Of the 1.7 billion websites in the world, 600 million are blogs. And the number of US bloggers is set to reach 31.7 million in 2020.
Clearly, blogging is competitive. You're constantly vying for people's precious online attention, which is around 15 seconds for more than half of readers. But for many, the benefits of running a blog outweigh the time, cost, and effort involved. That's because in 2019, marketers who prioritized blogging received 13X more ROI than companies that put it at the bottom of the stack.
Beyond revenue, blogs are a great way to raise brand awareness, share engaging articles, and bring in new customers. Seems like an easy marketing win, right? Not quite. Before you hit 'publish' on that first piece, it's important to consider why blogs fail.
To figure out what causes blogs to flop, let's look at a handful of blog statistics — and simple ways to make sure yours is a success. But first, let’s answer that nagging question in the back of your brain:
What percentage of blogs fail?
A 2020 survey by Orbit Media found that just 21% of respondents either didn’t know if their blog delivered value or found that their blog was delivering disappointing results.
So, we know what percentage of marketers feel their blogs aren’t successful, but what might have contributed to this failure? And how do you avoid these mistakes? Let’s take a look.
Why Blogs Fail
1. The blog lacks a content strategy.
Do you know why your blog exists? If so, does your content support that raison d'être?
One of the main reasons why blogs fail is a lack of purposeful, engaging content. In fact, "original written content" is the most important type for 58% of marketers. If you're wondering what exactly is a purposeful post, Google defines it as "original content that adds value for users." And that value is "meaningful content or features, such as additional information about price, purchasing location, or product category."
The first step to creating valuable content is to make it a priority, like 72% of B2B content creators. Planning starts with a well-documented blog strategy, which you can dive into in our Business Blogging Course.
A strategy may sound like a simple solution — but it works. Sixty-five percent of the most successful North American bloggers have a well-documented content marketing strategy. Among the least successful bloggers, only 14% write down a strategy and 39% admit they don't have any strategy.
Once your plan is in place, you're ready to craft engaging content. It's important to learn what works well for your buyer persona, but you can use these guidelines as a starting point.
- 55% of bloggers see results from blog posts with 2,000 words or more. (Orbit Media)
- 39% of consumers are irritated by content that's "poorly written" or “too wordy." (Adobe)
- Articles with images get 94% more total views. (fundera)
2. The blog isn’t optimized for search.
Let's just say it — search engine optimization (SEO) can be frustrating. Just when you think you've done all you can to optimize your blog, the algorithms change. But ignoring SEO altogether is another reason why blogs fail.
You need people to find, read, and share your blog, yet that's nearly impossible without any optimization. Across all industries, search is the top traffic source for blogs. In 2019, 68% of web traffic came from paid and organic search, beating out channels like display and social media.
Fortunately, certain SEO rules continue to ring true. So, if you focus on the following practices, your blog will be better poised for success:
- Research keywords. Keywords are a short string of words that help search engines understand what a web page is about (e.g., “Why do blogs fail?”). While experts debate whether or not keywords are still relevant for SEO, they do share the intent of your blog and improve rankings. Take a look at our SEO keyword research guide to pick up the best practices.
- Write descriptions for images and videos. Text is the foundation of search, so you'll rank well if you create copy that algorithms can easily understand.
- Optimize for voice search. With 62% of people in the US aged 12 and older using voice-operated assistants, optimizing your blog for voice search is a way to get ahead of the SEO game.
3. The blog is not well-designed.
Imagine you click on a blog you've never visited, only to be met with low-quality images, slow loading times, and an unorganized layout. You're likely not staying long — and you're not alone. Ninety percent of people have left a website due to bad design.
While the look of your site is important for reader retention, a well-designed site architecture helps search engines organize and index your blog pages (Both benefit your SEO). If it's tough for people to navigate your blog, they're probably going to bounce … and never come back. A bad experience makes 88% of consumers unlikely to return to a website.
The solution to keep people scrolling your site? A good experience.
User experience (UX) design is a speciality all its own. So unless you want to dabble in the psychology of human decision-making, it's best to work with a professional or a templated web design software like Squarespace, Wix, or Wordpress. But you can improve the look of your content by incorporating design elements from these blog statistics:
- 40% of content marketers say original visuals, like infographics, perform best in their posts.
- 90% of bloggers boost visual appeal by including images in their article.
- An infinite scrolling feature can reduce a website's bounce rate. (Think: Your Instagram feed).
- 52% of web traffic worldwide comes from a mobile device. And users are 5X more likely to leave a site if it's not mobile-friendly.
4. The blog manager posts inconsistently.
On day one of your blogging journey, you have big plans to post every day. Two weeks later, only one article is live. This scenario highlights another reason why blogs fail: inconsistency.
Blogging takes time. In 2019, bloggers spent an average of three hours and 57 minutes writing a single post. You then have to factor time to add images, edit, format, share, and promote. For small companies, it can be too time-consuming to put out content every day. Posting one to four times a week is often enough for smaller teams. Large companies, on the other hand, usually have the resources to share a new piece every day.
Don't worry if you can't post seven times a week. The biggest challenge for 52% of bloggers is finding time to create and promote content. Instead, try the following tips to get on a consistent blogging schedule.
- Use templates. You don't always have to start from scratch. Blog post templates are guided outlines to inspire creative thinking and help you format posts.
- Get inspired. Writer's block happens to everyone — even bloggers. To get ideas for your next post, look for interesting headlines, formats, and designs. Then, make it your own by adding stats, images, examples, and thoughts.
- Create an editorial calendar. Psychology research has shown that in 90% of cases, specific, challenging goals led to higher performance than easy goals, "do your best" goals, or no goals. You can use goal-setting to your advantage by planning your blog content for the next one, three, or six months with an editorial calendar.
There are hundreds of reasons why blogs fail. But if you avoid these four common pitfalls, you'll have a better chance of creating a blog that shows up in search results, offers engaging content, and keeps readers coming back.