Even long-time bloggers get a kick out of checking their stats to see how much their traffic has grown. The excitement never wears off. Until, that is, you notice a dip in your traffic. But don’t worry. A fluctuation either way is normal. It’s when you blog hits a plateau and just stays there, unmoving, forever it seems, that’s when it’s time to get… concerned.
Once they get the ball rolling most bloggers experience exponential growth. For example, assuming your content is wonderful and every visitor shares it with someone, today you may have 20 visitors, tomorrow you’d have 20 and the next day you’d have 40.
Any number of things can happen to make your traffic take a dip now and then – holidays, changes with search algorithms, breaking news that pulls everyone away from your blog. It happens, and most of the time things will get back to normal and your traffic will continue to grow.
Eventually, though, there comes a time when that line on the graph remains flat, not moving up or down. This is a plateau and it can be cause for… concern. I’m avoiding using the word “alarm” because it’s not quite an irreversible situation, but you do need to find out what’s going on.
Exponential growth also takes into consideration the number of readers who regularly leave your blog versus the number of new readers. This is called “churn” and it’s also a natural occurrence, but you may not notice it until your traffic either drastically drops or you hit a plateau. As long as you continue to gain new readers faster than old readers leave your blog your traffic will continue to rise.
However, the number of readers leaving your blog equals the number of new readers you get every day, then your traffic will hit a plateau. There are two things you can do:
- Increase your blog promotion: Have you slacked off lately?
- Do something remarkable: Write a killer blog post or create a video or an awesome infographic. In other words – get out of your blogging rut and do something to shake up your readers.
It’s rare that you’ll find a market that’s completely saturated but if you’re in a very tight niche it may happen. If that’s the case, consider adding a new category to broaden your market.
Lack of Focus
It happens all the time. Bloggers start writing about something that’s just a little to the left or right of their niche. Their loyal readers may not be interested in this new topic so they leave. New visitors are confused when they arrive on a blog that’s covering two separate topics and they don’t stick around.
Lack of Engagement
What’s changed on your blog recently? Are you writing in a different style? Have you stopped replying to comments? Are you getting fewer comments? Have you slacked off on using calls to action to get your readers to participate on your blog? Maybe the niche you’re blogging in has been replaced by a new trend, something that’s more popular with your audience, or maybe you have a new competitor who’s more engaging than you – if that’s possible. Whatever it is that’s changed it’s made your blog less attractive and engaging for your readers. They’re no longer sharing your content and bringing in new visitors.
When your blog hits a plateau that doesn’t mean it’s dying or it’s never going to come back. It just means you need to take a closer look to see what’s going on and fix it before your traffic starts taking a nosedive.