9 Blogging Hurdles I’ve Faced as a Blogger and How I Got over Them
This post is based on Episode 57 of the ProBlogger podcast.
Today I want to talk about nine hurdles that I faced as a blogger and how I overcome them.
You may never have to deal with all of them, but there is probably at least one that you either faced in the past or will face in the future. Hopefully you can get over them (or maybe around them) without slowing you down too much.
So let’s start with the first hurdle I faced …
1. Don’t understand the technology
When I started blogging in 2002, I was a technological Luddite. For the first three months, I didn’t even know how to make text bold. At that point, all I had really done online was email, a bit of searching, and a little IRC chat – none of which were particularly technical.
However, I had no experience coding, registering a domain, setting up a server, or designing a website.
So I started with a free blog platform. Back then, it was either Blogger or Blogspot (I don’t remember which one) who is now Blogger and owned by Google. It took care of all the hosting and provided WYSIWYG that I could use without having to write any code.
In a way, I outsourced all of my design work so I could focus on writing content.
Nowadays I am a lot more technical than I was back then. But I’m still not an expert on some things, so I outsource them to people who are.
And if you’re not particularly tech-savvy, we recommend that you do the same. Don’t let technology stop you from realizing your dream or achieving your goals. You will likely learn how much of it works over time. And there are many people in the blog community and on YouTube who can teach you what you would like to know.
Remember that there are always new things to learn. But you don’t have to learn everything at once, and you may not have to learn some of them at all. All that matters is that you can continue what you do.
2. Afraid to look silly
Since I didn’t even know how to bold text, you probably suspected my blog wasn’t exactly a work of art. It looked pretty awful compared to other people’s blogs and I was afraid that it might make me look a bit silly.
And so it was with my content. I’ve never had a formal education in writing and compared to other people my content seemed pretty amateurish.
Fortunately, I got over my fear of looking stupid and continued to develop my blogging voice and skills. And over time the fear of looking stupid subsided.
One of the tactics I used to overcome this fear was to change my focus. Instead of worrying about what I didn’t know (and what this lack of knowledge looked like on the page), I focused on solving problems that I knew had people.
And when people realize that you are trying to help them, they are more than willing to forgive them, that your blog is not a work of art and that you are not a full expert on the subject.
Just as you shouldn’t let technology hold you back, don’t let the fear of looking silly hold you back. If your heart is in the right place and you generally try to help people, no one will care how you do it.
3. Lack of focus
As I mentioned before a new postMy first blog was about churches, theology and spirituality.
At least at the beginning.
Over time, I started talking about my other interests – films, politics, photography, life in Australia, and finally blogging itself. The more topics I wrote, the more fun I blogged.
Unfortunately, I also got more setbacks from readers who didn’t share my diverse mix of interests.
So I started creating a niche and creating a new blog for every topic I wanted to write about. They gave me the opportunity to focus on a particular topic and get a feel for what it would be like to write about it in the long run.
Of the 30 I started, only two are left – ProBlogger and Digital Photography School. But starting the others wasn’t a waste of time because they helped me figure out what I wanted to write about (and what I wanted to do about it Not would like to write about) long term.
If you have a general blog, you might want to think a little about niches. This can make it easier to monetize your blog and find a readership for it.
Of course, some bloggers are doing very well as generalists. Most successful bloggers, however, have a special focus.
4. Blogger block
A few years after I started blogging, I went through my first blogger block. Until then, everything had been relatively easy. But then my creative juices suddenly stopped flowing and I stared at the screen wondering if I would ever have another idea to write about.
It was soul-destroying stuff. Fortunately, this fight only lasted a week or so. But since then, I’ve had numerous bouts of blogger blockages.
But they didn’t all have the same symptoms.
Some made me think What should I write about? Some of them had got me stuck while writing, which was probably a writer’s block. And some had blocked me between writing a draft and publishing it. (I still have dozens of unpublished blog post drafts.)
So what do you do if you suffer from a blogger blockade?
