I’m not a long-time blogger. I’ve only been really focused on blogging as a hobby and burgeoning career in the past two years. Staying motivated as a blogger is very difficult, I find.
It isn’t difficult at first. The excitement and momentum you start out with after you’ve bought a new domain, set up hosting, installed a theme…that only lasts for a little while.
It is sort of like a new relationship, or a new marriage. The getting started part is wonderful, amazing, new, different. But then the honeymoon passes, and you come home, and the dishes are still there, the laundry still needs to be done, the poop in the yard doesn’t pick up itself.
And then the work of the relationship begins, or continues.
Blogging is a lot like that.
I have started at least six blogs in the past ten years, and I let all but one of them go (the exception is this one). Here’s more about my blogging failures.
In every case, I started a blog, and then found myself struggling to stay motivated to keep working on it. But this time (with this blog, on this domain you are reading this article on right here) is my first success.
In this article, I talk about what caused my failures in the past, and how I’ve managed to push through this time.
Tips to Stay Motivated as a New Blogger
As I explain in much more detail below, here are the vital things I think new bloggers need to do to stay motivated and keep creating content:
- Set out clear (and realistic) goals from the very beginning;
- Create opportunities for small successes early on;
- Choose a niche you can write about for at least 12 months;
- Select a domain name with some room to grow;
- Outsource when you start to struggle to keep building momentum; and
- Network with like minded individuals who are doing the same work you are.
Alright, let’s talk about these. Here we go!
Set out your goals from the beginning
When you start a blog, most likely there was a reason for it. Before taking a single step to start your blog, you must first confirm and clarify your why and your purpose. Why are you doing this? What do you hope to achieve?
As you answer these questions, you’ll be able to create your roadmap and goals for your blog. As you set your goals, make sure you create long term and short term goals. With all of the goals, make sure that they are realistic, and actually achievable in the time frame you’ve selected.
There is nothing that kills motivation more quickly than feelings of failure.
And in many cases, we create those feelings of failure ourselves, but setting ourselves up to fail. We set unrealistic goals, or we set goals that are too big. We don’t give ourselves enough time for growth.
To avoid feeling like a failure (for no other reason than we’ve made it so), set out small and realistic goals in addition to your big, overarching goals. For example, with a new site, I set goals around things I can control, rather than things I cannot control.
I cannot control organic google traffic. So I try not to set goals around google.
I can control how much content I produce, so I can set goals around the number of posts or words I want to publish in a given week or month.
When I create goals around things that I can control, I don’t end up feeling defeated when I fail to meet my benchmarks in areas where I have no control.
Create opportunities for small successes early on
The first step to staying motivated is to understand why you’ve failed in the past. For me (and with blogging) it isn’t just about being disciplined.
With a blog, I find that in almost every case, people need to have some success to continue to work on it.
A new domain takes some time to age, before Google will send the site any organic search traffic. People debate whether the “google sandbox” actually exists, or if the three-six month period after a new domain gets set up is less about google and more about other factors of the site (not much content, low social signals, etc).
Either way, when you start a new blog, there are no easy and quick successes (meaning eyeballs). You will likely be laboring in solitary quiet for months before anyone comes to your blog to read what you write.
The lack of any sort of feedback in this day and age of instant connection with others through social media and youtube kills new bloggers. I can attest to this from personal experience. The lack of any discernible readership in those first few months just destroys inexperienced bloggers’ motivation and momentum.
They start to doubt whether the site will ever take off. They wonder if they picked the right niche. Is my site any good? Is this worth all of my time and money? Should I just try something else?
It is easy to get distracted by something that looks easier and provides more positive feedback quickly during the first few months of building a site from scratch.
Having been through this many times now, I can see that traffic does come google if you continue to push through those first few months, if you believe in your project, and you work steadily to do what you need to do to get google to send you traffic when the sandbox period ends.
To stay motivated in those first few months, you have to understand that there is going to be no traffic unless you go and get some, meaning through promoting the posts through social media or on other websites.
You have to believe that the traffic is going to come if you just keep pushing.
If you accept that the site will be successful if you just keep going, you’ll be able to stay motivated as a blogger and stay on track.
And if you can’t stay motivated to work on the blog without the positive feedback, spend some time getting traffic to your site through Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Tik Tok, Youtube, guest posting, etc.
Having some traffic going through your site, getting positive comments on your website Facebook page, and starting to see growing numbers can help you push through and stay disciplined.
Ultimately, if you can find some success of any kind with your blog, be it earning a small Amazon affiliate commission, hitting some small traffic goals, or earning even a few pennies with display ads, you’ll find it much easier to keep moving forward.
Choose a topic that you can write about for 12 months
Even if you choose a niche that you are 100% passionate about, you’ll eventually find yourself struggling to create content around it.
