The Top 12 Success Killers In Blogging (with Solutions!)

We all want to be successful. As we pine away at producing content into the wee hours of the night, we do not hit that publish button hoping that no one will read what we have to say so that we can make $0.00 per hour…we hope that it takes off like a viral masterpiece so we can enjoy the fruits of our labor! However, there are certain aspects of blogging that can completely derail your goal and keep you in the “could have been” pile for years to come. It is important that you address each of these success killers in your blogging to insure that you can be more efficient and keep the snowball effect rolling. Otherwise…you are just going to be spinning the wheels of disappointment.

Top 12 Success Killers In Blogging

So let’s jump straight into it. Here are the top 12 success killers in blogging. If you do not get these items in check, you might as well pack up the laptop now and give up. These are not in any particular order as I find each of these items just as important as the rest.

1. Facebook, Twitter and other Social Media

Yes…social media is a fantastic way to bring in traffic to your blog and establish yourself as an expert in your niche. But…social media is also an addiction that can rob you of precious minutes throughout the day that could be used for actual productivity. If you want to really see how rampant this addiction is in today’s society, just take look at how much your friends that don’t own blogs spend on Facebook and Twitter!

Solution: You can use tools like HootSuite and MarketMeTweet to schedule tweets that also update your Facebook accounts and pages. It is also a good idea to block off a small portion of time during the day to focus on social media and then close those apps to cut down on distraction while you work.

2. Your Email Inbox

If you are anything like me, that 3 (or 40 in some cases) that is in a red circle on my email app drives me crazy. I just can’t not open it up and read it! Your email can drown you as a blogger. We all want to answer our emails in a timely fashion, but if we are spending the day answering one email at a time, we are disrupting work flow and concentration on our goals.

Solution: Just like with social media, block off a period of time each day to handle your email. During the rest of the time, close your email app or window to prevent the urge to jump into it every 5 minutes.

3. Not Tracking Statistics

Watched statistics increase. Any business owner will tell you that is just a natural part of the business building process. As you start to watch your metrics and earnings, you will see trends that can help you in the future as you try to increase income and productivity. How do you know what you need to improve if you are not sure what isn’t performing well? You don’t, so watching and tracking statistics is vital to success.

Solution: Luckily for bloggers, there are a ton of free and paid tools to make this happen. For web stats, you can use Google Analytics, Mint or CrazyEgg. For the monetary side of things, I typically like to just use Excel to track earnings and trends.

4. Procrastination

“I’ll just do that tomorrow.” I can not even begin to tell you how many blogs that one line has killed. Procrastination is a hard thing to combat when you do not have a boss leaning over your shoulder asking when a project is going to be completed. Being your own boss means that you actually have to be your own boss.

Solution: Set time lines and checklists and then stick to them! By writing things down and mapping out your day/week/month/year, you make yourself accountable. You are the only one that can get the job done and no one else cares (well maybe your readers) if you do or not. So get on it and get organized.

5. Low Self Worth

You started a blog or business because you wanted to make something better for yourself. You also started it with the belief that you were actually capable of completing that goal. With time, after a couple of trolls hit your site or you do not see success right away, you start to think that maybe you aren’t good enough or it just isn’t in the cards for you. One of the worst thing an aspiring full-time blogger can do is to start lowering their self worth by not believing in themselves. Confidence is required for success.

Solution: To keep the motivation and confidence rolling, celebrate the small successes. Did you have more subscribers today? Make your first 50 bucks? Celebrate these small successes that will lead up to large ones. You will be surprised what that can do for your blogging morale.

6. Unrealistic Expectations

A lot of bloggers jump into the scene with unbelievable, unrealistic expectations about blogging as an income. Blogging is not a get rich quick scheme. If you are looking to make money fast online, take a look at pure affiliate marketing or some other form of faster income generation because blogging is about building a real business over time. If you are expecting to start a blog and be full-time in 6 months, you are just going to be disappointed and give up at the 6 month mark.

Solution: Set real, obtainable, honest goals for yourself and then start chipping off those goals one by one. The addition of small, completed goals equal the large payoff over time.

