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So what’s the biggest challenge you have faced or are facing in blogging?
I have talked many times about some of my challenges – all the way from getting my mindset right to my biggest mistake of chasing page views when my real goal was to build income.
I also wrote about the 8 biggest mistakes in blogging – which came right from the heart because I have made all of them.
This week, I thought it would be useful to ask members of the DNW community (join here!) what is the biggest challenge they have faced in blogging as well as how they overcome it.
I am sure you will relate to many of the below and, if you are facing the same challenge right now, I hope that how these bloggers overcame these challenges can help you.
I found it interesting looking for overall themes. What I loved reading was that many issues and solutions were around focus. Once bloggers were clear on their focus and really understood what they wanted to achieve and went all in with it, they were able to get there.
You can too!
I also want to add that when I talk about going 100% in with blogging, I don’t mean working full time or it being the only thing you do. I mean in your mind deciding you are going to be a success and working 100% on that in whatever time you have available to blog. Even in one hour a day, you can have blogging success. But you need to work smart and be focused.
I hope this post can help!
My Biggest Challenge In Blogging (And How I Overcame It!)
My challenge with blogging has been consistency. I have been working on building traffic to my site for 2 years. I write new long form content, follow the best strategies for on-page SEO (most I have learned following Digital Nomad Wannabe), and implement a Pinterest strategy. The problem is that I would do all the right things for a couple of months, see a big increase in traffic, and then stop working. I would take 5-6 weeks off because I was so exhausted from staying up late working on my blog and taking care of my young kids all day.
I was frustrated because I wanted to do this blogging thing because it would allow me to contribute financially to our family while still being able to be present with our 3 boys.
In my mind, I thought it was the strategies that I was using that caused me to go backwards every couple of months, until I realized a pattern. So I set two goals: grow affiliate income and increase traffic. I let go of all the things that surround blogging that didn’t help me achieve those goals.
At that time, my traffic had dipped back down to around 40,000 page views and my affiliate income was around $700. I really only had about 2 hours to work each day, so I decided to simplify my schedule by creating one new post each week and updating an old post.
I broke down the tasks of creating a new post and updating a new post into daily tasks. I’ve been able to manage the pace of this schedule much better than before and I’m able to stick with it. My affiliate income last month was $2500 and my page views were 105,000. The key for me was creating a realistic plan with steps that were focused on meeting my goals while letting go of the things that kept me busy, but were not really pushing me to reach my goals.
Contributed by Ashleigh from Smart Cents Mom
Chasing Social Media “Likes” and “Followers”
My biggest challenge in blogging was chasing social media “likes” and “followers”. The pursuit of higher social numbers did gain me opportunities with brands, but the time spent on building those numbers didn’t translate into significant traffic increases or money in the bank. “likes” and “follows” are vanity metrics and ego boosts, but the real sign of a successful blog is generating income.
I’ve realised that relying on external sources such as social media for your success is risky because they can close down or delete your account without notice forcing you to start all over again. Social media is finicky too since you have to feed your channels continually with content and then all of a sudden there will be an algorithm change that hampers your success.
I still work on my social media channels, but I don’t focus on it. I now spend most of my time on money making tasks that I own and have control over such as onsite SEO optimisation, building my mailing list, and creating my own branded products.
I know I’m making progress now that I’ve made the switch — the proof is looking at my analytic data and my bank account.
Contributed by Mary from Calculated Traveller
Treating Blogging Like A Business Not A Hobby (Making A Livable Income From It)
I hate telling people I’m a blogger because you know they’re inevitably going to respond with sort of smirk and something to the effect of, “that’s a cute hobby.” And to be honest, blogging did start as a hobby for me, a side hustle that happened to also be a creative outlet. But when I got laid off from my full-time editorial job, I decided to go all in on the blog. Or rather, myself as a freelancer.
The first step is to change your own mindset and start viewing your blog like a business. This means investing in professional web and graphic design services, grammar software, scheduling apps and adopting the mindset that any posts (articles, social or otherwise) reaffirm and strengthen your brand. It also means creating structures and workflows for yourself to succeed. With blogging, there’s always a never-ending to-do list of posts to be written, optimised, pushed out on social so finding ways to prioritise those menial day-to-day tasks while building in time to strategise and do business development are key.
The other secret to freelancing full-time is diversifying your income streams so you’re not putting all your eggs in one basket. I make sure I always have a variety of sponsored posts, freelance writing projects, strategy clients, affiliate income, and other sources of income in the pipeline
Contributed by Lauren from The Down Lo
Landing A Great Pitch
Learning that not only could I pitch to brands, collaborators and companies but HOW to has been a great challenge to overcome in my blogging journey.
