictures. Words alone don’t reach this audience and if you want to reach them, you’ll have to post pretty pictures.

      So I guess I have to ask, why are you blogging? Are there other places where you can guest post and write about fashion where it will be appreciated? (There’s a life style blog that posts about fashion two comments below this one.) Can you write about adapting fashion for different age groups and lifestyles, like a mom with young kids? Or middle-aged women?

      I suggest thinking about your goals for your blog and how that fits (or doesn’t) with your target audience and other ways to achieve your goals.

      Wishing you all the best,
      Marsha

      Reply

      • Eva
        Apr 01, 2014 @ 12:50:59

        Hi Marsha, thank you so much for your feedback! I’ll be posting more images and brainstorm about the rest.

  25. Raj
    Mar 28, 2014 @ 07:56:30

    I really liked your article i am struggling the same as you mentioned above. I have only 200 visitors on my blog http://www.geekyshows.com/ Now i am damn sure i will improve myself.
    Thanks

    Reply

  26. Jennifer
    Mar 25, 2014 @ 13:29:11

    My blog is very, very small, but I want to grow! I started, and think I still am, a lifestyle blog.
    My target audience is middle aged women, which I am. Makes sense.

    I had not planned to write a style or fashion blog, but those posts are the most popular. There are so many other blogs already doing it for my age bracket, I don’t know how I’ll differentiate myself. The only difference between me and the other bloggers I know, is that I’m a professionally trained Image Consultant.

    That being said, everyone I know is doing reviews of products in exchange for said product, or have monetized links to garments they review. I find those boring as hell, but would like to make money from my blog as well.

    Any suggestions would be welcome.
    I did consider writing a post to ask my readers what they’d like me to write about. Dumb idea?
    Thank so much.
    Jennifer

    Reply

    • Marsha Stopa
      Apr 01, 2014 @ 12:16:30

      Jennifer,

      A few thoughts:

      Targeting middle-aged women because you are one might make sense if middle-aged women read blogs. Not so true. The blog reading audience starts fading away at around 50.

      Following that thought, structuring your blog about what you prefer is dangerous. If you want to grow, the blog has to be about your readers, not you. So asking them to tell you what they prefer is a good idea, as long as you don’t take what they say as the gospel truth. People can be fickle and will make different choices when presented when different options. Be aware.

      So you may find reviews with monetized links is boring, but what do the readers think?

      As far as there being many other blogs about the same thing, that’s actually great news. That means a market exists that’s interested in your topic. And, you have lots of opportunities to study what other people are doing and see what works and what flops before you try it.

      So do more market research. Study the most popular posts on other blogs and find way to do similar posts with your own spin.

      Don’t overlook Facebook. Your audience is very active there. Create a page and use it to send traffic to your blog.

      Best,
      Marsha

      Reply

      • Jennifer
        Apr 01, 2014 @ 12:56:11

        Thank you so much for your feedback Marsha! I will do my homework. I will study my competition and learn how best to use my Facebook page.
        Best,
        Jennifer

  27. Jacqueline
    Mar 25, 2014 @ 08:45:31

    I believe in the power of relationships in business – what was true 50 years ago is still true now. People do business with people they know. That said, I have had trouble connecting with people in my niche. My tagline is “Life is short. Live Simply and Work Smarter.” I am a marketing and branding consultant to entrepreneurs, small businesses, nonprofits and small towns. I’m curious where I should connect.

    Reply

    • Marsha Stopa
      Apr 01, 2014 @ 12:06:04

      Jacqueline,

      Find out where your target audiences hang out online and connect there. Sites for entrepreneurs and small business owners. Maybe associations for the nonprofits and towns. Look for places you can guest post.

      A few observations from dropping into your site.

      -The popup box took over the screen before I even had a chance to read a word. Give people time to look around and get a sense of you before the pop up hits them like that.
      -Slow down the timing on the slider, as well.
      -If you hadn’t told me what you do — marketing and branding consultant — and for whom — entrepreneurs, small businesses, nonproits and small towns, I would have had no clue from landing on your home page. You have only 7 seconds (or less) to tell people who you are and what you do.
      -You have a box that says “Work with Me,” but where are you? Put photos of yourself on the home page.

      Your tagline is trendy but may be too clever. It’s so generic it could apply to almost any audience in any niche or topic. Risk being boring to be clear and tell people who you are and what you do for them.

      I hope some of that is useful.

      Best,
      Marsha

      Reply

  28. Amy Butcher
    Mar 25, 2014 @ 07:34:30

    This is such a great post! I feel like I’ve learned so much just going through all of these comments for everyone. I definitely feel that real-world advice for specific niches is often lacking from blogging and copywriting sites.

    I’m a freelance medical translator and I recently decided to start up a copyediting service for indie authors as a side gig. Right now my site is in the construction phase, and I haven’t done any promoting because I’m still researching the audience and whether I need to target an even more specific niche (sci-fi/fantasy/historical fiction).

    I feel there are so many blogs on writing, publishing and author coaching that there is absolutely no need for me to position myself as an authority on this. What I want is to talk to my customers on a regular basis and show them I am someone they can relate to and who understands them.

    I’m not sure if I really need a blog for this, but a newsletter sounds kind of silly to me. Perhaps just an e-mail autoresponder?

    As a side note, another problem I find is that it takes so much time to read all of the blogs out there in my area that I’m always chasing my own tail as it were, doing so much research instead of writing. Part of the process or procrastination?

    Thanks! Amy

    Reply

    • Marsha Stopa
      Apr 01, 2014 @ 11:55:53

      Hi Amy,

      Good questions.

      And I have a few questions for you. :-)

      Are you sure there is a large enough market of indie authors who are willing to pay your rates for copyediting? While there may be a lot of wanna-be authors, narrowing that market down to those who are willing to pay changes the equation.

      You may not need to blog about writing and publishing but you do need to establish credibility if you want people to pay you. Guest blogging on blogs where your target market hangs out can do that for you. Then link back to an opt-in page to capture email addresses. An autoresponder series offering some valuable tips, with mentions of your services and a few testimonials might work.

      You may not need to blog on your own site, but you’ll likely need enough about you and examples of your work for people to get comfortable with you.

      In any case, you’ll have to test and see what your audience responds to.

      Know the difference between “keeping up” and “catching up.” You only need to catch up periodically with the most important blogs. Set a limited time weekly for catching up and quit when you reach the it. Sort your list into A, B and C players. Once you start to see the same content repeating itself over time, you’ve probably done enough research.

      Good luck,
      Marsha

      Reply

  29. This Is Not About Me Or You | Pick A Direction and GO!
    Mar 23, 2014 @ 23:10:26

    […] – to be some pretty solid blogging advice from a blog I just happened upon. You can check it out here or here. If you blog I think it might be worth your […]

    Reply

  30. Karen
    Mar 23, 2014 @ 09:33:36

    Hi Marsha & Jon, thanks very much for providing this helpful advice! (Marsha, I read through your responses to other people, they are very sincere and I’m amazed with the level of detail!)
    My blog is kipkitchen.com and it is about giving quick and easy everyday meal ideas for couples who say they don’t have time to cook on weeknights. My readers would be DINK (dual income no kids) couples. And I hope to monetize via affiliate links.
    Thanks in advance for your help!

    Reply

    • Marsha Stopa
      Mar 24, 2014 @ 12:14:28

      Hi Karen,

      Yum!

      Some ideas:
      -Check out the blogs that offer “life hacks” to busy people, such as lifehacker.com. (There are others.) Figure out how you can write a how-to post on how to save time or money in the kitchen, create a romantic dinner quickly, cook tasty to-go lunches etc. Then offer them a guest post; they should link back to your blog in your bio box.
      -Look at personal finance blogs for possible guest posts you could write about saving money on food.
      -Instead of offering email tips, collect 10+ of your best recipes by a theme (lunches for work, Italian, 10-minute dinner etc. ) and offer that as a freebie if they sign up to your email list. Then as a casual side note, mention they’ll get more great recipes in their inbox regularly.
      -Organize your recipes better! I don’t see any categories to search or navigation tabs on the top menu by category. No one will take the time to search. Make it easy.
      -Consider using a different font for your H1 headlines. Bold italic is hard to read.

