By @TheMarkDalton

So you have a blog, you are creating content and sharing that content on your social media. According to an article in the NY Times from March 2016, 95% of blogs are abandoned within four months. There is a higher failure rate in blogging than there is in the restaurant business. An estimated 172,000+ blogs are started every day and for many people, blogging is a passion.

Last week, I mentioned that it took me 10+ years of writing as well as opening and closing hundreds of blogs before I found success. All of those blogs which failed did so because there was something holding me back from success.

Creating a successful blogging experience is all about the right mindset. When you can start thinking about blogging as a business, and not a leisurely activity, you will over time start to reap the rewards of that approach and see higher traffic, better engagement and you could possibly build a great community around your content.

With this in mind, what are some of the key things that could be holding you or your blog back from reaching soaring heights?

A fear of hard work!

Blogging is hard work, you need to understand that and realise that before you get started. If you approach blogging with the attitude that it is going to be easy, you will able to create a successful blog with no problems and that bloggers in general have it easy sitting in front of a computer typing in the morning and then spending the rest of the day on social media tweeting I can promise you that your blog will fail.

In fact, if this is your approach to blogging then I will give you the best piece of advice you will ever receive, don’t bother starting at all. If you take a lazy approach to blogging then your work will be sloppy and in a few months, maybe less, you will feel fed up and you won’t bother generating content anymore.

I spend an enormous amount of time on research, testing, content creation, content curation, promotion, building my personal brand. How much you work is ultimately up to you, however I can easily start working on my blog content at 7am and go all the way through to very late at night/early hours of the following morning because I am researching content, replying to emails, engaging on social media, creating new content for the following day, engaging with a variety of communities on Slack or various message boards, talking to clients or potential clients about their social media ect.

Now, I’m not telling you that you have to do the same as what I do, not every day in my life is like this, we all need some down time, around 90% of my days are this full on intense work, if I have to do a late shift and I don’t get home until 9pm my first thought is, ‘great, I can get at least 4 hours of work in!’ and I love it. I love the hustle now more than I ever did before.

I’m not saying you have to reply and engage with everyone, you don’t have to. I’m not saying you can’t enjoy yourself and have fun, I’m just telling you what I do so that way there can be no confusion.

However, be prepared to work hard. It can takes years until you see the rewards of all that hard work but it will be worth it in the end. How long exactly until you see the rewards? I can’t answer that. It took me over 10 years but for you it could be different.

Facing the competition in a saturated market

One of the most common assumptions people make when they start blogging is that they think readers are just going to come and find them. Not going to happen. You have to go out there and get your readers. You do that by commenting on relevant articles and blogs, helping others online so they check out your blog, engaging on social media. You need to go get your readers, if you sit there and just keep churning out content you will be doing so to an empty audience.

Comparing yourself to the competition can be intimidating. Remember though, people have spent years building their blogs and communities. With the same time and commitment you can also build a powerful community of followers and readers.

A good blogger will find his or her audience by knowing that they provide great content for their readers to consume. Don’t obsess over what others are doing, just do you. Keep blogging and keep creating great content and in a few years you could be a blogging powerhouse too.

Also, be careful about getting sucked into awards! Blogging awards are great, we all love them and it is great to win one. I don’t blog for awards, I care little for the award events that take place each year but that is just how I personally feel about them. I think awards are fantastic to give recognition to wonderful bloggers however I don’t care about who has won what and so on.

I personally blog to create content that brings value to as many of you reading this as possible. That is my blogging high. Don’t blog for awards, blog because you have a passion for it and if you do win an award then you should celebrate it, enjoy it and remember to keep working hard on your blogging!

Feeling the need to give absolutely everything away for free

You could also have a fear of selling. A mistake I made in the early days was thinking that I could throw up all this content on my blog, stick on a few ads blocks and then I would be able to make money. You may notice I don’t run ads on my blog today, mainly because I find they provide little value to me or any of my readers. You are only ever going to see a decent return if your blog is getting an obscene amount of traffic.

Who the hell goes online to click a random banner ad? Now, on Irish Tech News there is a good ad model where relevant events appear in the banner ads on the website homepage and it works well. As a blogger, you are not going to be running custom ads like that, you will just be slapping up whatever crap Google gives you.

Many successful bloggers will sell their own products, courses and e-books through their blogs. Selling services is a great way to monetise your content, especially if you have a smaller audience which many bloggers typically will have.

I sell my services through this website as you can probably tell. I am also working on putting together my first e-books which will be ready towards the end of the year and will also be paid content on my blog. Don’t be afraid to sell! Many bloggers assume they have to give away all their content for free, that is not always the case.

Fear of failure

Finally, you may be held back by a fear of failure. This is one of the biggest fears people have when they are starting out. What if we spend all this time on our blogs but it still fails? What if we just can’t get the traffic? What if we can’t figure out how to effectively make money off our blog?

There is always answers to the problems you face when blogging. So for example, not getting a lot of traffic? Your content either sucks or you are not doing enough to differentiate yourself from the rest. Failure is one of the secret ingredients to success.

All through my teens and twenties I had blogs which failed over and over again. My last blog, 60 Second Social was a brief success. However, don’t be afraid to change things if you know it just won’t work. I don’t see 60 Second Social as a failure. It opened the door to Irish Tech News, however after some time I knew deep down that there was something wrong.

I closed it, took a few months to regroup and launched Mark Dalton Media. I can tell you right here, right now that it was the right decision. This site is well on course to hitting higher traffic than 60 Second Social did and I am estimating that will happen by month 2/3. If you know it is not working and you feel you could do better with a fresh slate then do it!

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