I originally thought that nobody wanted to work with such small blogs so I had to wait until brands came to me.
Once I learned what value I can provide, I learned that I can seek out my own opportunities and define my own blogging success!
However, that was a long process of honing great pitches, learning how to find the right contacts and proving my worth, despite the size of my small blog.
With this being said, pitching is NOT about just receiving free things and experiences. Too many bloggers today just expect to get free “stuff” and call themselves an influencer. If you decide you want to start pitching remember that you are a professional, speaking on behalf of all bloggers. Always under pitch and over deliver to help give other bloggers a good name!
A really great pitch can take a long time to finalize, and you can expect to hear “No” (or no response) more often than not, but landing a great pitch can be so rewarding!
Contributed by LeAnna from Well Traveled Nebraskan
Overcoming Poverty Mindset
The biggest challenge I’ve faced as a blogger is overcoming poverty mindset. I grew up in a lower socio-economic area and, although my parents worked, we never had money to spare. I was the only one of my school friends with a second-hand uniform, the first one to get an after-school job (at 12!) and money was always something that felt unattainable.
I’ve worked and succeeded in my career before blogging, but I’ve undervalued myself all my life and blogging is no different. Every time I have success, I feel like it won’t stick around or I don’t deserve it because I come from nothing.
It might sound nuts, but I’ve found that being around successful people really helps. I regularly take my laptop and work at a cafe in an upmarket area near my house. The customers there are upbeat, optimistic and wealthy.
It’s energising being around people who’ve succeeded in life. Last month I made over $8000 which is my highest amount ever and absolutely more than I need to live a comfortable life and crush my savings goals, and I know I have a sustainable business in blogging. Best of all, I’m starting to feel like I deserve it.
Contributed by Emma from Kiwi Money Mum
Pushing Past The Haters!
One of the biggest challenges that we face as blogger is pushing past the haters. Or more politely, we need to arm ourselves with coping mechanism when dealing with negative feedback from our peers and from total strangers.
In 2016, this was a real struggle for me. It was easy to fall down the rabbit hole of blog despair when a fellow blogger spent considerable time passively attacking both myself personally and my blog. The constant barrage of comparison emails, rude comments left on blog posts that she didn’t agree with etc. This coupled with the wonder of armchair critics who also feel the need to leave negative comments about writing style, eating habits and perceived body issues.
At one point, I was tempted to reply to each nasty comment, rude email and snide remark but soon discovered that falling down that hole would leave to me wasting a lot of precious time. Instead invest that time into creating even more content, going on more amazing trips and enjoying life and leaving the internet trolls to their own cave of nastiness.
Contributed by Jean from Traveling Honeybird
Finding The Balance Between Job And Blogging
Each year I am working a ski instructor during the winter season, this means that 5 days a week I am sleeping at the ski resort, waking up at 7 AM to start teaching at 8 AM. Even though I love being a ski instructor, it is a very exhausting and demanding job. The long hours, the cold and barely being home and seeing my husband for three months.
The hard part is trying to balance my outdoor day job with blogging, and last year I absolutely failed at it. Over the course of three months I posted 3 articles (normally I post one a week) and barely grew or achieved any of my blogging goals because I was totally exhausted after a day of teaching. Each month my goal is to increase my traffic by around 20% and because of my inactivity for 3-4 months last year, my traffic decreased by 5%.
This year I am prepared. I created around 12 blog post I want to publish during the winter in advance, so all I need to do is give it a final proof read, publish and do the SNS sharing. This way I can focus on my ski teaching job and still achieve my blogging goals during the winter season.
Contributed by Marie from Be Marie Korea
Being Heard In This Blogging Space
I started blogging with little knowledge, high expectations and great aspiration! I knew there was a gap online for holistic information on retirement planning and over 50s lifestyles. Yes, there were thousands of blogs on retirement planning from a financial point of view, but very little on the broader aspects.
I quickly found though that getting heard in this space was a big challenge. There were two main reasons: the financial and insurance companies had written so much on retirement (even if from a narrow point of view) and dominated the SERPs, and also, because younger people I came into contact with pretty much thought that older people didn’t live in the online world – interesting – and I knew that for my generation that wasn’t true.