      Hope that helps!
      Marsha

      Reply

      • Karen
        Mar 24, 2014 @ 12:16:54

        Thanks so much, Marsha!

  31. Ted
    Mar 22, 2014 @ 13:31:43

    Hi Jon & Marsha,

    Thanks for the valuable content provided, especially on the idea about building relationship first.
    what your blog is about, who your readers are, and what you’re hoping to accomplish.

    Here’s my blog information.
    http://digitalsenior.sg/ is a blog providing information for students going to study or currently studying in universities in Singapore. The tagline is “Making university phase the best days of your life.” It includes tips and tricks on maximizing the university experience and also doing well in school.

    I am currently focusing on building up popularity for this blog , following which I will monetize by putting ads of fashion retailers , food retailers etc. Digital Senior has just been launched 3 weeks ago and I am driving traffic to it via facebook ads. The problem is exactly what you mentioned in this article: there are no big blogs in my niche. There are only many small blogs by university students with little traffic. Who should I build a relationship with? Really appreciate your help.

    Reply

    • Marsha Stopa
      Mar 24, 2014 @ 12:03:59

      Hi Ted,

      Good for you for having studied your niche! Yes, you need to know where your audience hangs out online. And that may be Facebook and not blogs.

      It may serve you well to add a FB email opt in page where you offer your free ebook to the tabs on your FB page. You can learn more about that from AmyPorterfield.com or Get10000Fans.com.

      Be sure to test your FB ads ruthlessly and keep tweaking to see what works. Research has shown that a seeming small change in a headline or photo can increase conversions dramatically.

      This is a great idea. Be sure to listen to your audience, give them what they want and go where they hang out.

      Best of luck,
      Marsha

      Reply

      • Ted
        Mar 24, 2014 @ 14:57:34

        Thank you so much for your advice Marsha. I will do just that !

  32. Jessica
    Mar 22, 2014 @ 10:28:25

    Thank you so much for your offer! I run a sewing pattern business (www.sweetbriarsisters.com) with 2 customer types, 1) direct PDF sales and 2) wholesale customers who sell our printed patterns. The goal of my blog is to increase sales in both customer types. I’m currently focusing my blog posts on general sewing tutorials and am wondering if that’s the best way to attract more customers. Any advice you have would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

    Reply

    • Marsha Stopa
      Mar 24, 2014 @ 11:51:45

      Hey Jessica,

      Bravo for you in finding a way to overcome your challenges! You are inspiring.

      A few thoughts for you:
      -Have you considered offering a complete package with the materials for a project? I see you tell readers where to find the products online, but I think you’re leaving money on the table. Work with me here for a minute.

      What if you bought enough supplies to make, let’s say, 25 of your projects to start. (I don’t know how big your email list or readership is, so I’m guessing.) You could have high-school student cut out and prepare the materials at about $10 per hour; you might even be able to set up a work-study for them with the school.)

      Then you offer them for sale at a reasonable price point that is more expensive than they could buy themselves (you are providing convenience) that still makes you a worthwhile profit. You provide a detailed tutorial on your site on how to make the project with links to 1) the pattern and a list of resources to purchase and 2) the pattern and all materials to purchase.

      It could be worth testing 2-3 times. My guess is you might be surprised at the results.

      Otherwise, I suggest researching other sewing blogs to make a list of their most popular posts and tutorials. Read the comments. What do readers love the most? What are they asking for? What gaps can you fill? Once you’ve created a new tutorial, email the blogger where you got the inspiration and tell her what you did and why, then ask if she’d mind sharing with her readers. Or, ask if she’d link to it on her blog, or if she’d like a guest post on the idea.

      Don’t ignore the personal growth you’ve achieved by working through your obstacles. You could write several guest posts for personal development blogs on the lessons you’ve learned and how you’ve grown through this challenge, and link to your email opt in page on your sewing blog.

      Tiny Buddha is perfect for you, as the guest posts have to be based on a personal experience, for example. We’ve had many students write for Tiny Buddha and they continually report steady traffic back to their site.

      I hope that gives you some ideas.

      Onward!
      Marsha

      Reply

  33. simon
    Mar 21, 2014 @ 11:07:30

    Hi Marsha

    I’m a designer and I teach people how to use wordpress and get better rankings in Google. My blog is about WordPress, SEO and creativity. Its main purpose is to promote the service I provide and to help anyone struggling with WordPress or their website with tips etc.

    I’ve tried differentiate myself by taking a comedic angle and using the tagline ‘WordPress stress relief’.

    I want to concentrate on the creative side of things rather than just WordPress and explore the theme of self improvement through creativity. I think wordpress is a tool for making websites and the scope and depth of the subject (creativity) is a lot bigger and better than the mechanics of a software package. Is that correct? Very excited about the prospect of getting feedback.

    Thanks in advance,

    Simon

    Reply

    • Marsha Stopa
      Mar 21, 2014 @ 15:42:26

      Hey Simon,

      I think you’re mixing oil and water, to be honest. Yes, WordPress is a tool that can help people be creative. But to mix up technical WordPress and SEO tips with self-improvement and creativity is a promise to confuse your readers.

      I love “WordPress stress relief.” I get it. Anyone who has worked with WordPress will get it.

      Jon’s rule is “One blog, one topic. ” I would separate them into two sites. Create a blog about self-improvement through creativity. You can write a series of posts about how people can be creative online in ways they could never be before, and link to relevant articles on your WordPress site. This way you can guest post on creativity and self-improvement sites and link back to this blog.

      Keep your WordPress site as a place to share tech tips, answer questions and provide stress relief. You can certainly write a couple posts about how creative you can be with WordPress, and mention and link to your creativity site. This way you can guest post on WordPress and tech sites and link back to this site.

      Also, your home page is visually confusing to me with the four columns. You might explore different layouts.

      I hope that’s helpful.

      Best,
      Marsha

      Reply

      • simon
        Mar 23, 2014 @ 04:07:54

        Hi Marsha,

        Thanks very much, yes that’s very helpful. One blog one topic makes complete sense now! I’m glad you like ‘WordPress stress relief’. I can see how much I need some clarity and structure.

  34. Sandra
    Mar 20, 2014 @ 10:09:41

    Hi Jon & Co.

    Thanks a lot for offering your help! Your offer is very generous so I’ll try to take the most out of it.

    My blog is a travel guide book about Seville, a city located in the south of Spain. When I started back in 2010 I discovered that there was no accurate and updated information about the city other than some copypaste bad quality sites.

    My readers are independent travelers (almost half of my traffic comes from the US) who want to organize their own trip and look for fresh local information.

    My intention is to provide valuable and reliable information about the Seville so that my readers (a) can get the most out of their holiday, (b) visit the highlights, (c) don’t miss some sights/corners most people ignore, (d) try the best tapas in town, and (e)experience the real Seville, avoiding tourist traps!

    My main problems are:
    - Exposure. Big travel bloggers are very hard to reach. Plus, once you write for them a post about a destination, they are not interested in a second one.
    - Readers’ loyalty. Once they are back home they don’t want to hear from me again.
    - Traffic. I’m stuck at 7,500-8,500 uniques month (on average, it’s seasonal).
    - Monetization. When readers write me they are thrilled about the blog and the content but they are looking only for free advice. My paid eBooks have very poor sales.

    Again, thanks for your help!

    PS. Could please provide more details about the blog critique you offer?

    Reply

    • Marsha Stopa
      Mar 21, 2014 @ 15:29:16

      Sandra,

      Unfortunately, you’ve blogged yourself into a corner.

