Ask the Smutlancer: Blog views, social media, lack of inspiration, and more
A big thanks to Quinn Rhodes for her suggestion for a rapid-fire round of Ask the Smutlancer questions. If these are questions that have occurred to you, hopefully they’ll help you move forward.
Table of Contents
What do you do if your blog views drop dramatically?
And, the follow up question, how do you keep from getting discouraged?
The first thing is to look at your stats (either with Google Analytics or whatever plugin you use, like Jetpack). Where have the views dropped? Is it views from social media or views from search? Has every referral source dropped or just a few big ones?
If its search results, you might be the victim of an algorithm update or some unknown errors on your blog. Do a quick Google search for algorithm updates. You may have weird errors on your site or your website is loading at a snail’s pace (which can impact your views). Talk to DomSigns or another sex blog/tech person you trust and see if you can hire them to fix whatever is broken.
For anyone who’s views come primarily from social media, check your connections — if you autopost to social — to make sure they’re working. You may also be the victim of a Twitter shadowban or Facebook changing the algorithm again. If your social media accounts are connecting properly and you’re not being blocked or banned, you may not be promoting your content enough.
SEO Tricks and Blogging Habits
You may also benefit from some basic SEO techniques. Use Yoast SEO to edit your meta description and blog post title to give people more details of why they should click on your post (if it comes up in search). Make sure your blog post layout is easy to read and not just walls of text. Use subheadings to break up the content (where it makes sense to do). Add “alt text” to all images — and try to incorporate your keyword in the description. I’ve done this on all of my websites, and in conjunction with everything else (content, social, etc), I’ve seen increased views. Note: Never write for SEO, but use available tools and techniques to make your content more search-friendly.
The other thing to check are your own blogging habits. Are you blogging less? Commenting on other blogs less? Are you using tools (like blogging memes) to grow your audience? The less output you have, the less views you’ll get. If your life and health are getting in the way of your blogging, a big drop in views can happen. Figure out if you have more time and energy to create content on a regular basis to get those views back up. But always take care of your health first.
For me, I’m only discouraged if I don’t know why it’s happening. But if I can pinpoint the reason, it becomes a problem to be solved. I might have to be patient, and I might have to buckle down and get more writing done. But I do my best to focus on moving forward.
It depends on the social media network you use.
A new post on Twitter can be shared several times over days or weeks, as long as you vary the content of the tweet.
One example might be:
- Autopost when you hit publish
- A few hours later, a new tweet
- The next day, a new tweet
- Two days later, a new tweet.
I’ve been known to tweet day of, 10-12 hours later, three days later, and then two weeks later (although I have gotten lax about it in recent months). There are resources online that will give you different time frames, but it’s up to you. The most important thing is to vary the content. A quoted line from the blog post and a summary are both good options.
Note: Make sure you’re tweeting more than links to your content, too. People will forgive multiple tweets as long as it doesn’t feel spammy. Talk to people, share other people’s content, be a person on social media first.
On Facebook, you can share multiple times, but not all at once, and you’ll want to change the image. If you use Pinterest, you can pin the same blog post to multiple boards, but create a different pin for each one. For Instagram, once is probably best if you’re using the “check link in bio” line as URLs in the post description won’t hyperlink and are useless for most people.
It depends on the blog post and the social media channel. I use a plugin called Revive Old Posts and set it to tweet something from the archive once per day, and anything older than 3 or 4 weeks. The more content you have, the longer it takes to cycle through older posts, so the old blog posts aren’t shared too often.
If you’re doing it manually, go for really popular posts that readers clearly love (hence all the views) or posts you really love but that got very little attention when it was published. By quoting a line from it or summarizing it, you can focus on what makes that post great and give new readers a reason to check it out. And remember, we’re all getting new followers on social media all the time. Not everyone who follows us saw those old blog posts, so it’s definitely worth sharing again.
I would space out old blog post shares by several weeks. Once every few weeks or longer should be plenty, especially if you’ve got a growing archive to work with.
Do you ever lose your inspiration for your personal projects and blogs? What do you do when that happens?
Do I find it hard to write or podcast? And do the topics barely trickle in? Yes, absolutely.
Sometimes, that means it’s time to take a break. I’m burned out in some way and need to breathe for a while. The pressure is too much or some other part of my life is overwhelming me. I actively work to prevent this now by scheduling time off. That way I know the break is coming and I don’t feel guilty when I take off. But also, I’m preventing burn out by planning the break, too.
Sometimes it means I’m bored and need a new project. For example, on KaylaLords.com, I’m taking part in February Photofest (run by the fabulous Molly Moore) because I need and want the challenge of a daily blog post that focuses on the image. As much writing as I do professionally and personally, it all seems like work after a while. Taking a picture doesn’t (at least not in the same way).
I also keep a list of ideas and things I want to do on my blogs, so when the inspiration well runs dry, I can turn to it and pick the thing that speaks to me. And if that doesn’t work, I rely on my routine. If I always waited for inspiration to write or record, I could easily go weeks without doing anything. I use all the experience I’ve gained over the years of sitting down and letting my fingers move across the keyboard. I can’t predict what will fly out of them, but it’s usually something I can work with. And sometimes it’s deeply personal content that I’m not sure will work on my blog. Spoiler alert: It doesn’t have to “work” or “fit” for you to hit publish.
When your hobby becomes your side-hustle, how do you keep it from sucking the life out of you?
I’ll be completely honest — I’m still figuring this one out. This is what I do, but it’s not perfect…
I make sure it’s something I still love doing. Would I do this even if I didn’t get paid? For me that means, would I still write about these topics or share my views in this way if no one paid me to do it. If the answer is no, it might be time to reassess.
I remember that even the things we love have shitty moments. There are small details in every type of work that we won’t love doing.
“I hate writing. I love having written.” ~Dorothy Parker
That goes for writing, recording podcasts, and making the thing (whatever your thing might be). Sometimes the day-to-day work is an absolute slog. But if you love having the finished product in your hand (or the completed task crossed off your list — or the money!), it could just be a shitty moment.
I also treat a side-hustle like the job that it is. Which means I have to take time off to recharge. I have to remember to reconnect with the people in my life. The hustle and grind culture can be a toxic thing. None of us are meant to be working all the time. And you’re not weak, lazy, or lacking passion for your dreams when you focus on yourself for a bit. That’s why we call it self-care.
If a thing you love is dragging you down to the point you’re not sure you love it anymore, you likely need a break. Or a new direction…or both.
Okay, if you have questions, you can send them to me at Ask the Smutlancer. And if I get enough smaller ones, I’ll do another rapid-fire round, because this is kind of fun!