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8 Reasons You’re Not Getting the Blog Traffic You Want

8 Reasons You're Not Getting the Blog Traffic You Want

If there’s one thing every blogger wants, it’s more traffic.

You spend hours lovingly creating blog posts, only to put them out there on Facebook and hear…crickets. Sure, your mom and her friends might write a comment or two. Which is nice. Kind of. But…not really the point of your blog.

Many bloggers say it’s all about the promotion.

They say you’re not getting traffic because you’re not putting it out there enough.

And yes, you do need to tweet and retweet your posts. You do need to pin them to group boards on Pinterest. LINK You do need to create a strategy for getting your stuff out there.

But what if you’re promoting the heck out of your blog posts and you’re still not getting the blog traffic you want?

It’s really frustrating. I know.

And it may have less to do with promotion and everything to do with your content.

So…here are 8 things that may be keeping the traffic away from your beautiful blog.

1. You don’t know who your audience is and how you are serving them.

If you’re blogging with the hope of growing an audience, you must know who that audience is. Period.

(“Women from the ages of 25–55 who want to lead happy lives” is waaaaay too broad, by the way. Narrow it down. A lot.)

And you need to know them as well as you know your BFF. You need to know what they think about in the shower. You need to know what they’re excited about when they get up in the morning (other than their cup of coffee).

Otherwise, how are you going to create content they love and share and come back to again and again?

And the other thing?

You must know how you are uniquely going to help your people.

What about you and your blog is going to make them want to devour every one of your posts?

These two things – your audience and your focus – are sooooooo important. SO IMPORTANT.

Without having them in place, you can spend hours upon hours promoting the heck out of your stuff without building momentum and traffic. Because how can you get traffic – and more importantly, the right traffic – if you don’t even know who you want to read your blog?

Want a little guidance on figuring out your blog focus? Read this post.

2. Your post topics aren’t interesting to people.

So, you have a specific audience and a focus that lets you shine. You get to work writing a bunch of posts you think that audience will love. And then? Crickets.

Crap.

Why is this happening, again?

It’s because you forgot one small, insignificant, hugely essential step.

Talking to your audience.

Getting to know them and what they want to read about.

Your blog is a conversation between you and your audience.Click To Tweet

It’s not a monologue, it’s a dialogue.

So get out there, and ask them what they want to read about. Go into Facebook groups where your people hang out and ask them what keeps them up at night. Ask them what they’re excited about.

And then write your posts based on what you already know people care about. I guarantee you’ll get more traffic.

Note: You should also make sure you’re still writing what you care about, too. That’s kind of the whole point, right?

3. Your headlines aren’t clickable.

I get emails from bloggers every single day who want more visitors, more followers, more engagement on their blogs. And the first thing that often emerges is their lack of great headlines.

Rules for writing great headlines:

  • Your headlines should get people excited.
  • They should make people curious to read the rest of the post.
  • Even someone who has never seen your blog before should be able to tell, after reading your headline, what they’ll get from reading your post.

Far too often, I see bloggers write headlines like “Motivation Mondays #21” or “What We’re Reading Now.”

Those are fine headlines…if your blog is meant to be a personal journal.

But if you want people to click through and read your blog posts from Facebook, Twitter, etc, you need to make your headlines grab people’s attention.

I use the Coschedule Headline Analyzer for every single headline I write. And you should, too.

4. Your images don’t command attention.

Last year, I tripled my blog traffic – twice – by creating beautiful branded images for my blog posts.

It literally launched my blog and put me on the map.

Every single time you share your post on social media, you should have a gorgeous branded image to go with it.

(Yes. Every. Single. Time.)

And that image must be…

A. Eye-catching
B. Well designed
C. True to your brand

…and have your post headline and your logo or URL on it.

The web is a visual place. When you create a gorgeous image to go with each post, you give people more of a reason to click through and read.

And when you establish a consistent visual brand, you become recognizable to “your people.” So they will click through and read your posts. And share them. (Thus bringing you more traffic.)

5. Your posts aren’t readable.

I am a reader. I love sitting with my Kindle and reading for hours upon hours.

I don’t even mind that novels have no headings. Or subheadings. Or even (gasp) click to tweets.

But when I read blog posts, I come to them with a completely different mentality. I want to quickly skim through them, get the gist, and then, if I’m really interested, I will go back and actually read the post.

That’s how most blog readers are – they’re not there to spend a leisurely Sunday morning sipping coffee and reading every word of your blog post. They want to get in and out quickly.

So when your posts are just a long block of text, they click away. And never come back.

Make your posts very readable by adding headings and subheadings. Use bullet points, and bolded words. If someone can’t tell the main points of your post in less than 5 seconds, you will lose them (and the potential for more traffic, as well).