      First question: Why are you blogging? To provide a service? To make money? From what you say you’re fulfilling your intention. And given the small niche you’re in and very limited audience, your blog has probably grown about as big as it’s going to be.

      Part of the problem may be that your site lives up to its name — it is a complete travel guide, so why should people buy an ebook?

      And you’re right — readers won’t come back. They got what they needed for their trip so why come back? They’re onto the next destination. Same with the travel bloggers.

      A few suggestions to consider:
      -Sell advertising to Seville businesses. Your monthly uniques are good enough.
      -Research travel magazines, regional lifestyle magazines and blogs and see where you can write articles.
      -Develop an app for Seville that helps people find their way around, with your content providing explanations. You might only be able to charge a couple dollars but it might turn into an income stream. The app might also give you an edge with attracting advertisers.

      Re the critique: It’s an hour-long and I answer any questions you have. We determine your goals, what you’ve done, what’s working and what’s not working. You leave with concrete next steps to take.

      Hope that’s helpful.
      Marsha

      Reply

  35. Sophia Cook
    Mar 20, 2014 @ 08:33:35

    Hi Marsha
    I quit my other two blogs for exactly the same reason Jon did! So I guess I’m ready for the real thing. I started a blog called Lavish of Life to talk about quitting my job and living life to the fullest. I have a series of posts planned now because I finally have a real plan–purchase an RV and live full time on the road. My interest right now, which may change (such is the luxury of life on the road) is to visit “intentional communities” and interview participants to see what works for them and what doesn’t.
    My expertise is editing. I was a book editor at a publishing house for 10 years and I want to write some posts about that, as well, because that’s how I’m supporting myself as I live a vagabond life.
    Thanks for any thoughts you can offer!
    Sophia

    Reply

    • Marsha Stopa
      Mar 21, 2014 @ 15:14:11

      Sophia,

      Neat idea (and lifestyle) but you have to pull your topics together more tightly. Right now it sounds all over the place:
      -Quit your job
      -Live life to the fullest
      -Travel in an RV
      -Visit intentional communities
      -Be a book editor

      My head is spinning! Your blog name and tagline are a bit confusing because they are abstract — “Lavish of Life” and “Playing Outside the Box” could almost refer to anything from food to poetry to fashion to writing. I’m not sure what I’ll find here. I don’t understand within a few seconds of landing that this is about a deliberately nomadic lifestyle.

      So, who are you writing for and what do you do for them – what problem do you help them solve? Those are the two key questions every blog must answer. Are you offering guidance on how to quit your job? How to live on the road? How to support yourself virtually?

      All these are good topics for a blog, but you need to be more clear as to your blog angle. It’s difficult to get traction for blogs that are essentially journals about your travels and random thoughts. The blogger has to be an exceptional writer who can write about ordinary events and observations in an extraordinary way that touches the reader’s heart – or already be a celebrity.

      Depending on your angle, you could potentially write for personal development blogs on the quitting your job/exploring life angle; travel blogs on particular destinations or living on the road; personal finance blogs on the money side; career and entrepreneurship blogs on being a virtual solopreneur. Get the idea?

      Jon’s post here will give you some ideas and help you clarify: http://boostblogtraffic.com/blog-topic/

      As a side note, here’s a post on why you should reconsider being on WordPress.com: http://boostblogtraffic.com/wordpress-hosting/

      Best,
      Marsha

      Reply

  36. Nick Ward
    Mar 19, 2014 @ 19:40:49

    Thanks for your offer Jon and Marsha. I am very keen to get your opinion on my particular niche. I have been 18 years in various roles for employers where I have contributed online content, marketing copy, articles, white papers, web pages, posts for business blogging, speaking positions, concept papers and some multi-million dollar proposals and tenders. I am now turning professional writer and trying to produce great content that relates specifically to work-based reporting, document writing, articles, web content, blogging for B2B and white papers. I am looking to establish credentials through examples of my own blogging and showing off expertise etc. So I would love to hear what you have to say about my niche and any advice you have for me.

    Reply

    • Marsha Stopa
      Mar 21, 2014 @ 14:46:24

      Nick,

      Sounds like you’re moving into business writing and copywriting.

      First place to get in-depth advice is at http://makealivingwriting.com
      Carol Tice does focus on new writers, but she has a strong background in doing similar work and great practical advice.

      One of the things writers don’t realize is that you don’t have to blog about writing. Your blogging topic can be anything. The key is that is shows your writing ability and that you understand the differences between blogging and other types of writing.

      I also suggest making LinkedIn your first social media platform. Well crafted status updates with tips about any of work-related documents will bring you inquiries over time.

      Good luck,
      Marsha

      Reply

  37. Jo Kling
    Mar 19, 2014 @ 12:28:11

    Hi Marsha! thanks for your assistance… (we have that limited niche challenge) our target for Seasite.com is professional meeting & event planners, and group travel organizers. So our blog (seasiteblog.com) focuses on various aspects of group travel, meetings, subjects related to meeting planners’ lives etc. We typically have monthly visitors of 1800, but only 294 subscribers. It’s a limited niche (as we DO NOT handle individual travel- our exclusive focus is groups on cruises, or full ship charters for corporate use (e.g. Rio2016 Olympics). Our blog is written by one of our staff, not by either of us Owners, although our names are well known after 30+ years in biz. Our services are provided to clients under our names i.e. Landry & Kling Events at Sea. Should our blog and the foundational relationships be established by us personally, for max impact? or should our blogging staff person just use my name? — appreciate any ideas you can offer on that, as well as on where should we be blogging to reach targeted buyers? BIG THANKS! Jo Kling

    Reply

    • Marsha Stopa
      Mar 21, 2014 @ 14:37:19

      Jo,

      Because your site and service business each have their own established identities, I don’t think it makes that much difference who writes the blog posts as long as the quality is consistent.

      You or your partner may consider writing one “bonding” post per month that focuses more on sharing a personal experience from your years in the business and what others can learn from it. That way you keep your name in front and readers feel they are getting the benefit of your insight. That’s essentially what Jon is doing at http://boostblogtraffic.com and it works well.

      In terms of reaching targeted buyers, you probably want to see if you can write for trade association magazines or blogs.

      Best,
      Marsha

      Reply

  38. Melinda Todd
    Mar 19, 2014 @ 11:14:34

    Thank you for the offer to help Jon and Marsha. Much appreciated.

    My blog is in the Christian niche. So, I hope you don’t mind that aspect. My goal is to encourage others in their faith. I feel like I’ve done okay for myself but you’re right, I’m stuck at the 100 or so visitors per day.

    http://melindatodd.com

    Reply

    • Marsha Stopa
      Mar 21, 2014 @ 14:30:37

      Hi Melinda,

      By focusing on the Christian niche you’ve locked yourself into a much smaller blogging niche and will find it difficult to grow.

      If you are willing to broaden your perspective and encourage those in other faiths to deepen their belief in God by sharing what is universal in Christianity, then you could possibly find guest posting opportunities on some personal development and spirituality sites.

      Good luck,
      Marsha

      Reply

  39. Stephanie Charest
    Mar 19, 2014 @ 07:31:32

    I’m an interior designer who’s just relaunched her business and is hoping blogging will help people find me and want to hire me. I tense up as soon as I start to blog and it makes me not do it – also because I don’t understand any SEO stuff, etc. which makes me want to stick needles in my eyes just trying to link content to the title and so on. I am struggling with topics too. Also how do I “sell myself” within selling myself!? Ugh. I dread it so I avoid it. Help!

    Reply

    • Marsha Stopa
      Mar 21, 2014 @ 14:20:13

      Stephanie,

      You sell yourself by sharing your knowledge and being a genuine person people want to work with.

      Forget SEO now. Beginners don’t need to worry about it as much as you think you do.

