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 2,500 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. :-)

2,781 Comments

  1. Victor Ijidola
    Oct 30, 2014 @ 02:21:58

    Hi Jon,

    I just stumbled on this post on Google, and it's so insightful. I started a blog few months ago, where I tutor startups on how to make great sales. I'd really love to hear what you have to say about it.
    startupwithgreatsales.com

    Reply

  2. Darlene
    Oct 29, 2014 @ 16:14:48

    Hi Jon,

    I love your posts. I enjoy how the writing flows and invites me to read more and more.

    I blog from a parent's perspective(mine). I am not the cookie cutter type so my expectation and goal is to write from the perspective of parenting ironies; life of a single parent and her precocious child, how parents can learn from little people, transformations of the parent with a growing child. I want to help with humor. I want it to be fresh and not mundane and I want audience engagement.

    That's all.

    Darlene
    darlenethemomblogger.com

    Reply

  3. Gabrielle Bastedo
    Oct 29, 2014 @ 16:02:19

    My blog is focused around the video game Lord of the Rings Online. I am trying to give players a deeper understanding of the game with just a dash of humor. After three months I've hit that glass wall mentioned earlier, and I would like to see if I can break that glass wall, or maybe just nudge it to the side. I'm pretty new to this, so any help that you can offer would be greatly appreciated. Please check me out at http://dragonslayersblog.blog.ca/

    Reply

  4. Tan-Ja
    Oct 28, 2014 @ 23:48:40

    Hi,
    My website (http://Tan-Ja.com) began as a way of helping small businesses with their blogging, writing and social media. Since then, it has chunked down into supporting businesses and bloggers with information and training advice.
    I have set up a 20 week campaign through Aweber, have hired a couple of guest bloggers for links and am wondering how to grow my traffic or should I niche down even further and only pick one field, such as life coaches (which I have accreditation and training for).
    Any feedback would be incredibly valuable. Thank you, Jon and Marsha!

    Reply

  5. Natalie @ Financegirl
    Oct 28, 2014 @ 09:12:27

    My blog is about finance and intentional living. My readers are young, professional women. I'm hoping to provide a forum for young, professional women (like me) to learn about finance, intentional living, and really grow as people as they begin their adult lives.

    I have been stuck between 200-500 visitors a day and can't seem to consistently get near 1,000. I only reached those levels when I was once featured on LifeHacker and when J. Money features me on Rockstar Finance. After those features, my traffic goes back down to previous levels. Any thoughts?

    Thank you so much for all that you do and for your time!

    Reply

    • Natalie @ Financegirl
      Oct 28, 2014 @ 14:50:21

      And I should mention also, that I really would like to monetize, but from what I've read and heard that can only truly come after traffic increases (despite my current efforts).

      Reply

  6. Kriss Mitchell
    Oct 23, 2014 @ 19:48:01

    The blog started out as a way to help people in abusive relationships understand the dynamics and decide whether they should stay or leave. I've written a book dealing with identity, which is at the base of all these issues so I have shared about the book on the blog. I have decided to work towards changing the content of the blog to help the abused person become a stronger and healthier person through knowing who they are. You will see that I have hit that ceiling and only post occasionally. I know I have good content, I just need to get the message out there.

    Reply

  7. Ann
    Oct 23, 2014 @ 01:11:04

    Okay, so I have a random blog about whatever, and then I have another blog (ownyouridea.info) that was initially geared towards individuals and small business owners who want to blog or use social media. I don't know if the market is saturated with those types of blogs but I seem to be at a loss. I guess I need to focus more on a niche but would like suggestions on my two blogs to increase traffic. Thanks very much for the consideration.

    Reply

  8. Melissa
    Oct 21, 2014 @ 22:56:40

    You don't know how long I've been looking for this! for just one person who actually knows what they're talking about to look at my blog and tell me if it's any good at all.
    My blog is a frugal lifestyle blog about crafting, designing, having fun, and saving money while doing so. I've had the blog for a few years, but just in recent months -when I graduated- got more serious and started trying to create great content and up my readership, though I'm having a hard time getting traffic. I love blogging and would actually like to do it for the rest of my life if I could. I would love any help and advice you can offer.

    Reply

  9. Joanne
    Oct 21, 2014 @ 08:55:05

    Hi, I'm loving reading your posts (found you through NicheHacks), and I feel that I'm following a crack course on blogging and making a living.

    I am setting up a site called Forty Ladies, which will focus on anti aging advice and products for women who want to remain forever forty! My plan is to open the site with 5 detailed posts (one Ultimate Guide), a couple of indepth product reviews, and some curated video content aimed at social media shares. Then add a range of new posts every week.

    I will set up a email subscription for a ten week tips and advice series.

    I have started to make a list of influencers to connect with, and many would be style type blogs etc I also have the oppurtunity to meet many people from the beauty industry at a confrence in November, so hope to get some good contacts both for content and marketing.

    Thank you for your inspiration and any advice you could give.

    Looking forward to reading your next post ;)

    Reply

  10. Neeraj Kumar
    Oct 21, 2014 @ 08:50:09

    Hi Jon,

    What struck to me was the title : why I quit blogging. I quit blogging long time ago but never shred a drop of tear on it. The reason isn't just traffic, it's my writing. Simply put, I hate what I write, and I hate it thoroughly. Worst part, I write for a living and people often say things which are distasteful, and I have to simply live with that.
    Now, I am not a native English speaker and therefore, language appreciation doesn't come naturally to me. Although I think I can read and comprehend English but writing drives me nuts. No matter how hard I try, my sentences stink all around. Motivation to carry on, therefore, betrays me midway. End result: my writing never improved it is where it was six years ago.

    Every now and then, spark emerges ( perhaps similar to reading after your post) and dies. But this time I decided to write, no matter how insignificant it might be. And, that's how I am posting this comment. End of story!

    Reply

  11. Evan Griffith
    Oct 17, 2014 @ 09:24:03

    Heyo Jon and Marsha --

    The World is Freaky Beautiful has evolved into a site exploring the creative-spiritual continuum . . . notes at the intersection of creativity and contemporary spirituality . . .

    I own an art gallery in your county, Jon (and possibly yours too, Marsha) -- on PGA Blvd in Palm Beach Gardens -- and have worked with creatives my whole life.

    A side question you can ignore if it goes beyond your intent here: Do I need to switch from Blogger to WordPress if I am to grow this in a significant way?

    Thank you to you both for your gracious offer in this post.

    Evan

    Reply

  12. Beverly Oh
    Oct 16, 2014 @ 03:06:57

    My website is currently under construction. I'm not sure where to begin. I want to target women ages 35 to 55 but I'm not sure what they want or need. My content would largely focus on "How Not to Screw Up Your Life." Any feedback regarding a niche would be greatly appreciated.

    Reply

  13. Mark
    Oct 15, 2014 @ 20:06:53

    We are a local health care provider with a niche (alternative medicine for women) and we're in the process of building relationships in the community and online. What advice do you have for amplifying our efforts online?

    Reply

  14. Ana Wisch
    Oct 15, 2014 @ 08:41:02

    Hello my name is Ana I am a critical care RN, I am thinking of starting a blog but nervous about it. I'm a little confused about what this whole blogging thing is about, I would love to start one and make some money at it. I have done some research on the subject but the more I learn the more confused I become. Can someone just break the concept down into simple terms and tell me how to get started and then step two, once I start the blog what to do next?

    Reply

  15. waqas ali
    Oct 14, 2014 @ 14:43:49

    Great information. Thanx To wrote this helpfull article. i am one of guy . who are realy disheart about blogging. before two years i start blogging . and my nich is seo , wordpress themes customisation, i wrote lots of great content . but i failed to drive traffic on my blog. thats why i realy dihearted. so i leave that blogging. and now i just develop new website . nich is fb video downloader online. and realy i dont know about how to drive traffic . b.coz i shared this site on stumble. reddit. facebook. but i havnt receive any visitors.... please suggest to me . what i do now . how to drive traffic . how to connect with bloggers....
    regards
    waqas ali

    Reply

  16. Balazs Hende
    Oct 12, 2014 @ 08:02:33

    My blog is 1 year old and I have about 40 unique visitors a day. Maybe I'll hit 400 UVs in 10 years.

    Reply

  17. Valerie
    Oct 11, 2014 @ 21:14:38

    Hi. My niche is health. I'm a medical doctor more specialized in palliative care and chronic pain. I did take courses on blogging and build my new blog on Rainmaker. Very slowly as I'm also a single mom working full time. Jon I enjoy your style very much.
    My blog is how to live different aimed at the 40+ and be happy enjoying a confortable life with minimum of pain.
    My core concept: most people don't know the basic scientific facts about happiness. Worse: people have no idea where to start ( like how to treat a simple tendinitis or to develop good habits for sleeping).
    I don't know many doctors blogging (except dr L Rankin)... Thanks for ant feedback! And take good care-)

    Reply

  18. Hanna
    Oct 09, 2014 @ 16:37:41

    Marsha,
    Thanks in advance for giving me some pointers on my site. My blog is about healthy retiring. It is quite new so I appreciate your feedback. I am reaching out to those 50 to 85 who are planning to retire, or have already retired. I am a Registered nurse who recently retired,and I know the importance of good health. I want to encourage my audience to consider all aspects of being healthy whether physical, emotional, spiritual, or financial.I have been writing content, and I will be working on making connections.

    Hanna

    Reply

  19. Melanie
    Oct 09, 2014 @ 15:54:57

    Hi. I literally just started my blog a few weeks ago and figured it would be good idea to get some constructive criticism early on. Basically, my blog is going to chronicle the steps and trials involved with the invention process in real time. I'm the mom to two small children, and about 2 months ago, I had an idea that would provide a solution to a problem I've had with my 2 year old son for the last year. So, I thought it would be interesting to document the process of developing an idea into a marketable product. While, I don't disclose what the actual product is for now, I still feel like there might be others out there in similar positions who would be interested in seeing how the situation plays out (mistakes and all). Also, it gives me the opportunity to hear from others who have already gone through the process and have good advice to share. I know you're thinking that there is the possibility that my idea is a dud, and that this blog might not get that far. And yes, that is a possibility. But luckily, starting a blog doesn't require a big investment, and I feel it will keep me motivated and focused on my idea and getting to that next step.