6. Your writing sounds like everyone else’s.

Not to make it even harder for you, but your posts shouldn’t just be readable – ideally, they should be a representation of you and your unique voice, as well. (Yeah, I know, I’m “shoulding” all over you right now. Sorry about that.)

Develop your own unique writing style and you’ll get people to stick around.

Tips for developing your writer’s voice:

  • Check out my Define Your Blog Voice Course. In 5 days, you’ll be 100% clearer about how to shape your writer’s voice so it’s uniquely yours.
  • Listen to yourself speak. What phrases do you say a lot? Incorporate them into your writing.
  • Go back to old posts and see if you can add some humor or unique words into them.
  • Create a language for your blog. (My friend Dre of the Branded Solopreneur does this really well.)

How does having a unique voice help you get more traffic?

Because people start to fall in love with you and your voice. And then they share your blog. Which brings in more readers.

Who then share with their followers.

7. You haven’t made it easy for people to share your posts.

Speaking of sharing, please make it really easy for people to share your posts:

  • Include click to tweets in every post. (For an example of some great click to tweets, check out my friend Karen’s blog, One Salty Kiss. She’s a click to tweet rockstar.)
  • Install social sharing buttons to make it extremely easy for people to share on the platform of their choice. (I recommend Social Warfare if you’re looking for a great WordPress plugin.)
  • Make sure you set up your blog posts so that when people do share, a correctly sized image gets pulled up with the post. (Social Warfare  makes this really easy to do.)

8. You’re not building an email list or a community.

I’ve known quite a few bloggers who had a post go viral.

And you know what happened the week after?

They went back down to their normal traffic. They didn’t make any money from that spike in traffic, and apart from it being really cool to have that much traffic, they didn’t actually benefit from it.

Yeah. I know. Not what you wanted to hear.

But here’s the thing. Traffic is great (unless you’re on the highway in Miami, in which case, it sucks), but it doesn’t mean all that much unless you have a plan in place to convert your visitors into fans and customers.

I’m not talking about plastering your blog with ads on the off chance one of your posts goes viral.

I’m talking about having a plan for getting your blog visitors onto your email list so that you can start building relationships with them.

Because once you’ve built a relationship, they will come back to your blog. They will share your posts.

And, instead of being another number, they’ll become a friend, a fan, and, ideally, a customer. Which is kind of the whole point.

8 reasons you're not getting the blog traffic you want

So…

  • Get clear on your audience and your focus.
  • Create content that really matters to people.
  • Write great headlines and create gorgeous graphics.
  • Make your posts readable, uniquely yours, and brainlessly shareable.
  • Have a plan in place to grow your email list and create community.

…and then worry about SEO, social media, guest posting, etc.

You will get more blog traffic. I promise.

How to Nourish Your Blog During the Holidays

How to Nourish Your Blog During the Holidays

I have always been a big fan of the holidays.

I love seeing the Christmas lights, eating and drinking things with pumpkin in them, and the idea of a warm fireplace when it’s snowing outside. (Although, living in Miami, it’s more of an idea than a reality.)

But winter isn’t just a time to celebrate. It’s also a time of hibernation. A time with more darkness, more time to for self-reflection…and, often, less time to give to our blogs.

I’ve recently been hearing a lot of people saying they are burnt out or taking breaks from blogging, and it’s not even December yet!

That tends to happen – the beginning of fall feels like a great time to get into high gear and take action on our blogs. It’s the beginning of the school year, and the end of the relaxation of summer. So we work, work, work on our blogs.

Then, right about now, the burnout sets in. And with everything going on during the holidays, it can be easy to just let our blogs gather dust for a few months while we hang out with friends and family, drink eggnog, and search for gifts.

For me, the low point was the end of October. I just felt kind of ick. Not wanting to work on my blog or my business. So I took a break. And something magical happened – I reconnected with why I started blogging in the first place.

And since then, I’ve been thinking about how we can all stay nourished on our blogging journeys – at any time of the year, but now, especially.

Join Our Blog Planning Mini-Course

Do you want to plan to make money with your blog in 2016? Sign up for a free training with me and my blogging friend Sue Anne Dunlevie on December 12th. We will walk you through the process that we both use to plan for our blogs, and to make money.

1. Check in with yourself instead of checking your blog stats.

Your blog stats, whether they are visitors, Facebook likes, Twitter followers, or email list subscribers, are just numbers.

And, even though I love math, numbers are kind of boring. They don’t give the backstory behind why they are the way they are. Yes, you can track them over time, but if you just look at the numbers, it’s often deflating and unmotivating.

Numbers are also low in nutritional value. Even if you have “good” numbers, that surge of happiness will be short lived. Living on a diet of blog stats is a sure way to feel depleted. It lets random strangers on the internet dictate how you feel, instead of giving you control of your emotions.

Instead of refreshing your blog stats one more time, take a step back and ask yourself why you’re doing it. Are you looking for validation? Self-esteem? Happiness?

