Why Blogs Fail

By Mitch Wilson
74 Comments

Mitch is in charge of a well over six figure blog empire in the sports niche, which he started by focusing on college football in the USA.

He was one of the very first people to join Blog Mastermind. He also happens to have the distinction of attending almost every single coaching call I have done since I started doing them for my members (we are talking years!).

Mitch is a straight talking guy and wanted to share with you what he considers some of the most common mistakes that cause blogs to fail. Follow his advice, he has the experience to back up the claims…

I want to preface this by saying I haven’t been at this blogging game as long as some, but I’ve been at it longer than others.

I have seen people come and go, as they try and make a run of it as a professional blogger or to create a successful blog. I have seen plenty of things work and fail to become an expert on this subject.

As for my story, one day I typed into Google “How do I start a website?”, two and a half years later I run a site that easily makes six figures a year and is on the fast track to seven figures annually.

The thing is, I never started my blog with the intention of making money or becoming a professional blogger, it just happened. I truly believe anyone can do it.

There is a right way and a wrong way and while these aren’t the same for everyone, I have seen the following list of mistakes enough times to know they are the most common reasons why blogs fail and the bloggers who start them in essence fail as well.

1) Blogging with a focus on making money as opposed to blogging with passion.

Blogs are targeted towards a very specific market, that is why there are so many and why the word “niche” is always associated with them. When your target market is a group of people who are passionate about something, they are also the ones who are most easily going to see right through someone who is in it for the money and not in it for the love of what they are blogging about.

People want to be part of something, a community where they share a common passion and interest for a subject and the Internet brings these people together, who wouldn’t have found one another otherwise. No one wants to be part of something that isn’t genuine and someone who knows enough about a topic to join a community will easily identify something that isn’t genuine.

2) Worry too much about the “keywords”.

Trust me on this one, what you think are your best keywords may not be the best keywords. If you are blogging consistently, your keywords will be part of your articles and blog posts, not as something forced or contrived, but as just part of what you are writing about. This is a really simple concept that so few seem to get. If you find a formula that works for bringing in traffic, then of course stick to it and incorporate it.

I hear over and over again about people targeting specific keywords without even knowing if these are even going to be bringing in traffic or not and if so, how much or how little. I often see people waste a lot of time on this, time that would be way better served writing blog posts.

3) Refusal to Invest in their project or hobby.

Not a lot of people have extra money, it’s just a fact of life. Most people however, if they are going to play tennis, they would have no problem buying a tennis racquet or if they were taking a photography course, they would buy a camera.

I have seen few things in my life like a blog where people feel compelled to build their own tennis racquet or camera.

The time that it takes to do certain tasks with a blog is worth spending a few bucks to get it done by someone else. Obviously better help costs more money but saving hours and possibly days on end to get something done right is a very good investment if you want your blog to make it through the early days. The work you need done just to get up and running in the infancy of a blog isn’t expensive tech work no matter who is doing it. You can find someone who can do this type of work at a very affordable rate.

4) Treat blogging as a “Get Rich Quick” scheme as opposed to building a business.

Anyone can start a blog and it doesn’t take a genius to have a successful one, I’m living proof. A lot of people seem to feel that once the blog is live and up and running, it’s a license to print money when in reality, nothing could be further from the truth. Making money on the net isn’t difficult, once the groundwork is done, but the groundwork could take years and will at the very least take many months.

Think of it in these terms: if you open up a donut store would you expect people to be flocking to your shop on day 1? Well of course if you had the right location you very well might. Now imagine opening that same shop where there are 30 million other stores and maybe one half of one percent of those are selling donuts (that’s 150,000 donut shops), and they have been selling donuts a lot longer than you have, in fact, a lot of people have been eating their donuts for years.

Maybe you can get them to try your donuts, maybe you can get them to come back, but all of this takes time and it is a building process. Unless you are very famous, your chances of instant success are close to zero. To stand out right away, as everyone is in virtually the same location and of that location, your spot is not likely the most noticeable, is challenging.

5) Spend way too much time on the appearance of their blog before there is any content.

I have had six blog redesigns, some of them major and some just minor changes, but still very noticeable changes to the appearance of the site. I very much wish I saved a picture of my first site, no one would recognize it.