I always try to find out where the blockage is and then find a way to allocate more time, creativity and energy to that particular area. For example, if I’m struggling with idea blocks, I’ll see if I have a list of ideas I’ve put together before. When I don’t, I move away from the computer (and the dreaded blank screen) and try to brainstorm.
(For more ideas on how to overcome the blogger block, see Check out this post.)
5. Blogger burnout
Similar to the blogger block, the burnout is also the blogger. And it is something else that I have suffered from over the years.
Do you remember how I said I had about 30 blogs over the years? Well, at some point I ran 20 of them at a time and tried to put new content on them every day.
As you can imagine, it was a recipe for disaster.
The quality of my blogging suffered, as did my health. And the only way to keep blogging was to downsize everything. I went from 20 blogs to just two – ProBlogger and Digital Photography School.
Since I had so much more time to devote myself to these two blogs, the quality of my posts improved almost immediately. And my health too. More importantly, I now had the time and the energy to support them both.
The truth is that you don’t have to have multiple projects on the go. You don’t even have to publish every day. Take much better time to create high quality content. And your body and mind will thank you.
6. Personal attacks
Blogging is one of those media where you have to keep getting yourself on the market by sharing your ideas, your experiences, your story, your photo, your voice and your videos.
And some people will feel the need to give feedback on what you are doing.
If you’re creating content that helps people, most of the feedback is likely to be positive. Regardless of how positive and constructive your content is, there is a chance that someone will attack your ideas. It can even get a little personal.
Unfortunately, everything is part of blogging and standing there.
How do you deal with these personal attacks?
First of all, you may need to develop slightly thicker skin so that it doesn’t feel as much as an attack. Of course, that’s easier said than done. But in time you will be better at ignoring them.
Try to stay positive, not only when blogging, but also when responding to people’s feedback. This can be easier said than done, but you should still try. And remember: sometimes the best answer is not an answer.
Finally, try to surround yourself with positive people online and offline.
7. Lack of readership
While you don’t necessarily need millions of readers to be a full-time blogger, pretty much any monetization strategy depends on at least a few people reading your blog. And the more readers you have, the easier it is to make money with your blog.
Which can be very frustrating when you are just starting out.
I remember the early days of blogging when I almost lost hope. I spent hours every week writing great content. Then I looked at the statistics and found that hardly anyone had read them.
We’ve talked a lot about finding readers in ProBlogger, so I’m not going to go into much here. But I will say that you need to have a long-term perspective when building your readership. Keep producing great content and your readership will grow. You just have to stay there.
8. Choosing the right monetization model
Of course, many readers do not guarantee that you have a profitable blog. You also need to find the right monetization model for your blog.
And that can take some time.
I’ve talked about my experiments with different monetization models in a new postSo I’m not going to go into too many details here. But I want to say a few things here.
Always think of other sources of income, even if the one you are using really works well for you. At some point I made good money with AdSense. But I realized that the economy was changing and would not last forever. And so I started experimenting with different types of affiliate promotions and developing my own products.
As it turns out, the advertising model has not disappeared. But it has certainly changed, and it is definitely good if these other sources of income work for me.
The other thing to remember is not to go overboard. You need to balance your readers’ needs with the need to monetize your blog.
9. Time management
When I started blogging, I worked three part-time jobs and studied part-time. I was newly married and tried to keep my social life and some voluntary things I did going.
My life was very full.
When I became a full-time blogger, I was able to give up some of these part-time jobs. But even though I no longer juggled multiple jobs, I still juggled multiple blogs with different income streams and lots of reader requests.
Now I have a wife, three children, two relatively successful companies and a team of people to whom I outsource. So I still have a lot of balls to hold in the air. And so time management has become vital for me.
And you should work on that too.
For me, it’s about working out my goals and priorities, deciding what I need to do to achieve them, then organizing and being disciplined. Your time management strategy could be completely different. The important thing is to find the one that works for you.
What hurdles did you face as a blogger? And how did you manage to get past them? Let us know in the comments.
Credit: Jeremy Chen on Unsplash