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One of the trickiest things about online publishing, particularly in blogging, has nothing to do with content generation. Although everyone claims that content is king, the truth is that there a lot of blogs out there that have great content but never get more than a handful of readers each month, if any at all.
The problem in many cases is that these blogs are just not accessible or searchable. Let’s face it, even if your blog does get indexed in Google, what are your chances of making it to the top search results as a new blog? Unless you already have a very wide online circle, there’s no way that you’ll get that much traffic from the major search engines, at least until your blog gets older and starts to rank better. In the meantime, you’re still left with the problem of growing your readership in as little time as possible.
One way to help get more traffic to come to your blog is by taking advantage of niche search engines. Instead of having to compete with countless sites on mainstream search engines like Google, targeting the users of niche search engines will automatically narrow down the competition.
A good niche search engine for blogs you might want to check out is the Blog Search Engine. The Blog Search Engine is an easy way to promote your blog without having to worry about rankings and SEO. All you need to do is submit your blog details and pay the $14.99, which will get you a review from Blog Search Engine aside from getting listed on the index. Once you get the confirmation email containing your username and password for the search engine, you will also have the option of upgrading your package to get more links from other blog sites, and even have your banner featured on Blog Search Engine.
Just remember, once you start getting visitors to your site from search engines, it is your job to keep them; so while I urge you to work on the accessibility of your blog, I can’t emphasise enough the importance of having relevant and interesting content that will keep your visitors coming back.
While blogging for other people, I realized that it isn’t as easy to blog for yourself and because of that difference in difficulty many bloggers don’t succeed.
People always assume that I have great freedom thanks to my writing on various sites saying things like “it must be nice to get paid to write about what you love” and while it can sometimes be amazing, there are other times when you are pushing out content that is just to satisfy your need for a pay check, and it is at that point where you feel the heavy chains of blogging holding you down.
Recently, while on Freelance Writing Jobs Radio, I realized how I haven’t really made it to that transitionary point that most of the other well known bloggers I know have been able to do. The point where they have been running their own blog for so long, as well as other sites, that they are able to leverage that brand and go out on their own and be successful.
I don’t know if this is laziness on my part, or fear, but I still constantly and consistently work for others, and so I had to defend network/company backed blogging as a career option on the show. The others played it off as something bloggers at the start of their career do, but I have been employed to blog full time by one company or another for the last three years, and it doesn’t look like that will change much any time soon.
For me, there has always been some entity above me that I had to serve, and in having to serve, there are sacrifices I have had to made. Understand this when you get into blogging: you will either find a way to transition and work for yourself, or you will always work for someone else. Doing the former can be much more difficult than the latter but from talking to others, taking your life into your own hands when blogging can be much more rewarding and so if you start blogging as a career, start thinking to yourself very early on: how can I do this for me?
One of the hardest parts of my career has been the continual production of content in an almost conveyer belt style processing system removing a great deal of the creativity and enjoyment that goes into creating something.
It can be hard to produce enough content to make it full time because if you are paid a rate for each post, or for each word, or even a flat rate salary with certain expectations behind them, it can all come down to producing thousands of words each day, which for some people is easier than others.
What it all comes down to is that the more content you produce, the more search engines will have to find your site, as well as the more opportunities you create to build an audience, gain inbound links and build your brand.
From what I have been able to see, producing around two or three thousand words a day is the minimum of what it can take to propel your site into a success, and that isn’t easy.
As I have gone further in my career, I have found the raw production of content to become more and more difficult, especially if I am not well versed in the subject to begin with or can’t focus on my thoughts, opinions, and views.
If you are having problems creating content, then you have to understand that you are going to have a hard time being noticed, recognized, and gaining traffic.
The sites that become a success with one post a week are the exception, not the rule, and so find ways to put content together in an efficient way, and publish it to the world.
I would also recommend finding a balance where here and there you get to spend some extra time in writing a post so you can truly add in your raw emotions, but when you have to get a good three thousand words done each and every day, it can be quite difficult sometimes to give any more to your writing.
The biggest takeaway from this post that I want you all to have, is that you need to be persistent, and constantly producing compelling content. It isn’t easy, but nothing worthwhile ever is.
As a full time blogger, I always feel like I am behind. When I start my day, I feel like I am working on things that should have been done two days ago, and at the end of my day, I don’t feel a sense of fulfillment, just more stress regarding starting work the next day.
There are always a million things to do, and it feels like I only chip away at a few items a day. There is never that sense of fulfillment that normal people get when completing work, and if you add in the highs and lows of the traffic and comment interaction received on the actual blog posts, you have a recipe for a career that doesn’t feel great. At least when you are working towards meeting other people’s expectations.
From Jeff’s post on the subject:
This feeling of always being behind sucks as it takes its toll on the human mind/emotions. After awhile, blogging isn’t fun anymore at least blogging for others. Now, I should make the point that writing for others is not that bad when you are writing about your passion and working with great people but as an individual, when you are spread out amongst 3-5 websites, the quality of writing suffers, it’s not fun anymore, and I feel as if I gain nothing by subjecting myself to that kind of lifestyle on the web.
I have experienced this throughout my four years of working online, and will probably continue to experience this feeling in the future. It is nice to know that I am not alone, and I hope that others that are experiencing this will all come together and find ways to help each other out.
Blogging as a job isn’t the dream that people make it sound like when they try and sell you that e-book. Understand what you are getting into before you leap in with both feet, and make choices towards employment that you’ll enjoy with the express understanding that you will no doubt enjoy it less once you make it a job.
I have to admit, I am envious of Jeff and his WPTavern idea. I hope it goes well for him, and I hope once he reaches the point where he can work solely for himself that he feels that sense of enjoyment that he currently lacks.