I overcame my difficulties through the following:
- Building relationships and collaborations with other mature age bloggers
- Attending events in my niche
- Identifying brands who were a great fit for my niche and delivering results for them on my socials and through affiliate programs
- Working hard on social media and garnering a following on Instagram and Facebook
- Flexible thinking
- Focusing on SEO in order to be found.
Contributed by Jan from Retiring not Shy!
Being A Bootstrapper
I used to think of myself as a bootstrapper, that is, someone cautious about using loans or outside help to get their business up and running or to grow their business. But really, I’m even a step further back than there. Let’s call it what it is – I’m a cheapskate tightarse from way back!
I recently had an epiphany that sales are slow on my eCommerce store because I don’t have enough products online because of natural product attrition over the years and I haven’t been adding more products to replace those no longer available. And I have 1000s of products I could add. But it takes time. A LOT of time. I also haven’t advertised my business in years because I couldn’t see the point with so little products available.
So, I decided to reinvest all profits from the business back into the business to grow it. I have *gasp* paid someone to add the products for me… and it worked really well, even for a control freak like me. Outsourcing has been the best thing for this online business. I’ve also invested in some Facebook Ads training and will be paying for ads once I have the next lot of products added.
And the best thing? I’ve had 26 sales of those newly added products within two weeks of putting them online, almost paying back the cost of outsourcing the work. I know I’ll fully recover the investment soon.
I am kicking myself for not outsourcing sooner. If there’s something you can outsource, no matter how small, do it and let yourself focus on what you’re best at – whether that’s SEO or writing new content for your blog or building links. Outsourcing is an investment, not an expense.
Contributed by Sandra from Silk Interiors
Learning That Writing What I Might Google Might Not Be WHAT I Should Write About
My biggest blogging challenge was that writing what I thought might be useful for others was not paying the bills. I jumped headfirst into blogging full time, and do it as a business, and a long term plan, it is not something I do for fun.
I realised very quickly that some of the things that I was writing about, most of them actually, would never bring enough page views to be worth the effort (once I even put ads on them) and I needed to have a money mindset and focus on writing posts that would generate revenue.
Right now, that has lead me to focus on earning Amazon Affiliate income as a main source of monthly revenue for my websites. I am diversifying my income and make some money in other ways, but it took me almost 2 years to figure out that writing what I was looking for info for, or what I was googling about was not going to make my website profitable. I needed to focus on what others wanted to read.
Contributed by Verne from Kayaking Fisherman
Networking during press trips is very important, because it helps you to expand your knowledge, get new clients and tell other people about your business. Yet face-to-face networking while traveling is also a difficult part of being a blogger… especially if you’re a shy person.
On my first press trip, I felt overwhelmed. People asked me about my blog but I just didn’t know how to present it in a professional way: I’m sure many of them believed that blogging was nothing more than a hobby for me!
I have since learned that networking starts with the smallest things, and it’s not as difficult as I thought! On my latest trip to discover the best photo spots in London, I offered to take pictures for the other bloggers. We often travel on our own and you have no idea how amazing it is to have someone else taking a picture of you without having to rely on your tripod! This is how I met a bunch of interesting people and I even had lots of fun. It’s a proven trick and it always works!
In case you find it difficult to introduce your business, write a tiny paragraph about it at home and just read it a few times. It will help you to start the conversation about your blog, even when you’re nervous!
Contributed by Danila from Travelling Dany
Not Knowing About SEO And Having To Update Old Posts
I started my travel blog in 2016. When I started my blog, I was with WordPress.com and I also bought my domain through them – tosomeplacenew. In about 2 years, I had written over 80 articles and without any SEO knowledge. Needless to say, I used to get less then 200 views a month while I was with WordPress. Early 2018, I decided to take a plunge to self-hosting and start working on SEO.
This is my biggest challenge –having over 80 posts and links which brings in no traffic. And starting a blog without any knowledge of SEO or website hosting is a novice mistake.
Having a support group or a mentor provides some direction to an individual blogging experience. With the help of a mentor I realised the importance of SEO and have started working towards it. But it is an uphill battle – trying to go through 80+ articles and finding keywords and updating that many posts to bring in organic traffic. Not to forget, I am also publishing new content every month (and also updating those). Sometimes, it does get overwhelming, but so far, I have been able to create a blogging schedule that works well with my full-time job and have been updating posts one at a time.
So, don’t make a mistake like I did – have a leg up in your blogging career by joining support groups and training courses to help you succeed.
Contributed by Mayuri from To Some Place New
Blogging Is A Marathon
Blogging is a marathon, rather than a sprint. For us, the marathon has lasted more than ten years!
