Why Isn’t Anyone Reading my Blog?

A discouraged reader wrote me recently. She had spent many hours creating her new blog and writing articles, but no one seemed to be reading it. This is a common problem. Who wants to pour hours into articles no one reads? What is the problem?
If you have started a blog that no one follows, take an objective look at your blog.

If the blog wasn’t yours, would you read it?

Your friends and family may be happy to read about the cute thing your grandson said or the unusual plant growing in your garden. But if you want your blog to extend beyond your family and friends your number one priority has to be providing valuable content. Go back to my entry on starting a blog and use those questions to re-evaluate your blog.
Your blog will take a step forward when you focus on your readers and what they need. Today most people who use the internet are bombarded with more information, stories, quotes, and images than they know how to process. They skim their Facebook page. They search the internet for information and reject any website that takes a few seconds longer than it should to download or where they can’t find the information immediately. Why would busy readers want to read your blog? Will it help them?
Picture yourself sitting down at your computer, searching for help or information. What do you Google? What do you want to know? Now, what would your readers Google to find you? If your mind is coming up blank you need to go back to the questions in my previous blog. What is your core message? What can you offer readers that they need, that will help them?
When I first started my blog I used it mainly as a website. (Suzie Eller calls them “Cobwebsites” because they are static. They don’t change or invite interaction.) I put all my useful writing information in the writing articles. Then I wrote a blog to encourage writers. After a few months I quit my blog because no one read it. Now I’ve revamped my website and put my blog on my home page. I still have lots of resources on my website. They supplement my blog and my blog points people to them. But I’m working harder to make sure my blogs contain helpful information for my readers. My target readers are people (primarily women) in ministry. This includes mission and small church ministry as well as writing ministry. These readers have plenty to do with their lives. If I’m not giving them something truly helpful, why should they read my blog?
What can you offer a reader that makes it worthwhile for her to come to your blog? Maybe you’re a Christian and want to give a Christian message. Great! Work at refining your core message until your target readers will recognize that your blogs will fit their needs.
Some blogs center their core message around practical information: writing tips, books reviews, how to work computer apps, recipes, knitting patterns, images to use for Powerpoint or websites. Others provide support for parents of small children, home-school moms or caregivers. Still others give encouragement for readers  overcoming abuse or people who suffer from a certain disease or disability. What can you offer?

Multiply your readers through social media.

Do you groan when you hear the words Facebook, Twitter, Pintrest, and other social media titles? Social media can be a relentless slave-driver or a writer’s best friend. I am a little known writer near the end of the earth. (Invercargill, New Zealand isn’t quite the end of the earth but it’s a long ways from everyone I knew before 1998.) But my blog and social media help me interact with people from all over the world. I resist technology and new things and the learning curve they demand. I will probably never be involved with many avenues of social media, but I have chosen to use Facebook, which works well for me.

In addition to my personal profile, I have my Facebook Page, which I call my Ministry Page. My personal profile has allowed me to collect friends from my high school years, Bible college, mission board, and ministry. I can invite those friends to “like” my Page, so they get new posts on their home page. I also provide a link to my blog. Some readers won’t be interested in my Page or blog, because they don’t fit my description of a target reader. But those who are interested can easily find my blog and Page. My Page is public and gives ministry quotes which appeal to the same people who read my blog. I post book reviews in the same genres of the books I have written and am writing. You can link to my Facebook Page through the Facebook icon on my blog. My Facebook personal profile and Page don’t just add to my website/blog, they multiply its effectiveness.
You can also build your blog readership through interacting with other blogs, leaving comments and links to your own blog. You might want to do a guest blog for someone else or join a group of bloggers.

Building blog readership takes time.

Even the wildly successful blogs you see today started small and built readership over time. In July 2012 I revamped my website and blog, using the ideas I’ve given in these articles. In the month since then I have seen my numbers of readers increase significantly, but I still need to continue to build my blog readership. Why? So I can achieve lots of “hits” and feel good about myself? No. Every hit is a reader with a real need. God can use me to meet needs. And, for me, that is the whole point of writing in the first place.

A discouraged reader wrote me recently. She had spent many hours creating her new blog and writing articles, but no one seemed to be reading it. This is a common problem. Who wants to pour hours into articles no one reads? What is the problem?
If you have started a blog that no one follows, take an objective look at your blog.

Should I Start My Own Blog?

Anyone can start his own blog—but should you?

A blog can be a powerful tool for a Christian writer. It can be a great way to get your message out. You don’t have to get past an editor to do this. You publish your message the way you want it. It doesn’t have to cost anything. And you are the boss.

It also builds platform.  If you are going to sell books you’ve written, a blog can be a good way to find people interested in you and your subject matter.

Before you begin, however, I challenge you to answer these questions. They will allow you to focus your blog to make it more effective.

Who am I and what do I want to say?

If you want to appeal to readers other than your close family and friends, you need to figure out who you are and what your core message is.  When I recently revamped my website and blog, this was a hard question, but a foundational one. If I just wrote Christian suspense, this would be easy. For 35 years I’ve been writing articles, fiction books, programs, puppet scripts, and ESL Bible studies. I’ve written for many ages about many subjects. How could I design a blog around such a shotgun approach toward writing?

After a great deal of thought I realized that my passion and writings all centered around one word—ministry. I wanted to encourage people in ministry and give tips and resources to help them serve more effectively. I especially want to reach out to people who work in small church ministries like my husband and I do.

Who is my target audience and what do they need?

I want to encourage and help people who write for Christian publication, who are missionaries or are involved in cross-cultural ministries, or who work as leaders in church ministries. I understand these groups because I share common experiences. They need to know that their work is not in vain. Missionaries and church workers are busy and have a constant need for new program material and resources. Writers need to know where to begin in the path toward publication and how to find resources to help them grow in their skills.

What can I give my readers to meet their needs?

I already have a website that provides many of these resources. Now I will add blogs specifically targeted to meet the needs of my target audience.

Answering these questions allowed me to structure everything on my blog and attached website for this specific purpose—to give hope and help in ministry.  In this way my blog is not just a platform to sell my books. It is a true ministry to real people. I feel good about that.

If you are considering starting your own blog, I’d encourage you to ask these same questions.  The Lord used a session at the Write to Publish Conference by T. Suzanne Eller this year to help me think through these things. I downloaded this as an mp3 file and I would encourage you to do the same. It is called: Promoting You Writing and Message Online—Part 1. You can find it here: http://catapes.com/viewresults.cfm?cid=214