You've followed all the "tried and true" blogging rules. Your layout isn't too cluttered, it’s easy to read. You write good content with catchy headlines, and you set up your post in a way that is easy to read. So why aren't you getting more traffic? Could it be possible that your blog is too broad? While it may seem like having a blog that covers a myriad of topics may seem like a good idea, that wide range of topics could be what is keeping your blog from succeeding. You can’t target your readers when you write about everything. You want to target someone. Sites that try to target everyone tend to struggle with finding a dedicated audience. People want to know what they’re going to find when they come to your blog. If they can’t really determine what your blog is going to tell them, they are less likely to come back looking for information. So how do you fix it?
Choose one or two main topics that you are going to focus on. Your topics don't have to be extremely narrow, but they should be related somehow. For example, you shouldn't blog about online marketing, parenting and health tips all on the same site. That’s just too confusing. Online marketing and working at home? That’s fine. Especially if you want to combine the two and write about online marketing tips for home businesses.
You can't go after your target audience if you don't know who they are. So the next step is to profile your ideal reader. Who is that the person you want to market to? If you write about marketing, are you writing for a new business or an established business? A small home entrepreneur or a bigger-budget business? Someone who is new to marketing or someone who knows a thing or two? The type of person you want to target will help determine the posts you will write about. Thinking about who your audience is will also help you determine if that audience really does exist. It’s much easier to go after an audience that exists rather than trying to create one for your blog. Back in 2003, Song Airlines was launched. Don’t remember them? They only lasted for 3 years, and those few years they did not yield a profit. Why? Instead of marketing to existing travelers who would like their service, they tried to create a whole new subculture. One of their slogans was “We are not an airline, we are a culture.” Unfortunately, no one bought into that culture and the airlines quickly tanked.
Figure out how you are going to be different. Yes, there are other blogs out there who will focus on your same topic. Your job is to figure out how to position your blog and make it different. For example, if you blog about online marketing think about where there seems to be a lack of information. If you can’t carve yourself a space in the niche, think about how you can make your blog different. A good way to approach this is to think about your main competition. Why would readers go to their blog over yours? What type of content do they share? Are they more accessible on social media? Now, think about how you can differentiate yourself and make your blog just a little different, and a little bit better than the rest. Blogs that are too narrow and have no real interested audience will have a hard time succeeding. But the same can be said about blogs that are too broad. The best way to narrow down your topic just enough and still have a truly interested audience is to do your research.
[/checklist] Now to you. What kind of preliminary research do you do before launching a blog?