You can’t get those things from stats – you can only get them from reconnecting to yourself. So maybe put your phone down and go for a walk, or take a long bath instead. You will feel rejuvenated and ready to keep doing creative work.

Feeling down about your blog? Check in with yourself before you check your blog stats again.Click To Tweet

2. Let yourself celebrate everything you’ve accomplished this year.

The holidays are a time for celebration. You can celebrate your blog, too. Reflect on what you’ve accomplished this year in your blog, and in your life.

Give yourself props for every blog post you published, every graphic you created. Because every time you created a blog post, you were telling the world that you believe in your own voice. That’s freaking amazing.

Take yourself out for a manicure to reward yourself for all of your hard work. Or just drink a pumpkin spice latte without feeling guilty about it. You deserve it!

When you take time to celebrate your blogging accomplishments, you nourish the part of yourself that needs some acknowledgment for doing the hard work of blogging. And it will help you keep going, even when you get busy.

3. Be intentional and plan ahead for your blog during the holidays.

If you know you will be busy during this time of year, with holiday celebrations, vacations (if you’re lucky), kids being off of school, etc., you can plan ahead now and make sure that your blog doesn’t go on its own winter break.

Some ideas for planning ahead:

  • Write a bunch of posts in advance, so that you won’t be stressed about getting them out when you are supposed to be spending time with family.
  • Plan for a holiday series of shorter posts that will be easier and quicker to write.
  • Republish old posts that could use a little love – since not as many people read blogs during the holidays, why spend hours writing new content?

4. Try something new.

The holidays are a great time to mix it up and try something new with your blog. Think about how people are feeling during this time of year, and write posts specifically geared toward the holidays.

You can write a series about one of the holidays, you can suggest different ways to celebrate, etc. Last year, I wrote a post on how Jews feel about Christmas. It was my most-read post at the time.

Ask yourself, What can I do in my blog to invite my readers to celebrate with me? Get creative.

How to Nourish Your Blog During the Holidays

To nourish your blog during the holidays:

  1. Check in with yourself instead of checking your blog stats.
  2. Let yourself celebrate everything you’ve accomplished this year.
  3. Be intentional and plan ahead for your blog during the holidays.
  4. Try something new.
  5. Plan ahead for next year.

Every time of year presents an opportunity for you to grow your blog and learn along the way. How are you going to blog differently during the holidays? Join the conversation below.

Join Our Blog Planning Mini-Course

Do you want to plan to make money with your blog in 2016? Sign up for a free training with me and my blogging friend Sue Anne Dunlevie on December 12th. We will walk you through the process that we both use to plan for our blogs, and to make money.

5 Totally Unexpected Ways Blogging Has Improved My Life

5 totally unexpected ways blogging has improved my life

In December of 2014, I decided to start this blog.

I had already started and abandoned 5 other blogs, and when I thought about starting this one, I felt excitement, but also, a little bit of fear. Will this one actually make it off the ground? I wondered.

The real reason I started blogging again wasn’t to make money, or to build a business (I already had a business building websites), but because I really missed writing.

I wanted a place to just share whatever I wanted to share.

So I decided to write one blog post everyday.

In the beginning, I wrote about anything that moved me. Parking karma. Morning practice. Gmail tools.

Then, I did something I had never done before – I created a PLAN for my blog.

In December of 2014, I wrote out my goals for the next 3 months of blogging. I wanted to build an audience and get a certain number of page views. I had a plan to create a course in February, but I had no idea what it would look like.

Those were my initial thoughts about what I wanted for my blog. Page views. Email subscribers. Lots of vague ideas and numbers.

But what I didn’t expect was that my blog would totally and completely change my life.

1. Blogging brings deep purpose to my life.

As I mentioned above, when I started my blog, I had a business building websites.

The problem is, I really don’t like building websites. But I was doing it because it’s a skill that a lot of people will pay for.

And I didn’t know what else I could do that would bring in income without my having to get a traditional job.

Blogging every day, or multiple times a week, helped me to tap back into what really mattered to me. As I wrote more and more, I reconnected to 2 threads that have been with me for most of my life – writing and teaching.

When I started blogging, I never expected that it would teach me what I really cared about.

But that’s exactly what happened – I suddenly knew, without a doubt, what I really wanted to do with my time and with my life. Which is teaching other bloggers how to build successful, truly fulfilling blogs.

2. Blogging connects me to amazing friends.

My initial blogging goals included a lot of numbers. 1,000 page views in January. 100 email subscribers in February.

But what I couldn’t foresee were the real people that I would connect with through my blog.

Like my blogging mentor, Sue, who actually reached out to me after seeing my posts on Pinterest, and who is one of the most giving people I know.

Like Kaitlyn, a mom and photographer, who is building an income for herself through her blog, so that she can stay home with her special needs son.