    Reply

  20. Barbara Galagusz
    Oct 08, 2014 @ 15:34:21

    This is my problem. I have been writing a blog for 6 years because I was told that it would help drive customers to my site. I am an esthetician but I have a lot of male clients and I do a lot of waxing. I am also a registered nurse and have some knowledge of the skin and how it works. I have been an esthetician for 8 years and do reasonably well. What I want to do is expand into freelance writing: blogs or magazine articles on topics on my blog, and medical technical writing (to hopefully make some money). The technical writing part I have my hands around but the blogging is where I am lost. I am not sure where I fit? I look at the 10 top beauty blogs and that is not my content. Should I concentrate on men? Which popular bloggers should I search out? Can you look at my blog and tell me where you think I should head? I appreciate your input. http://skintradespa.com/blog. There is also a link on my site to the blog. Thank you, Barbara

    Reply

  21. Leslie Mason
    Oct 08, 2014 @ 11:13:22

    Hi Jon, I've had a blog for several years and it's grown organically. Over the past 2-3 years I've been asked to guest blog which I happily agreed to, however, as blogging is my hobby and my job keeps me very busy I find it difficult to accommodate all the new requests. What are your thoughts on sharing the same content over multiple sites? I heard that it was a "no no" to repeat your postings and it would damage your overall ratings. Now that LinkedIn offers us the "create a post" option I was wondering if I should share my blog on my LinkedIn posts or simply start using LinkedIn as my main blog avenue to get more reach. Any advice?

    Reply

  22. Toy
    Oct 08, 2014 @ 08:25:20

    I recently got serious about blogging and decided to switch from blogger to wordpress. I really enjoyed you article and it makes a lot of sense to make connection a top priority.

    Reply

  23. Jeff Mason
    Oct 07, 2014 @ 17:51:35

    I'm actually trying to help out my wife with her site. Thanks!

    Reply

  24. Youpele
    Oct 07, 2014 @ 14:23:04

    Hi,
    I've just started a blog and it's a work in progress. I still have to install my autorespnder to capture email addresses. My blog in going to be focused on affliate/Network Marketing. I'm not a prolific writer but I fill very encouraged when I see Jon "Fancy Pants" posts. I'm keen to learn more on how to structure my content. Sentences and paragraphs included. Hope you can advise after taking a look at the website/blog

    Reply

  25. Mom blog
    Oct 06, 2014 @ 08:49:32

    Hi! This is kind of off topic but I need some advice
    from an established blog. Is it very difficult to set up your
    own blog? I'm not very techincal but I can figure things out pretty quick.
    I'm thinking about creating my own but I'm not sure where to begin. Do you have any points or suggestions?
    Thanks

    Reply

  26. Nikant Vohra
    Sep 30, 2014 @ 22:37:31

    Hi,

    Thanks for this insightful post.

    I started my blog a few months back and I get at most 100 visitors in a day. I mostly write about productive ideas that can help people achieve success in their life.

    Can you suggest some improvements so that I can get more visitors?

    Regards
    Nikant Vohra

    Reply

  27. Kimberly @ Herrah.org
    Sep 27, 2014 @ 16:54:10

    Hello Jon and Marsha,

    Thank you for this incredibly generous offer. The goal of my blog is to contribute to better media for women. I made the site to feature stories modeling authenticity, empowerment and expression through sharing life experiences, lessons learned, tips for dealing with conflicts/loss/change, adventures, and whatever else the community wants. Readers are mainly women aged 16-45 who seek information and inspiration beyond the "get a guy and lose 10 pounds" headline crap we're so used to seeing.

    In addition to being an avid writer I do stand-up so I put some jokey stuff on there, book reviews, and photos/videos. My main source of readership is simply through word of mouth. I post about new articles on my personal Facebook, and my friends are supportive and spread word around a bit but that's about it. I was hoping the blog writers would do more self-promotion but that seems to not be garnering much. I don't even have a way to subscribe...so I need quite a bit of help taking it to the next level.

    Bon courage as you take on all of our queries, and thank you again!

    Kimberly

    Reply

  28. Vbridge.Twgrid.Org
    Sep 25, 2014 @ 14:59:40

    WOW just what I was searching for. Came here by searching for weight training

    Reply

  29. Abbey
    Sep 19, 2014 @ 21:18:07

    Hey guys. I was just reading the comments. I have noted that there is no reply from Marsha after 26th August :) People are still very hopeful though for getting her reply.

    Marsha are you still ON ? :)

    Reply

    • Rosemary
      Sep 20, 2014 @ 09:16:08

      Abbey

      I have been wondering the same thing myself. Thank you for asking.

      Reply

      • Marsha Stopa
        Oct 27, 2014 @ 17:10:16

        I am back. Sorry, busy with our courses! I'll get to everyone. :-)

        Marsha

  30. Saida
    Sep 19, 2014 @ 10:54:57

    Hello. Im analytical psychologist blogging for about 3 year. My purpose is to gain the long term clients (skype, on line consulting). My readers are mostly women of middle age. I tryed myself in relationships niche. Alas it didnt work... A job of your dream niche, again nothing promising. Woman and her creative power (writing epecially)-- the same results. They do buy my courses, sometimes, somehow... But not more than that... I know they DO read my letters (250 opened emails among 1880 subscribers), but I didnt still recieve a rqust for therapy. Unfortunately my site is in Russian, but to give you a hint-- I always mention my services at the end of each text in my blog

    Reply

  31. Rob
    Sep 18, 2014 @ 21:59:35

    This is one of the most useful articles I ever read! As a new blogger, it's hard to get reviews. My blog is intended to be informative on topics that include money, taking action and well being. As far as readers go, men may be able to relate to it more than women but some of the topics are neutral. What I want to accomplish is to provide content that will help improve their lives.

    Help is appreciated!
    Thanks,
    Rob

    Reply

  32. Rosemary DiStefano
    Sep 16, 2014 @ 11:14:52

    I just read your most popular post: How to Quit Your Job, Move to Paradise and Get Paid to Change the World.

    To say I find your post inspiring and moving is a huge understatement, but I don’t think I know the words to accurately describe the effect it had on me. I am not that gifted a writer, not yet anyway.

    “No, it won’t be easy. At some point, I guarantee you’ll want to quit. I guarantee people will treat you like you’re insane. I guarantee you’ll cry yourself to sleep, wondering if you made a horrible mistake.”

    You don’t have to convince me about any of that, I live it pretty much every day. I have spent the last 15 years learning about companion pets, mostly dogs. During 10 of those years, I founded and operated a special needs dog rescue in Philadelphia. In that time, I have learned a lot about every aspect of pet care and animal welfare: veterinary medicine, behavior, training, nutrition, rescue, sheltering. And I have become a passionate dog advocate, most notably, a special needs dogs and pit bull advocate. In the process of rescuing a handful of dogs someone tossed aside because they were not “perfect,” I found my true passion. A passion I have been putting off following most of my life because you know, it is rarely “practical” to pursue your passion.

    I want to change the world too, or at least the little portion of the world that means the most to me.

    My first goal is to find a way to share my experience and knowledge with others who might benefit as I feel very strongly doing so might make a difference in my ultimate goal: helping people make better decisions about pet ownership and assisting committed pet guardians in need so they can keep their companion pets.

    What I need to do is find ways (small and big) to bring about a change in prevailing attitudes towards companion animals. We claim dogs are “man’s best friend.” I say, you don’t “get rid” of your best friend when he/she becomes an inconvenience. This is a big and complex issue but in some ways it is quite simple, as simple as finding a way to get people to make a lifelong commitment to care for their best friends.

    P.S. A year and a half ago I fell going down my basement steps and shattered my L1 vertebrae. For many months and for the first time in my adult life, I had lots of time on my hands to think about my purpose in life. Thankfully, in my case, my injury helped me sit up and take notice of where I was heading but I am still walking and about 99% “abled.” If you can do what you have done and are doing to change the world, I should be ashamed of not doing what I can do.

    Reply

  33. Elle
    Sep 12, 2014 @ 08:19:55

    This is great stuff Marsha and Jon. I've been blogging for 3 years now with a mission to inspire and encourage others to appreciate how gifted and talented they are and share simple tools and techniques to support them in truly leading the life of their dreams. It's a personal development blog with a spiritual twist.
    I have moved between having 30,000 visitors a month to 7,000 and every number in between. It's all over the place. It's a mystery to me.

    I was recently interviewed by Morty Lefkoe which brought an influx of visitors but not too many subscribers.

    I'd love your insight into my blog and yes...please tell it like it is.

    Reply

  34. Dija
    Sep 11, 2014 @ 22:39:02

    Jon thank you for your generosity and transparency. Marsha thank you for taking the time to answer so many comments and questions!
    My blog is a lifestyle blog called The Inspired Cafe. I've been blogging for a total of 6 years and blogging at The Inspired Cafe for 3 years. I blog about faith, life, film reviews, recipes and diy projects.

    My readers are mainly women and mothers of young children. I haven't figured out how to use google analytics to figure out the age ranges yet. I think my ideal reader is: around the age of 23-40, mother of young children, college education, creative, likes the simple healthy life, ambitious, loves art, film, reading and crafting.

    I would hope that my blog would be a place for my audience to be inspired and encouraged in their daily lives to be creative, think deeper and go after what they want in life. I hope to eventually start an online store selling handmade items, books and self development content.

    I haven't been able to get over 1200 visitors a month and I barely get any email subscribers. I am passionate about blogging and I am determined continue with it. I have been doing everything I can for my niche that I can think of or read about. I really do spend hours reading and trying to implement all that I can as well as keep up with social media but nothing seems to improve whether I post 5 times a week or 1 time a week. But I'm still determined and love the blogging community. Thanks for your help and THANK YOU for being so generous with your blogging knowledge!