The thing is, if no one is there to read it, it doesn’t matter what it looks like. If you don’t have content to keep people there or fresh content to keep people coming back, it doesn’t matter what your blog looks like, no one is coming back to look at the blog just to say how nice it looks.

A lot of people worry way too much about the header banner, it isn’t that important. I’ll be honest, I spent $59 dollars to have my logo designed and I like it a lot better than some that I have seen that cost $50,000. You’ll want to get a logo but the banner… let’s just say no one is really paying all that much attention.

About a year ago I replaced my banner with a gigantic ad that my ad agency fills for me, I never got an email or a comment from anyone about it. I can only guess that the reason no one ever said anything is that they didn’t care or they didn’t notice, I strongly believe it’s both.

Once again, as your blog grows you’ll have features you’ll want but in the first few months and over the near term this is time better spent on building content. Just note changes down for future major redesigns.

6) Believing that signing up for a program or course guarantees success.

The only thing that will make a blog successful is the person running it. I signed up for a course and I am still an active member of that community but I never expected the course to do the hard work for me. What courses do, or should do, is provide you with solid guidance and hopefully some tips as to what has proved to work and what doesn’t work or is more difficult to make work.

A lot of the blogging experts are fantastic, they all vary a little but they all have the same message: develop content and market well and you will be successful over time.

Not one of them will say the day you go live will people flock to your site because you are a member of XYZ program, because they know better than anyone it isn’t realistic. What they will do is save you a lot of time you would have spent using trial and error by just giving you the answer or reducing the possibilities or methods to a handful of which one or more should be reasonably successful over time.

A lot of times I have seen people try something short term or just for a post or two and then abandon it if they don’t see instant results. That is not a good idea. There is no magic, just good and bad paths to take.

7) Giving up too easy.

According to Google Analytics, I had three visitors to my site in the first month I was live. When I realized I couldn’t get anyone to read my site, that’s when I signed up for a course on how to get traffic. I implemented what I was taught and it helped but it was still not a very fast process. Getting things going is a building process.

Some people might say I got “lucky” as one of my early blog posts was picked up by a major news site and I had thousands of hits in one day in my early months of blogging. While it’s true that this happened, what also happened that within two days my blog returned to its normal low traffic numbers and I was at the same point I was before that huge surge in traffic. I didn’t retain the readers because I didn’t have enough content to keep readers, it took time and effort to get it to happen.

More often than not people get out what they put into their blogs.

8 ) Putting too much emphasis on rankings.

There isn’t a bigger misleading statistic than Alexa ranking and I can prove it. As a matter of fact, when you think about it after I explain this it will make perfect sense.

Before I started my site I had no idea what an Alexa ranking was. While something like an Alexa ranking is looked at by people who have websites, people who don’t have them have no idea it even exists. Alexa only tracks visits from people who have the Alexa toolbar and if you don’t know it exists, how would you have the toolbar. My site averages 400,000 visitors a month. I know this week I had on average 3,000 more visitors a day than I had the week before yet according to Alexa my traffic is down. How is this so?

People who read my site aren’t bloggers, they are sports fans. People who have sites geared towards bloggers are more likely to attract visitors who have the Alexa toolbar, thus their Alexa ranking will be higher. Of course there are the mega sites which do millions of visitors a day where there is less of a disparity but I am sure an argument can be made that numbers are just as skewed there.

The best advertising agencies use Comscore and Net Ratings for their stats and ratings and demographic information. If you don’t know what those are or have never heard of them, then more than likely your site and traffic aren’t big enough for you to worry too much about rankings. Someday if you work hard they will mean a lot to you as the Fortune 500 will be knocking on your door for advertising space.

9) Not reading your stats correctly.

The big mistakes people make at first is they use a stats program that refers only to page views or count bots. While both of these can produce encouraging numbers, they don’t tell the story. I always use the stat programs which show my numbers to be the most conservative.

I always look at the stats not to see if my traffic is more than it was yesterday (though of course when it was new I did), but mainly I am looking for what people typed into the search engines to get there. If there is something people are looking for when they got to my site, I want to make sure I deliver if I can.

Here’s a quick example: I write up football game previews and when I looked at my stats noticed some people got to my site asking what time a game was being played or what TV channel it was shown on. While I previously did not include this information and it certainly wasn’t one of the very top searches that got people to my site, I did see these searches almost daily.