      Learn to write powerful headlines. Get Jon’s cheatsheet at http://headlinehacks.com.

      And study this blog by a well-known Canadian designer and blogger: http://www.mariakillam.com/ (Maria is one of Jon’s consulting clients.)

      Her blog readership is huge, her blog has helped her get on the cover of some major magazines and her income is growing. She’s doing it all right in terms of topics that her readers want to read and getting business from her blog.

      Study her blog and make a list of the things you can do. Pick the three easiest things you can do next week and go. When those are part of your blogging/business routine, add one or two more. It will build over time.

      Do what you can.

      Warmly,
      Marsha

      Reply

  40. Lauchlan Toal
    Mar 18, 2014 @ 14:34:06

    Hello Jon and Marsha,

    I recently started a photography blog (http://www.irrationalvision.com) where I aim to give fairly unique insights into photography via tutorials. I know Darren Rowse and many others have huge blogs which I’m eventually hoping to guest blog for, but currently I’m in the process of building a content base. As a new blogger, I’m not entirely sure about when it’s reasonable to start guest posting, nor whether my site is missing key features/design elements.

    Thanks a ton for your time Marsha, and thanks Jon for all the incredibly well written posts you write on here, Boost Blog Traffic, and other sites. Really very inspirational, in content and writing style both.

    Cheers,
    Lauchlan Toal

    Reply

    • Marsha Stopa
      Mar 21, 2014 @ 14:12:35

      Lauchlan,

      Start now. But first, get your blog off Blogspot and onto one of the gorgeous WordPress portfolio themes that will make your stunning photos look even more stunning.

      Seriously. Blogspot has a bad rap as a hobbyist, amateur platform. If you want to set yourself apart you need to show it with a slick portfolio site, especially if you want to target Darren’s photography school for a guest post. And because portfolio themes are not that expensive anymore and don’t require custom coding, it’s pretty much a given.

      Check out Elegant Themes and Woo Themes for portfolio themes and get a self-hosted WordPress site. You’ll probably find it easier to create tutorials on WordPress as well with all the plugins available out there.

      Keep up the good work!
      Marsha

      Reply

  41. Laura
    Mar 18, 2014 @ 12:05:52

    Marsha and Jon,

    Thanks for the great post and offer to help!

    I write mainly book reviews with actors cast as the main characters. Occasionally I delve into other topics related to books and reading, such as how to pick a good book, support of pseudonyms for famous authors.

    Recently I added topics on how to travel the world cheaply and a planned smattering of hotel, city, and plane reviews, with a focus on anyone can travel well, not just the wealthy.

    Any guidance you could offer on how to grow my readership and target readers would be much appreciated. Thanks!

    Reply

    • Marsha Stopa
      Mar 21, 2014 @ 14:05:48

      Laura,

      Simple truth is you can’t target readers by smushing all these topics together under the umbrella term “reviews.”

      Travelers won’t necessarily be interested in wading through book reviews, and readers may not care about hotel reviews. You risk annoying 50% of your readers with each post!

      A travel review site is a great idea — start another site. Jon’s rule is “one topic, one blog.” That will make it easier to land guest posts on travel blogs, as well, which will help you grow your readership.

      Best of luck with your ideas,
      Marsha

      Reply

  42. Gill Cooper
    Mar 18, 2014 @ 10:20:41

    We are a UK payroll bureau, servicing micro and small employers. Would appreciate any insights into bringing what many businesspeople would consider a dull topic to life!

    Reply

    • Marsha Stopa
      Mar 21, 2014 @ 13:59:55

      Gill,

      First question is why are you blogging?

      Because you run a service business that essentially runs in the background for companies, trying to bring the topic to life will be a waste of your time. Your potential clients aren’t going to get passionate about reading your next post on payroll issues.

      Instead, research the blogs and websites of your competitors to see what kind of information they provide. Take note of the gaps. Then put together a library of helpful evergreen articles for your clients.

      Be generous, because at the end of the day, your firm will look like an authority that knows the industry and they will feel comfortable giving you their business.

      All the best,
      Marsha

      Reply

  43. Mark Bebout
    Mar 18, 2014 @ 08:47:47

    Thank you for the post and very generous offer to provide feedback.

    I’m launching my blog – Buy Your Next Job – this summer. Right now I have a newsletter signup form on my website and am working on several projects simultaneously, writing a quick-start ebook, small audio guide, and posts for my launch. As Jon recommends, I am also working on finding connections with other blogs that will allow me to write guest posts for them to build traffic to the site for newsletter signups.

    The goal of my blog is to teach my readers how to buy their next job; how to buy an existing small business and replace their paycheck immediately and launch their entrepreneurial dreams. Buying a business stands in stark contrast to the prevailing path of entrepreneurship of starting a new business.

    My primary challenge is coming up blog posts that advance my readers knowledge of buying small businesses. Sometimes I feel like I’m involved in the process so much that it is difficult to place myself in the shoes of a beginner so that I am writing at their level. There is a lot to teach in this area, I’m just having a difficult time figuring out where to start with my writing.

    Thank you for your feedback!

    Mark Bebout
    BuyYourNextJob.com

    Reply

    • Marsha Stopa
      Mar 21, 2014 @ 13:53:31

      Mark,

      Bravo. You have a big task.

      Your first and possibly biggest challenge is that you have to teach your readers something before they can see and appreciate the value of what you offer. And, because you suffer from the “curse of knowledge” you will constantly have to remind yourself of what your readers don’t know.

      The secret: You don’t start with what you have to teach. You start with your readers’ deepest fears and desires and offer them solutions to their problems. In this case, the fears of stepping out of their comfort zone into entrepreneurship.

      Research blogs on start ups, solopreneurs and entrepreneurship. Read all the posts, particularly the comments. Write down the fears, concerns and questions that recur. That’s where you start writing, then show how buying a business is the solution.

      Expect each post to be one teeny tiny piece of the story. More than than and you’ll lose them, especially if you focus on resolving their fears.

      Great idea. Go!
      Marsha

      Reply

  44. Mick Holt
    Mar 18, 2014 @ 08:04:12

    I write mostly Christian oriented posts trying to focus on God’s will for people’s live but who are stuck waiting for GOd to burn a bush or part an ocean before they act and He does not do that.

    The readers I am looking to serve are new and old christians that are stuck for what to do next.

    I hope to acomplish helping people and glorifying God.

    I have writen over 100 psots and gotten very little feedback on any of them until last week. I wrote a post about ASL (American Sign Language) and one about cancer. Both of those got a lot of play and I don’t feel like I did anything different for those two posts than I ever do but something responated.

    Thanks for dong this -

    Reply

    • Marsha Stopa
      Mar 21, 2014 @ 13:46:13

      Mick,

      The reason some posts resonate and others don’t lies in whether the topic directly relates to the reader’s life. Everyone can relate to cancer. Most people know someone who is disabled.

      From scanning several of your posts I can see that most of your posts start with yourself — the word “I” is present in all your openings. That’s a clue to the reader that the post is first about you, and about them second. Yes, you may work to show how the topic relates to them but by then, they’ve stopped reading and are gone.

      Two suggestions: Read Jon’s posts — any of the posts — at http://boostblogtraffic.com. Jon uses and teaches an empathy opening — talking about the reader and their problem first and using a personal story only as an example.

      Trying writing several posts without ever using the words “I” or “me.”

      Both of those exercises will give you a fresh perspective.

      All the best,
      Marsha

      Reply

      • Mick Holt
        Mar 21, 2014 @ 14:52:18

        Marsha,
        Thanks so much for the advice. I really appreaciate you taking the time to do this for all the poeple writing in.

        MDH

  45. Mike Crider
    Mar 18, 2014 @ 07:13:37

    Jon,
    This was what I needed to hear. I’m seen some of your videos and thought, “It’s not that easy, though.” But I agree with you that people knowing who you are is crucial. I have been blogging for about seven months but recently started a new blog (recently meaning a week) called “The Father of Twins” at http://www.thefatheroftwins.com. Thanks for your insights and advice in regards to the blogging world, as it’s a completely new place for me.