    Reply

  35. Todd Call
    Sep 11, 2014 @ 19:58:12

    Hi Jon and Marsha,
    Thank you for your honesty in this post Jon. Your generosity in helping so many people do this is greatly appreciated (and you Marsha). I have been a therapist for 15 years and was laid off almost a year ago, which launched me into private practice. My blog is a way to give to people. honestly if I could do therapy through my blog, I would, but that probably doesn't sell. Therapist blogs are everywhere and everyone has them. So I want/need to do it differently.

    So parenting and self improvement is my combined focus. As you have noted elsewhere, parenting and self help are two of the top 11 categories for blogs, so that's good. Here is the problem. All of the parenting blogs I have seen are mostly about crafts and recipes and family night activity suggestions. I don't write about those things. I write about what parents need to know and how parents need to improve themselves so their parenting can improve. I have built and run 3-day workshops on this that parents loved and raved about. Translating that into the written word is more difficult than I thought.

    Guess posting on parenting blogs is my first goal. Finding the biggest and most influential parenting blogs is a little difficult. I am working on a Parenting Mistakes series on my blog to turn into a free report giveaway for email subscribers. Self improvement blogs, being bigger, are a little more intimidating. I am guessing I should head for the parenting ones first to get better at guest posting before heading over to self improvement blogs.

    Thanks for any advice you can give.
    Todd

    Reply

  36. Andy
    Sep 11, 2014 @ 08:19:58

    Hi, we're a meditation Center.
    I was about to start blogging and read that it was the wrong way to go - that we'd be wasting our time without a big outreach to begin with.

    We're on about growth, awakening, awareness and have a fabulous 300 acre property in the Rockies.
    Any thoughts on guest blogging for us?

    Best
    Andy

    Reply

  37. Bee Bloeser
    Sep 10, 2014 @ 14:12:28

    Hello Jon and Marsha, and thank you for this offer and your time!
    I have a passion to write the stories of my late husband’s work, and therefore our family's life, on the front lines in international healthcare. Settings are in Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea, the Cameroun and Bangladesh. The experiences are humorous, harrowing, or thought provoking, but never ordinary. They are filled with conflict of one kind or another. A likely audience would be people with interests in: other cultures, healthcare in the developing world, the expatriate life experience and “adventurous” life in an Idi Amin type of atmosphere. My goal? A book that people will find and purchase.
    The problem? I’ve been told by some writers groups that I should set up on Word Press and start blogging. I have always been entrepreneurial and I work hard at whatever I set out to do. BUT in my antipathy to social media, I have not done Facebook, twitter or Pinterest, haven’t followed any blogs, and until a month ago had no idea that people blog to make money. Does it make sense for me to jump into the online world? I need to make some income but have a hard time seeing how this particular blog could produce any income, even if it garnered a following, except through the eventual sale of the anticipated book. If I have to do something in addition to writing the book: I am just retiring as a Speech-Language Pathologist, a field in which I can offer expertise. A colleague, with whom I have published once before, and I could do a blog together. She also hasn't done social media.
    “Online” being an alien country to me, I have greatly appreciated your website since Dave Young at shortcutblogging.com recommended it. Yours was the only site he recommended. He trusts you, so I trust you too. What do you advise?
    THANK YOU!
    Bee

    Reply

  38. Joseluis Romero
    Sep 10, 2014 @ 12:57:32

    Hi Marsha and Jon,
    This is SO nice of you.
    And yes – I have one question for you …
    I currently have a website hosted with Site Build It (from Ken Evoy – whom you might know about).
    My site is about leadership skills.
    Most of my readers are middle-level managers aged 35-55 from the for-profit sector (all the way from multinationals to small companies) and from the not-for-profit sector (governments and NGO’s) from all over the world. And some of my readers are management consultants and university professors within the leadership field.
    I have a list of a little over 5,000-email subscribers – and I send them one article once a month.
    However – I want to start a blog using WordPress and eventually transfer my subscriber list from Site Build It to AWeber (AWeber is much more powerful than the Site Build It email manager).
    I do corporate leadership development and I am very successful doing that – nonetheless – today I am an expert nobody knows.
    What I am hoping to accomplish eventually is to start making money with my (still non-existent) WordPress blog through selling my services (speaking, consulting, coaching) and my products (that I have not started creating yet).
    My question is … What insights could you share with me about my short-term and mid-term next steps?
    I will really appreciate your brutal honesty.
    Note: I am a member of your "Serious Bloggers Only" and loving it :-)
    Thank you VERY much !!!

    Reply

  39. Lois
    Sep 10, 2014 @ 08:51:12

    Hi Jon and Marsha,
    I've been blogging since 2007 and built a following of about 1,000 readers/month. After several Google algorithm changes, monthly readership dropped to about 300, which was so demotivating that I nearly abandoned the blog. I'm currently at 100. I planned to blog more regularly this year (1 - 2 times/month) but haven't.

    My primary message is about the transformational power of gardening -- so, gardening combined with spirituality for the purpose of inner growth, reconnecting to Nature, and creating outdoor spaces that soothe the soul (link: http://loisdevries.blogspot.com). I didn't have big ambitions for the blog originally. As a garden writer, it was a place to send magazine editors to see the quality of my writing and to develop material for a book. I blog about interesting public gardens I've visited, gardening events, my own garden, and historic landscapes, as well as straight horticultural topics, e.g., roses, ferns, etc. A number of my peers (other garden writers) have linked my blog to theirs, so I still get some referrals from them. I promote the blog at speaking engagements, on my business card, etc., and occasionally on my FB Page (Cultivating The Inner Gardener), where I'm trying some experiments. My readers have been gardeners, other garden bloggers, and people who signed up for my online course (on a spiritual development site) or newsletter, plus a couple of garden columnists.

    I want the blog to drive traffic to my website in order to develop a coaching practice and secure speaking engagements, to develop an "author platform" for potential book sales, and to enroll readers in my online course (I get lots of clicks, but few sales).

    Thanks,
    Lois

    Reply

  40. Why I quit blogging? - Dallas Single Mom
    Sep 10, 2014 @ 08:11:39

    […] quit blogging for a variety of reasons. I read this article last night called “Why I Quit My Blog” and found it to be informational and inspiring. The fact that the post itself has 2700 comments […]

    Reply

  41. Tobin Poppenberg
    Sep 09, 2014 @ 12:45:48

    Hey Jon (Marsha)...

    I currently run ONTRAGenius, where I offer strategic marketing automation consulting and implementation services to ONTRAPORT clients, however, I'm just about embark on a massive transition away from consulting services (1 to 1) to a products-based business that will allow me to scale much bigger (1 to many); where I create info-products that empower biz owners to design and implement automated systems within their business. I'll be rebranding from ONTRAGenius (niched too deeply toward just ONTRAPORT) to "Automate, Dominate, Libeate" My aim is to come out with a valuable blog post each week that teaches how to automate some part of the business (through the framework of a six-stage customer lifecycle) and to drive revenue both in the form of offering massive bonuses to those who sign up for their ONTRAPORT or Infusionsoft acct. through my link as well as doing proper PLF style launches of full scale training academy to automate your entire biz. Blogging's gonna be a big pat of it and I'd LOVE your insight re: great strategy for growing the audience, etc. Thank you!!!

    Reply

  42. Kristy Rice
    Sep 09, 2014 @ 08:34:57

    While I've abandoned the last couple of blogs the one I'm thinking of launching (using all this great strategy) and putting a ton of effort into is about Transitions: Building the Life You've Been Dreaming of from the Ashes of Today. I want to help people facing life changes (divorce, death, empty nest, relocation, etc.) that are normally viewed as negative and tragic (not to mention adverse) and see the possibilities before them to create the life they've always dreamed of for themselves.

    Ideas for possible posts include interviewing a psychologist (using Amazon as a search engine for a title related to my blog niche and using it to find a psychologist/author preferably with a blog) so that we can cross-promote the article by sharing links. A free report to encourage e-mail conversion might be 5 Ways to Cope Right Now? (got a couple other ideas) And posts/series include mapping your vision, journaling for power (how being honest with yourself removes the shame others may be holding over you) and plenty on goal-setting and research pieces on habits, how we form them and how to change them. Tip of the iceberg. That was this mornings cappuccino-fueled brainstorm.

    p.s. THANK YOU!!! You guys are awesome. So much fluff out there but your site requires note-taking (and yes I do, take notes...like crazy)

    Reply

    • Rosemary
      Sep 13, 2014 @ 14:03:04

      Hi Kristy,

      I would love to see your blog and be one of your subscribers when you launch it. I would say that I am probably just the kind of person your blog is looking to target. God knows I have faced and I am still facing my share of life challenges right now and could use some help (not to mention real support) in my journey to create the life I want. I have lived long enough to know where I want to go, but just don't know how to get there. So, when you do launch that blog, please email me a link! (caninesrule57 at gmail.com).

      I am working on launching my own blog as well and although my topic and the people I am looking to help are different from yours, I have a feeling we both share a passion for your chosen vision.

      My website is also a work in progress, just a very small step. I will be working today on putting together a couple of paragraphs to post here in the hopes I can get a couple of pointers as I have been struggling with this for quite a while now and very close to just abandoning the project before I even get started.

      Good luck on your blog, the world sure needs the help you want to offer.

      Reply

      • Kristy Rice
        Sep 14, 2014 @ 00:26:58

        Thanks Rosemary. You hear so many times that the bad things in your life are "supposed" to happen, that you're meant to learn from them. This is my way of giving back because up until recently my life was in a constant state of crisis and the bottom dropped out repeatedly. I don't know how many times I've had to start over. But I've learned from it and want to help others see their tragedy as a chance to start over fresh.

        I really hope you don't give up, especially if you have yet to launch. I myself have put all my other projects on hold to research and develop. I've done nothing but read and train for two months now and after tons of studying I'm finally going to start setting up my site at the end of September. It's a lot to learn, even with experience. What is your topic? I looked for your post but didn't see it up yet.

        Good luck and if there's anything I can help with just let me know.