Like Desiree, an incredible web designer who has taught me how to use metaphors to see design in a whole new way.

Looking at the numbers is one thing. But blogging has connected me to so many incredible people that I never would have met otherwise.

And I am super excited for all of the relationships to come.

3. Blogging has inspired me to create a thriving community of bloggers.

One of the first things I discovered when I started blogging were Facebook groups. I joined a group where we would share our blog posts every week. In the beginning, that was my main strategy for driving people to my blog.

Then I joined other Facebook groups, and met other bloggers, who later became some of my first blog coaching clients.

I was so inspired by these communities that I wanted to create my own.

It started out with 30 people, and has grown to over 700 motivated bloggers who ask thoughtful questions and really help each other out every single day.

I could spend all day just connecting with the bloggers in my Facebook group, and celebrating how truly awesome they are. When I dreamed of “building an audience” I never foresaw what that would actually look and feel like. And it feels pretty freaking amazing.

4. Blogging empowers me to know that I can do anything I decide to do.

Blogging has taught me that having a good plan, and then sticking to it, makes pretty much anything possible.

I can apply the same concepts I’ve used to succeed in blogging to succeed at pretty much anything.

If you can build a successful blog, you can do pretty much anything.Click To Tweet

Creating daily and weekly habits. Learning about the tools you need to do things better and faster. Connecting with other people on a similar journey. Thoughtful and creative planning.

It’s one thing to know about these concepts, and quite another to execute on them. Now that I have, I feel super empowered and excited about achieving my goals.

5. Blogging has made me more comfortable being me.

I used to really struggle with my self esteem. I grew up in a community that didn’t really get me.

Then, in college, I was the only one in my hall who didn’t join a sorority, so my hall-mates stopped talking to me.

When I lost my teaching job, I was told that I’m too monotone and that I don’t smile enough.

I spent years feeling inadequate and unworthy.

But, despite all of that, I’ve always been completely honest in my writing, and in my life choices. Even when I’ve felt misunderstood, I’ve stood by what I thought was right for me.

I applied the same concept here, in this blog. I am honest, even when it’s hard. Even when it feels vulnerable. And people thank me for it. They tell me they feel less alone.

Now I’ve started doing Periscope (follow me at @DanielaUslan), and even though it feels hard to just put myself out there live, I have the confidence to do it because of this blog.

Blogging has taught me that I am enough.

5 totally unexpected ways blogging has improved my life

When I started this blog, I couldn’t see how it would totally transform my life. All I knew was that I wanted to write. And when it got hard, I forced myself to keep moving forward – just a little bit – every day.

Those small steps have brought me here – to a life where I’m connected to my purpose, where I have incredible new friendships, where I’m building a thriving community of bloggers, where I am empowered and where I feel really good about being me.

If you’re struggling with your blog, know this:

This journey is worth it. And you can do it. Just take another step forward.

 

60 Ways to Grow Your Blog in an Hour or Less

If I’ve learned one thing about blogging, it’s this:

Blogging is a longterm game. It’s thousands of tiny actions that, when put together, make a huge difference.

It’s not just about writing blog posts and hoping that people will like them. It’s about learning from your readers, building relationships with other bloggers, sharing your stuff, and on and on.

And it can feel really overwhelming when you look at the big picture.

Blogging takes a lot of time. So it’s easy to get discouraged, to throw your hands up and go, I can’t do all of this.

But you would be surprised at how much you can do for your blog in a short amount of time.

You don’t need 5 hours. You don’t even need 1 hour. Sometimes, all you need is 5 minutes to connect with another blogger or share your post.

15 Things you can do to grow your blog in one hour

  1. Write an outline for a blog post. (Or write the whole post, if you are a fast writer.)
  2. Create an editorial calendar for the next month.
  3. Edit your “About Me” page.
  4. Create a new free gift for your readers.
  5. Write an email newsletter.
  6. Schedule social media posts to go out for the week.
  7. Interview a reader to see what she really cares about.
  8. Create a survey for your readers.
  9. Research places to guest blog.
  10. Listen to a podcast about improving your blog.
  11. Brainstorm 15 blog post ideas.
  12. Participate in a Twitter chat.
  13. Set up an opt-in box for people to join your newsletter.
  14. Set up a giveaway on your blog using the King Sumo giveaway plugin.
  15. Create an infographic for one of your blog posts.

