Are You Becoming a Lazy Blogger?

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.

Getting Repetitive

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.

Post by Taylor

Taylor Lindstrom (fondly known as Tei) is a twenty-something copywriter and journalist from Boulder, CO. She’s the team’s rogue woman who wowed us until our desire for her talents exceeded our desire for a good ol’ boys club. She loves the color green, micro-point Uniball pens, and medieval weaponry.

Join the Discussion. Click Here to Leave a Comment.

  1. I see this happening a lot on blogs where staff members are given blog articles to write but get caught up in their day-to-day responsibilities. Sometimes I think it is easier and more cost effective for a company to outsource blog articles and ensure the standard is kept high.

  2. I think that in the same way it’s suggested that writers set aside time each day to write, everyone (bloggers or non-bloggers), should set aside some time each day for learning and keeping up on new trends.

    It helps creativity, it helps generate ideas, it helps you stay on top of your game, and it severely prevents you from falling into complacency.

    Great post. Thanks!
    .-= Leslie A. Joy´s last blog ..Don’t Be an Expert, Be a Specialist =-.

  3. Susan Allport says:

    I think you’ve hit the nail on the head there. I myself have only just made my blogging debut, but have been reading them for a long time and, as you say, many are a little stale.

    With that in mind, I hope to put your advice into practice and keep it fresh with all the effort I can muster, to write like a ‘new guy’ everytime.

    Thanks!

  4. These are good things to keep in mind. I have been blogging for a little more than a year, but sometimes I find myself slipping into a relaxed attitude about writing fresh content. You can busy yourself with blog maintenance, reading how to blog and not spend enough time writing.
    .-= Clara Mathews´s last blog ..Just Chick Flicks Previews: Eat Pray Love =-.

  5. So that’s a picture of James there is it, hard at work…. LOL!

    I can think of a couple of bloggers who I dropped from my feed for exactly the reason you’ve described Tei, they just weren’t worth my time to read. Sad, but necessary.

    One other thing I’ve seen is after a while of great content (when they’ve got a good readership) they begin to post about products, with affiliate links everywhere, and there ends up very little content – every post is a plug for selling a product. Annoying, and again not worth my time reading.
    .-= Melinda | SuperWAHM´s last blog ..The Two Hour Business Plan – special introductory offer =-.

  6. On the other hand, when a blogger comes back to a familiar topic, but with a really juicy example, or an important update (as technology evolves, for example), I really love that. Kind of a nice mixture of the familiar and the unexpected, or like hearing an inside joke.

    But it definitely is a fine line to tread.

  7. One of the best ways of keeping a blog fresh is to vary the kind of content you deliver. Throw in a podcast, vlog or poll fairly regularly to keep people guessing.

    Although there’s something nice about “the Friday post” that you come to expect, changing things around and surprising your audience is essential.

    Look at the way great TV channels programme their schedules. Just as you’ve got used to the schedule, they juggle it around with new stuff.

  8. Awesome suggestions. While I haven’t reached that status, I could see it happening. I like to change up the content, and offer up as many different angles of fitness as I can come up with.
    .-= Todd´s last blog ..Power Friday – Wk 6 =-.

  9. I’ve not reached that level yet but I will surely remember what I have learned here. Perhaps most bloggers have the tendency to slack off when everything seems smooth and as a result the quality of their blogs diminishes. I won’t fall for this grave mistake. 🙂

  10. Hey, another excellent post. Thanks.

    I think a way to break the lazy blogger habit is to sit down and make a list of all the topics that interest you. Afterwards, take the topics on that list and learn about them. You can write as you learn. A trap that many bloggers fall under is they feel that before they can write a post, they have to know everything about it… which is partially true.

    Obviously, you have to know something about a subject to write on it (and the more you know, usually the better article you can write), but if you’re interested in that topic, you can make a series of posts about it as you learn more. Constant, progressive learning is the key. And it works best when you share what you’re learning.
    .-= Chris Mower´s last blog ..Are You Prepared for Layoffs? =-.

  11. Agreed. I get frustrated when I find a new blogger I love, spend a few months to a year following them, then they start in with the, “Sorry I haven’t posted in awhile” and a slew of repeats. It’s just not that interesting anymore.
    .-= susan´s last blog ..The Creative Guide to Working with Your Spouse =-.

  12. I would throw in that if you don’t have anything new to say – don’t say anything at all! I think many people end up updating just to maintain their ratio of a post a day or two posts a week etc. I’d rather post fewer times if I’m really burning out than churn out six posts a week that all suck.
    .-= JillPR´s last blog ..Friday PR File – April 16, 2010 =-.

  13. You know, for awhile now I’ve felt “lazy” because the content I was posting on my blog didn’t seem to be my best stuff. I started to think that maybe I just ran out of ideas; that my blog was too niche and it wasn’t sustainable over the long-haul. But then I reminded myself that I’ve been blogging for two years now, so obviously there is something to say for my niche.