  43. Tracey
    Sep 07, 2014 @ 21:54:49

    Hi Jon and Marsha. I'm Tracey and my blog is The Expat Experiment.com http://expatexperiment.com/. In April of this year my family and I set out to travel for as long as we can (or want to). The blog is 2 years old and about our experience as a nomadic family. We write to provide inspiration, tips and advice on travel destinations, budget travel and long term travel for families. We have build the biggest following on Twitter and get the most traffic to the blog from Facebook and organic search results.
    Our readers are mostly from North America and our growth at this point has slowed. I know we have a lot of work to do to build a following I just don't know where to get started. We hope to make some income from the blog in the future through products or services. First and foremost we need to build a community to create the most beneficial product or service for.
    Jon you writing has been so helpful, thank you so much. I so wanted to buy your mentor ship course and if I had had the money I would have! Next time.

    Reply

  44. Antone Goyak
    Sep 07, 2014 @ 16:25:28

    Dear Jon and Marsha,

    I just recently came upon your website, and I appreciate your honest assessment about blogging and your practicality with which you speak to us who are looking to improve our own blog. I have learned so much from your posts. A sincere "thank you" from this newbie.

    A little context about my blog: I started my blog in January of 2013. I was in the higher education field and wrote about how to make your classroom more engaging and authentic in how learning occurs. In July of this year, I have shifted out of the higher ed scene into being an executive pastor of our church.

    And so I feel like my blog is now making a shift in its content and purpose. My blog tag line is "Leveraging Your Leadership Through the Lens of the Gospel." I would appreciate and value your insights. My themes are related to leadership, mentoring, organization, and how to be an authentic influencer. My audience are those who value their leadership opportunities (whether the leadership is because of title or not) and specifically helping them view their influence through the framework of Gospel thinking. I make note of this because my passion is about more than just being a leader or influencer...it is important to me that leadership is viewed through a proper framework or "lens" so that it comes from a mindset that is always joined to biblical thinking.

    I am getting more consistent views each day than in the past, but I feel like the number has plateaued. It is still fairly small. And perhaps it is because I have changed vocations and moved into a new niche. But I would value your honest feedback. It would be very much appreciated.

    I currently operate from a WordPress.com platform that is hosted by WordPress. When I post, it goes to my subscribers but also automatically posts to Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. I say that because perhaps you have critique in that area as well.

    Thanks so much for your help.

    Reply

  45. Vicki Lesage
    Sep 07, 2014 @ 15:37:11

    I've been following this series and I'm ADDICTED. Both Jon and Marsha are so generous with their time and tips.

    I'm an author with a humor blog, and I blog mainly about life in Paris and parenting. You don't have to tell me - I know it's pretty niche. But as a self-published author, I need all the tools I can get my hands on to get my book in front of people. So even if my blog never makes it big, I feel like it's better than NOT blogging because I do get steady (but low) traffic and book sales from it and there aren't many other options available to authors.

    I do a lot of guest posting on various sites (mommy sites, humor sites, self-publishing sites, etc.) and that works OK. I'm still at about 200 visitors per day, which I guess isn't bad since I've cut back to 1 blog post per week (plus a teaser post link to any guest posts that go live during the week), but it still isn't much. I see a spike in traffic and book sales on the days where I have a guest post on another site so I'm pretty sure my strategy is right, it's just that I'm still not getting the number of readers necessary to sell enough books.

    As I get more guest posts under my belt, I'm pitching to larger (but still relevant) sites to guest post on, and of course I engage in their community first and build a genuine relationship. I'm hoping that all I need is more time - more guest posts and posts on bigger sites - and that I'm not just spending a lot of time on something that's going to result in steady-but-low traffic forever. I appreciate any insights! Thanks!

    Reply

  46. Alan Snow
    Sep 07, 2014 @ 06:41:29

    Hi Marsha and Jon,
    What my blog will be about:
    I am an executive coach and intend to blog about executive coaching, goals, personal development, as well as the psychological aspects of all of these. I have the requisite formal qualifications and degrees and am 68. I can modify what I blog about for personal or life coaching although they are different. The 3 categories I searched were Business & Entrepreneurship, Self-Improvement, and Marketing.
    Who my readers will be:
    My readers will be executive coaches, executives - eg CEOs and managers, and possibly their clients. There appear to be very few popular coaching blogs – exec coaches seem to hang out in Linkedin members groups, mainly (I belong to 10). I have searched via Alltop – and the few that there are, are about personal coaching. The same applies to leadership blogs.
    I can modify what I blog about for personal or life coaching although they are different. The 3 categories I searched were Business & Entrepreneurship, Self-Improvement, and marketing.
    What I plan to accomplish:
    I don’t yet have a website or blog but am committed to guest blogging and making a success of blogging and ultimately my own successful popular blog. I intend to deliver entertaining, quality (and possibly evidence-based) information products that help executives and others do their jobs better and live better lives.
    Any advice would be welcome.
    Alan

    Reply

  47. Brian Allen
    Sep 06, 2014 @ 16:40:00

    I'm about to finally start blogging. I am a letterpress printer with nearly 40 years experience with typography/calligraphy/digital font production/printing. I expect the main audience would be design-oriented people, from crafters/scrapbookers to professionals designers in visual fields.
    After surviving cancer, and being in my early 60s, I am in the "leaving a legacy" mode and want to share what I know about design. And being a model for craftsmanship is very important to me.
    I also want to help people find access to their own creativity.
    What do you think? I'd greatly appreciate any critique. Thank you so much!
    Brian

    Reply

  48. Lara Patangan
    Sep 06, 2014 @ 11:29:35

    I appreciate your willingness to take a look at my blog. I know I have some HUGE problems - the obsessive-compulsive in me is determined to find them. I started my blog on my 40th birthday to chronicle my year doing corporal and spiritual works of mercy. (Try not to freak out because I realize that is not a mass market and most people don't know what works of mercy are) I would write about volunteer experiences and what I learned from them. I even went to prison (as a guest.) Anyway, I have been a lot lost since the project ended. I find that no one wants to read about God. I learned (from you) that I could either pursue parenting or self-help as a niche because I want to know nothing about the others that were suggested. The post I wrote most recently was my attempt at self-help. You may find that its "too much about me." Honestly I feel like I am 13 again and don't know who the hell I am. (I already made an appointment with a therapist :).) My followers are mostly my friends and some bloggers I have picked up. But they seem to genuinely enjoy my writing (and yes, I realize no one wants to tell you suck to your face. Still, I think they like me.) I recently did a guest post on elephant journal's website, and guess how many new followers I got from that?! - none!!! So maybe I do suck. I hear you loud and clear about being a guest blogger, but I think if you can't capture those 1,100 or so people who read it - what the point? I know I need a tag line, a clearer definition of where I fit, what I write about - who I am. (I have not figured that out yet and if you have any insight, please share it with me - but I know your not a palm reader either and if I don't know, how the heck are you supposed to know. ) I need a popup to sign people up, a new design and some followers!!!

    Reply

  49. Scott F. Barnett
    Sep 06, 2014 @ 09:09:10

    My "niche" is personal finance. My monetization goals are insurance sales and sale of a book I am doing. The uniqueness is I am giving away free information, written for the lay reader, to help them get wills, trusts, and other documents done so they have peace of mind in case of disability or death. I offer "coaching" and various forms to organize information so a first appointment with a lawyer is easier and, perhaps, less expensive. My "inventory" of content includes some white papers I have done over the past few years on how Index interest accumulation works and why FIA's are better than portfolio management for the sacred "nest egg" that is supposed to help create life long income. Also, I post my articles on ezinearticles.com, Linked, in and another article site. Each post is "announced" on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter. Any comments you can give would be appreciated. Given your focus, I would think the help I need is learning which blog authors I should try to connect with for Guest posts. Thanks Scott

    Reply

  50. Anne Marie
    Sep 06, 2014 @ 09:05:54

    I am in the homeschooling/Christian education niche. I have been slowly producing guest posts over the past few months, which has been great, but I did not target the larger blogs, I waited until someone expressed a need. Since starting this series I have contacted 2 larger Children's Ministry blogs and I am working to solidify a relationship with another in the hopes of doing an interview of sorts. In the homeschool niche, I see A LOT of of the same things produced. Printables, etc. So I'm trying to think of creative ways that I can create freebies for my readers. I've been trying the "old way" for 2 years now. That was what I was told to do, but your strategy makes so much since. If you can help me find some other blogs to guest write for, that would be amazing. :) Thanks!!

    Reply

  51. gareth
    Sep 06, 2014 @ 08:54:13

    Hi, I'm Gareth. I am a watercolor artist living in Japan.

    I have started my online business and my blog this year. I basically write a blog and then rewrite it as a mailchimp email and send it to a small list I have.

    In my blog I basically write about my painting adventures in Japan. I hope that this is interesting for readers and that it gives some context to my paintings. So I hope they enjoy my blogs and at some point possibly buy a painting or one of my other paint-related products.

    I would appreciate any comments on my blogs. Thank you for this.

    Reply

    • Marsha Stopa
      Oct 28, 2014 @ 11:40:04

      Gareth,

      Your work is wonderful. (I also paint landscapes in oil but I'm nowhere as good as you.)

      Your stories are wonderful also. I was mesmerized by your three-part misadventure. Living in the mountains of Western North Carolina now, I've misjudged how dark the path gets when the sun drops behind the mountain and emerged from the forest very late as well. Very scary.

      This is a tough topic because, by it's very nature, it's all about you and your work. So you have to work harder to connect to people through your writing. And promote the hell out of your posts.

      So, write less frequently and promote more. Your posts are fairly long, so only post once or twice a month and spend the rest of the time promoting the post. On Facebook. On Google+. To plein air painter groups (check Facebook). To Japanese groups. Ask anyone who has an interest to share it.

      Also, check out the blog for artists, http://makecreativitypay.com. Leanne Regalla is one our students and she's doing a great job helping other artists.

      Is it possible you can extract life lessons from your misadventures? If you can, you could write guest posts for self-improvement blogs and possibly use your paintings as illustrations. THIS WOULD BE GOLDEN! Even if you can't use your paintings, you can link to your blog in your byline and get traffic that way. Check out TinyBuddha.com, which requires a personal story in each guest post -- your night in the forest and losing the path is perfect. Study their style and then pitch the idea.

