Even when you’re doing all the right things, you might still have exclaimed “No one reads my blog!” at some point. In today’s article, we’ll look into why no one’s reading your blog and what you can do to convince people that your blog is worth reading.
No one reads my blog.
— You, probably.
You’ve read other blogs and followed their advice. You’ve done all the right things: researched your keywords, wrote awesome content based on those keywords, and promoted the heck out of that content.
And what do you get?
No page views, no comments, no shares, nothing.
And it sucks. Big time.
But the good news is that blogging doesn’t have to suck. You can do something to change it.
Today’s blog post is all about knowing why no one is reading your blog and what you can do about it.
Have you ever researched, poured your heart out on paper WordPress, hit Publish, and then waited for the readers to come.
And then… crickets.
It’s frustrating, it’s heartbreaking, it’s enough to make you feel you just want to throw in the towel. Or hurl your laptop against the wall.
Here are some of the possible reasons why no one reads your blog.
Of course, before your audience even reads one word of your articles, they’ll have to know that your blog exists in the first place.
If your blog isn’t showing up on their search results pages when they’re looking for information that you’ve already written about, or if it isn’t showing up on their social media feeds, or if it doesn’t appear on any other blogs that they’re reading, your blog might as well doesn’t exist.
Okay, so you followed everyone’s advice and did a few things to get people to notice
But if you want people to actually read your blog posts, you need to entice them first.
If your headlines are weak, they’re not going to be interested enough to read on or click on them if they see it as a promoted link elsewhere like on another blog or on social media.
In addition, if you use images and photos on your blog post that look unprofessional, or are unpleasant to look at, it’s going to turn them off.
Headlines and photos also affect your social media updates; they’re the first elements users see when you or your followers share your blog posts. When users read blah headlines and/or see unappealing or irrelevant photos, they won’t be bothered to click.
The content could be valuable, but the problem may be that your audience can’t read or understand what you’re saying.
Something as simple as your font can make it really hard for your audience to read your content. If your font size is too small or too large, or your font style is too tacky, cursive, or just plain illegible, your text could be tiresome to read.
Grammar is also a big factor in how readable your content is, and this applies whatever language you’re blogging in. Most readers don’t have perfect grammar, but if your grammar is atrocious to the point of being incoherent, your audience simply won’t bother.
In addition, a factor you may be overlooking is how fast your blog loads. It may seem trivial or mundane but observe your own behavior. If a page you’re trying to look at loads any longer than 5 seconds, you tend to bounce away or hit Back on your browser, am I right?
If this is how you behave, you can assume that this is also how your audience behaves.
Yet another overlooked factor in readability is how your website looks like on a smartphone or any other mobile device. An increasing number of internet users are using their smartphone to browse the internet instead of their computers or laptops.
If your target readers use their smartphones to look at your blog and your blog looks terrible on their phone, they won’t spend the time and effort to see your content; it’s easier to just close their browser and look at something else.
Audiences read blogs and articles that they can connect to.
As the creator of your content, your natural tendency is to write all about your opinions on a particular topic. If your experiences are helpful to your audience, they’ll be receptive to them, but if you go off on a “me, me, me” ramble that doesn’t provide any new insight to your audience or doesn’t give them solutions to issues they have, they’ll look for another blogger who can.
Another reason your content may be unrelatable is that you haven’t done enough research: both on your target audience and your blog posts. It could be that you’re targeting the right audience but your writing isn’t compelling enough for them, or you’re targeting the wrong audience entirely.
If your content is all about you, or if it’s not about something your audience cares about, then frankly, your content is going to be ignored.
Getting audiences to keep coming back to your blog partly depends on the quality of your posts. Your posts, aside from having to benefit your readers, need to be of high quality. Not only do your posts need to be high quality, but they also need to be consistently so. Readers read one substandard article, and they’re not inclined to read anything else from you.
And (maybe) surprisingly, it also depends on how consistent you are in publishing your blog posts. Readers don’t like going to a blog expecting new content and finding none. Similarly, it doesn’t give the best impression when you’re seemingly active on social media but not updating your blog with new articles. Of course, there are plenty of possible explanations for being absent for a while, but don’t expect readers to stick around waiting for your content when they can get fresh, updated content elsewhere.