15 Things you can do to grow your blog in a half hour

  1. Write a guest blogging pitch email.
  2. Create a branded image for one of your blog posts.
  3. Write the introduction for a blog post.
  4. Edit and improve one of your old blog posts.
  5. Research and ask to join 5 Pinterest group boards.
  6. Schedule pins to go out with Tailwind App.
  7. Do keyword research to see what people want to read about.
  8. Do some “forum stalking” on Quora and in Facebook groups for post ideas.
  9. Optimize for SEO by installing the Yoast SEO plugin and writing meta-descriptions for 3 posts.
  10. Pitch podcasters to get interviewed.
  11. Send out emails asking people to contribute to a “roundup post.”
  12. Email a blogger you respect letting them know they’ve improved your life.
  13. Go on a photo shoot for your blog around your house or neighborhood.
  14. Update your Facebook or LinkedIn profile.
  15. Record a YouTube video to go with one of your blog posts.

15 Things you can do to grow your blog in 15 minutes

  1. Compose 5 tweets to go out after your blog post is published.
  2. Add a Call to Action at the end of a blog post.
  3. Comment on 3 blogs you love.
  4. Write down 3 post ideas in Evernote.
  5. Have a short conversation with another blogger on Facebook.
  6. Do an informal poll on Facebook asking people what they are struggling with when it comes to your blog topic.
  7. Post your blog post into a Facebook blog challenge and then comment on others.
  8. Add your blog post to a link party.
  9. Change the colors in your blog to better reflect your brand.
  10. Install the Use Any Font plugin and choose a custom font for your blog.
  11. Checking your Google Analytics to see where your traffic is coming from and thank anyone who has linked to your blog.
  12. Adding social share buttons to your blog. Affiliate link
  13. Improve a blog post headline using the CoSchedule Headline Analyzer.
  14. Submit a blog post tip on the SITS Girls.
  15. Republish a blog post on LinkedIn Pulse.

15 Things you can do to grow your blog in 5 minutes

  1. Write a “click to tweet” for one of your blog posts.
  2. Retweet a blogging friend’s post.
  3. Answer a question in a Facebook group.
  4. Tweet about one of your blog posts.
  5. Write a comment on one blog post you like.
  6. Repin 3 pins to group boards on Pinterest.
  7. Respond to a comment on your blog.
  8. Post an inspirational quote on Twitter or Facebook.
  9. Subscribe to get updates of an influencer’s blog (so you can be the first to comment later).
  10. Share a blog post in a LinkedIn group.
  11. Add some people to a Twitter list of VIPs you want to connect with.
  12. Update your WordPress plugins.
  13. Make a backup of your blog.
  14. Ask for feedback in a Facebook group.
  15. Tell yourself how awesome you are for blogging.

The next time you have a few minutes to spare, instead of using them to play a game on your phone, do one small action that will build your blog. You would be surprised at how quickly those little actions add up.

You Need These 5 Creative Writing Techniques in Your Blog (Especially #3)

5 creative writing techniques that you need in your blog (especially #3)

I’ve heard many people say that the best writers aren’t necessarily the best bloggers.

Blogging is supposed to be conversational.

And all of the tools and tricks we learned in our high school English classes don’t apply here.

Well, I disagree. I think that certain creative writing techniques, when done well, can transform your blog and help it stand out. Here are 5 for you to consider using in your blog.

1. Alliteration

Alliteration is where you start a bunch of words with the same letter:

This morning I meandered outside, mellowing out as the melon-colored sun melted out of the water.

Alliteration not only sounds cool, it also pushes you to use unusual words.

I never would have thought to use the words meandered, mellowing, melon, or melted if I hadn’t been alliterating. And doesn’t “melon-colored sun melted out of the water” sound more interesting than “I watched the sunrise”?

You can also find alliteration in many brand names, like Best Buy, Dunkin’ Donuts, and Lululemon.

How can you use it in your blog?

Try an alliterated headline: The Best Bunch of Bagel Bloggers in Brooklyn

Or throw it into a post randomly. You only need 3 select words starting with the same letter to be alliterating.

Use it in your categories.

Want more examples of alliteration? Check out this site.

2. Metaphors

Metaphors are when you say one thing is another.

For example: My dog is a delicious dollop of joy in my day. (Did you see how I alliterated in that metaphor?)

Metaphors can be used in so many different ways. Let’s look at a few of them.

Your entire blog theme can be based on a metaphor.

In her site A Place to Nest, Desiree compares a website to a home. Many people have websites that are a mishmash of things, much like a home where the furniture doesn’t match. But when she does a site redesign, everything is in its place. Brilliant.

You can use a metaphor to teach your readers.

For example, if you are teaching your readers how to use Pinterest, you can say the pin-boards are buckets and you fill them with products and images that interest you.

Metaphors can bring freshness to common ideas.

Awhile back, I wrote a post about parking karma, but it was really about how to approach life in general. One of the ideas in it was “Expect to get a close spot. Go for the good spots because most people think they’ll be taken, so they’ll park further away, leaving them open for you.” Instead of writing, Dream big, which is kind of cliche, I used that idea. And it is much more fun, don’t you think?

3. Imagery

Imagery is basically using sensual images in your writing. (Not sexual, sensual.)