    Reply

    • Marsha Stopa
      Mar 21, 2014 @ 13:37:53

      Hi Mike,

      Bravo! Bold undertaking.

      I will say that scrolling through your posts I was surprised to see a recipe pop out. Seemed out of context. Easily handled with a different headline like, “A Spicy Chicken Dish That Kids Actually Love.”

      You offer great posts with practical tips. Those long list posts are PERFECT for personal development and some parenting blogs. Consider Lifehack.org for a post like that. Or Tiny Buddha for a personal story post that offers lessons to other fathers and parents.

      Best of luck!
      Marsha

      Reply

  46. Susan
    Mar 17, 2014 @ 11:21:08

    Hi Jon and Marsha,

    This offer has not come in a better time. Thank you for your offer and generosity with all of us.

    I am a culinary consultant and my client has asked me to guest blog on relevant popular web-sites to talk about their products and spread the word to reach to the mass audience. They are a global Asian condiment and sauce company. Both sides are new to blogging. I am also a busy mom to a young family and wanted to leverage that perspective by using their products in recipes and ideas to talk about the everyday dinner challenge. Would writing with the intention to promote something be welcomed on most sites, or is it considered spamming or marketing? I recently created a blog site to talk about my favourite things which will include their products from time to time. Perhaps it will link together in the future. What is the best approach to do this as a guest blogger, meet my clients expectation and be successful? I thank you in advance.

    Reply

    • Marsha Stopa
      Mar 21, 2014 @ 13:25:37

      Susan,

      The way to do it is to write about techniques or recipes and mention your client’s product casually as one of the ingredients you use. If you include it with other ingredients and don’t make a big deal of promoting it, some sites likely won’t mind the mention. Whether you can link to the client’s site will depend on the blog’s policies about external links.

      By that I mean if they want you to include the products you use in your recipes and link to them as a general policy, it will be fine. If they don’t, you can’t.

      Of more concern is whether you need to disclose that you are a paid consultant when you pitch the guest post or before writing it. I’m sure there are ways to do this that I’m just not aware of because I don’t know that niche that well. For instance, you may mention in your pitch that you’re a culinary consultant and your clients include X, Y and Z, but your opinions are your own.

      I’d research the policies and guest posts on the blogs you want to target to see what you can find.

      Best of luck!
      Marsha

      Reply

  47. Dave Hughes
    Mar 15, 2014 @ 15:03:49

    Hi Marsha and Jon,

    Thank you for this very generous offer, and for a few minutes of your time.

    My blog is http://retirefabulously.com. My goal is to help people envision, plan for, and ultimately enjoy the best retirement possible. The target audience is people who are still working, generally in their 40s and 50s. It’s not a financial planning blog – there are lots of other resources for that – it’s more about being happy in retirement, making the transition smoothly, and making choices such as where to live and how to best to use your time. In other words, it’s about all of the non-financial aspects of planning for your retirement.

    I’m working on an ebook to use as an enticement for people to join my email list – I hope to have it done in about two weeks.

    Thanks in advance for sharing your wisdom!

    Dave Hughes

    Reply

    • Marsha Stopa
      Mar 21, 2014 @ 13:17:01

      Dave,

      Great domain! Jon would approve. :-)

      Your blog looks good. Relevant content. Easy to navigate. Two thoughts:

      -Use subheads. Right now your posts are solid masses of gray text and hard to read. Read this post: http://boostblogtraffic.com/subhead-blunders/

      -Make your body font larger. It’s a bit too small, especially for the age group you are targeting. Generally 15 pt or 16 pt is good. Or try a more rounded open font that’s easier to read. Read this post: http://www.bigbrandsystem.com/best-font-size/

      Consider guest posting to build your audience. Look at personal development blogs to write about planning and living better in your later years, financial planning sites to offer insight into related issues, lifestyle blogs, travel blogs and even the blogs of regional magazines, such as in your region of Arizona.

      Good job!
      Best of luck,
      Marsha

      Reply

  48. Mellie
    Mar 15, 2014 @ 11:46:14

    Hi,

    First thanks for the the free consultation. I started a blog last August – it’s targeted at helping couples overcome marital infidelity and hopefully rebuild a happier marriage.

    My goal is to grow my list but it is going very slowly. Like Jon said, I’ve been doing all the usual SEO stuff, but my traffic actually went down when I started posting content on a regular basis.

    I need a fresh perspective. Here’s my blog’s url: http://www.infidelityhealing.com/

    Thank you so much.

    Reply

    • Marsha Stopa
      Mar 21, 2014 @ 13:03:52

      Hi Mellie,

      What a great resource you’ve created for spouses and couples!

      It’s unfortunate that new bloggers waste so much time on SEO in the beginning when it matters least. What matters are links from blogs that Google respects, which you can get by guest posting on larger blogs related to your topic.

      You can easily write guest posts for personal development blogs, the biggest niche in blogging. You have all kinds of related topics you could write about for men and women. I’d research some of the men’s lifestyle blogs as well.

      I suggest you stop posting so frequently on your own blog and shift that energy to guest posting. Post only one or two articles on your own site every month — yes, that’s right — and see if you can get a guest post published weekly on other sites. It will take a while to build up to that regularity. Link to an email opt-in page from the bio of your guest post.

      Follow that strategy for at least six months, maybe longer. I guarantee it will jump your readership.

      Best,
      Marsha

      Reply

  49. Abby Sugrue
    Mar 15, 2014 @ 09:31:16

    Thanks so much, Marsha! I’ve just started a blog called Breakfast Included, a mix of travel mishaps and tips. I’m trying to find the balance between entertainment and service but concerned it might be too personal. I’m also doing a lot of research on successful launches and building readership. Any/all guidance would be greatly appreciated. Thanks again, Abby

    Reply

    • Marsha Stopa
      Mar 21, 2014 @ 12:45:49

      Hey Abby,

      Great name for a blog!

      Your writing is fabulous. Honestly. Head-and-shoulders above the average blogger. Love the “Ode to a Naked Hostel Dude.” :-D

      Yes, it’s personal. That is what will endear you to your readers and keep them coming back. Don’t make it stale. Here’s the test: If you don’t mind your mom or grandmother reading it, you’re OK.

      What you might consider doing is adding some callouts or bullet points that shows your reader how to use your information. For instance, in your post “Confessions of a Type A Traveler,” you could insert callouts that make the reader think about their own fantasies of traveling based on your personal story, such as “Could you be carefree with 3 stinky T-shirts and underwear for a month?” Making that up, but you get the idea.

      Also, your site could use more navigation aids. Other than the Recent Posts widget on the right column, there’s no way to search for other posts by category or topic.

      You should DEFINITELY be guest posting for travel, lifestyle and personal development blogs. They would love your solid writing and sense of humor. Include a link to an email opt-in page in your bio and build up your email list and readership.

      Keep up the great work!
      Marsha

      Reply

      • Abby Sugrue
        Mar 22, 2014 @ 14:33:26

        Hi Marsha – Thanks so much! Sweet relief that you liked it. Really appreciate the constructive advice – will start implementing asap. I’ve also started looking into guest blogging (fingers crossed). Thanks again! Abby

  50. UMAR ASHFAQ
    Mar 15, 2014 @ 09:17:57

    This information is realy new for me and i want help you
    My blog is http://www.learn4do.com/
    My topic is teaching technology to people .. wordpress , earn money , and programing and blogging.
    i am geting 50 visitor daily
    i don’t know what to do for reach to 10000 visitor daily

    Reply

    • Marsha Stopa
      Mar 20, 2014 @ 15:20:52

      Umar,

      Search for blogs on those topics that accept guest posts. Write posts on your topics for their audiences and link to an email opt-in page on your own site in the byline that offers them a free mini-course.