The fact is, we humans get used to a certain stimulation, and then we get bored with it. We want something new, different. With a blog, you generally can’t just do a 180 degree pivot from a blog about basketball to one about gardening. It is confusing to your readers, and might also cause you SEO problems, as google struggles to understand what your site is about and who your audience is.
When you choose a niche topic, you want to make sure this is a niche or subject that you are willing to live with for the next 12 months. I really think that people need to put at least 12 months into a new blog before making the decision to give up or punt on the niche.
If the niche isn’t something you can imagine writing about for the next 12 months, then keep looking.
However, this doesn’t mean that the niche has to be one that is a personal love of yours, or one that you have personal experience with. Choosing to write about what you know is why we have thousands of mommy blogs and lifestyle blogs, food blogs, and book blogs. This is why there is a lot less competition for helpful websites about lawn mowers, DnD, and numerology.
Just choose something that you can write about for 12 months. Know that you are free to quit after those 12 months of consistent content are up.
Choose a domain name with some room
Micro niche sites were really popular for several years, with very specific names like “bestblenderrecipes.com.” It seems that in 2020 and beyond, the trend is moving towards more general sites, that cover various topics in depth (like mini-sites within a big site).
I’m not a professional SEO, keep this in mind, this is just what I see.
And in general, the topics need to be somewhat related, such as a pet website that talks about dogs, cats, birds, and snakes (not a pet website that talks about personal finance).
But this movement toward more broad websites is a relief for new bloggers, who previously felt pressured to choose a very narrow niche and domain. The problem was that we’d get burned out writing about blender recipes and couldn’t expand to other topics in the blog because the blog is supposed to be about blender recipes.
When you choose a broader niche (all beach activities rather than just surfing) you have a lot of room to write about other topics when you get bored with the one you have been working on for the past weeks.
Plan out your content for 12 months
I think one of the things many new bloggers do (myself included) is just choose a topic, buy a domain, and then start writing.
If you are someone who can push through the sandbox period and beyond, this is a great strategy.
But if you are someone who struggles to stay up with a blog, to keep writing and publishing (like me) then do yourself a favor.
Right from the get-go.
Before you buy the domain, but after you’ve selected your niche, plan out how many articles you want to post in that first year, each month.
Then do your keyword research, and plan out the entire year’s worth of content.
With your content calendar in place, you won’t have any questions in six months what you should be creating and posting. You can just work through the next article and then the next and the next. There’s no room for wasting time on additional keyword research, or playing with analytics or plugins.
Outsource some of your content when you start to struggle
Success in blogging is about gaining momentum. Sometimes it is just IMPOSSIBLE to get content ready enough to hit the publish button.
Success breeds success, and motivation comes with momentum. If you are struggling to get the amount of content you want to see published, or hit your traffic goals, it is easy to just put the site down for a while. (I did this, and I regret it).
To keep the site on track (and get excited again about it when you see traffic spiking upward) I recommend that you consider outsourcing some of your content creation responsibilities.
If you have content going up on a regular basis, even when you don’t have the energy or excitement to lift a finger to create anything, your site will continue to grow. And when you see that growth playing out in your analytics numbers, it’ll renew your commitment to the blog as a project.
If you have never outsourced articles before, never fear. It is not as hard as you might think. There are some really easy to use content creation services out there, at some really reasonable rates. You can use Textun, for example.
Surround yourself with people in the same space
If you surround yourself with people who are working hard to post content regularly, you will post content regularly. If you talk to people who aren’t blogging, who aren’t testing SEO tactics, who have no interest at all in affiliate marketing or making money with blogging, you are going to struggle.
There is an amazing amount of energy that comes from talking with people who are in the same head space as you. Who are working on the same projects, who are confronting the same challenges.
As a blogger who is finally seeing some success, I think I can attribute most of my momentum and motivation to my talks and connections with other bloggers who are doing exactly what I am doing. When first there was just me, pushing myself to get to the computer, now there is accountability.
I am more disciplined when I know someone is looking over my shoulder. When I know that others know that I have failed to achieve the goals I have set out. This more than anything lately has driven me back to my office chair, to keep pounding on my keyboard, to keep moving forward.
There isn’t one way to become a successful blogger. If anything, I know more about what it takes to be an unsuccessful blogger, having had more failures in my blogging career than successes and made more mistakes as a blogger than most.
Lately though, I feel like I have cracked the code to keep myself moving forward.
And that, I think, is just about everything in the world of blogging.
Emily Anderson is a mother of three children, all under the age of 10. Located in the Pacific Northwest of the US, Emily is a mom and part-time blogger, jumping in front of the computer when the kids are sleeping. She started this blog in April of 2019 and is proud that the blog is now paying for itself. If you want to know about her journey as a blogger, check out out her personal digital journal or her post about failing her way to blogging success.