This just means your readers should be able to taste, smell, hear, touch, and see what you are writing about.

If you write a food or fashion blog, it’s easy to do this. Travel blogs are also great places to throw in lots of sensory details.

But what if you write a blog about ideas, like this one? How can you include sensual details?

One way to integrate imagery into your blog is to throw in snippets of stories every once in awhile.

Like in my post about seeing my grandma after I shaved my head.

Another way is to help your readers imagine themselves in a situation.

Lets say you write motivational posts. Don’t just tell your readers ideas about motivation, help them feel motivated.

For example, if you are writing about living with gratitude every day, you could write, Take a moment to feel gratitude when you wake up in the morning. That’s nice, but devoid of sensory details.

You could transform it by taking your readers into the moment: As you press your bare feet to the carpet, be grateful for your warm, safe home. As you brew your coffee and smell the rich, strong scent of the beans, be grateful that you can start your day with your favorite beverage.

See how that worked?

4. Repetition

Repetition can come in many forms. You can repeat certain phrases again and again to achieve a poetic effect, and you can also repeat certain ideas again and again so that they become associated with you and your blog.

In individual posts, use repetition to create a rhythm, to develop an idea, and to bring more cohesiveness to your writing.

For example, in this post about the writer’s freshman year of college, she repeats It’s okay at the end of every line. This not only strings the ideas together, it also creates a great subtext to everything else in the post. (Notice that the post was shared 10k times on Facebook?)

Repetition is also a brilliant way to develop your voice.

When you repeat certain words or phrases frequently, people start to associate them with you.

For example, the guys at Fizzle often talk about whether your project will “fizzle with energy or fizzle out.”

Seth Godin repeats the concepts of the lizard brain, tribes, and linchpins. And they are part of what he is known for.

5. Onomatopoeia

Quick, say that 10 times fast.

Onomatopoeia may be hard to spell (I admit it, I copied and pasted the word from another blog), but it’s a super easy concept.

It’s when a word sounds like what it means. For example, words like “buzz,” “pop,” “fizzle,” and “bang.”

When you throw onomatopoeia words into your blog, it helps readers hear your writing in their minds.

When appropriate, try throwing a bam or a boom into your writing.

This goes back to the sensory details part. If you’re writing about a trip to India, it’s super easy to put some crashes and screeches in.

But if you’re writing about concepts, how does it work?

You can emphasize ideas with onomatopoeia.

For example, if you’re helping your readers learn to participate in Facebook groups effectively, you could write, The Facebook group world may seem confusing, but I’m here to help you creak the door open.

Want a list of 285 onomatopoeia words? Check this out.

Head spinning? Here’s a brief summary:

1. Alliteration is starting a bunch of words with the same letter.

2. Metaphor is comparing one thing to another.

3. Imagery is using sensual details that help readers see, hear, taste, smell, and feel.

4. Repetition is repeating words, phrases, or concepts throughout your writing.

5. Onomatopoeia is using words that sound like what they mean, such as zoom and zip.

There’s a reason why these techniques have been used by the best writers for centuries. It’s because they really work. Try one of them out in your blog.

The One Resource You Need to Claim Your Writer’s Voice

The One Resource You Need to Claim Your Writer's Voice

Listen to me read this 3 minute post.

When I was 20, I shaved my head.

I was in India, and I didn’t tell anyone back home about it.

My parents only realized what I had done when they were walking toward me in the airport. From afar, they both thought I was just wearing it up in a ponytail. But then as they got closer, I saw their eyes widen.

For weeks, I would catch them staring at me in concern.

A family friend asked me why I shaved my head.

I explained that I was reclaiming my natural hair. That I had dyed and straightened the real me away so I wanted to get back to how my hair should really look.

He said, I liked it longer. It softens your features.

Not the right answer.

But then, I saw my grandma. She was 91 at the time, and it was one of the last times I ever saw her before she died.

She took one look at me and said, I love your hair this way. I can see your face better.

Even though no one else got why I cut my hair, Grandma intuitively did.

She got me.

And even though my parents, their friends, and most of the people I knew didn’t like my new ‘do, it was an important, even essential step in reclaiming my unique self, my true voice.

Grandpa and Grandma, me and my sister, Rachel. (I'm wearing the fashionable glasses.)

Grandpa and Grandma, me and my sister, Rachel. (I’m wearing the fashionable glasses.)

You know a writer has found her voice when she is willing to be completely honest. To take risks. To do things even when most people think they’re weird.

Many people say that it takes a long time writing to find your writer’s voice.

And for lots of bloggers, it does.

I think it takes them a lot of time to realize that it’s okay to be themselves without filters, and without fear.

It takes a lot of time for them to claim their incredible, unique, terrifying voices.

Why does it take so much time?

