6 Not So Obvious Signs That Your Blog Is Dying

Do you remember those old Western movies where there was a view of an abandoned town, no signs of life, just a tumbleweed flying by, being carried in the wind…? Something like this:

Is that your blog? Better yet, will that be your blog in, say, four months?

I’m sure we don’t want that to happen.

Note: Hold on, don’t leave just now! This isn’t yet another lame post (I hope) about the lack of traffic and blog comments. Those are obvious, in fact, too obvious for anyone not to notice them as signs of a blog dying. This post is about the things that tend to stay under the radar.

1. No offers for freelance work

As your blog becomes popular, you should start receiving some offers for various freelance work. This can revolve around many different things, depending on the topic of your blog and your niche.

For instance, if you’re in the “blogging about blogging” niche then those offers can be standard freelance writing opportunities, or guest blogging deals.

No matter what the actual topic of the gig is, you should receive a number of them throughout the year. If all of a sudden the flow of new offers stops, or decreases noticeably then your blog might be in trouble.

2. No returning visitors

This is a purely traffic related metric.

Attracting new visitors is mainly about things like social media, the SEO strength of your homepage, and the viral factor of your content.

Attracting returning visitors is about being in tune with your niche and publishing what people actually want to see.

What this means is that if you want to find out how authoritative your site is in the niche, look at your returning visitors (Google Analytics lets you do this).

For a good, quality blog, the group of returning visitors should only rise (you get your former visitors + new ones who become regulars). If the numbers have stalled or are on the decline, this can only mean trouble. Maybe your website is beginning to lose its authority…

This indicator is tricky because your overall traffic can still be growing (due to good SEO), while the number of returning visitors can be steadily decreasing in the background.

3. No guest posting offers

Chances are that you will start receiving guest posting offers long before any freelance deals.

And by guest posting offers I mean people reaching out to you asking about the possibility to post on your blog (not the other way around).

These days, more and more bloggers understand the power of guest posting. It’s a great way to build your brand and traffic over time. But in order to make it effective, one has to constantly look for new blogs to post on.

Once you start receiving some guest posting offers, the frequency should only go up or stay at a constant level.

If you notice that the number of queries you get decreases, it can only mean that something bad is going on.

This is due to the fact that many guest bloggers have a rather mechanical approach at guest posting. They search for sites according to their PageRank, Alexa, and other metrics. Once your site starts losing its ranking points, other guest bloggers will show less interest in guest posting for you.

If that happens, it is a good moment to check your rankings and various domain scores, like the custom rank, for example.

4. No ever-popular content

There are usually two kinds of articles that are popular on every blog.

  1. New articles popular due to their newsworthiness and initial social media shares.
  2. Old articles popular due to their quality and the evergreen aspect.

While the degree to which you can make the first group popular revolves (as I said before) mainly around your social media skills, homepage SEO, and the number of subscribers you have, the second group – the evergreen – is about quality of content itself.

Having evergreen content on your site is essentially what brings you a constant stream of traffic. That’s why you should look carefully at what’s going on with this content.

Start by listing all the most popular articles that are at least six months old. Then monitor their level of popularity in time (weekly visitors). This can be done in Google Analytics.

If you notice that your evergreen content starts to lose its popularity, it’s about time to take some action and fix it. Performing SEO on an old post will help you keep your article at the evergreen status. This is 1 of 20 great traffic generation tips mentioned previously on this site. See the video below.

Additionally, it’s important to monitor at least 4-5 (or more) pieces of your evergreen content at the same time. Monitoring only one won’t give you much insights because any periods of low performance can be due to another website taking your spot in the search engine rankings. The trouble starts when several posts start to lose their results at the same time.

The only remaining question here is how to actually create a piece of evergreen content… Let me take the weight loss and dieting niche as the example here.

If I have a weight loss blog, I can publish articles like:

  • What’s New on the Weight Loss Market in 2013
  • Exclusive Review: {Product Name X}
  • Best New Year’s Resolutions for Weight Loss in 2013
  • X iPad Apps for Weight Loss

But I can also publish these:

  • How to Diversify Your Workout Time as a Working Man
  • How to Totally Suck at Dieting
  • X Ways You Can Fail at Losing Weight

The second group is much more evergreen, and will require less maintenance.

5. No review requests

This is basically very similar to guest posting. Only this time people are asking you to take a look at their tools/software/products/other stuff.

What they obviously expect in return is you publishing a review on your site and linking to the product.

Depending on your blog or niche you might encounter various forms of this, but it’s always a scenario where you’re getting something for free just because you’re a blogger (more or less).

For my favorite example – the weight loss blogging niche, the possibilities could be: weight loss courses, diets, dietary supplements, workout programs, workout equipment, meal delivery services, custom training and health programs (workout + equipment and education), and many more.

