Why Most Blogs Fail
For “blog” read your affiliate marketing business: they’re the same thing.
Given this blog of mine is so young, it may seem a little early to be writing on the subject of what makes a successful blog (after all, what’s to say this blog will be?), but as this isn’t my first and only blog, I’ll continue and risk the wrath of fortune for daring to be so bold.
The ‘secret’ to success
The main key to success, that I’ve observed, is simply time and persistence. I know that’s not really what people want to hear, I don’t want to either, which is why there’s a whole industry around SEO, backlinks, traffic and content sharing.
You do need to have all of those elements in place, but there’s no circumventing the process of simply writing and posting content on your blog.
Actually… that one element, content, is the key feature. So much so, that there are bloggers/marketers out there without a program to push, who are prepared to speak heresy: forget all about keyword optimisation, backlinks and your Google analytics for at least a year, and in that time, instead of pouring over your traffic reports and wasting time searching for strategies to turn that ten visitors a day into fifteen, just knuckle down and write instead.
Just put the time in at the keyboard and bang out your articles. That doesn’t mean producing content-thin or plagiarised rubbish no one wants to read, all for the cause of upping your site’s post count, but create a solid foundation. Write the stuff you’d want to read and get value from. If even you find your content boring, then so will everyone else.
Okay, it’s hard to be totally original. You can, however, give your own unique and original opinion on any topic. Don’t be afraid to depart from orthodoxy and say something different if that’s your experience. That’s the sort of article I find most interesting myself; the one that challenges the Emperor’s New Clothes. If you’re wrong, and more experience demonstrates that to you, then great – there’s a follow post, and more unique content, to be added to your site. Don’t be afraid to be wrong or go against the grain. Truth is, a lot of the most oft touted techniques won’t noticeably impact your (new) blog traffic for many months. They’re more good practice at that stage, than practical, immediate result implementing solutions.
Danger, home truths ahead
Regarding backlinks, they are enormously beneficial to your site, but again the harsh reality is, without authority, no one’s really going to want to link up your articles from their site. That’s why there are sites you can pay to essentially advertise your articles on… mostly to other people who advertise the same sort of articles, not to anyone who might actually become a regular reader or buyer.
Those people are on the sites you read too, the ones who feature guest bloggers and external reviews of the sort you’d like to be part of.
But you won’t be, because who are you, with your dozen articles, saying everything that every other blogger on the same niche does. The bigger audience blogs aren’t going to know you exist, and if you contact them, unless you’re a genuine undiscovered genius posting truly groundbreaking articles with the evidence to corroborate your claims, then you’re just going to be another wannabe blogger waving their hand in the air, hoping to get noticed. I know from whence I speak, unfortunately.
I don’t think that you shouldn’t even try, I did, and it’s worth it for the education in itself. Who knows, you might even get lucky and get a positive mention… but for the most part, you’re going to get ignored in the early days.
But don’t feel bad. The Grand Ole Oprey wasn’t interested in Elvis Presley either, not without a few national hits under his gold lame belt.
I wants authority, and I wants it now!
So how do you get “authority”? Again we come back to content. And how much you have of it on your site. Authority is a measurement Google records against your site, but like everything else Google does, no one really knows quite how it’s measured, except it’s safe to say it’s some function of longevity, number of articles, and user engagement. The most important two, being the age of your blog and how many posts it hosts.
If your blog is six months old and has six posts, Google’s not going to rate it very highly. Meaning, it’s not going to be placed high in search results. Regardless of the individual merits of those six posts. Google is clever, but it’s not human: it doesn’t know if the content is any good in its own right, it relies on other indicators to try and determine that.
If you have the good fortune of one of your posts going viral then of course Google will notice that and take it into account, but that’s winning the internet lottery, so I wouldn’t rely on that as a strategy.
So the older a blog is, the more likely Google thinks it’s likely to be a stayer and stick around. If it’s alive that is – as some sites never vanish but do die. They’re dead if nothing new has been posted on them for months. This is why if you don’t maintain a consistent posting frequency on your site, it will slip down the rankings.
Many bloggers spend months and years nurturing and growing their site, then once they think it’s established, neglect it. Then find all that hard work has been for nought as it begins to slide down Google again.
So, for the first twelve months or so, don’t look for massive traffic, or how to get placed on other authority sites, just look to write. And write and write and write!
In an affiliate marketing model that relies on organic traffic, creating site content is really the only odds-on strategy to success. It can take several years to start to get noticed, and unless you’re already a celebrity, your blog won’t be an overnight internet sensation. It’s a long process, which is why most people fail.
Perseverance & patience reap rewards
There is undoubtedly money to be made from affiliate marketing, but it takes a lot of patience and discipline to achieve it. Writing a couple of times a week isn’t “hard” but most blogs don’t even reach the fifty post mark before being abandoned. You’re working on faith all that time and seeing little in the way of site traffic and thus little, if any, commissions.
People will just determine that it doesn’t work or get frustrated, and go back to Facebook or that new mobile phone game. If you’ve the time for those things, though, you’ve the time to produce another article. That would be a better use of your time as well, as if you’ve got it, and it’s going to pass anyway, do something useful with it.
Unless you’re driving paid traffic to a hot affiliate product (and that’s another topic), then you’re going to have to be patient and take to heart the lesson of the tortoise and the hare.
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Recommended further reading:
I read this one a few years ago now, but the principles remain the same, and it’s a cheap buy.
How I Replaced My Day Job With My Blog
By Bob Lotich