Now when I do the heading inside of my articles, I put the time of the game and TV info if I know it. It’s literally two or three strokes on my keyboard, but if people know they can find this information on my site, maybe they’ll bookmark me for that alone.

Not all people want to read my articles, but that’s okay, my feelings aren’t hurt. If people come to my site every time they want to know what time or what channel a game is on and they consider me a good source to find that information, I can live with it. My ad agency and sponsors don’t care why they are there, it’s that they are there and they come back. Those guys know a few things about what is important when it comes to building a business on the internet.

I hope at some point to expound on what I have written here and to help other people who have the passion about something that is as strong as I have for my topic, and that they end up doing what they love for their living. I can say from experience, it can happen and in fact it will happen, but maybe not how you plan. If you can avoid the frustration, stay the course, and don’t get in your own way, your odds are a lot better.

Mitch Wilson

About Mitch Wilson

In 2008 Mitch typed into Google, "How do I start a Blog?". Within three months he was receiving 3,000 unique visitors a day, within a year he was blogging full time with over 400,000 monthly visitors and 1 million monthly page views. Blogging has given him a life beyond his wildest dreams. Today Mitch is a professional blogger who has turned his hobby passion into a dream job: running his own business at the Sports Chat Place. He now wishes to give back to the blogging community by sharing what he has learned.

Follow Yaro

View Yaro Starak's profile on LinkedIn
Follow us on Instagram

Share This Article


74 Comments

  • Such down to earth and real advice! Really good. Love the idea of community, content and correct stats!

    May

  • Cool man, some really refreshing insights.

    Alexa is really useless, and I stopped using it a short while ago. I agree that building a blog is a business, and it takes time and time and then some more…time.

    I admire how you turned yours into a sustainable business – your focus and hard work seems to pay off :)

    The only thing I disagree with is that design does matter, but maybe not in your niche.
    Keep shining, Mitch !

    • I’m not saying it doesn’t matter, I just think in the early stages worrying about some little details isn’t worth it, building the content is where it’s at

  • According to this, I’m doing a fairly good job. Although I do spend quite a bit of time tweaking the look and functionality. Not so much to effect content output but I think it’s worth it.

    • It all depends on how much content you shoot for. The nature of my site there are 5 to 6 thousand articles a year or even more so there just isn’t a lot of time for it.

  • I couldn’t agree more about 4 and 7!
    Thanks
    Marcelle

    • It amazes me that people are concerned with advertising and things like that when they don’t have anyone at their blog, tough to sell when there is no one to sell to. First you get the customers, then you sell them something.

  • Good advice and something that you have proved is achievable if you put the work into your blog. If you aren’t prepared to work at it, you won’t get results.

    • it’s all relative as to what you expect and what you are willing to put in to achieve what level of success. It’s just my nature, Go Big or GO Home

  • I couldn’t agree more Mitch. Its the passion that the content is written with that will drive the people to a blog.
    It is good to get some honest input

    • When you are speaking to passionate people, they know when it’s real..:)

  • Mitch and Yaro,

    Thanks for this post. Really great stuff and easy to apply. Took a look at your site Mitch, awesome. Looks like you really are injoying your work. I’ve been telling some of my avid sports buddies that they would do well to start a blog because of their love of the games and passion. Hard to get the average Joe to even take a look at it. I’ll be sharing your site with them. Keep up the fine work and thanks again for sharing.

    Your Success,
    Scott

    • Thanks! There is definitely a lot of competition out there in my niche as well as just about all of them but if you can find the right people in your niche and work with them to push you both forward, most of the time you both will achieve far more than either of you could have done individually.

  • You can probably see what your 1st site looked like. Go here: web.archive.org/. They keep an archive. I’ve seen lots of my old sites and it was great to see how much my online presentation has changed – for the better.

    Great article. I have 31 sites. None of them are killing it. Total I have 55,000 unique visitors per month. You have 8 times that with one site. I don’t really have the formula down for creating a high traffic site. I think the niches I focus on aren’t quite right. Or maybe I’m doing something totally wrong. No idea.

    • a lot of it has to do with the very basics of structure and set up of articles. It’s really about keeping it simple. I’ll do my next article on something that will help you and the many others that always ask me about how to get traffic, real traffic that is, not 10 second visitors..