      Keep us posted on how you do.

      Namaste,
      Marsha

      Reply

  52. Konstantina Greekfashionista
    Sep 06, 2014 @ 08:30:08

    OK TOO MANY ANSWERS TOO MANY PEOPLE WANT YOUR HELP...BETWEEN THEM IT'S ME...I AM A GREEK FASHION BLOGGER ,SO IN LOVE WITH FASHION AND PASSIONATE ABOUT IT...ALWAYS LOOKING FOR WAYS TO BE KNOWN WORLDWIDE...CAN YOU PLEASEEEEE HELP ME?

    Reply

    • Marsha Stopa
      Oct 28, 2014 @ 11:21:53

      Konstantina,

      Fashion blogging is one of the hardest because it's dominated by the major media. It's very hard for an individual to break in and I'm not sure I can give you any advice that will truly make a difference.

      You need to create something you are known for -- a unique angle. Reporting on fashion news isn't enough.

      Build relationships with the top fashion bloggers. Reach out and offer to help in some way. Build up your followers in social media. Help individuals personally with "make overs." That will help build your readership.

      I wish you the best of luck.

      Marsha

      Reply

  53. Katherine Swarts
    Sep 05, 2014 @ 12:44:58

    OK, that's my blog address under "Your Website," my overarching topic is "managing your emotional and mental health from a Biblical perspective," and posts to date have received little attention and few or no comments (those that come are mostly from personal acquaintances and say little more than "another good one!"). I just started exploring the guest-posting route (wouldn't have found YOU without the initial information there) and welcome any suggestions on blogs to check out or how to find the most popular blogs in specific niches.

    Reply

    • Kristy Rice
      Sep 09, 2014 @ 08:45:52

      Hey, good to see you here, fellow Pitchfest-er! Congrats on the mention!

      Reply

    • Marsha Stopa
      Oct 28, 2014 @ 11:15:14

      Hi Katherine,

      You've picked a very narrow topic in a big niche. I'm not saying you shouldn't write from a Biblical perspective but do so knowing that you are limiting your audience immediately because it looks "preachy." Like it or not, most writing in the self improvement field is pretty homogenized these days. And, with most of your posts coming from your own experience, it reads somewhat like a journal with a heavy religious focus.

      If you want to guest post:
      -Look for Christian blogs. There are some but not many big ones.
      -Or, generalize your message and take out the Biblical perspective so it appeals to a wider range of people and you can likely write for bigger, more popular self improvement blogs. You can reference your Christian approach in your byline at the bottom of your post and link to your blog.
      -Learn to write without using "I" or "me." Here's why: http://www.copyblogger.com/the-two-most-important-words-in-blogging/

      I realize that may not be what you want to hear, but that's the reality of the self improvement blogosphere today.

      All the best,
      Marsha

      Reply

  54. Pam Coronado
    Sep 04, 2014 @ 16:36:26

    Thanks for the great post and offer of assistance. I can relate! My work has been featured on tv many times and I even had my own show on Discovery ID some years ago. You'd never know it from my web and social media traffic. Cute puppies have more followers than I do. Clearly I'm doing something wrong. I recently started to blog, and I find my inspiration from you Jon. http://www.pamcoronado.com/blog/default.aspx Help me please.

    Reply

    • Marsha Stopa
      Oct 28, 2014 @ 10:57:59

      Hi Pam,

      Unless you're a true "celebrity" in every sense of the word -- a household name -- TV appearances rarely translate into blogging success without tremendous work.

      Fair warning: The Queen of Tough Love now speaking.

      I read a couple posts, scanned headlines and I don't know what your blog is about. It's confusing. Yes, the tagline says "psychic detective" and "intuitive investigator," and I get what that means, but your topics are all over the place. There is no apparent consistent thread or theme.

      What's your goal with this blog? To write about your psychic experiences? To attract more? To make money? Readers need to know within 7 seconds of landing on your blog 1) what you do and 2) who you do it for. That's missing. You need to clarify how you help people with your psychic abilities in a clear mission statement that is boiled down to a straigtforward tagline: I help [blank] with [blank.] Right now it's a hodge podge of personal development, crime solving and other topics.

      Get clear about how you help people and don't hide it. Put it in your header. Clean up the site so people know what what to look for and aren't guessing. To be honest, if I'm looking for personal help from a psychic and feeling a bit insecure about my issue, reading front and center that investigators from all over the country call you for help makes my problem seem insignificant. There's an emotional disconnect there.

      I'm not knocking you or your ability, but if your goal is to attract individual clients you'll do better speaking directly to their fears, desires and needs than highlighting crime investigation skills. That's great validation and the icing on the cake, but it isn't going to convince me to hire you if my problem is a personal emotional problem.

      I hope I'm making sense and this is helpful. You have the skills, experience and writing ability to make this work if you speak to people with more empathy. It's all in the marketing and presentation.

      All the best,
      Marsha

      Reply

  55. Jonathan
    Sep 04, 2014 @ 09:46:44

    Ironically I came across this article after finding it on CopyBlogger. I've been feeling pretty bummed out about my traffic, even after working hard on my site/content for almost 2 years now. I finally decided to fix that problem by finding what my traffic issue is. I did have some issues with my site not being index and a few other issues, but for the most part that wasn't the reason why I was getting so little traffic. I have a small following but definitely not the amazing growth I'd expect by now.

    I read BoostBlogTraffic and it got me thinking about doing guest blogging for a few other blogs in my niche. Funny thing is, nearly six months ago I was going to actually do a guest post and decided not to. After reading this article though I know now that my number one priority should be to become well known by helping bigger sites by providing my quality content to them and their viewers.

    I was ready to throw in the towel and felt very bad about my progress but now I know exactly what I need to do next to really break through. I'm hoping that it'll also work in my favor that I already have plenty of quality content on my site that people can find once I do become more well known. Thanks for writing this, it's definitely helping!

    Jonathan (xenosmashgames.com)

    Reply

    • Marsha Stopa
      Oct 28, 2014 @ 10:36:30

      Jonathan,

      Glad to hear of your breakthrough. It's not fun writing to an empty room.

      Build relationships with influencers in your space and build your list by guest posting. You won't see results at first, but they will come and it will build if you stay with it.

      Onward!
      Marsha

      Reply

  56. Victor
    Sep 03, 2014 @ 10:16:54

    This is one of the most sincere and "all-giving" blogs that I've ever read!
    Firstly, don't close this comment too soon - I strongly believe that there are millions out there that will forever remain grateful.

    I started blogging recently; just three weeks ago, my passion is actually on personal development. I hate poverty, failure and stagnation caused by ignorance to its highest level and I guess my audience will be people that are ready to better their best. The link is http://victoronanubi.wordpress.com

    Reply

    • Marsha Stopa
      Oct 28, 2014 @ 10:33:46

      Victor,

      Bravo for taking the step. You have a lot to share.

      It's only fair to warn you that the Queen of Tough Love is now speaking. :-)

      Your writing lacks empathy, care and compassion. It's clear you are passionate and "hate" poverty, failure and stagnation, but it sounds like you are lecturing and almost yelling. There are a lot of "shoulds" in your writing.

      And your posts are too difficult and require too much work -- too much thinking. They are too long and complex. That's an immediate reader turnoff. People don't have that kind of time, and honestly, you have to earn that kind of time commitment from your readers.

      Please understand I'm not criticizing or slamming the content and thinking behind your work. You're making the mistake of almost all new bloggers, which is telling people what you believe they should know and what they should do. I understand it's worked for you or for your clients. Your readers are not you, and they have not given you permission to coach them. That's why they hire a coach.

      I'm going to repeat for you what I suggested for Leslie, below:

      1. Learn to write without using the words "I" or "me." Here's why: http://www.copyblogger.com/the-two-most-important-words-in-blogging/ That will shift you to writing about them. Use "you" and not "we."

      2. Learn to write with more empathy, putting the focus on how the reader is feeling, not how you are feeling or your opinion or experience of what is right. The goal should be to reflect the reader's feelings back to them so accurately they feel like you're camped out in their head. In any post, it should be 80% about the reader and 20% (or less) about you.

      3. Learn to tell stories. The kind of messages you are conveying are more powerful in story form, which will help you land posts on big blogs.

      4. Learn to use metaphor well. Like storytelling, metaphors can hit deep emotions and resonate with readers.

      Also, study the top personal development blogs and especially the 10 most popular posts on each blog. Get a sense of the language and voice that readers respond to.

      I wish you well. You have a powerful mission.

      Peace,
      Marsha

      Reply

  57. Daniella Bien-Aime
    Sep 02, 2014 @ 23:22:25

    Hello Marsha, I just found Jon's profile on Twitter, and am so happy that I did. I subscribed to his blog, and now I get all his updates. I often feel like I am the only one going through what I am experiencing as a new blogger. You see, I blog about Haiti, and the Haitian diaspora. I don't know any other top Haitian bloggers in the field, and the few that I know don't provide a platform like BBT & Copyblogger. I also think there is a huge opportunity there since the niche is wide open. How do blend my niche with the maintream blogging world? Any thought/input would be appreciated. Thank you so much. My website is http://www.daniellabien-aime.com.

    Reply

    • Marsha Stopa
      Oct 27, 2014 @ 17:39:21

      Daniella,

      Bravo to you for taking the first step. Your blog is very attractive.

      The short answer is, you probably can't, at least now easily. Why? Because, unfortunately, Haiti and the Haitian diaspora are not mainstream topics, as much as you would like them to be. As you say, there are few bloggers in Haiti. So, it's not that the niche is wide open; there is not really a niche there. Yet.

      I don't mean to be negative, just honest about what you can expect.

      That said, you do have expertise in other areas, which is where you should focus your efforts to start. Besides writing posts about what the future holds for Haiti and what the country should do, shift from activism to entrepreneurial opportunities. I would focus on doing case studies on those successful businesses that are coming into Haiti and the opportunity as they see it. Use bullet points to highlight the key reasons. Write one case study per month. Then promote the hell out of the case study for the rest of the month.