Another aspect of your blog that you might be inconsistent in is the topics of your blog posts. Depending on your niche, you’ll probably find yourself writing about various issues and subjects. There’s nothing inherently wrong with writing about different topics and issues, but it can be a problem if you aren’t able to pinpoint a clear focus of your blog.
You shouldn’t aim to write for everyone; writing for a select target audience will paradoxically allow you to have more visits to your blog than writing for everyone. Why? Because your blog then becomes the “go-to” blog for one specific thing instead of being a mixed bag.
It can’t be stated enough: for them to keep coming back to your blog, your target audience must find your content too useful to dismiss.
It doesn’t matter how compelling your headlines are, or if you spend on gorgeous stock photos, or if you blog every day without fail. If your target audience doesn’t find your content valuable, that’s it. They won’t read it.
Now that you know more about the “why,” it’s time to know more about the “how.”
Here are some of the things you can do to get people to read your blog.
Keyword research is a basic skill that you should know by now, or at least be familiar with. The point of doing it is so that your target audience can find your blog post using keywords that they’re likely to use to search for information about a particular topic, so doing your keyword research correctly increases the likelihood of your content being found by your target audience through search engines.
Speaking of search engines, there are various ways to optimize your blog such that it’s easily indexed and served up by search engines, especially Google. Work on both your on-page SEO and off-page SEO so your target audience can find you.
In a previous article, I’ve listed down a whopping 60 ways to promote your blog; study the article and apply a few techniques on your blog. Don’t be afraid to experiment with these strategies because you’ll never know which strategies will work for your blog if you don’t try.
Once your target audience is on your site, how long does it take for your page to welcome them?
Generally, you lose 20% of your visitors for every second over 1.5 seconds that your site takes to load.
Basic things you can do to speed up your site include reducing the number and size of the elements that load on the page, such as images and source code files, as well as optimizing the elements on the page that render the images and the overall design of the page.
If you’re not a developer, you might need to consult one instead of troubleshooting your site yourself, but if you want to see how your site is currently performing, at least at a glance, you can try using tools such as Pingdom Tools or GTmetrix.
Images and photos are among the first things that visitors notice on your site, so it’s worth working on it.
If you know your way around a DSLR camera and have an eye for great composition, you can take high-quality HD photos yourself. Plus points for having control over the subjects of your photos, ensuring that your photos are related to the textual content. Also, you don’t have to worry about ownership, as these photos are yours (don’t forget to have human models sign a release). You can even choose to make some money on them by selling them to stock photo sites.
On the other hand, if, like me, you can’t work a DSLR camera to save your life, you’re better off going with stock photos. Choose the photos you use carefully, though; the whole point of using photos in your blog is to display beautiful ones. There are plenty of sites that provide free stock photos, such as Pixabay and Unsplash, but paying for stunning stock photos may be worth the price, especially if you’re in a niche where visuals are extremely important, such as food or home improvement.
Images and photos are indeed important, but how your text looks also contributes to the overall aesthetics of your blog.
Typography is the art of arranging and designing the written word such that it’s readable and appealing. The font style, size, and spacing do a lot to draw people to your content. You can also space out the paragraphs such that they’re not confronted with a wall of text and get overwhelmed.
The fewer extra visual elements users have to contend with, the more focus they have on your actual blog post. Distracting visual elements include ads, sidebars, navigation bars, and a background with complex patterns or colors.
The difficult thing about looking for distractions on your site is that you’re so used to seeing those elements that your brain tends to ignore those and not treat them as distractions. A better way to do this is to have an objective person look at your blog and decide if the visual elements you have on your site really are distracting or if they’re tolerable. Ideally, this objective person should be a website or software tester, but if you have budget constraints, you can also ask friends or family to help you out with this.
Another problem when dealing with distractions is that you do need some of them. For instance, you want to invite readers to subscribe, so there are going to be opt-in forms on your website. Depending on their location and how you display them, these are potential distractions. Aim for a balance between the elements you need to display while maintaining a positive user experience on your site.
We’ve discussed headlines in other posts on this blog, and for good reason: headlines are the first thing people see when they look at the results page of a search they’ve made, or when they come across a blog linking to your content.
There are plenty of articles available on how to create an awesome headline that successfully gets readers to click, but a couple of useful tools you can use to evaluate your headlines are CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer and Sharethrough Headline Analyzer.