  • What a down to earth and simple post from heart! It seems that way to me, I guess it is because you are a blogger (like me) and not expert Yaro, I can see from your point of view. I admit I suck at keyword search and everyone keeps telling me I got a wrong niche but I am passionate about it so I am writing, will it be successful? I hope so, until then I am going to enjoy and not give up. Thanks.

    • having a topic you love is so important. No matter how much you make or how many visitors you get, you’ll have bad days where it’s the love of what you are doing that makes it worth it.

  • I just watched somebody turn their very usable and one of my favorite websites into a really crappy blog that crashes my browser and forces me to log into facebook.

    I don’t have a real facebook account. Nothing that I can use to identify myself with.

    Blogs fail, because everyone has one. It’s like the borg. Oh… Another blog… great…

  • Hi Mitch,

    I have a blog about Belgian soccer which is not active due to my decision to focus on my music band’s blog for at least a year (thanks Yaro). I expect to become active again with the soccer blog in Summer 2011. Do you think you could take up a coaching role since our subjects are similar?

    On another note, I agree one must try to understand the reasons behind the numbers, rather than get all worked up over the stats. Over the last months our (music blog’s) bounce rate decreased drastically. This was due to a more intricate inclusion of and reference to other material. So what did the low bounce rate say? That the same visitors visited more pages than before. But the sales remained as close to zero and the audience didn’t become more active (no forum posts).

    Another figure tells me that the ratio unique visits of a page over its total visits is declining (the total went up). This just means the same people are visiting a certain page several times, often due to vanity or because they take it as an entrance. So, reasoning about the numbers mostly reduces the enthusiasm.

    Thanks for a great post!

    • You can always reach me over at my site..I’m always looking to help other bloggers, it’s just a matter of having the time..

  • Kaz

    Great points. It’s so hard to be patient though! Sticking at it when you see little result or slow growth is difficult. We all want to see results immediately and have some instant gratification for our hard work!

    I’d be interested to know what traffic numbers a new site should be aiming for over the period of the first 3, 6, 9, 12 months – not sure if that’s the same sort of question as ‘how long is a piece of string’!?

    • It really isn’t as out there as the string question but there are so many variables, and despite what many think, it has less to do with the niche and more to do with effort. When I started I just covered college football which while it is super popular in the Fall, it’s not popular at all the rest of the year but I still managed to get traffic. My next post here will be all about traffic, how I get it and what makes sense as far as numbers. I think I will be blogging a lot about traffic here at EJ. Yaro is an absolute pro at this stuff and hopefully you have read the blueprint, a life changer in my case.

  • I love your comment about Alexa. I learned this about 2 years ago and has explained a lot since then.

    It really does make me wonder, though, why people take those numbers that seriously, when, seriously, who do you know who uses the Alexa toolbar?

    At one time it only counted people using Internet Explorer besides; yet, on many of my sites, Firefox users (according to Google Analytics) out-number IE users.

    Best,
    PCRoger

    • Maybe if my Alexa ranking was higher I would have a different opinion ..lol. But in all seriousness, I don’t know anyone outside of the blogging community who knows what it is and my Alexa ranking will go higher from one post here than on a College Football Saturday.
      I use all browsers but I’m a big chrome guy, just so easy to use. I have so many topics I want to write about, I’m glad I have Yaro to give me a platform to talk about it.

  • These are all so true. 1 – 4 really got me. write with your heart. know your niche really well and update it on regular basis.

    • It really is that simple, I think it’s more about taking the steps and doing the work and letting it happen then trying to force it and being disappointed that it doesn’t happen fast enough.

  • Terrific advice, Mitch. I too think the biggest problem many new bloggers face is an impatience for money and a high ranking. They read about success stories in bloggers and want to get in on the action but don’t realize the hard work and dedication it requires, especially given how much the competition has stepped up now.

    • In the BMM Members forum I am very active, it’s part of my everyday routine and I know Yaro likes to talk about how I am always on conference calls but the reality is I have been doing it all along and it has worked well so why stop, I have heard the same questions 100 times but Yaro and Gideon have updated the answers over time, things change fast and it’s nice to touch base with people with their fingers on the pulse since my niche is so far removed from the blogging community.
      Back to the comment though, EVERYONE seems to want to make money but so few want to take the time to build the business and lay the foundation. I have a funny story about using adsense in my early days, I’ll definitely post it here sometime..