      Are you active on LinkedIn? Increase your activity there. Post your case studies. Pull out quotes from the case studies and share one daily for two weeks. Join groups and answer questions as a friendly expert. Start a group. Create a G+ circle where you can share more about the opportunities in Haiti.

      Spend time (months likely) slowly forging relationships with editors at mainstream business publications like Forbes and Entrepreneur. Your ultimate goal is a guest post there. That will establish your blog and your mission.

      If you're going to take this on as a mission, I would get another domain name that reflects it rather than writing under your personal name.

      Good luck in a noble cause.

      Best,
      Marsha

      Reply

  58. Christine Montague
    Sep 02, 2014 @ 21:33:34

    Hi. I am a visual artist who blogs about my new paintings, photography, what inspires my art, call to artists, and my life as a visual artist (including travels) http://christinemontagueart.wordpress.com/ (Camera and Canvas). My goal is to raise awareness of my art and offer the story behind it. I also enjoy sharing info re: exhibitions and occasionally how- to's or art tips . Any advice is very welcome! Thanks

    Reply

    • Marsha Stopa
      Oct 27, 2014 @ 17:15:20

      Christine,

      A couple thoughts:

      First, get off the community WordPress blog and onto a self-hosted domain of your own. Here's why: http://boostblogtraffic.com/wordpress-hosting/

      Second, because you've been blogging for awhile, what do your readers respond to the most? Figure that out, and repeat.

      Thirdly, you're in a tough blogging niche. It can work, but you have to do things differently. Check out one of our top students, Leanne Regalla, at http://makecreativitypay.com. She has the best advice for how artists need to use social media.

      Nice work. Best of luck!
      Marsha

      Reply

      • Christine Montague
        Oct 28, 2014 @ 12:42:19

        Thank you for the good advice, Marsha. One last question though when you can. On my art web site I use a host with templates designed for artist and photographers. I can only link to my blog there. If I was to use a host such as squarespace.com (there are others) that offers a blog as part of their template package would this be be considered self-hosted?

  59. Paul Conrad
    Aug 30, 2014 @ 12:53:49

    Hi Jon,

    Thanks for all the great blog postings, tips, and tricks. I am currently hitting the "100 visitor ceiling." And hitting it hard.

    My blog is at http://blog.paulconrad.photography

    In general, I write two general blogs per week and write on how I make the photos, what gear I used, and any special tips or tricks in Lightroom or Photoshop. One of my plans is to write a series on organizing and importing your photos through Lightroom.

    It'd be great if you can take a peek and see what I can improve upon.

    Thanks and have a great day.

    Reply

    • Marsha Stopa
      Oct 27, 2014 @ 16:58:30

      Hey Paul,

      Nice looking blog. As much as I usually don't like white text on a dark background, yours is easier on the eyes.

      Don't post so much. Post only every other week, perhaps slightly longer posts, and spend the rest of your time promoting your blog. Join forums, Google+ circles, LinkedIn and Facebook and answer questions. Be the helpful expert. Only mention your own post or blog infrequently or in your signature.

      Follow on big photo blogs and do the same. Thoughtful comments and helpful answers.

      Right now you need to be building relationships. Do that and the traffic will follow.

      Good luck.
      Marsha

      Reply

  60. Connie
    Aug 30, 2014 @ 08:44:48

    Hello,

    Thank you so much for taking the time to look at my blog. It's called, Creative-Curiosidad.com and it's a blog that will explore the importance of creativity in entrepreneurship. I will be featuring interviews with thought leaders on the subject as well as my own take on creativity. My readers will be those who already own a business or who are interested in starting one.

    One day, I would love to write a book on the topic, have my work published in other online publications, like the Huffington Post and just be known as the "go to" curator of this information.

    Thank you,
    Connie

    Reply

    • Marsha Stopa
      Oct 27, 2014 @ 16:52:25

      Hi Connie,

      I took a quick look at your blog, and frankly, it was a disconnect from what you've written here. I didn't see any reference to entrepreneurship or starting a business.

      Entrepreneurs are only interested in creativity as a side note. They are primarily interested in whether their idea will make money. I hate to be harsh, but having worked for several entrepreneurs, they give lip service to creativity but focus on money.

      That said, I think you're idea is a good one but likely for the wrong audience. Creatives -- artists, writers, designers, inventors -- are interested in creativity for creativity's sake.

      Also, right now your home page reads more like an introduction to a personal journal than a compilation or curation of information on creativity. If you want creativity to be the focus, then put it front and center.

      Good luck on your creative journey!
      Marsha

      Reply

  61. Sharon Spencer
    Aug 28, 2014 @ 22:26:37

    Hello! Thank you so much for this post a log of great information. I am doing a health campaign for my Son, Quentin Paul Spencer who passed away on July 15, 2014 @ 22. I am trying to get the message out and have done many different things. I am in the process of adding a video to this campaign as well. I have it in social media, facebook, twitter, linkedin, google plus etc. Have any great suggestions on any health blogs! This is also covered on kickstarter, crowdsourcing, reddit, thunder clap, go get funding, and a couple other. Any suggestions greatly appreciated. Thank you and god bless.

    Reply

    • Marsha Stopa
      Oct 27, 2014 @ 16:45:06

      Sharon,

      I am so sorry for your loss. How sad.

      It would be helpful if you knew what caused his death so you could write specifically about it.

      Social media, likely Facebook, will be your best way of connecting with people. Again, there are probably groups that have formed around preventing the condition that took your son's life. Your best bet is to connect with as many of those groups as possible rather than trying to do it alone.

      I wish you all the best.

      Peace,
      Marsha

      Reply

  62. Leslie G Nelson
    Aug 28, 2014 @ 21:40:16

    Hello! Thanks so much for this post, and for all the helpful comments. I've been reading through them and gleaning great information.

    I've been blogging for 5 years. My audience is small but faithful. I have no regrets though because over the years my writing has improved and I believe I have a much better grasp now of what readers want (like writing for them and not about me, and keeping to a concise topic.) I'm just now ready to try some serious guest blogging (and only now understanding where to look for those blogs).

    In a sense I feel like I am starting all over, but better prepared this time. I write about spirituality (Christian) and mental health (i.e. depression, PTSD, Dissociative Identity disorder, anxiety, suicide). Any suggestions would be welcome. Tough love is fine. I've been writing long enough to develop a pretty thick skin.

    Thanks again for the service you offer to the bloggernacle. :)

    Leslie

    Reply

    • Marsha Stopa
      Oct 27, 2014 @ 16:34:42

      Leslie,

      Sorry for the long delay.

      You tackle very tough subjects with grace and clarity. Bravo.

      I'd like to suggest four things for guest posting.

      1. Learn to write without using the words "I" or "me." Here's why: http://www.copyblogger.com/the-two-most-important-words-in-blogging/ That will complete your shift to writing about them. Use "you" and not "we."

      2. Learn to write with more empathy, putting the focus on how the reader is feeling, not how you are feeling or your opinion. The goal should be to reflect the reader's feelings back to them so accurately they feel like you're camped out in their head. In any post, it should be 80% about the reader and 20% (or less) about you.

      3. Learn to tell stories. The kind of messages you are conveying are more powerful in story form, which will help you land posts on big blogs.

      4. Learn to use metaphor well. Like storytelling, metaphors can hit deep emotions and resonate with readers.

      I hope that's helpful. You offer a helpful service to many.

      Best,
      Marsha

      Reply

      • Leslie G Nelson
        Oct 28, 2014 @ 07:18:47

        Thanks so much Martha. That is very helpful. I will work on implementing your advice. Thanks again!

  63. Emily Chapelle
    Aug 27, 2014 @ 08:58:37

    Thank you so much for taking the time to look at my site and offer tips and feedback. I really appreciate it!

    I write about homemaking (so decluttering, organizing, cleaning, time management, and a little about relationships/life as related to home priorities). I'm writing mostly to stay at home moms though I know I have readers in other categories too. I want to help them align their homes/stuff/life with their true priorities so they can enjoy their lives without so much stress.

    I've done some guest blogging but would love to branch out even more.

    Also I'm curious how often it's ideal to ask others to share my new posts... I know it's important to ask for what you want sometimes. But I don't want to annoy anyone either. Should I only ask when I write something truly epic?

    Reply

    • Marsha Stopa
      Oct 27, 2014 @ 16:13:55

      Emily,

      You're talking about several different topics and potentially different audiences, which can be a deadly combination. Why? Because, as you've said, you can annoy people. Jon's rule is "One topic one blog." So you have to keep your "priority alignment" focus clearly in sight when you write.

      First, some suggestions for your site. To be honest, it's a bit hard on the eyes. The colors are too bright and contrasting. All caps for the navigation menu is hard to read, especially in white text against the bright backgrounds. Read this: http://www.bigbrandsystem.com/brand-color-101/ Pamela Wilson is a friend of ours, and you'll learn alot from her blog posts.

      Go back to the places where you guest posted successfully and pitch another post. Guest posting is not a one-off be-done process. The gold is in writing for big blogs regularly over time, like once a month.

      Be shameless about asking for others to promote your posts if: 1) you share their stuff, too and 2) your posts are relevant to the interests of their audiences. Which means, when you write an awesome post about decluttering or organizing, only ask those bloggers who focus on that to share the post. When your write about time management, only ask those bloggers who focus on productivity. That way, they're thrilled to share stuff their audience will love and no body is annoyed. Make sense?

      Best of luck!
      Marsha

      Reply

  64. Emily Chapelle
    Aug 27, 2014 @ 08:56:10

    Thank you so much for taking the time to look at my site and offer tips and feedback. I really appreciate it!

    I write about homemaking (so decluttering, organizing, cleaning, time management, and a little about relationships/life as related to home priorities). I'm writing mostly to stay at home moms though I know I have readers in other categories too. I want to help them align their homes/stuff/life with their true priorities so they can enjoy their lives without so much stress.

    I've done some guest blogging but would love to branch out even more.