If we’d realized back in 2008 when we started our blog, PassingThru, how much time, energy, and financial investment would be required, we might have chosen not to proceed. But persevere we have, through several iterations and most lately, a tightening of our travel niche.
Through the years, we’ve seen myriad bloggers come and go. If industry stats are to be believed, most travel blogs are abandoned by the two year mark or less. Part of this is due to a very low entry barrier. Anyone can have a blog, but not just anyone can keep it!
The critical aspect of success, in our view, is treating the blog as a business from the get-go.
As with any business, commitment and planning will propel a blog past that two year mark. During and thereafter, fluid monetisation strategies and flexibility when a pivot is required will contribute to longevity, as well.
Ten years in, we’re proud of our accomplishments and glad we persevered!
Contributed by Betsy and Pete from Passing Thru
Affiliate Marketing and Pinterest
Making money and getting organic traffic are some of the main problems that bloggers face in their first few years of blogging. Learning the ropes of affiliate marketing opened up an excellent additional income for my blog. I spent countless hours learning and watching affiliate marketing videos and courses until I finally managed to crack the code to gain a stream of income from my affiliate posts on my blog.
To make your link irresistibly clickable, you have to sell the link to your readers and using text links typically converts well.
As for Pinterest, images and keywords are the keys. Pinning consistently and in moderation helps you gain the trust of the Pinterest algorithm. Joining niche related group boards and tribes can help you grow your reach and distribute your pins to the right audience.
Investing some time on your Pinterest keyword research can help you format and conceptualise your Pin description and titles that will help your pin to become Pinterest search friendly.
Contributed by Ryazan from Everything Zany
Desire To Be Seen In Google
Travel blogging is one of those hyper clogged, uber competitive niches in cyberspace which demands a lot of creativity, time and resources that are tough to spare when you also have to juggle a fulltime job, aka story of my life (I am a material scientist). Although I am still a hobby blogger, I have come a long way from sporadic blogging on a free platform to some “I have finally arrived” kind of blogging with a self hosted platform and domain name to match.
This investment naturally fueled my desire to be seen on Google which I found to be my biggest challenge as a non-professional blogger with only a few hours a day that could be spared for blogging. When I started off, I had about 500 PVs per month (thanks Google Analytics for that ego boost) and I quickly took the worst, most exhausting road of trying to bring in traffic via social media (aka FB and Instagram) only to realize that the real answer lies in SEO, aka that delicious passive traffic from Google.
Thanks to several months of a grueling learning sessions to fathom this sorcery (I am still learning by the way) I managed to bring the numbers up to about 20,000PV/month within 1.4 years of self hosting.
I credit this to Sharon’s tutorials (specially the super helpful one on how to use Keysearch) and also realising that focusing on my niche, aka dog friendly travel and San Francisco guides (I am a resident) is another helpful way to increase traffic flow to my blog. I am nowhere close to the bigwigs in blogging, but hope to improve over the years as I continue to plow my way through the ever changing landscape of Google and its mysterious algorithm.
Contributed by Paroma from Yr Of The Monkey
Prioritising Blog Tasks
My biggest challenge in blogging used to be prioritising blog tasks. My efforts were all over the place – some content creation here, some social media promotion there, and everything in between. I was putting in a lot of hard work, but not a lot of focused work.
Without a clear strategy, my efforts weren’t resulting in any tangible benefits (i.e. income!). So, I made the decision to invest in the Build Blog Freedom course. And the goal-setting module was all it took to turn my strategy (or lack thereof!) around. I got the exact advice I needed to prioritise my overwhelming to-do list: identify the low-priority tasks, and then get rid of them.
Talk about an “aha!” moment. I didn’t need to put low-priority tasks at the bottom of my list, I needed to eliminate them. It seems like a no-brainer, but when it’s your pet project, sometimes it’s hard to take a step back and think critically about what to let go of.
That outside advice was exactly what I needed to shift my focus and prioritize only the handful of SEO-specific tasks that would bring the biggest benefit.
The result? I’m actually starting to meet my monetisation goals!
Contributed by Mary Beth from MB Sees
Click here to join the 5 Day Goal Setting Challenge to help you find focus and have blogging success!
After I moved to Sofia, Bulgaria, I knew almost immediately that I wanted to create a regional blog for the Balkans centered around Sofia. The city is underappreciated by travel writers, and it makes a great starting point for traveling the region. However, I was overwhelmed with the idea of starting a second site when my first site was still struggling.
