Silver Lining: the hard truth about why nobody is reading your blog

June 9, 2015

the hard truth about why nobody is reading your blog

When I started blogging, exactly three people read my blog: my dad, my aunt, and my boyfriend. Three pageviews a post. Then, I realized there was a world of bloggers out there, and that I wanted to join that world as my blog evolved. I started networking and growing my blog. In the last five years, I've seen practically every pageview trend in my blogging numbers. Times when my pageviews grew exponentially. Times when they decreased exponentially. Times when they stayed the same, or grew only slightly month to month.

So what makes the difference? Why do people return over and over again to some blogs, while clicking away and never returning to other blogs? Why is one blog hugely popular while another blog with similar author, content and audience fades into the oblivion of cyberspace? Why, as I've heard so frequently lately, do bloggers spend so much time trying to grow their blog, but with no results?

There could be any number of reasons why people aren't reading your blog. Some of them are quick fixes, such as people who can't read your blog because it isn't optimized for mobile readers (more than half of my readers browse from their phones!). Maybe you have a crazy font that's hard to read, or maybe your site's ads and large picture files take up too much space or loading time. Maybe you're not investing time into growing your blog, connecting with other bloggers, or cross-promoting your posts across social media channels. (I could spend hours talking about how important connecting with other bloggers is when you're trying to grow your blog.)

But the real reason people don't read certain blogs is harder to hear. But it's true.

People may not read your blog because it's not offering them anything. Let me put that another way: Your blog needs to offer something that the reader can't get anywhere else. To put it a third way: Readers will come back to your site if they get something out of it.

Think of the blogs you read. I bet they're similar to the blogs I read. I bet they fall into the following two categories:


I read some blogs because I get specific knowledge out of it. For me, these are primarily craft blogs, cooking blogs, photography blogs, and teaching blogs. Fashion blogs fit into this category as well. When I read these blogs, I learn the best camera settings for bright daylight conditions, or how to properly use a knife when chopping veggies in the kitchen, or how to make a coffee table from discarded wood pallets. These type of blogs have clear, step-by-step instructions with helpful videos or pictures to support their how-to. When I read these blogs, I gain specific knowledge or inspiration about a topic or skill I'm interested in.


I also read some blogs because I relate to the blogger's life and the way they choose to document it. These are primarily lifestyle blogs. I read these blogs because I connect with humorous tales of zombie new moms who forget their baby's name, or beautiful bloggers who share their day-to-day life with amazing positivity, or well-worded articles about the struggles and triumphs of social media.  I am invested in these people's lives, and excited to read about their latest trip or realization or funny moment. These posts have me nodding along, thinking "I feel the same way!" or laughing together with the blogger. When I read these blogs, I gain a feeling of connection, fulfillment, or inspiration.

Do all blogs have to fit into either of these categories? Of course not! First of all, lots of my favorite lifestyle bloggers also post successful how-to posts. Occasionally my favorite how-to blogs will break their norm and write a beautiful, heartfelt post about what's going on in their life. And of course every single post on every single blog I read isn't going to be perfectly crafted or life-changing. I hope we don't hold anybody to that standard!

But overall, think of your favorite blogs. Why do you read their blog consistently? I bet it comes down to information, inspiration, or connection.

So, if you're doing all the basics like posting consistently, networking, and promoting your posts, why aren't you seeing your pageviews go up? Maybe you're not offering information, inspiration, or connection to the reader. Maybe your how-to posts don't have clear visuals to go along with them, so readers find a more detailed version of the same craft somewhere else. Maybe they don't feel connected to you or your writing style, so they forget to find time to read about your ups and downs. 

This is kind of a hard truth to swallow. Sometimes I feel like since I'm trying really hard, I deserve to get a million pageviews each week. Well, I could be the most deserving person in the world, but in the end, people aren't reading my blog because I deserve it. They're reading my blog because they're getting something out of it.

And it doesn't end with blogging. I see this all the time. When you're applying for a job, you feel like you deserve to get it because you're a really good person working to support your really good family. You can be the best person in the world, but you won't get the job because you deserve it. You'll get the job because you have the qualifications, commitment, and work ethic the company is looking for.

When you're a student, you feel like you deserve certain grades because you're a really good person who is also balancing extra-curricular commitments and a part-time job. You can be the best person in the world, but you won't get the A because you deserve it. You get the A because you put in the work, time, and studying necessary for it.

When you're a single person going on a date with someone, you feel you deserve a relationship with someone because you're a really good person who has had terrible luck in the past, and you deserve a turn at love. You can be the best person in the world, or the most deserving of love, but in the end, your date isn't going to pursue a relationship with you because you deserve it. They're going to pursue a relationship because they like that you're smart or funny or a great listener - with a smoking hot body to boot!


If your pageviews are stagnating, and you wish they were increasing, there's actually a pretty quick fix.

First, ask yourself - why do people come to my blog? Do they like hearing about my life? Do they gain insights from the things I have to say? Do they like that I teach them how to do something new? Read through all of your recent comments. What are readers commenting about? Comments can show you what your readers appreciate in your posts.

Second, figure out what you want people to gain from your blog. Do you want to provide a little spot of happiness on the internet, where they can click away from the snarky comments on Facebook articles and find happy words and bright pictures on your blog? Do you want to provide readers with easy tips on how to improve their communication within their marriage? Do you want them to be inspired about how to wear next season's latest trends?

Once you've figured out what people like about your blog, and what you want people to gain from your blog, it's easy to tweak your future posts to meet this goal. Am I saying blogging has to stop being personal and start being 100% business-like? No way! This doesn't mean you have to completely change your blogging identity and purpose. All it means is that if you want your pageviews to increase, make sure your readers are getting something out of your posts. Give readers the information, inspiration, or connection they crave.

I would love to hear your thoughts about this topic.
Why do you read blogs?
What do you hope to gain from blogs?
What do readers love about your blog?
How can you incorporate this in every post to increase your views?

Related: This blog post about quality verses consistency in blogging.

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