Getting a quick fix is all most drug addicts can think about. There is a physical and mental addiction which impairs your perspective and destroys your long-term goals. Over time drug addictions result in complete and utter failure unless a remedy and rehabilitation are implemented.
Bloggers, like drug addicts, can be focused and even addicted on the wrong things. Eventually these addictions lead to the impairment of your perspective and an utterly wasted blogging effort. To combat and rehabilitate I have put together a first aid kit for bloggers. Its short and sweet but will give you the necessary medicine to kick your bad habits and get blogging the right way.
You see from what I understand about addictions — I’ve been a counselor for overcoming tobacco and “other” substance abuse — they rob you of your ability to make wise judgements. Over time the quick fix is all that matters. Your life goals are soon consumed by getting your next hit, finding your next drink, or doing whatever it takes to satisfy your cravings. When this happens many addictions lead to stealing, violence, and abuse.
In blogging the addiction can be just as serious to your blogging life. Focusing on the wrong things and being addicted to the wrong “fixes” will only lead to crashing and burning. There is hope for every blogger though!
The Blogging Addiction to Stats
Its been 10 minutes since you last checked your traffic stats and subscriber count. Your palms are sweaty and your fingers are slowly moving towards the mouse. You quickly click your bookmark to Google Analytics and check your stats. Nothing has changed! Maybe your Google Adsense has?
We all have experienced these feelings at one point in our blogging life. The uncontrollable addiction to statistics. They mean the world to bloggers and when everyone else seems so focused on them its hard not to be.
Statistics are a good thing. I believe they lead to accountability and responsibility which quickly can improve your blog. The problem with statistics are that they are highly addictive. So much that the average blogger spends more time looking at stats in a week then actively promoting their site.
Imagine if instead of looking at your statistics you wrote guest posts? Or maybe you emailed bloggers in your niche and built relationships. Perhaps everytime you stopped to quickly look at your statistics instead you wrote part of a post. Over time and by the end of the week your blog’s statistics would be hundreds of times better then if you just watched them.
Today I am going to challenge you to do 3 things just this week. Think of it as an experiment. Here is the first one:
CHALLENGE #1: Look at your statistics only once a day. Every other time you want to look, leave a comment, write a post, send an email, or do anything to actively promote your blog.
The Blogging Addiction to Design
You’ve tweaked your design twice today. Something just doesn’t look right with your blog! So you add a new plug-in, toss another widget into your sidebar, and peruse through the latest wordpress themes. After 30 minutes (if your lucky) you still are not happy with the way your blog looks and either give up for the day or keep at it.
Blogging is mostly about the content. As a designer you would think that saying that would put Alex and I out of business but lets be honest it wont. Bloggers should set up their blog with something they like, either a very nice free theme, premium theme, or completely custom design. Then let it sit!
Many bloggers spend hours each week tweaking something here and changing something there but never really doing much and missing hours worth of great promotion and writing time. Think of how many posts you could write if you just let your design sit for a while.
Here are the things you should think about as a blogger with your design…. visually
If we as bloggers focused more on our content and less on tweaking our design and adding a new plugin or feature we would have more visitors and subscribers then if we continue to waste time on tiny details that have little effect on our traffic.
Am I saying abandon good design, NO. What I am saying is abandon constantly trying to get your blogger fix from from tweaking your design. As a blogger your role should be to first, setup a functioning design. Then let it work as you continue to provide stellar content.
We seem to think that if we are constantly tweaking things then we are being “successful” bloggers but success comes from producing content.
When selecting a design here is what you want to focus on…. just a little tip from me and thousands of other designers. Your blog should be focused on a top to bottom left to right design. In other words your most important elements should be either on the top left portion or the bottom right portion of your screen when it first loads. That is where readers eyes naturally look. Content brings them there to the page but your design can bring them to convert on other goals.
Here are two examples where you can see what the goals of the blogs are instantly from how their blog is set up.
So we Blogussion.com’s and now you’ll see Problogger.net
Once your blog is set up with a design that focuses your readers on what’s in Eyes #1 and most importantly Eyes #2 then stop messing with your design. Here is challenge #2 for you to get over your bad blogging addictions…
CHALLENGE #2: Don’t Touch Your Design this Entire Week. Instead of touching your design write an extra post for your blog. Trust me it wont be wasted!
The Blogging Addiction to Social Media
The last addiction for many bloggers that can be very unhealthy is the addiction to sites like Stumbleupon, Twitter, and Digg. As bloggers we all know that they are extremely useful for community building and traffic generation but there is a difference between using them for what they were prescribed for and taking the whole bottle!
Social media is fun and connecting with people is great but if we as bloggers don’t limit ourselves in our social media time suddenly we’ll find that we are not spending real time helping our blogs.
Just like with stat checking and design tweaking, what starts out as something really good can turn into something really ugly and time consuming. Social media does create new relationships but it rarely teaches us new techniques, important information, or deep critical solutions to our problems.
As fun as the buzz is from getting retweeted and seeing your posts getting stumbles, hours can be wasted checking our status and stumbling through hundreds of bookmarks.
The challenge for this addiction will probably be the hardest but lets give it a try.
CHALLENGE #3: Check your social media statuses and respond only twice a day for less than 10 minutes each. If you normally spend an hour every day checking twitter and other social media sites, then this week you will save 4 and 1/2 hours this week. Replace those 4 and 1/2 hours with something good for you offline like exercise, family time, or hanging out with friends.