Additionally, I wanted this site to be less personality based and more about how amazing the region is. I knew this site could be successful, but starting it seemed like an uphill climb. I bought the domain, registered the social media handles, and I even had the website designed. But it languished unused for almost a year.
That’s when I realised the answer to my problem was to bring in a partner. One of my good friends is a travel blogger who also lives in Sofia and shares my passion for exploring Balkan countries Together we made a content strategy and spent about a month writing our first content silo.
The website went live on April 1, 2018, and we rank on page one for every post in our initial pillar. Working together keeps the content centered on the region and not myself, and we have enough travel experiences combined that we can write authoritatively about almost every city in the region.
The regional site is growing steadily, reaching 10k monthly page views at the six month mark. Based on the site, I even landed a writing assignment from National Geographic covering Sofia. As a travel writer, writing for NatGeo was a dream come true.
Contributed by Stephanie from Sofia Adventures
My biggest challenge in blogging is staying organized and focused. With three websites, there are a million different things I could be doing. I could be posting on Instagram for my travel site or creating a buying guide for my authority site or connecting with brands for my place-based travel site. There are so many things to do and it’s easy to let one or more of them fall through the cracks.
To keep track of all the must-dos and want-to-dos, I use a basic spreadsheet. I have one for each site and I write down all the tasks that need to be taken care. I have a section for seasonal tasks (update buying guides in November), monthly tasks and weekly tasks. Then I consult those lists when planning my upcoming week.
When possible, I lump similar tasks together. For example, I might spend two hours on link building. In that case I would do link building tasks for all three sites in that time period. Sometimes, it makes more sense to just focus on one site at a time.
Having an annual calendar in spreadsheet form helps me see the bigger picture and planning out a daily work schedule keeps me on task. I also try to leave sometime unscheduled for things that come up unexpectedly.
Contributed by Mel from YellowstoneTrips
Finding Time For Blogging
I have a travel blog, and I have a family. Guess who comes first? The family of course! When we travel, I have no time to write. When we are back home, I should write – and then I do what every mum does. I run the house and family. And every time I pick up my laptop to write another article or just try to finish on, one of my daughters comes for a cuddle or needs help with something. But no, I cannot blame my daughters. I sabotage my work more than anyone else does. When I’m home, everything seems to be more important than writing my blog.
Several times I have decided that I must change it. I tried different things – waking up early in the morning, staying up late, sending away the family but still the desired effect eludes me.
I needed to find a different solution.
Hot Desk Rental.
I rent a desk in a freelancer office. I remember reading about places like that from other travel bloggers, and I thought why not try this? I found a place on the Internet I pay through PayPal, and I rent a desk for a day.
On the first day, I didn’t write much, but I sat at the desk for six glorious uninterrupted hours. I prepared a blog post calendar, I worked on SEO. And, more importantly, for the first time I felt that blogging is my job, not the thing I do (or not do) in the evening when kids go to bed.
The second time I wrote loads of collaboration posts including this one. Maybe I have found the answer?
Contributed by Ania from The Travelling Twins
Tons Of Topic Ideas Today, Writer’s Block Tomorrow
When I first started blogging, I had all kinds of ideas for posts. I could easily put together three long-form posts every week on a single topic! I could be doing something – anything – and it would spark an idea for a new post.
A few months in, I hit a wall. I had to write a post and that little cursor just sat there blinking, mocking me. It took me a long time to finally come up with a topic, and what frustrated me the most was knowing that I have ideas all the time.
I made the classic rookie mistake of not capturing those ideas as I had them.
Now, I use AirTable to help me organize everything related to my site. I have one base (you can think of it like a spreadsheet) where I capture all the details related to my posts. One tab is dedicated to capturing ideas and scheduling them out on the site.
Even better, because I have them in an easily-manageable location, I can track all the details for that post in a single record, including a copy of the image on the post, what keywords I’m using, etc. It’s a single source for everything I need on that post.
AirTable has an app, so I can add my new ideas no matter where I am. No more blinking cursor challenges, no more writer’s block. It’s made my writing life significantly easier.
Contributed by Teresa from Wounded Birds Ministry
If you are facing any of the challenges in this post, I hope it’s helped you think of ways to overcome them and move on to the next stage of your blogging journey.
You can read more about mistakes I have made here and how I recommend overcoming them. Also find more posts on blogging fundamentals here.
I highly recommend you join the 5 Day Goal Setting Challenge if you are unclear of your goals and how to meet them including help with task prioritisation.
In 15 minutes a day, I’ll help you make a plan for the next year.