I had an awesome blog, that got me 75000+ yearly views. Then, within months the views dropped by 33%. I had made 3 stupid mistakes that even you might make. Through this article, I will demonstrate how these mistakes almost killed my awesome blog, and what I am doing to undo the damage done by these mistakes.
Introducing my blog:
As of Dec 2014, my blog is essentially a web-log of things I have learnt or wanted to make a note of. Very rarely I have posted something keeping in mind what my readers would want to read about. Considering this ambiguous nature, I considered 75000+ views on an annual basis to be a good number. So much so that I believed – Since my posts are here to stay and will only grow with time, so will my traffic. Hence, I can afford to not add new posts, not promote my articles, and still my traffic will at least stay constant.
But soon I realised that I was wrong.
I’ll start by analysing the performance of my blog – genobz.com. For simplicity of this analysis, I looked at views that my website received over its lifetime. The first sketch shows yearly views from 2008 till 2014 along with annotations.
The second sketch shows the monthly views over the past year, along with annotations.
Based on the above two sketches, you can clearly observe the following:
- Website views grew sharply (CAGR 280%) from 2009 to 2012
- Website views dropped steeply (by about 33%) from 2012 to 2013
- Website views stabilized in the year 2014
- While monthly views declined in the first half of 2014, they stabilised towards the end
The first mistake – Neglecting my Blog
As also evident by the annotations, I neglected my blog for way too long. In Nov 2013, before I finally started off a self-hosted blog, i had not blogged for over an year! While my previous posts continued to generate traffic, most of them were losing relevance as time passed and hence the decline in annual views. I started off my self-hosted blog to remind myself that I needed to be more regular and needed to give adequate time to my blog. In 2014, i was able to achieve it partially and hence, i was able to arrest the decline in views.
The second mistake – Not Promoting Enough
When I started blogging, i was driven by the blogging principle – ‘Good Quality Content Rules’. Over the years, I understood the emphasis of perceptions and was guided by an additional principle – ‘Good Content needs to look Good’. But all throughout, I neglected the power of promoting. I spent insane amount of time trying to make sure my blog and the content looks good. I spent a good amount of time creating content but I never consciously promoted my content. Before 2013, i used to engage with like-minded people and hence drive traffic to my blog but that ceased in 2013 due to neglect. Even in early 2014, when i improved my posting frequency, I neglected the need of promoting my content. Hence, despite posting enough articles, my views continued to drop over the months till June 2014.
Third Mistake – Overwhelming a visitor with complexity
Over the years, I had blogged on 10-15 distinct categories. When I started my self-hosted blog, I made all the categories available on the homepage. Hence, when a visitor landed on my homepage, he had 20-30 articles to choose from. For a first time visitor, it was quite overwhelming and hence that lead to a very high bounce rate. To fix this, I took a step back and rethought my blogging strategy. I revamped the complete website (along with the web-hosting service!) and started from scratch again (in terms of web design). I stripped off all widgets, removed unnecessary categories, and streamlined the entire blog. I made sure that when a visitor lands on my homepage, he has two-three distinct options to choose from. Throughout his stay on my website, he should never be confused. Most importantly, I understood that my blog wasn’t just a reflection of my thoughts but also a channel through which i wanted visitors to interact with my thoughts.
These were the three critical mistakes I made. Identifying my mistakes was just the first part to reclaiming the growth of my blog. The next part is devising and implementing a strategy to counter the damage and ensure a steady growth for the blog.