Mainly because of fear. The fear that we won’t be accepted. The fear that some people will read what we have to say, and they’ll think I don’t get this.

But here’s the thing: the people that do get it will be transformed by your courage.

They’ll sit up and take notice and think, Wow. I never knew there was someone out there that could speak to me so clearly.

If you stay where it’s safe, in the vanilla zone (you know, everyone is fine with vanilla, but it’s rarely anyone’s favorite), no one will look at you like you’re crazy. But no one will be able to see your face better, either.

Here’s how to do the equivalent of shaving your head in your blog:

Set a timer. Write for 15 minutes straight. It doesn’t matter what you write about, just that you don’t stop for the entire 15 minutes.

Don’t stop writing, and dive straight into everything you want to avoid.

If something comes up and you start to shy away, write about that.

You don’t even have to publish what you write. But the more you write into your fear, the closer you’ll be to uncovering what’s brilliant, and different, and truly remarkable about you.

Do it. I want to see your face better.

An easy 5 minute exercise to help you tackle blogger’s block

An easy 5 minute exercise to help you tackle blogger's block

So you’ve created your blogging plan. You have a good idea to write about.

You sit down, open your blogging platform, create a new post…and then what?

You can read lots of articles about the perfect blog post (like this one from Buffer, for example).

You know exactly how many words should go in your headline. You are prepared to put a tweetable somewhere in your post to make it more shareable. You’re going to write short paragraphs to make it more readable.

But before all that, you have to start writing.

Here’s the thing: blogging is an art form. It’s about sitting down day after day to create.

And even though there are plenty of experts out there who can tell you how they’ve made it big in the blogging world, they can’t tell you what your unique contribution will be.

So instead of focusing on checking off each element of the perfect post, think about what you have to say that is honest, unique, and needed.

A 5 minute timed writing exercise can really help loosen your mind and get you ready to write.

Have you heard of Natalie Goldberg? She’s written lots of books about developing a writing practice.

The goal behind writing practice is to get to know your own unfiltered mind. It can be hugely helpful when you’re staring at the blank screen, worrying about what to write about.

Here are the 7 rules:

1. Keep your hand moving.

2. Lose control.

3. Be specific.

4. Don’t think.

5. Don’t worry about spelling, punctuation or grammar.

6. You are free to write the worst junk in the world.

7. Go for the jugular. (Meaning, write what hurts, write what is hard.)

The rules of writing practice

Why these rules? Because they let you cut through the resistance, ignore your internal editor, and just write.

So if you’re struggling to write today, try these 5 minute timed writing exercises (and follow Natalie’s rules)

I really want to write about…

I have lots of blog topics saved to write about, but sometimes, I just don’t feel like writing about them. Or I may want to choose a different one than I had planned for, because that’s the one that speaks to me in the moment.

When you write to what you’re drawn to in this moment, your post will have more power behind it. Try this: Write, I really want to write about…and complete the sentence. Then set a timer for 5 minutes and write whatever comes up.

Right now, I feel…

Your feelings hold a lot of power. And people will connect with your blog if it’s driven by genuine emotion. Focus on your feelings about the topic you’ve chosen.

Start by writing, Right now I feel… and then go for it. Don’t let yourself stop typing for the next 5 minutes.

When all else fails, imagine a reader and start writing.

Imagine your ideal reader sitting down to read your post. What does she need to learn today? (Or, if you haven’t created a reader, imagine what you would want to read.)  Then set a timer and write for 5 minutes without stopping. Write whatever comes up.

Once you’ve done your 5 minutes, take a deep breath and look over what you’ve written.

Don’t judge it for the quality of the writing. Instead, focus on the thread of thought running through it. Then write about that for your blog post today. Or just let it guide you.

4 ideas for when you feel like no one is reading your blog

4 Ideas for  When You Feel Like  No One   is reading  your blog 2

The other night, my sister asked me something that I can’t get out of my head.

She said, “How does your blog benefit society as a whole?”

I said something about being there for people trying to carve their own path through life. Being a voice for people who want to start their own businesses and how it’s hard, and people need encouragement.

But then I thought about all of the people who are already writing blogs on those topics. And I worried,

What if I’m redundant? What makes my blog matter?

And that’s why I think most people stop blogging – because they wonder, Why am I writing this? Why does this matter?

In the beginning, it can feel like it doesn’t matter at all.

There’s a slow trickle of readers, and most of them don’t leave comments. Even if there’s a spike in visitors, all you see are numbers on a screen.  There’s such little immediate feedback that it feels painful and draining.

Right now, my blog mostly matters to me.

If I stopped blogging, a few people would notice. Like my close friends. And my parents (maybe). But they would probably just say, “Well, whatever you want to do is fine.”

Getting to the part where there’s a real audience who really cares what I have to say is going to take awhile.

So how do I (and you) stay motivated to blog with little feedback and a slowly growing tribe?