  • Thanks for sharing this post. It’s really encouraging to see someone “stick it out”. Personally, I think I check my Alexa stats too often now. I think I might stop doing that. :)

    • Those aren’t the ones to check, one of my future posts will be a look inside stats and the programs that track them.

  • Leslie – I completely agree with you. The underlying principles hold true for most income producing / revenue generating ventures as well. Such ventures should never be started in a state of desperation. Patience and persistence are definitely key ingredients as your personal story also reveals.

    I too started a website couple years back on paid surveys and other “get paid to” type offers and did well. The website still does quite well (going back to your comment on setting up automated systems) – and I have branched it out to be a full time blog on helping hard working and successful corporate professionals get more out of life – whether from a financial perspective, more freedom or more flexibility to live life on their own terms

    Keep up the good work and all the best

  • My apologies folks – was reading Leslie’s post and commented on Mitch’s by accident. Mitch / Yaro – my apologies as well

  • Very great post. All discussed points are true. in fact “Get quick rich” formula does not work in blogging.

  • For those of who you reading this I’ve had the good fortune to pick Mitch’s brain for an hour and you should listen to everything he says in this post. He might not be one of those bloggers that you hear a ton about, but he’s really got it together. I was amazed by what he’s done with sportschatplace. We can learn a ton from his wisdom and insights.

    • I definitely enjoyed the interview and always listen to your interviews while I’m blogging, so many ways to get it done, not surprising but still mazing. Also, see the speed issues are fixed,,I see big things there.

  • You make some pretty good points here. Especially the one with people wasting time on their blog’s look and not content. That’s like selling cold useless coffee in a decorative cup.
    Who’s gona buy?
    Thanks.

    • Not to mention the cost invested…but I think this is one most people need to find out for themselves

  • Hi Mitch,
    Great post. I read your interview with Yaro a couple of weeks ago. You are an inspiring man to listen to.
    It does take hard work, you are proof of that.
    Thanks
    Pete

    • Thanks, It’s the idea of doing what you love, not just to sound passionate about it but there are days you just don’t feel like doing it but need to continue to go forward.

  • I’ve been at this for 10 months and have realised that the three keys in being successful online are 1. content, 2. patience and 3. focus. Its very easy to give up in the early stages because the amount of time put in does not equal the amount of income taken out, but like any business its getting through those tough initial stages.

    • If you stay the course and keep plugging away, the money will find you and when it does, it’s a real income, not just the dribs and drabs you maybe could have made in the early going.

  • Great information. I had no idea there was even an Alexa toolbar. I definitely learned a lot from this post. Thanks for sharing.

    • Thanks, I didn’t either before I joined Blog Mastermiond. You sound like you are at a good point to get involved,. having the ability to talk to Yaro once a month and usually more basically for life and to have him coach you to success is worth about 50 times more than what he’s charging.

  • it is really nice to have read this post. content is king, as always. without content, your blog is as good as dead.

  • It’s good to read this article, it is a universal truth that i have found Yaro’s Articles always helpful.
    Love You Yaro

  • It’s good to read this article, it is a universal truth that i have found EJ’s Articles always helpful, no matter who writes these either Lesie or Mitch or Yaro.

  • those are few great tips, some of them even apply to me but now i’ll make sure i get rid of them as soon as possible. Thanks for sharing these helpful tips with us Mitch and thank you too Yaro for posting these.

  • Great article Mitch! It’s amazing what you have been able to accomplish with your website. Thanks for all of the tips!

  • Cheers Mitch that’s exactly what I needed to hear right now! I always enjoy listening to your input on the recordings of Yaro’s calls. It’s great that someone with your succes is keen to give something back with no “strings” attached. Passion is the right word. Cheers mate!

  • Number 5 has been my Achilles heel.

  • […] Why Blogs Fail – an encouraging article about how to take a small blog to the next level. […]

  • Yeah I agree that these days it’s difficult to make quick money from blogs. So people shouldn’t be thinking of it as a shortcut.

  • Finding it very difficult and time consuming to achieve anything at all! I have my first website up linked to Amazon affiliates and a couple of ads for Peerfly CPA. I guess another 100 of these and I might earn a pound! Wish me luck.

