This is a guest post by Tristan Higbee
“If you’re not struggling you’re failing.”
That’s one of my favorite quotes, though I can’t remember where I first heard it.
A lot of bloggers struggle to get traffic, to write content, to find their niche, to find their voice, to figure out how on earth to use Twitter, and to do about a million other things.
But maybe you feel like you’ve gotten past that point and that you pretty much know what you’re doing.
Sure, the early days of your blog were hard, but you’ve got it pretty much figured out by now.
It’s smooth sailing from here, right? No! You’re wrong! No matter what point you’re at with your blog, if you’re not struggling, you’re failing.
Why is struggling essential?
Struggling implies that you’re doing something you’re not comfortable with, that you’re stepping outside of your comfort zone. These struggles are the absolutely essential growing pains of blogging.
If you’re not struggling, you’re not growing as much as you could/should be, and therefore, as far as I’m concerned, you are failing.
You might be seeing success now, but if you’re not growing, your blog won’t grow, either.
What should you be struggling with?
Well, there are a ton of things you should be struggling with as a blogger, but I’ll just mention 4 of the most important things here. All of this assumes you’re still in a relatively early stage of your blog (maybe the first year or two?).
You should be struggling to find the time to educate yourself
In order to grow as a blogger and keep up with the pace of the blogosphere, you need to be in a constant state of self-education.
There are multiple ways of doing this, but one of the most common (and cheapest!) is to read other blogs.
There are TONS of benefits to reading a lot of other blogs.
Reading a lot of blogs gives you a bottomless well of inspiration to draw from; you’ll always have something to blog about. It also gives you an idea of what you like and don’t like about other people’s blogs, and you can implement those changes on your blog accordingly.
Reading on lots of blogs should also mean commenting on lots of blogs.
You should be doing this because it 1) builds up relationships between you and other bloggers, 2) gets traffic generation back to your blog, and 3) gets more comments on your blog.
You should be struggling to churn out consistently amazing content.
If you’re struggling to come up with great content on a consistent basis, that means that you’re really pushing yourself to put great stuff out there.
Ana actually emailed me and asked me if I could write more guest posts for her blog.
When you post just about every day like she does, it’s a lot of work, and that puts a lot of stress on you! It’s definitely a struggle to keep up with that kind of pace and quality.
But if you’re not struggling, you’re not working hard enough to bring in the kind of success I’m guessing you’re looking for.
You should be struggling to keep up with all of the replies you need to make.
More things to reply to means that you’re doing a great enough job that people feel the need to tell you about it. That’s what you’re striving for.
Your response time and quality is your blog’s customer service.
You should be replying to every comment (like Ana does and like I do).
You should thank everyone for their retweets of your posts.
You should respond promptly to every email you get.
Even if you don’t have the time to send an awesome reply then, reply back and say, “Thanks for the email! I don’t have the time to write you the kind of response such an awesome question deserves, but I just wanted to let you know I got your email and I appreciate it. You should see a reply from me sometime in the next couple days.”
You should be struggling to get more people to your blog.
Are you happy with the amount of traffic you’re getting? If so, pat yourself on the back, and then get back to work!
You know what’s simultaneously awesome and a little bit intimidating?
There’s no limit to the amount of traffic you can get.
This means that you could theoretically have millions of views every month. But then this also means that there’s really no limit (other than your limits) to the amount that you can work on getting more traffic.
Ana’s entire blog here is about how to get more traffic, so I won’t talk too much more about it. I’m just saying that you need to be working hard enough at getting more traffic that it’s hard.
But how can I do everything?!
Well, that is the million dollar question, isn’t it?
It’s something I’ll cover for my next guest post here at Traffic Generation Cafe. That’s right, you haven’t see the last of me! I kind of like it here, and I think I’ll stick around for a while 🙂
Over to you!
So ask yourself, “Am I a complacent blogger? Am I too comfortable with where I am now?”
If so, you need to check yourself and realize that growth isn’t a one-time thing. It’s a continual process that will guarantee eventual success.
If you think that running a blog is hard work, you’re not alone. Just ask Ana; she’s got a family and all of the responsibilities and pressures that come with that, and she’s managed to build an awesome and successful blog in a short period of time.
I personally work on my blog and blogging-related activities anywhere from 8 to 12 hours a day.
No, I’m not out digging ditches in the frozen earth with my bare hands, but it’s still very hard work.
So my questions to you are…
- Are you struggling?
- Do you think that’s a good thing?
- What are you struggling with?
- Do you think that you need to struggle in order to be a successful blogger?
Also, if you’re struggling with something in particular, let us know about it! There are a lot of smart people reading this blog, and I’m sure we can come up with a solution 🙂
Note from Ana: Tristan has since stopped blogging, so no link to his current projects. ;(