      Then send your new subscribers a short (5-10 emails) email mini-course on a key tech topic they want to learn more about.

      That way you establish yourself as an expert.

      Best of luck,
      Marsha

      Reply

  51. Kelli
    Mar 12, 2014 @ 18:50:46

    Hi Jon,

    Great post! And quite the response! My average isn’t that great. I’m the owner of “The Ability To Love’ Blog. I’m a survivor of psychopathic/narcissistic abuse by a parent, partner and child.

    I write my content for survivors of these disordered individuals. I educate and heavily promote on facebook through other pages, and I read and post quite a lot at other blogs that are in the same field, but then there are others who are not in the same field.

    Today I left an education comment at a HuffPost article on Facebook. I got an email notification that someone had responded to my comment. It was another writer who writes for HuffPost, liked my comment and requested an interview with me to share my story. I imagine I might be able to plug my blog, but not sure about that. I still have some checking to do. He is legit.
    So is this how you do it? Just going for offers like that?

    I’ve had offers in the past from publisher’s as well, but have never taken them. I never believed my writing was that great, nor what I had to say.

    Is it a possibility I was wrong about that?

    My traffic average, after a year and a half now runs between 600-1000 a day, with weekends being an especially busy time. I know that’s nothing compared to other blogs. I offer private mentoring should a survivor need this and I do it for free, although I have a donation link to my blog.

    I would love for my reach to be spread further to other survivors as well as the public at large about the disorders.

    If you happen to look at my blog, please provide a heads up in some way so I know if you were there or not. And if not, I really needed to read this post today for I’ve been suffering from a lot of discouragement! Love your sense of humor too!

    Reply

    • Marsha Stopa
      Mar 14, 2014 @ 17:22:40

      Kelli,

      If you truly want your reach to spread further then you’re going to have to go beyond your comfort zone. Opportunities are coming to you. Take them. Yes, this is how you do it.

      Personal development blogs like Tiny Buddha are full of personal stories about abuse with insights and lessons for the readers. Stretch your comfort zone out of your survivor world and try writing a guest post for them. You’ll be surprised at the result.

      Best,
      Marsha

      Reply

  52. Dana
    Mar 11, 2014 @ 12:03:23

    Thank you guys!

    Your info have lots of insight and things I apparently need to start using. I am very new to this and my blog is more of a modern day Dear Abby. I answer all and any questions. I do my best to make it smart, informative with a dash of humor when warranted. I only get about 15-50 views per day. But nobody ever replies on my blog. They ask questions only via my email. I assume they prefer to be unknown. That is quite fine with me, but I’m saddened that no comments are ever logged. It is hard to connect with other bloggers on DIY, crafts, art and music etc when that is not what I’m into… Help would be awesome as I know this would be a great site.

    Thanks for all the info so far!!

    Reply

    • Marsha Stopa
      Mar 14, 2014 @ 17:18:38

      Dana,

      I think you need to do a reality check on your expectations. You say you know this would be a great site, but all the feedback is saying that ain’t so.

      Dear Abby worked because of the era it was in and because she was well-known and circulated by major newspapers. We already have a powerful modern-day equivalent of Dear Abby — it’s called Google. Ask it any question and you’ll get an answer.

      That sounds harsh, but please listen. Millions of people ask Google every day– anonymously — and the number is growing rapidly. You can’t compete. You don’t have a defined blog topic or a defined audience. Now, if you want to pick a topic, like relationships, and give smart-ass but funny answers, you could create a humor site, but those are hard to make successful, too.

      If you’re serious about blogging, read Jon’s post here: http://boostblogtraffic.com/blog-topic/ Then find a topic you’re interested in that lots of people are interested in. Then get off Blogspot and onto a self-hosted WordPress blog where you’ll be taken more seriously.

      Sorry to be so blunt, but I don’t honestly see a way to make this idea work.
      All the best,
      Marsha

      Reply

  53. Jennifer
    Mar 11, 2014 @ 08:46:10

    My blog is http://www.keithwilliamslawgroup.com/blog/ and I’ve got a more particular problem than most of the responses. I’m trying to stay relevant, keep Google happy, and get some quality backlinks. I write a couple of new blogs every week and then promote them on Google+, Facebook and Twitter. I get some attention on Google+. I got involved with a little SEO company who put lots of spammy backlinks on my site so, instead of spending MONTHS getting rid of them, I’m just trying to build good ones. So I guess my question is – how does a legal blog for an attorney go about doing that? Submit some articles and then ask? I am trying to keep all marketing in-house, but I am not an expert. I don’t know the protocol! Thanks.

    Reply

    • Marsha Stopa
      Mar 14, 2014 @ 17:24:57

      Jennifer,

      We really don’t advise on SEO and backlinks as it’s not our expertise.

      Sorry, but any of the major SEO blogs should have articles to help you. Try Google.

      Best,
      Marsha

      Reply

  54. Alexandra Moffett-Bateau
    Mar 11, 2014 @ 07:31:19

    My blog is about making the language of politics accessible to everyone. So many folks I know get overwhelmed by political jargon coming from the major news media. I can’t count how many have told people that politics have nothing to do with their lives. I help folks understand how politics have everything to do with the everyday details of their lives and how they can participate in ways that aren’t boring of old fashioned. I primarily focus on women of color, but it’s meant to be a resource for everyone.

    Reply

    • Marsha Stopa
      Mar 14, 2014 @ 17:05:48

      Alexandra,

      You’ve picked an important topic that’s a challenge. There are few ways to do this.

      You’re going to have to resist the temptation to write long academic posts. While you will be providing a great resource, you likely won’t gain readers. What will gain you readers is to tell stories about how politics have to do with the everyday details of our lives, with real-life examples. The more real you can make it to the average Joe or Jane, the more you’ll keep and gain readers.

      The second way could be controversial. At least once a week, pick one or more news stories and tear them apart on your blog. Point out every inaccuracy or shaded reference, pick apart every nuance. Be blunt. Share it liberally on social media and ask others to share.

      By breaking down the media rhetoric and busting through the noise, you’ll get attention and teach people something.

      Good luck!

      Marsha

      Assistant Instructor
      Need more help? $20 off a blog critique: Use discount code MARSHA20

      Reply

      • Alexandra M. Bateau (@AMoffettB)
        Mar 15, 2014 @ 06:15:43

        Hey Marsha,

        thanks so much for this. So if I were to guest post, what kind of places could I target? I think thats a major struggle for me. So many blogs are based on self-help, lifestyle or online businesses. Is there anywhere it is appropriate to be guest posting about everyday politics?

        Thanks again
        a

      • Marsha Stopa
        Mar 26, 2014 @ 10:46:19

        Alexandra,

        Here’s the critical part of your thinking you have to shift — you have to think outside the box of your niche. (We spend a lot of time on this in the GuestBlogging course.) Because the reality is there aren’t blogs to be posting about everyday politics because it’s a tiny niche. So you have to learn to adapt and relate your topic to the major niches — personal development primarily and perhaps lifestyle. Because when you get down to it, you’re showing people how to think differently to feel better about their life, right? The topic they’re thinking about, in your case, is politics instead of relationships, fear etc. That’s a personal development topic! Study personal development blogs for posts about changing your attitude and thinking about problems in your life and explore how you can adapt your topic.

        Marsha

  55. George
    Mar 10, 2014 @ 13:06:29

    Hey Jon, Thank you for the opportunity to do this!

    I created my website, Live For The Living, to promote the idea that simply being alive is a good enough reason to live a life worth living. So many people spend their life going through the motions, never doing anything that truly means something to them.

    I am not a health coach, life coach, or any type of coach and I don’t pretend to be one on my site. I write about what makes me feel that life is worth living, and advice that I tell myself when I’m not doing something meaningful. If I need to hear some advice maybe someone else needs to hear it too.