    Reply

  65. Deb
    Aug 26, 2014 @ 13:48:09

    First off, I'm sending deep gratitude to everyone at guestblogging.com for your generosity and kindness. Thank you! I have a popular podcast (The Unplug podcast) which has grown exponentially in less than a year. I would love my list to grow as fast as the podcast has but that hasn't been the case. Every week I pour my heart out for a post that accompanies each interview but it's like tumbleweed out there. I would love more engagement (which I ask for at the end of most podcast episodes). I haven't done much guest blogging because the podcast takes so much of my time. I'm in the process of writing a manifesto which is very unique. My niche - I suppose its personal development but its actually so much more. It's really about exiting status quo and embracing purpose and authentic expression in a way that leaves the world a better place. Perhaps spiritual activism is an accurate term. The description of my podcast sums up my mission. It can be viewed here http://bit.ly/1hhW1VI. Thank you again Marsha and Jon!

    Reply

    • Marsha Stopa
      Oct 27, 2014 @ 15:56:32

      Deb,

      Sorry for the long delay!

      Deb, you've discovered first-hand the problem with being "very unique." Nobody gets it. That's why it's tumbleweeds.

      Being "so much more" is great, but only if you're giving the audience what they're looking for in the language they speak. I don't want to come across harshly. You're description is very deep -- and very abstract to the average reader. If your blog posts are similar, chances are you're talking over their heads. I'm guessing you talk in more everyday, conversational language on your podcast, am I right?

      It's difficult to connect with people on deep spiritual or philosophical topics if you're not giving tangible, concrete examples and using everyday language. To give you an idea of just how basic and concrete you need to be, allow me to quote an old Zen proverb: "Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water." Simple language. Deep meaning.

      Authentic living, purposeful living and and going against the cultural grain are hugely popular topics in personal development now. The only way you are going to get traction is to align with what those readers are looking for. Otherwise, you will continue to be a lone voice in the blogosphere, however sincere your intentions and helpful your insight.

      I suggest reading the big personal development blogs to looks for the ways your topic overlaps with their topic and pitching guest posts. Obviously, pouring out your heart for a non-existent audience isn't working for you. So stop that and go where the audience is. :-)

      I hope that's helpful.

      The world needs your voice. Don't give up.
      Marsha

      Reply

  66. Shobelyn
    Aug 21, 2014 @ 14:57:21

    Hi! My blog http://www.theskinnypot.com will be 1 year old today but I only average 150 visits a a day. I am so frustrated and ready to give up. This food blog has tons of good foods in there. Just a shame nobody' s is seeing it. Please help.

    Reply

    • Marsha Stopa
      Aug 26, 2014 @ 11:28:54

      Shobelyn,

      Your blog is very attractive. A few comments and suggestions:

      The first thing I noticed when I clicked on your blog is the "Progressive" girl in the right-sidebar ad. Very distracting, and it has nothing to do with food. YOUR photo should be on the top of the right sidebar. People always want to know the cook! Without a personal connection, visitors are less likely to stay.

      Rewrite your About page. Okay, so you're new to this and learning, but the text about why you're writing the blog shows no confidence and demeaning. Instead, write about your love and passion for food and photography. Where did the name The Skinny Pot come from? Why isn't it in the header?

      Who is your target audience? Where do they hang out online? Have you considered guest posting for other food blogs? Find the ones that do accept them. Do you comment on other blogs where you'd like to get to know the bloggers? You should.

      What's your food specialty? It looks like maybe some type of Asian cooking? (I'm guessing.) Write a big list post, something like "The Top 21 Secrets to Amazing [blank] Cooking" and pitch it as a guest post to one of the food bloggers, after you get to know them. Come up with a couple more list posts like that for a few more food blogs, and be sure to include a link back to your blog in your bio.

      This approach involves more work, but you have to get yourself in front of a large audience to get your blog to grow.

      I hope that's helpful.

      Best,
      Marsha

      Reply

      • shobelyn
        Aug 27, 2014 @ 00:07:27

        Thank you so much Marsha. I am goign to follow your suggestions.

      • shobelyn
        Sep 06, 2014 @ 11:38:52

        Marsha, I modified my about page and I am working on making some article that I will pitch for guest posting. I also change my header and I now have my picture at the front page. Currently, I am not posting a lot but I am studying and dissecting my blog to see flaws in them. I am working on my writing and grammar. I also change my purpose in why I blog: to just enjoy it and to express myself. JOn mentioned about lead pages and opt it pages to collect subscriber and I placed that yesterday. I hope this works. Thank you very much for your help and send my regards to Jon.

  67. Jennifer Ammoscato
    Aug 19, 2014 @ 12:29:11

    Hi! What a generous offer! I write a weekly general lifestyle blog post in the conversational style of The Bloggess (with less swearing cause my mom reads it :) My goal is to raise my profile as a funny writer to engage a chick lit readership. My website reflects what I consider to be my brand.
    I started the blog this year. I use Share-a-holic to reach out to the usual suspects (Pocket, Digg, etc). Growth is nonexistent. I'm considering adding a pop-up sign-up form for it and putting a preview of the blog post on the home page of my site. I am on Twitter (2200 followers) and FB. I'm blogging into a vacuum right now.
    I know success is about making connections. It's finding them that's the key. Any help you can offer would be most appreciated!

    Reply

    • Marsha Stopa
      Aug 26, 2014 @ 11:15:56

      Hi Jennifer,

      You've set yourself a tough task. General lifestyle blogs are a very tough sell. It was easier when The Bloggess started, but now lots of people are trying it, and most of them are awful. You're a good writer, and you are funny, so you have that going for you. But you have to realize that most of the time, readers want to read about themselves, not about you. You have to earn their trust before they will spend a lot of time reading about you.

      To be honest and blunt (The Queen of Tough Love now speaking), your blog has no branding right now. There is no header or blog name, no tagline to tell a visitor what you do and who you do it for, no picture of yourself on the home page. You have less than 7 seconds to get a new visitor to decide your site is a fit for them and stay and read. Your blog isn't offering the basic information a visitor unconsciously requires, so why should they stay?

      I think you'd do much better with a professional theme design. I suggest increasing the font size on the body text, creating a home page that tells visitors what your blog is about, making the headers in the sidebar flush left so they are readable, making sure there are line spaces between paragraphs and making the entire site user-friendly and easy to navigate. I don't want this to sound as harsh as it likely will, but it looks like you're cultivating a "cute look," which can work for you, but I feel like I stumbled into a children's book. It's confusing.

      Who is your ideal audience? Figure out where they hang out online and find ways to get in front of them, usually by guest posting. You'll have to be very creative, since you don't have a recognized "topic" you blog on. Being very blunt again, big bloggers aren't going to be very impressed with your site right now and may not stay on it long enough to see that your writing is actually pretty good.

      Two big suggestions: Get a topic. Maybe it's relationships, or marriage, or raising a family. Whatever. Get a topic most people can relate to and build your humor brand and blog around it.

      Get a professional site design that makes people want to stay around, makes it easy for them to navigate, and makes you look professional and friendly. "Professional" doesn't mean dry or boring. It can be creative and colorful. For less than $100 you can buy a premium WordPress theme that will do the trick.

      I don't think that's what you were looking for, but I hope that's helpful. I like your wit and sassy attitude, and I think others will enjoy it. You need to be more clear about why you're blogging, who you're trying to attract and present your brand better.

      Wishing you all the best,
      Marsha

      Reply

  68. Afton
    Aug 12, 2014 @ 14:46:43

    Wow, this post is so relatable. That "100 visitors glass wall" is exactly where I'm at right now, but have never heard anyone put into words before. Thank you for that! I have not done much guest posting, mostly due to finding that people in my general niche are surprisingly against my micro-niche. I still haven't quite figured out why. There's some kind of prejudice against it, perhaps?

    Anyway, the offer of help got me really excited, so thank you very much! That's incredibly generous of you Jon, and now Marsha. You're awesome.

    My blog is about Gluten Free Makeup. It's very much a micro-niche in the overall niche of gluten free. However, more and more people are realizing that gluten free makeup is a real thing that really matters. I share information, write reviews and most of all publish a free list of truly gluten free companies through my email list.

    My readers are people who use makeup, are probably already gluten free and may have had or be having skin problems that they have trouble explaining the cause of. Some people learn through me that gluten in their makeup may be affecting them, others simply have their suspicions or full-fledged beliefs validated through me.

    I want this site to actually make part-time pay for me. I spend enough time on it that it should, at least. I would love to take my fairly active readership and make it more active. Increase my social shares and comments. I know people are reading, but I don't think enough are interacting.

    If you have any other thoughts, I would be more than happy to hear them. But most of all, thank you so much for the offer of help! I deeply appreciate it.

    Reply

    • Marsha Stopa
      Aug 18, 2014 @ 11:27:18

      Afton,

      Interesting topic.

      It's very important for you to determine where your likely readers hang out online. Yes, the gluten-free blogs and sites are the obvious targets, but you need to look beyond the obvious to the larger niche of personal development, within which health and fitness is a niche.

      Use Alltop.com to find the top personal development blogs, and begin researching them to see which ones cover health and nutrition and accept guest posts. Read at least the top 10 posts on each blog and especially the comments to give you a solid understanding of what the audience is interested in.

      I would also search out the top bloggers in the paleo and primal niches. Both groups are gluten free because they eliminate all grains and are very conscious of eating organic and controlling unwanted substances in their diet. They may be much more open.

      I don't think there's any prejudice. It's likely one of two things: The bloggers you're approaching need to be educated on the real health risks of gluten in makeup or your approach isn't effective. My guess is it's a combination of both.

      Most bloggers on micro-niches are so passionate about their topic they tend to come across like a charging white knight on his steed, lance aimed for the jugular: "You WILL listen to me!" And, if you have any alliance with commercial product companies, they can get skittish.

      This lack of education can be both good and bad news. Bad news because you do have to educate them before they'll accept your message as real, and good news because you can leverage all the "surprise" marketing tactics to your advantage. Consider a few surprise headlines:
      The Unknown Ingredient in Your Makeup that is Sabotaging your Gluten Free Diet
      What Makeup Manufacturers Don't Want You to Know

      I suggest you take your time to build relationships with the gluten-free, paleo and primal bloggers by sharing their posts regularly and making insightful (but not pushy) comments on their blogs. Be very low key. Look for common ground. Then send them an email in a few months that says you think their readers would be interested in learning how to control an overlooked source of gluten.