    After hitting my two-year mark, I did some ‘soul searching’ and discovered that by posting three times a week, I was spreading myself too thin, thus making each post less then stellar. And less than stellar isn’t good enough for me.

    So my new strategy is to post one large piece of content a week, plus one smaller post (a link, a quick tip, a profile). I think this new strategy will really help me focus on providing the best content possible.

    No more lazy blogger-ness for me!

  14. I think that this is true for way too many people, whether they have a large following or not. I have followed some really great bloggers that are now starting to peter out and lose their luster.

    Just like you said, if you don’t keep up with the “tiger” inside you, there is ALWAYS going to be someone sitting in the wings waiting to pounce.

    There have been days when I should have taken more time at crafting a certain post and man did I pay for it with unsubscriptions. Now I find that if you are having a lazy day (and we ALL have them) and you are a one person show, it’s best not to post at all.

    Then, the next time you do post something that you have taken a lot of time on, you won’t lose any subscribers.

    -Joshua Black
    The Underdog Millionaire
    .-= Joshua Black | The Underdog Millionaire´s last blog ..The 7 Magic Questions for Starting a Small Business =-.

  15. I nearly cheered when Tei wrote this one (and even graciously gave her my Monday spot!). It was a great post with a great message.

    Ugh, that sounds so much like, ‘Nice post, Taylor!’ that now I’m wondering if I’m getting lazy with my commenting. Sheesh!
    .-= James Chartrand – Men with Pens´s last blog ..Are You Becoming a Lazy Blogger? =-.

  16. Hi!
    This is a great post and a wake-up call to me…i have been blogging about 3 years and i started to get repetitive and focused on profits vs helping people! Thanks for this great post!

    James

  17. Totally agreed. I think it’s a balance – you do need to keep creating content – your readers come to expect a certain frequency. At the same time, it’s gotta be good 🙂

    So that’s probably going to be different for different people and different markets – but obviously, great, helpful content that improves people’s lives is what brings people back, makes them spread the word, etc.

    I that’s why it’s so important to be really, really passionate about the topic/focus of your blog. It shines through when you’re excited about your writing, and it’s also easy to tell if you’re not.

    Good stuff!
    .-= Forest´s last blog ..The 30 Day Guide To Building Your Own Money Making Blog =-.

  18. good post! i “try” to blog at least 3 times per week, and I DO have a lot to share…but it “does” take work at times not convenient. It’s sad to say that the most traffic I see on my blog is when I;m having a giveaway…but it’s all good. I respond to every comment that I can and try to keep up with my favorite blogs. I use my blog to promote my shop and to draw people into my crazy artistic life.
    .-= Michelle Cummings´s last blog ..Etsy Spotlight – Nicole Charshaf of Ncharfshaf’s =-.

  19. I think in the search for what’s the best content to provide, keeping topics fresh and balanced (not one note) along with the (yes I hate them) admin duties it gets a bit much to be doing four blogs a week.

    I tuned in as I had just taken three + weeks and backed down to two posts a week, and on the final week it was one. Getting back into a new and organized approach is rocky, but expect that will change. I guess we have to allow ourselves time and permission to back off and come back and see if we can restart the engine. And yes, without passion for your mission, you’re sunk.

    Thanks for the opportunity to slow down, look at what we’re doing, and get moving again.
    .-= Mary Haight´s last blog ..Enter to Win Handmade Dog Biscuits =-.

  20. Come’on James…step up your game.
    .-= Nathan Hangen´s last blog ..Utopia is within Reach =-.

  21. @Nathan – Pfft. 😛

  22. I agree with this; a little while ago I wrote about 5 signs of a lazy blogger. Not that there should be rules or too much structure around blogging, because I don’t agree with that, but we should never copy someone else’s material or jump on the bandwagon just to continue to produce content. If we are keeping up with trends, then we need to make sure we bring something else to the table. I think “Me too” bloggers will quickly lose readership and credibility.
    .-= Tia – BizChickBlogs.com´s last blog ..The 5 Unmistakable Signs of a Lazy Blogger =-.

  23. Yes… Yes and Yes… But I have committed to writing 5 posts a week for the next 6 weeks to make up for my lazy habits. I use the excuse that I need to unplug for a few days, unfortunately that turned into weeks…. Now I’m back in my Blogosphere groove…

    Peace

    Jonathan
    .-= Jonathan | EnlightenYourDay.com´s last blog ..GOD heals almost everything debate – True or False =-.

  24. Yeah! I am being lazy day by day…….

    But i need to some tweaks to be awake up.
    .-= Shamim´s last blog ..How To Search AnyThing By Google [Part 2] =-.

  25. See, I think this is an interesting phenomenon because the more people that read my blog, the more crazy I get about producing Super Awesome Content. Maybe I’m not at the same popularity as the bigger bloggers (and by “maybe” I mean “not at all”), but I still feel like the bigger your audience, the more you instinctually work to protect it. Maybe it’s just me…
    .-= Marian Schembari´s last blog ..LinkedIn Mondays: Has networking become impersonal? =-.

  26. I just read this, and I want to make sure that I see you and I appreciate you

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