Adapt to your audience and design your blog such that it displays properly in smartphones and other mobile devices. Making your blog mobile-friendly should be a high-priority item when you’re finalizing your blog design and theme.
Fortunately, theme developers have caught on to this, and the majority of the current themes available, especially in WordPress, are already mobile-responsive.
Another adjustment you can make for mobile users is to remove all popups when your site is accessed through a mobile device. Popups look completely different when displayed on a bigger screen compared to a smartphone’s smaller screen.
Plus, popups on your mobile site won’t win you any points with Google; they published an article a few years ago on their webmaster forum about this saying that they’ll penalize mobile sites that display “intrusive interstitials,” i.e., anything that disrupts the way users consume content. Their point is that a negative user experience with a website should impact its search engine ranking negatively as well.
We’ve already mentioned keyword research, so this one goes for your audience research and article research.
Audience research involves creating personas and profiles of people who are likely to find your content valuable and then finding out their specific needs and problems. The purpose of doing this is so you can create content that will resonate and connect with a specific group of people. Having a focused, targeted audience will help you create content that keeps them coming back, turning a casual reader into a regular one and maybe even into a subscriber.
Your blog posts also need to be researched properly to maintain the quality of information that your readers are getting. A well-researched article needs to be informative, illustrated by examples, and backed up by credible data. Great article research starts with searching for information (usually through Google) and vetting the information to ensure that you’re basing your article only on high-quality information.
Consistent publishing isn’t the same as publishing daily. It’s not about how often you post but whether you stick to your schedule or not. You can publish weekly, bi-weekly, twice a month, or even monthly (though monthly is a bit too infrequent), but the important thing is to create a regular schedule and to adhere to that schedule.
Having a consistent timetable for blog posts not only sets your readers’ expectations but also helps drive you to write when you’re not feeling very inspired to write. To have people anticipating your content can be a great motivator.
“Provide valuable content” sounds so simple and yet intimidating when you really think about it.
To have every single thing you write and publish be of value is immense pressure, and I get it. But remember, your content doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to be understandable, informative, and offer solutions to your target audience’s problems.
The good thing about this is that writing valuable content is easier when you have great research skills, so improve on that and you’re likely to improve your content.
Plus, if you find that you can do other things better than writing, such as video or podcasting, go for it. Valuable content isn’t just limited to written content. If you feel you can help more people through other means of content, pursue it.
It’s tough to get people to read your content, especially when you’re only just starting out.
Feeling ignored and rejected because no one read your blog?
The good news is that you can do something about it. Here again are the steps you can take to get people to read your blog.
As you probably realize by now, a lot of the steps you can do to get people to read your blog have to do with blog design. If you want to read a more in-depth article on it, here’s one that I wrote a while ago.
And here are a few more reminders before you go work on your blog.
Whenever you change any characteristic of your blog, you want to know if that change truly benefited your blog and your readers, so always change one feature at a time, show both versions, test which one does better, and then go with the winner.
In any split testing endeavor, you should always have a single goal in mind. If your current goal is to increase the time that visitors spend on your website, then that’s the only result that you should be monitoring. Altering different features of your blog could have an effect on some other metric, such as opt-in rate or number of shares, but you need to not consider those other metrics and only focus on the page views of your site.
A saying goes “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always gotten.”
That is, if you simply carry on with what you’ve been doing, you can’t expect the number of your readers to just increase spontaneously. You’re going to have to tweak your blog and sometimes your working routine as well so you can see results and increase the readership of your blog.
Publishing online something that you created yourself—whether it’s written content, images, or video—is strangely personal. It feels like you’re putting yourself out there, and it can sometimes make you feel vulnerable to the scrutiny of so many people. This is probably why not having many people read your blog can hurt badly; it feels like they’re rejecting you.
It’s easy to fall into this trap, but you need to resist this negative thought pattern. You need to be able to distance your identity as a person from your identity as a blogger; failing as a blogger doesn’t mean you’re failing as a person.
Have you experienced a slump in readership? Do you think the tips above are helpful? Or do you think there’s something I missed? Speak up in the comments!
JoAnne is your average, everyday, sane stay-at-home mom who believes in the power of the internet to make dreams come true. She has an insatiable appetite for chocolate, as well as all things internet marketing. She keeps up with the latest trends in blogging, affiliate marketing, e-commerce, and more.