1. Know your values.

If you know what your blog stands for within your niche, and those values are meaningful and powerful for you, each post will have an element of importance to it.

Mine are honesty and originality.

I read so much repeat stuff online. I want to publish each blog post with the knowledge that I’ve said something truly honest, and unique from anything else out there. Because if I’m repeating things other people have written, my blog really doesn’t matter.

2. Set a writing schedule and keep to it, no matter what.

A lot of doubts come up for me in the blogging process. I wonder if what I’m writing is powerful enough, original enough. I worry that I won’t have anything to say. But when I know I’ll be sitting down to write on a consistent schedule, I find ways to move past those fears, and am able to be more creative than I would otherwise.

3. Create friendships with other bloggers.

It’s so, so important to be supported on your blogging journey. And there are tons of people out there going through the same things you are.

I’ve gotten really into Facebook groups, and the friendships I’ve developed there help me keep going. Because my fellow bloggers get it. Blogging can feel really lonely, and it’s so important to focus just as much on being a part of the blogging community as on getting your blog read.

4. Remember that your voice is the one that some people need to hear.

Yes, there are thousands of other bloggers. Yes, many of them are in your niche. But I’ve read articles before that have changed the way I see the world. Or made me feel less alone.

And maybe, just maybe, yours will do that for someone out there.

Try this writing hack on your website content. Your readers will thank you.

Try this writing hack on your website content. Your readers will thank you.

There’s a simple technique you can do today to make your writing better. It doesn’t take much time, and doesn’t require much work on your part.

What is it?

Being more specific.

Here’s what I mean:

Nouns and verbs can be vague and boring, or specific and interesting.

For example, I can write, “I got out of bed and ate breakfast.”

That’s boring.

What about, “I rolled out of bed, poured Cinnamon Toast Crunch into a large glass bowl, and chowed down.

More interesting, right?

But you probably don’t write much about eating breakfast. So let’s apply this to something more relevant, like your website copy.

Be specific in your website content.

I see so many business coaches out there promising to help you “Have the business you’ve always wanted” or “Take your business to the next level.” Both sound good, but there’s no image involved. What would that actually look like? Plus, because the messaging so vague, a lot of these sites start to meld together.

Instead of writing vague ideas, focus on actual client success stories. And be specific. “Mary’s Cookie Shop doubled in revenue from working with me.” or “I’ll help you create a 5 step business plan that you can implement in 10 minutes a day.”

Do you see how those numbers made the promises so much more real?

Even your services can be made more concrete and specific.

“I will make you a business website” is all well and good. But doesn’t “I’ll craft a 5 page, responsive website with calls to action on each page, details that are cohesive to your brand, and contact forms that will make it a no-brainer for clients to get in touch with you” sound a little more enticing?

Make your “About Me” page specific to you.

A lot of people feel like they need to give people the big picture – the bird’s eye view. So instead of using the About Me page as an opportunity to share something personal that will help people connect with them, they write things like, “I graduated from this school,” or “I help hundreds of people with…”

What makes you unique?

What are the specific details that make you different from anyone else?

For me, it’s the journey from 3rd grade teacher to writing coach. It’s the fact that I’ve visited 25 countries and have a goldendoodle and live in Miami. It’s my love for pour-over coffee and latte art.

Get more specific by asking questions.

Sometimes it’s hard to get down to the nitty gritty. You want to be more specific, but you don’t know how. Get there by asking questions about your story. Or, better yet, have someone else read it and ask them what questions come up.

I like to use the 5Ws and 1H to focus my questioning.

Here’s how it works. Look at this line of copy from a website of a business coach:

“I challenge my prospective and current clients to grow themselves and their businesses.”

Who are these clients that you’re challenging?

What method do you use to help them grow?

Where do you meet with clients? Are you online or in a specific location?

When do they start to see results?

Why are you driven to do this?

How do you challenge them?

Of course, this coach may have answered some of these questions elsewhere, so she doesn’t need to answer them all right here. Just answering 1 or 2 questions and getting more specific would make this more powerful.

What if she wrote, “I challenge bloggers to plan their content strategically, which helps them grow their audience and develop products they can sell. Within 3 months, most of my clients have developed and sold at least one product.”

Or it could just as easily be, “I challenge realtors to build their client base through strategic partnerships, which increases their revenue by 100% within the first 6 months.”

See how specific that is?

An action step you can take right now to be more specific in your writing:

If you are a blogger: Take one blog post, look at your writing, and see where you can add specificity. It doesn’t have to be major – even as I was writing this, I changed “elementary school teacher” to “3rd grade teacher.” Little tweaks like that are powerful.

If you are a business owner: Start with your “About Me” page. Have someone read it with you and ask you questions. Or ask yourself the 5Ws and 1H. Then get as specific as you can.