    I have been working on an e-book on simplifying your life and should be finished soon. Overall, my goal is to inspire people to become a better individual everyday. The best way I think that I can help the world is to help as many people become the best versions of the themselves that could possibly become. And that’s what I plan to do.

    Reply

    • Marsha Stopa
      Mar 14, 2014 @ 16:54:18

      Hey George,

      This is a powerful concept that you can carry into any area of life. But I suggest you spend time focusing on just what other people need to hear in this area. Guessing that someone might need to hear what you do is a recipe for slow failure. You are not your audience.

      You need to know who your audience is, what their problems and fears are. You need to know what keeps them up at night. Then write from that knowledge. Read Jon’s post here: http://www.copyblogger.com/jons-confession/

      You’re a new student, so we’ll help you focus your posts and the blogs you’ll target.

      Onward!

      Marsha

      Reply

  56. Stephen P Brown
    Mar 08, 2014 @ 19:10:40

    Thank you for sharing your experiences and offering this amazing opportunity.

    “A Maestro with a Mission” blog on http://www.stephenpbrown.com is intended to help people rediscover what it’s like to attend live concerts – mostly classical and/or orchestral – as well as being an outlet for each new composition I write and release to the world.

    I’m writing to people who may have played a musical instrument or sung in school but who haven’t for quite some time, and parents of music students. I’m encouraging them to attend more concerts in person.

    My purpose is to build audience members so I can visit their towns and host a concert with some of my music, that will be packed with enthusiastic fans, and surround that concert with invitations to teach, speak, visit schools, colleges & universities, etc.

    What are your thoughts? Thank you, again :)

    Reply

    • Marsha Stopa
      Mar 14, 2014 @ 16:45:32

      Stephen,

      That’s a very interesting concept I’ve not heard of before. Which, unfortunately, is part of the problem you’ll run into.

      Your niche and audience is very narrow, probably too narrow to sustain long-term interest. And, with this concept, you’re ignoring the greatest concentration of music lovers online — iTunes and the other online music sites.

      How will you release your music? iTunes is one of the biggest online distribution channels for new music.

      I suggest broadening your audience beyond those who have played a musical instrument and parent of music students to all music lovers, especially students whether they play an instrument or not. That makes your mission almost universal — to help children experience the wonder of live concerts and the world of music beyond earbuds.

      That’s the kind of mission that will get you the invitations you seek — and might even get you invited to do a TEDTalk if your message is powerful enough.

      Best of luck,
      Marsha

      Assistant Instructor
      Need more help? $20 off a blog critique: Use discount code MARSHA20

      Reply

  57. Linda
    Mar 08, 2014 @ 14:43:20

    Thank you for letting me tap into your knowledge! I have already learnt so much! I am completely new to blogging and websites, and feeling a little overwhelmed! I have started blogging at Women2womenonline.com, which is a blog site for women. The idea is encourage other women in the day-to-day in dealing with the different stresses and expectations of today’s society – career, children, marriage, home management etc. I will be publishing my first book in the spring – a romance/fantasy, and my hope is to use the blog and website, which will be linked, but not yet finished, to market my book when it is available (while also proving great, useful content.)

    Reply

    • Marsha Stopa
      Mar 14, 2014 @ 16:36:18

      Linda,

      Yes, it’s overwhelming at first but soon you’ll know the routine and the language.

      I suggest you guest post on some personal development blogs, career blogs and parenting blogs. In your bio, link back to an email sign up page on your site that says they’ll get more great tips in their inbox and be among the first to know when you’re book is released.

      Don’t expect an overwhelming response to your book. This is a back door approach, but guest posting on other sites exposes you to new audiences and some of them have to be romance/fantasy readers.

      Good plan. Good luck.

      Marsha

      Assistant Instructor
      Need more help? $20 off a blog critique: Use discount code MARSHA20

      Reply

  58. jackie
    Mar 08, 2014 @ 12:41:25

    i am a newborn photographer http://www.jax-creations.com/news trying to make connections have been so hard in our new home. Businesses are defensive because they get so many requests from others to “connect” and promote. I would love some ideas!

    Reply

    • Marsha Stopa
      Mar 14, 2014 @ 16:30:51

      Jackie,

      People and businesses connect and promote the people they know and trust. What have you done to reach out and just get to know other business owners? Have you joined the local chamber? Gone to their mixers?

      Offering to help with no expectation of financial gain is one of the quickest ways to get people to know and trust you. Volunteer to take photos at some local events for free. Have lots of promotional material around with your work. That will work better than paying for expensive marketing, and you’ll make friends in the process.

      Offer to take photos of the kids of a few well-placed individuals, who will later become your advocates.

      In the end, it comes down to shoe leather and helping without being asked.

      Best of luck,
      Marsha

      Assistant Instructor
      Need more help? $20 off a blog critique: Use discount code MARSHA20

      Reply

  59. Vishnu
    Mar 06, 2014 @ 23:54:17

    Hey Jon and Marsha.
    Thank you for helping me.
    My blog is http://callingdreams.com and I’ve only few posts here and am not as much big traffic although my efforts are to provide quality content to my readers. Its an Inspirational blog, through this blog I’ve initiated to help people and trying to inspire them by providing them article on self improvement. And you know this is what everybody wants it but still am not able to figure out my readers and how can I target them.
    And what are the things I should do right now to make my blog more visible(traffic) and what are the things you would like to suggest me, kindly review my blog once.
    I would really appreciate if you do it for me.
    Again thank you very much.

    Reply

    • Marsha Stopa
      Mar 14, 2014 @ 16:23:40

      Vishnu,

      Forget visibility and traffic until you know who your readers are. You have to answer the two key questions: 1) What do I do? and 2) Who do I do it for?

      The problem with generalized self-improvement posts is that by trying to appeal to everyone you attract no one, because you’re not speaking to anyone specifically. So talk to who you know best — young men, perhaps? Young male professionals? What are their problems? What keeps them up at night with worry?

      Start by reading Jon’s post here and rethink the angle of your blog: http://boostblogtraffic.com/blog-topic/

      Hope that helps.

      Best,
      Marsha

      Assistant Instructor
      Need more help? $20 off a blog critique: Use discount code MARSHA20

      Reply

  60. Katharine
    Mar 06, 2014 @ 00:56:33

    Jon,

    Thanks so much for your generosity.

    At my site, I’m trying to help women come home. I write about the why’s and how to’s of keeping a home together for one’s family.

    Of course, most (but not all) of my readers are married women with children. I wish they were all women who need to find their way home, but mostly, to my disappointment, my readers are already there.

    My main reason for beginning a blogsite was to make myself visible to future publishers. In the process, I discovered that book publishing has done a complete flip and I could have saved my time, and much money, or something.

    At one point, I actually did what you did, and stopped blogging.

    I took it up again after a couple of months, but still am not sure what on earth I am doing or why. I hope to help women come home. I hope to help hurting women overcome their hurts. I hope to help young children get real moms back. Etc.

    Thanks, again.

    Reply

    • Marsha Stopa
      Mar 14, 2014 @ 16:12:25

      Katharine,

      I’m not exactly sure who you are writing to or why from visiting your site. Are you writing to married women about the value of family and home, or are you writing to abused women? You need to get clear on your audience and your message first.

      And to be honest, I didn’t get this was about women and home from scanning the top three posts on your site. They seemed more like personal reflections about thing going on in your life or important to you — more like a journal. And unfortunately, as cathartic as it may be to write these kinds of posts, they don’t always help us help our readers when the posts are all about ourselves.

      Since you’re disappointed your readers are married women, I’m not sure where to send you. You could write for personal development blogs, spiritual blogs and parenting blogs, but again, clarity is the key.

      If you do read other blogs, I suggest you make a list of your favorites and study the most popular posts on their blogs to see what the readers are interested in. That’s valuable information for knowing how to present your posts to a hungry audience.