7. Not Setting Goals

Are you just winging it hoping for the best? Do you even know where you are headed? If you are not setting goals, you are just wandering in the wasteland of the Internet with the hope that something is going to hit one day. Successful business planning is centered around setting and achieving goals. Without that…you are just a blind man in a maze.

Solution: Set long-term and short-term goals and make sure to read the iNLP Center review to understand how motivation works. The short-term goals should add up to the long-term over time. Track these goals and cross them off as you compete them.

8. No Defined Purpose

How many blogs have you gone to that do not seem to have a defined purpose. They start off with a specific niche and then start talking about blogging, their life or some other random subject that has nothing to do with their original intent. The by-product of this behavior? The blogger starts to lose their audience, credibility and success.

Solution: Pick a niche and rock it out. No one wants to hear about blogging on your gardening blog. They want to hear about gardening! As time progresses, you can expand into other related subject matters (like tree growing), but you need to keep it related. You can kill your blog by going off topic frequently.

9. Bad Promotion Strategies

The “build it and they will come” mentality to blogging is gone. Unfortunately, there is just too much mess on the Internet today to rise above the noise without some kind of self-promotion. In today’s world of successful blogging, you have to be a marketer as much as you are a blogger to get your name out there.

Solution: Find the promotion strategies that work best in your niche. There is no “one size fits all” solution here so you are going to have to test guest posting, forums, social media and other outlets to see what works best in your niche…and then keep testing.

10. No Monetization Strategy

As I wrote in a recent article “Are you writing articles that actually have the ability to make money?“, there are a lot of bloggers that assume that traffic equals income. So…they keep writing, day in and day out, to find they are increasing their community but they are not making a dime doing it. You have to actually have a monetization strategy in your blogging to generate income. It is that simple.

Solution: Test, test and retest different methods. Whether it is PPC campaigns, having your own product, affiliate marketing, direct advertising, membership sites or a combination of all of those methods. You need to take an honest look at how your content is actually going to generate income and then test those methods to death to see what works the best on your blog.

Bonus Hint: If you do not have an email newsletter (I use Aweber), you are not going to make a significant income online. Quite possibly the biggest mistake you can make as a blogger from a monetization and growth standpoint is not starting an email newsletter from the very beginning.

11. Not Treating Your Blog Like A Business

Blogging for income is not a hobby, it is a business. If you treat your blog as a hobby…it will only ever be a hobby. You have to treat your blogging as a business if you ever want to be successful.

Solution: Treat your blog as a business by tracking expenses, income and filing the appropriate taxes. My blogs are actually under a LLC as well. When you start implementing some of these solutions and planning goals for your blogging, you are stepping into the serious end of the business. Take yourself and your business seriously if you really want to make it.

12. Sub-Par Copycat Content

Saw someone else making money on their blog and decided to do the same thing? Or did you start a making money online blog without having actually ever generated a penny online? Blogging is all about over-the-top quality content. The “go on this journey with me” content strategy does not work. Blogging is still and will always be about connecting with readers through high-quality content.

Solution: The trick to producing incredible content is writing about a subject matter in which you are passionate about or have a lot of knowledge. Your readers are going to be able to see through a fake, so by writing on these subjects, you are being honest and providing quality. Once you have done that, get on a posting schedule that works for you and allows great content…then stick to that posting schedule.

There you have it! The top 12 success killers in blogging. Are you doing anything on the list?!