      It looks almost all your posts are product reviews. That's not going to sit well with most bloggers. I would also add at least a half dozen purely educational posts to educate people about the ingredients, processes etc. You have the perfect opportunity to write the "ultimate guide" post on this little known topic. Make it long, full of links to medical sources and the most comprehensive resource online.

      Write the educational post while you build your relationships. Then as those bloggers recognize you, ask them to share your ultimate guide. That's also the kind of post that the search engines will like. :-)

      Take your time, educate and build relationships. You'll get there.

      Best of luck,
      Marsha

      Reply

      • Afton
        Aug 21, 2014 @ 15:27:06

        Thank you so much for this, Marsha! These are some insightful ideas. It's amazing to hear a fresh perspective on something I've been neck deep in for so long.

        Now that you put it that way, you're probably spot-on about why people are resistant to the idea of gluten free makeup. I haven't actually done much approaching to people about makeup myself, but that's because I saw their reactions to other people mentioning it and decided to back away from a possible fight. Darn my non-combative nature... But you're right, they simply are not educated. And that's probably my fault for not having put together the right resources...

        Good point about the white knight syndrome. I don't think I've done that, but it sounds just like me so I probably have. Ha! Sounds like I need to be hyper-vigilant about that.

        Those two titles you gave me I can instantly see how the article would need to be written. In fact, I can even address some of my biggest questions in those. Great idea! Thank you!

        It's true, I have a lot of product reviews... Not exactly on purpose, but people do request a lot of reviews. Both readers and companies. Obviously those aren't as amazing linkbait as that resource post you're talking about, which would be a perfect post to put together. Thank you for the suggestion!

        Basically I'm vibrating with excitement over here. Thank you so much for your insights!! They make a great deal of sense to me and I can see how my current readers would be thrilled to see all that happen. And of course, it makes sense to build trust in that way with other bloggers. So Win-Win for everyone!

        Thank you again!
        Afton

      • Marsha Stopa
        Aug 26, 2014 @ 10:44:02

        You are quite welcome. My pleasure.

        Marsha

  69. Viola
    Aug 08, 2014 @ 13:27:30

    Thanks Marsha for agreeing to give feedback on blogs whose owners comment here. Your feedback appears to be helpful for a significant number of commentators and I'm looking forward to hearing from you. And thanks Jon for the insight in your blog post that connections come before content (which is significantly important too.)

    I) My blog is about how to identify potential learning moments in the ordinary course of a child's life and helping parents turn those moments into meaning learning for and bonding with their children.
    II) I target working moms
    III) I hope to earn a part-time income from this in 2015. Would you give me an idea which may be more profitable for my niche? Info products? Coaching? Advertising? Etc

    Any other feedback about my blog will be appreciated as well.

    Thank you once again. :)

    Reply

    • Marsha Stopa
      Aug 11, 2014 @ 11:30:09

      Hi Viola,

      Congrats on some insightful posts. It looks like you understand your topic well.

      A few questions and comments:

      -What do working moms most worry about relative to their child's development? My *guess* is that they are worried they won't be around to do the right things at the right time and they feel guilty. If you can offer a solution to that fear, you might have a viable product. Read Jon's post here: http://www.copyblogger.com/jons-confession/ That should get you thinking.

      Then, you have to figure out what's the best way for your audience to consume that product -- audio MP3s they listen to on their phone while commuting, with a transcript to check later (I'm guessing.) What you need to do is think like a working mom in your audience and work backward. Get out of your head about your topics and think like a potential customer.

      Also, I strongly suggest you tweak your theme. Your headline font is almost impossible to read. It's pretty and trendy, but very very hard on the eyes. I also suggest widening your post column. It's so narrow it's creating a long skinny "gutter" of text (old newspaper term) that is hard to read. No one will scroll down that far. There are wonderful new themes out there now that will do justice to your work. Check out http://elegantthemes.com (non aff link.)

      I hope that's helpful. You have some insightful and useful information on your site.
      Marsha

      Reply

      • Viola
        Aug 11, 2014 @ 13:24:37

        Dear Marsha,

        Thank you for your clear directions forward and your encouraging affirmations. For relatively new bloggers like me who are unsure and lack confidence, your comments are like a light shining in my darkness.

        Thank you for taking the time to go through my blog and reading them (despite the bad layout, heh)

        May your light shine more and more brightly for the people and businesses you serve.

      • Viola
        Aug 11, 2014 @ 13:45:50

        Apologies, just 1 more slightly off-topic question:

        I have been blogging behind a pen-name (mainly so that I don't bring the mummy wars that erupt in private whatsapp chats with my mummy friends into my blog.)

        Is it advisable to blog as a business behind a pen-name?

      • Marsha Stopa
        Aug 12, 2014 @ 13:43:17

        It's generally not a problem to use a pen name. It's better if you create an online persona, rather than a business name. For instance, Johnny B. Truant is a pen name, and he's changed his blog and businesses a few times the last several years.

  70. Laurie
    Aug 07, 2014 @ 18:11:41

    Wow--great article Jon and wonderful response Jon and Marsha! I've learned a lot just from reading through some of them. And I am in awe of the generosity that is here.
    I have been doing a regular blog feature called Friday Focus for over to years. It's focus is on personal/spiritual development, learning about attitude, connecting with the inner teacher, how to deepen your focus, how to align your outer life with your inner guidance and related topics. These all relate to the big picture of how to live life more fully and realize one's potential. I would appreciate your insight in how to take this to the next level! What is missing? And do I have the right tone for guest blogging?

    Thank you, thank you!
    Laurie

    Reply

    • Marsha Stopa
      Aug 11, 2014 @ 11:15:52

      Laurie,

      Congrats for staying with it for so long. So, what have you learned? What do your readers respond to? What has resonated with them? You should have some analytics -- especially number of comments -- to give you a sense.

      A few observations and suggestions: (Warning -- the Queen of Tough Love now speaking.)

      -Your topics are generally abstract and conceptual, which is the nature of spiritual topics. The problem is that few people have the ability to translate those abstract concepts into concrete actions with tangible benefits. You're giving them the actions but you're leaving out the benefits. HUGE mistake, which is why you typically get only one or two comments on most posts. Readers can't easily see the value in their own life.
      -You're focused on the process instead of the benefits. This tracks from the same reasoning above. Yes, I get that the process is what makes things change, but for people who haven't experienced the results of the process yet, it all sounds nice to do but they don't have the time. They move on.
      -You're writing about yourself first, the reader second. This is a common mistake of new bloggers. We figure that since we're all the same, what worked in my life should work in your life, so I know better. Wrong. The harsh fact is that feels like Mom or Dad lecturing, rather than someone having genuine empathy for my problem and connecting without trying to fix me. Shift to connecting with the reader's problem or worry first, writing about them, and just a wee bit about you.
      -I challenge you to write one month's of posts without using the words "I" or "me." This will help: http://www.copyblogger.com/the-two-most-important-words-in-blogging/

      Do you have the right tone? Almost. Your writing is clear and concise, but not very conversational or personal. I feel like I'm being talked at. (See note about writing about yourself above.) You'll need much more empathy and connection with the readers to guest post successfully.

      Also, I see you're on WordPress, but this looks like an older theme design. To be honest, you can do much better. Your blog feels constrained and rigid, out of sync with your topic.

      Spirituality is a huge and growing topic within the personal development niche, the largest blogging niche right now. You have the fundamental skills to do well, but you will have to up your game to make it worth the effort.

      This is a pretty harsh critique, but the truth is, since you've been at this for two years you have what it takes and I'd love to see you do well.

      I hope this is helpful.

      Namaste,
      Marsha

      Reply

      • Laurie
        Aug 11, 2014 @ 13:10:56

        Hi Marsha---Yes, indeed it is all very helpful--tough love notwithstanding! I've been using Headway for my theme, but I have been feeling like it's time to change.
        I'm confused since I never use I or me in the Friday Focus posts. I'm very focused on that. But I really get your point about the benefits to the reader. They need to be spelled out more directly.
        Thank you for the depth of what you have offered!
        Laurie

      • Marsha Stopa
        Aug 12, 2014 @ 13:59:22

        Laurie,

        Sorry about that. I skimmed both your blog and your Friday Focus so I may have gotten them confused.

        You're a very deep thinker. I enjoy that in a writer, but to be honest, I think you're jumping in too deep too fast for your readers.
        They don't wake up thinking about these deep topics the way you are presenting them. Yes, they are worried about how their life will change (for example) when they get married, take a new job or have a baby, but the worries swirling in their heads are more tangible. "Will I still be able to meet the girls for drinks on Thursday nights? Can I still take my zumba class? Will I be able to go hunting with the guys when I want?"

        There are VOLUMES of advice and information in your Friday articles -- maybe too much for people to take in, especially if this way of thinking is new to them. You might consider focusing on only a couple key points and really working with the emotional impact of each point, so clearly and with such empathy that your readers feel you are reading their minds. Take a look at how Jon does this: http://boostblogtraffic.com/quit-your-job/ (Just one example.)

        I hope that's more helpful.

        Marsha

      • Laurie
        Aug 13, 2014 @ 19:44:57

        Hi Marsha,

        I couldn't find a reply button to your second comment but I wanted to thank you for your time to get back to me--- and the clarity in your words. Very helpful indeed.

        Laurie

  71. muscle fast
    Aug 06, 2014 @ 11:08:08

    Hi there! Quick question that's entirely off topic.

    Do you know how to make your site mobile friendly?
    My web site looks weird when viewing from my iphone 4.
    I'm trying to find a template or plugin that might be able to resolve this issue.
    If you have any recommendations, please share.
    Appreciate it!

    Reply

    • Colin Fox
      Aug 06, 2014 @ 12:58:25

      Hey muscle fast, you need a mobile responsive theme or someone who can code for mobile.

      Assuming you're using WordPress, I use DIY Themes -Thesis.

      It's completely customisable and there's tutorials and a forum for getting
      questions answered.

      Hope that helped?

      Regards,

      Col.

      Reply

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