As your readership grows, it’s easy to think you’ve got this blogging thing down pat. Everyone likes you, you have lots of subscribers, and your posts are Tweeted and Dugg and Stumbled all over the place. You can kick back and relax, right?
Afraid not. There’s a growing trend around longtime bloggers: newbie mistakes.
Producing Lackluster Content
This is perhaps the most common problem among longtime bloggers. If you’ve been around for a few years and you enjoy even moderate popularity, it’s almost a guarantee that newbies show up, all wide-eyed and open-mouthed, to gape at your brilliance.
Even if it’s nowhere near as brilliant as it was two years ago.
Because you’re not trying as hard as you used to.
It’s understandable. If you can put in less effort and continue to enjoy the same perks as when you put in hours for each post, why wouldn’t you slack off?
The problem with that logic is that some new up-and-comer is going to steal your show. People only have so much room in their RSS feed. If they get tired with lackluster posts, they’re going to decide you’re not worth it anymore. They’d rather read that new guy. He always has something new and innovative and well reasoned to say, and his writing is just so clean.
It should be. He’s putting in the hours, and you’re not.
Complacency is a terrible thing. Don’t let it get you.
Not Keeping Up With New Trends
As blogs develop and evolve, new technology emerges to accommodate the needs of your readers. For example, threaded comments wasn’t the norm a year ago.
Now it’s almost everywhere – and many readers are thoroughly enjoying it. It’s an excellent addition for many blogs, and it’s helped foster debate on blogs that encourage community interaction in the comments.
It’s also something that newer blogs are more likely to have than older ones, simply because they were forming their blog at about the same time this trend came out. Newer bloggers saw this tool and decided to throw it in there.
Many older bloggers are often not even aware the new tools exist until their readers start to kick up a ruckus about the absence.
This isn’t to say you need to pick up every single new trend that goes by. (We chose to opt out of threaded comments here at Men with Pens.) But keep your ear to the ground and consider what your readership would enjoy.
What would keep your blog fresh? What would make those whose interest is waning find a new reason to hang out on your blog? Odds are good that there’s a new tool out there your readers would love.
This is also true for different kinds of layouts, better ways of getting in touch with you, and social media tools. Remember when every blog had a Reddit button? You don’t see those often anymore. That’s because all the bloggers saw the way the wind was blowing.
Make sure you’re not left in the dust.
I know it’s hard to come up with new content, but that’s no excuse to start repeating yourself. I’ve seen some popular blogs with posts that sound eerily similar to ones I’ve read on that very same blog. Perusing the archives, sure enough, there that topic is, only a few months earlier.
Naturally, you’ll wind up saying the same thing a few different ways, but push yourself to find new examples and anecdotes. Take rom pop culture, from your own experiences in the offline world, from a new book you’ve read – but find new ways for your ideas to grow and flourish.
Or they’ll become stale and repetitive.
Forgetting to Make a Connection
If you’re super-huge, you don’t have time to answer every single comment. We understand that. We live that ourselves some days.
But if you do have time, respond to people who had something interesting to say, and make them feel that you see them, and that you appreciate they even took the time to comment in the first place. You can’t afford to start ignoring your readership until you’re so ridiculously famous that it’s unreasonable to expect your personal attention anymore.
If you’re not there yet, make an effort.
And even if you are there, do your best. Your readers are a huge part of your success. No matter how big you get, show ‘em some love whenever you can.