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Andrew @ Blogging Guide June 23, 2010 - 8:13 am
I like all 12 but the one that jumps out (and I am guilty of) is email. I do leave the applications open and just 'pop-in' to see what's happening. Funny really, cause I know I shouldn't but I just do. Must go...going to shut down the email applications now! Thanks for the reminder... Andrew
Robb Sutton June 24, 2010 - 6:07 am
Anytime Andrew! Sometimes I write lists like this to remind myself too....
Nabeel | Create Your First Website June 23, 2010 - 8:39 am
Great list there Robb. I am with Andrew on this one, and I am also guilty of keeping my email open the whole day and checking it every 5 minutes. It is just irresistible (lol) to not check it. But I do limit my time on social media (in fact I hardly spend much time on it), but was thinking of increasing my time on it considerably. So your advice will be really helpful at that time, so thanks for the heads up on limiting your time on social media! Nabeel
Robb Sutton June 24, 2010 - 6:07 am
I have to close that email app all the time to prevent that distraction. I am too ADD/OCD to not look.
Gail from GrowMap June 23, 2010 - 9:22 am
Excellent tips and brilliant Tweet (with solutions!) because many write about the challenges but few actually provide implementable solutions. Speaking for the serious bloggers I regular collaborate with and myself I would like to add under "Unrealistic Expectations" that it is simply impossible to do all we wish to accomplish in any given day. My best advice for anyone for whom their online life has expanded to fill far too many hours is that we must stop trying to do so much. Prioritize and do whatever is MOST IMPORTANT (which is different from most URGENT) first so that at the end of each day what you did not get done is the least important of all you hoped to do.
Robb Sutton June 24, 2010 - 6:06 am
Prioritizing is HUGE. There isn't a single day where I do not have a ton of ideas hit my brain (owning your own business = brain never turns off), but prioritizing those ideas into an action list that is ranked by importance is what will keep you successful in the long haul. Jumping from project to project can kill you.
Priya Florence Shah June 23, 2010 - 2:22 pm
I believe that blogging has to be about more than just the blog to succeed. It has to be a passion for the subject that runs through your life. Passion is what keeps us going through the times when we feel like giving up.
Robb Sutton June 24, 2010 - 6:04 am
I have that same belief. While I know people that have been successful blogging that are not passionate about their subject, that is a small percentage for sure. Being passionate about what I am writing about is what keeps me going through the tougher times for sure.
RhondaL June 24, 2010 - 7:45 am
For this summer and for the first time, I made a mindmap of my goals. I used to be a list person, but I decided to give a different format a whirl. I've seen a difference. Whenever I feel my focus wandering, I consult my "map" to find a task I can do. It's like a "job jar." Also, I don't recommend linking Twitter and Facebook unless you have separate business and personal sites. I've found that my Twitter demographic is not like my Facebook demo. The kind of updates my Tweeple enjoy may not be suitable for all my Facebook folk.
Robb Sutton June 25, 2010 - 6:50 am
"job jar" I like that one! I have all of my short term goals and long term goals in a list. Then I take those and show how they interlink on a whiteboard so I know where I am headed.
lorrie June 24, 2010 - 5:41 pm
thanks for the great advice, my biggest issue is 4 procrastination i wait days after the time i should have posted it.
Joe Boyle June 24, 2010 - 10:00 pm
I am surprised I didn't see anything about being afraid of failure on there. There is a quote from some guy, whose name I cannot recall, but it is unimportant. The quote went along the lines of; "One who never fails never tries anything". If you are afraid of failure, you won't blog, you'll be sitting the corner of your room wondering if your blog with eat you. Never-the-less, great post, Robb!
Robb Sutton June 25, 2010 - 6:44 am
That kind of ties into the "Low Self Worth" section some but I 100% agree with you. I have failed far more times than I have succeeded and what I have learned from those failures created my successes. You can not be afraid to fail because you are going to...over and over again regardless of the amount of success. Thanks for adding that one in.
RhondaL June 25, 2010 - 7:28 am
I just read an article in this month's Wired magazine about Pixar Studios. When they start a project they want to make mistakes as fast as possible. In other words, they want to find the mistakes and correct them. For a perfectionist, embracing mistakes - even eagerly anticipating them as an opportunity to learn - is a new and liberating concept.
Mars Dorian June 25, 2010 - 5:26 am
Procrastination and time management are my biggest issues. It takes me sometimes forever to write a blog post, when it shouldn't. And writing stuff that scares me is also a good tactic, just pushing that comfort zone;) IT's hard to see a list like that, because you find soo many things apply to you. I consider it an inspirational slap in the face. Thanx for it, Robb
Robb Sutton June 25, 2010 - 6:45 am
Procrastination is something that everyone struggles with I'm sure...even work-a-holics like me! The more organized I am, the better I can combat that it seems like. Either is still hard sometimes.
Alee January 7, 2011 - 3:52 pm
It looks like I'm late in responding to this, but I just wanted to say this a really good post (as are many of your others). I'm looking around your blog and I like it. It's great inspiration for bloggers. And a clean design that's easy to navigate. I'll be bookmarking you. Keep up the good work. :)
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