  • Thanks for this valuable post and all points are right and important also I used alexa since last many times.

  • Yaro,

    Great advice as usual. I think as a whole the message is that success isn’t going to come easy, getting to pre-occupied about every detail will only lead to frustration and failure, and ultimately the most important thing is to focus on your customers and provide them with outstanding content, regularly. Especially the whole keyword craze these days has made it so even long-tail keywords are being used by people hoping to “get rich quick”. Those who focus on providing high-quality content built around the keywords will get the long-term results that they are seeking and those who are worried about using the perfect keywords will continue to struggle worrying about details.

    Great content Yaro, thanks!

    Jeff Anderson

  • How absolutely delightful to see a guest post from Miami Mitch!

    Believe it or not, I DO remember Mitch’s first site. Or, at least, the one he had when we all started that particular class of Yaro’s Blog Mastermind. Talk about fabulous makeovers!

    Mitch and his Sports Chat Place are prime examples that (a) passion for the topic (b) mixed with hard work and (c) a driving eagerness to do whatever is necessary are the three “magic” conditions necessary for a blog to succeed.

  • Great Post!

    I’m checking out Comscore and Net Ratings right now so I can review my Alexa Ranks, I have always been doubting the realness of those numbers and the fact that the average guy out there who doesn’t own a site don’t know about Alexa.

    Thank You for these tips!

  • i love your idea about keywords. i agree on it. keywords will just be part of who you are and what you write. not all the time you need to stick on keywords because there will be a time you will have no keywords to use because you used all of them. as much as we understand the importance of keywords, too much emphasis on it can just damage the whole post.

  • Hey Mitch, congrats on creating such a successful website, I’ve been working on a website now for over 2 years and I’ve been slowly growing the community, the tips you’ve shared here some of them I’ve definitely experienced in the past. From my experience the biggest thing is to always be consistent and improving, and be a real member of the community. I’ve seen way too many communities that could be so much bigger if the owner was a part of it.

    Till then,

    Jean

  • Mitch,

    Great advice my friend, I really appreciate the piece of advice relating to watching your analytics for what people are typing when they land on your site rather than how many people are actually landing there.

    As a businessperson who strives to provide everything that his customers want, it’s a phenomenal idea to base some new content around the major keywords or phrases they are searching for.

    Thanks again,

    Jeff

  • Mitch

    I do agree with the points that you have mentioned. I would like to add that another reason why blogs fail is that some of them do not connect emotionally with the readers. If one tries to builds emotions like trust, empathy, anger, etc, the readers tend to be more responsive.

    Thanks

  • That’s some good advice. Often times people quit just before achieving success.

  • Awesome post. Do you mind if I ask what your source is for this information?

  • Joy

    Thanks Mitch for a great post full of very valuable tips for those of us just getting started on this journey. If I follow your advise now, I may just save myself a load of frustration and disappointment later on.

    Cheers

    Joy

  • Great Job. I only had a couple of visitors the first few months… Posting comments on other blogs with a link to yours is a great way to obtain DIRECT traffic. Also if your a tech-blog writer, posting articles on Techspy and Reddit help gain quick visitors which then subscribe to your blog.

  • great stuff , i bookmarked it. very knowledgeable article.

    Thanks
    Misbah Mumtaz

  • Sometimes they fail because the creators just don’t work on them or work too less.

  • […] Why Blogs Fail by Yaro Starak […]

  • Can relate to a lot of what you wrote, most guilty about “Worrying too much about the design”, one of my sites in the fitness niche has only 20 articles (some of which are very amateur) but I find myself spending more time on tweaking elements’ position and “wow effects” than writing value articles!

  • Most of the time, blogs fail because owners quit. They are impatient and wants to get positive results as soon as possible. You have to keep in mind that it takes time before your blog will be successful. You have to work hard and put an effort to learn new techniques in order to keep up with search engines.

  • Wow – I have done most of these things wrong when I first started… nice to read that I’m finally on the right track.

    Beautiful information – really appreciate it!

Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Follow Yaro: Email | RSS | Facebook | Twitter | Google+ | LinkedIn | Instagram | YouTube

Don't show again | X

Follow Yaro On Facebook

And learn how to build a better blog.

Follow Yaro Starak Facebook