      Wishing you well on your journey,
      Marsha

      Assistant Instructor
      Need more help? $20 off a blog critique: Use discount code MARSHA20

      Reply

  61. Jeff Boss
    Mar 04, 2014 @ 17:11:02

    Great insight, thanks Jon! As for your offer, very generous and something I will DEFINITELY take up you and Marsha on…

    My website is about applying lessons learned from 13 years in special operations to both business and every day life for ways to become better, individually and organizationally–an organizational improvement approach that starts with the individual and trickles up (and down) through the company. I believe that physical and mental fitness complement each other, and the reason high performing organizations/teams are effective (what I refer to as Organizational Fitness) are for the reasons I write about throughout my blog posts.

    The targeted audience is 30-55 year old business professionals, and my intent is twofold: 1) I just enjoy writing and; 2) establish myself in the civilian world as a thought leader (I recently retired from the Navy). Would love to hear your feedback.

    Thanks in advance,
    Jeff

    Reply

    • Marsha Stopa
      Mar 14, 2014 @ 17:38:20

      Hey Jeff,

      I’ve tried numerous times to open up your blog, but I get a long list of posts without any structure or navigation in two browsers. Not sure what that’s about.

      That makes it hard for me to comment on the blog itself. I can say that your idea is sound but make sure you’re writing about what this audience wants to learn about and the problems they have. Espousing your personal philosophy will only take you so far in the blogosphere if you’re not connecting with the real needs of people.

      That’s the key.

      Best,
      Marsha

      Reply

      • Jeff
        Mar 15, 2014 @ 18:43:04

        Thanks Marsha,
        Sorry for the website error, not sure what happened. The website is working now though if you wouldn’t mind taking a quick look. Thanks in advance!

  62. Nora Guerrot
    Mar 04, 2014 @ 11:48:54

    Hi Marsha, Jon and everybody reading this,

    This is an amazing offer from your side and I appreciate it a lot! To cut to the point:
    My blog is called personalparis.com and I’m new, in fact, I have 1 post and an About page for the moment. The reason I have this website shame is because I’m focusing on finishing my travel guide to Paris, which is going to help mostly busy women to organize their perfect stay in the City of Lights. The book is not your ordinary travel guide as it consist of 10 traveling styles and it offers 4 full-day itinerary for each. So if you are a Gourmet or a Fashionista, maybe a new couple madly in love, what you want from Paris is always different.

    In the blog I will write about different places in Paris, outfit ideas, suggestions what to pack, scams that you should avoid, anything that helps the traveler.

    I want to target women who are busy but still want to plan a perfect trip to Paris for their significant other, friends and family. I have ideas to write to blogs like The Everygirl, Rue Magazine or the Glitter Guide, maybe Lifehacker as well with some traveling tips.

    Thank you so much for looking into my website! :)
    Bisous,
    Nora

    Reply

    • Marsha Stopa
      Mar 14, 2014 @ 15:48:00

      Nora,

      Great idea!

      You’re on the right track, but think outside of your niche. Think of both the subjects of your Paris itineraries and your target audience.

      Where do the women you want to target hang out online? Those are the places you want to guest post. Blogs for professional women, productivity blogs for women and the fashion blogs you’re already targeting.

      In terms of subject blogs, travel blogs are the obvious suspects, but research food blogs, art blogs, photography blogs.

      Between those two approaches, you should be able to find blogs where you can guest post on a semi-regular basis.

      BonJour!

      Marsha
      Assistant Instructor
      Need more help? $20 off a blog critique: Use discount code MARSHA20

      Reply

      • Nora
        Mar 15, 2014 @ 18:29:17

        Marsha,

        Thank you for taking the time to reply. I’m happy you find my idea good. I’ll keep on working then. I hope to see you one day in La Ville Lumière!
        Until then, bien à toi,
        Nora

  63. Brittany Connor
    Mar 04, 2014 @ 07:44:28

    Hi Team!
    Thanks for such a great article, it’s really given me some things to think about. I’m new to the blogging world and I’m starting to help give my clients and potentials a little extra help free of charge… kind of like you!

    I am targeting entrepreneurs, mainly in the health and environmentally friendly niche. For example we market for fitness trainers, yoga studios, and even a plastic company because they use biodegradable plastic, but also take on neutral clients like photographers, musicians, and breweries/wineries.

    Before I got too far into blogging though, I wanted to do some serious research so I wasn’t wasting my time and I happened to stumble across this blog! Lucky me, eh!! Any help and pointers you can give me to help my marketing firm would be amazing!

    Thank you! Much love and appreciation :)

    Reply

    • Marsha Stopa
      Mar 14, 2014 @ 14:51:52

      Brittany,

      I don’t see the blog on your website. I’m immediately hit with a contact form asking for my email to get marketing tips before I know who your company is or what you do, plus the social media status boxes that don’t give me any good information if I’m looking for a marketing firm. You’re wasting all your valuable real estate.

      More tough love: At this point the site looks like a slick brochure about what you do, but I don’t know how you do it for or who you are. Where are the people pictures? Real people? The site advertises your free consultation but with who? I’d rather book a consultation with a person I can relate to and see their face then sign up with an anonymous firm with no human face.

      To be honest, the site’s bold colors and hard-edged design feels like it’s more for musicians and bands than yoga studios or folks in the health niche.

      I suggest you study your customer niche more closely and align your design, feel and content to what they are looking for. If you know your audience, you know their problems and questions they’re asking. There is your blog.

      Hope that helps and doesn’t hurt too much.

      Marsha

      Assistant Instructor
      Need more help? $20 off a blog critique: Use discount code MARSHA20

      Reply

  64. Zachary Smith
    Mar 03, 2014 @ 15:30:03

    What a fantastic post! You’re really nailed a major issue in a way that makes sense. There is so much good content out there and far too much of it seems to go nowhere. It’s unfortunate.

    You are saints to offer blogging advice top us wayward. My site is home to the short stories and fiction I write. I have blogged on several topics. For a few months I wrote about little else than writing, but the internet seems to overflow with blogs by fiction writers about writing. It’s not particularly interested and I wasn’t sure how it served the sort of people who might read my fiction, so I have most of them hidden from the front page. Your comments would be highly valued. Thanks!

    Reply

    • Marsha Stopa
      Mar 14, 2014 @ 14:40:10

      Zachary,

      You are experiencing the reality of blogging for fiction writers. Unfortunately, we have found that fiction writing is one of the few online niches for which blogging is not a good fit. I know that seems counter intuitive. Let me explain.

      Most blogs at this point in time provide information or education, that is, they solve a problem or provide answers for which readers are looking. Fiction writing, by its very nature, doesn’t do that. It exists in a space by itself, separate from the day-to-day worlds of your readers. Because of that, it’s very difficult to pull readers into your fiction world. Writing about your world as a writer is akin to journaling, and the harsh reality is that unless your rich and famous already, few people other than your mother, spouse and close friends are interested.

      There are couple of things you can consider. First, if you have expertise in another area, you can try building a reputation as a blogger about that topic who is also a fiction writer. In that case, your writing is secondary but – and it’s a big BUT – you can get in front of audiences who may never find your fiction writing otherwise. It would be slow growth but you would differentiate yourself and build an online reputation that you can later refocus on your fiction. This is not a tried-and-true technique so no guarantees.

      Secondly, go study Johnny B Truant who has transformed himself from a blogger writing about how to have an online business and do amazing things to successfully writing and selling serial fiction on Amazon. It’s a new niche and Johnny is a pioneer. http://realmandsands.com/blog/ No guarantees, again.

      I’m afraid I don’t have any easy answers but I hope this gives you food for thought.

      Marsha

      Assistant Instructor
      Need more help? $20 off a blog critique: Use discount code MARSHA20

      Reply

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