Are you having little success with your blog? Has your subscriber count barely hit double digits since you started the blog six months ago? Is your monthly affiliate/PPC revenue not even enough to afford you a cup of coffee? Well, quite possibly you could be following the seven habits of highly defective bloggers.
The other day when I was reviewing Steven Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, I discovered that if you reverse the habits and apply them to blogging they end up categorizing ‘defective’ bloggers perfectly. Let me show you what I mean…
Habit 1: Be Reactive
Defective bloggers are completely dependent upon external circumstances for the success of their blog. They constantly point the finger at their age, their gender, how they look, or their education for how poorly their blog is performing. They react to situations around them, blaming others like Google, Digg, that big-named blogger who refuses to link to their site, or just about everyone except themselves for their lack of success. They never come to the realization that all along, the power lies with them.
The opposite, being proactive, implies that you take responsibility for your own success or failure. You don’t blame it on the circumstances surrounding you, but prefer to take power in your own hands. John Chow, for example, could’ve whined about Google banning him (or Technorati or Digg for that matter…) but he was proactive and discovered other ways to increase his popularity. Scott Young, another one of my favorite bloggers, started a personal development blog at 17 and has been very successful despite his young age.
Excuses will always be there. Be man (or woman) enough to accept the fact that your level of success in life is only as big as your thoughts.
Habit 2: Begin with No End in Mind
Defective bloggers do not have any real purpose or direction with where they want to take their blog. As a result, they’ve discovered a sure-fire way of going and growing nowhere.
If you’re blogging just to provide an outlet for your thoughts and feelings and could care less if other people read them, then go write in a journal. However, if you’re like most bloggers who want a larger reader base, more subscribers, more revenue, or better SEO, then it’s crucial that you set a goal and devise a plan to achieve it.
Habit 3: Put Last Things First
Defective bloggers have a knack for getting into the “thick of thin things.” They waste time with constantly checking their stats, surfing the web, daydreaming, making a sandwich, and so on. Writing their actual blog post seems to be always pushed to the end and as a result they fail to post consistently.
If you want to be a successful blogger then putting first things first with blogging is essential to your success. If you can, dedicate a specific time every day to write and do nothing but that. Forget the sandwich. Put down that remote. Turn off your internet. Use that time solely to write and make it a priority. Keep in mind some of the other “first things” such as responding to comments and emails, visiting and commenting on other blogs, and researching/brainstorming for future posts.
Habit 4: Think Win/Lose
Defective bloggers are selfish. They ask for links but don’t give out any; They freely accept comments on their blog but don’t bother ever leaving comments for anyone else; They base the worthiness of responding to someone based on their page rank or popularity; And they refuse to trackback to someone else’s article despite that article having inspired them to write theirs, thinking it will “help the competition.”
Having a win/win attitude in blogging is where you seek out mutually beneficial relationships with other blogs. You give credit where credit is due, dish out link love, engage with other bloggers, get involved with discussions, memes, group writing projects, contests and so on. You know that by helping lift other blogs, eventually it will come back to lift your own. (Check out Darren Rowse’s (from ProBlogger.com)thoughts on ‘competition’)
Habit 5: Seek to Misunderstand and to be Misunderstood
Defective bloggers are out of touch with their readers. They refuse to read other blogs in their niche, considering them “not worthy” of their time; They could care less what suggestions or comments are given to improve their blog, allowing comments and emails to go unanswered; And they fail to thank their readers for their support.
Being in touch with your readers means a lot more than simply responding to comments and emails. It’s understanding what is going on in the blogosphere (and the world) related to your niche. It doesn’t matter if your the most prominent blogger in your niche or just starting out, take time to understand what others are doing and saying. It’s also being sensitive to readers suggestions and ideas. I’m not saying you have to pander to your readers, but when a reader feels they are important and appreciated, you’ll have that reader for life.
Habit 6: Blog in a Bubble
Defective bloggers have somehow missed the boat when it comes to what blogging is really about. They feel content to live in their own little blogging bubble, posting day-after-day, and misering away their thoughts and ideas with the hope that readers will come.
Blogging is, by nature, a social medium, so trying to go at it all alone will only hurt you in the end. Get involved with other bloggers by inviting them to guest-post on your blog and seek out opportunities to guest-post on theirs. Network with other similar blogs creating a synergy of influence. And where possible, allow your readers to do some of the leg work for you — whether that’s administering forums, submitting ideas, offering prizes, participating in polls and so on.
Habit 7: Stay As Sharp As a Pound of Wet Liver
Defective bloggers never take time out for self-renewal. Going balls-to-the-wall, they try keep a frantic posting pace eventually burning out. They begin blogging with a number of fresh ideas but sooner or later the idea pool dries up and they putter along, posting only when something new smacks them upside the head.
Keep your blogging tools sharp by making sure you take some time out for a little self-renewal. God created the world in six days and on the seventh He rested from his labors. Use this model to once a week dedicate your own Sabbath Day where you can clear your mind, walk in nature, meditate, talk with people face-to-face, do some exercise, and basically get away from blogging for a bit. This will not only do wonders for your own health but for the health of your blog as well.
I have to say, I definitely suffer from some of these habits myself. It’s been a real awakening experience to write this post and see many of my own faults reflected in them. Becoming a successful blogger, like personal development, is a process. No one is born a blogging phenom. Even the best of bloggers have taken their lumps with some of these bad habits, but all have learned to eventually turn them into strengths.