People who offer product reviews usually pick their target sites after a detailed research, so being one of those sites always means that your credibility has been noted as good enough. Once you start seeing less of such requests, this means that, for some reason, your site does no longer come up during the research.

The difficult part is figuring out what’s going on, but you can usually start with Google Analytics, rank tracking, number of live backlinks, and domain metrics.

6. No joint venture offers

Partnerships are one of the most underestimated success factors for any blog.

For instance, if you want to double your audience overnight, find a blogger with a similar sized audience and propose a joint venture (JV).

The fact that you should always look for such opportunities yourself is another story. However, since we’re talking about blog problems, we can safely agree that not getting any JV offers isn’t a good sign either.

Whenever someone is contacting you with a JV proposition, what they’re actually saying is that they enjoy your work and see your blog as a valuable ally.

But if you’ve been blogging for over two years and still no one has contacted you about any JV then maybe you should rebuild your brand a bit, or tweak some other characteristics of your blog.

Chances are that if other bloggers don’t have interest in your blog, your readers will soon lose it too.

That’s it for my list, but I have some things I want to ask you. Is your blog safe and not endangered by any of the above? Also, is there anything more we can add to this list? Feel free to share.

Karol K. (@carlosinho) blogs about diets, fitness, and finding out what benefits modern food delivery services can bring (this URL). He contributes articles on weight loss and living a fit lifestyle in general. He also enjoys writing occasionally for WeightLossTriumph. He’s all about healthy living, and in his personal life, he proves that one doesn’t have to struggle to be well.

Comments

  1. says

    “No returning visitors” is the best yet not so obvious factor that can conclude that your blog is dying because your customers is your sales. Without traffic means no sales.

  2. says

    hit again mitz,

    Wow all you have mentioned are all true.!
    A blogger should notice this because if they don’t, they will end up falling apart. Guest posting and social media campaigns are some of the ways that can surely help them boosting traffic to their blog. Thanks for sharing. This is a great important reminders to all blogger specially to a newbie like me.

    Thanks again mitz! great write ups!

  3. Arianne says

    I think after reading your post, bloggers will find these signs more obvious than before. These could really help bloggers make necessary improvements to gain more audience and rescue their blogs from dying. These are really essential points to check when blogging and checking for results.

  4. says

    I am using time to maintain and develop my evergreen posts. To every evergreen post I usually write at least one and more likely several posts doing more in depth with a topic mentioned in the original evergreen.
    When published I remember to link from the new post and back the evergreen, but also the other way. I find that some readers tend to find a newer post more valuable than an older.

  5. says

    This can be one of the most useful blogs I have ever come across on the subject. Actually great information! The points you’ve covered are way to enough to see that your blog is dying. Haha! As per my notice, I would like to add one more point here: Using bunch of words into one long-ass paragraph; not using images; and making use of stylish fonts (which the readers can’t tolerate) can be a major reason for your dying blog.

  6. says

    Thanks for sharing your post!

    With this I realize to make a strong foundation of strategy to in order to avoid those signs you’ve discussed.

  7. krishna says

    I would surely mark your point about joint ventures….it can help any blog tremendously…. anyways thnx for the nice post.we will see the benefit of partership.thank you so much!
    krishna recently posted..Insurance Software

  8. says

    Nice points you have highlighted here. I believe “Irregular posting” is also responsible that your blog is dying. If you really want to save your dying blog, writing more contents and excellent post is still the best thing you can do. Have your blog redesigned by an SEO- knowledgeable designer; promote it on three leading social networking sites (G+, Facebook, and Twitter).
    David recently posted..Professional Photography: What Makes A High Quality Photo?

  9. says

    All things are on target if you are write your blog post for your readers niche and once you will be famous then you can achieve good numbers of milestones in your blogging professional but you always you should try to maintain your quality and give good productivity for you business.

  10. Rinkesh says

    My last blog died due to lack of returning visitors. I guess lack of social presence was one the things that my blog was lacking. I realized that mistake and made sure that I would engage myself more with other bloggers to drive traffic to my blog.

  11. says

    So true! The points you have mentioned here are really obvious and if bloggers don’t attempt to catch hold of their mistakes then they will eventually land-up dying. I also think negative comments or no comment at all is a terrible condition for your blog. and So, I believe great content + SEO + social media can give you quite a bit of success, but if your goal is to get more comments, you may want to encourage your commenter’s to comment, either with contests or plug-ins like keywordluv and commentluv.

  12. says

    Greta analysis, and i found something which i didn’t know about. One interesting things about Bloglines numbers.. I think they’re skewed towards a blog’s age. If a blog was popular before Google Reader they’ll have more Bloglines subscribers.

  13. says

    I have been working on a site and have not had any guest posting request, few returning visitors, no review requests and joint venture proposal and of-course this mean two things; either my blog is dead and the second that my blog is yet to achieve its full potential. How do I differentiate the condition of my website out of two ?

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