Both blogging and starting a business can be considered experiments, at times. Yes, you can do all the research that you can, but really, it all comes down to executing, evaluating the results, and making the changes to get better results as you go.
When you're starting anything on your own, there's a LOT of learning as you go. None of us start out knowing it all when it comes to running our businesses or blogs successfully. We all are growing our skills, our audience/customer base, and our confidence as we continue along. This is why it's crucial not to quit if you get discouraged because you didn't get the results you were hoping for. Sometimes, that's not always a bad thing and you simply need to shift your direction.
I shifted from lifestyle blogging to blogging solely on resources for bloggers and entrepreneurs, after blogging for three years. Although I was inconsistent at times with my blog during those three years, I put in six months of intense hard work on it, during the last few months of it, and that gave me data that showed which topics were getting the most traction with readers.
It takes a lot of time and effort to consistently create good content, so I wanted to be sure that I was spending my time in a way that was efficient to grow my traffic and serve my audience, instead of staying stagnant. It was a bit of a tough decision, at first, but it has given me much more focus on my blog. Here are steps that you can take to determine if it's time to change direction on your business or blog.
Evaluate the performance of your efforts over a six month time period
Give yourself enough time to gain traction and to get the word about your content, if you're a blogger. Or give yourself enough time to effectively promote your products/services, if you're a business owner. Typically, at least 4-6 months is enough time for you to review your website analytics to see how your content and/or sales are performing. Take note of the topics or items that are performing the best and the worst.
Be honest with yourself about your goals
This step is crucial. Your personal goals with you blog or business will determine if you need to change direction or not. For example, if your site didn't get a lot of traffic growth and you're a blogger who is just blogging for fun, not for money, then not getting traffic growth doesn't matter to you. However, if you want to monetize your blog and your traffic isn't growing, you will need to make changes.
The same goes for your products/services. If you're not trying to live off of the income from your products/services and you aren't in a rush to have your revenue grow, a change of direction may not be necessary for you. However, if you'd like to make full-time income off of your business, it's crucial that you pay attention to the products that are doing well, so you can make the necessary adjustments to continue to grow your sales.
Research the options that you are considering
When it comes to changing direction, do not do it aimlessly. You have to be honest about the areas you truly want to improve in and find resources that can help you to grow. I knew with my lifestyle blog, that I wanted to grow my website traffic, so I could actually get more people to pay attention to the content that I was creating. So I started doing more research on how to grow my traffic and how successful bloggers grew their traffic. By doing my research on my options for achieving my goal of traffic growth, I was able to make an informed decision on what my next step would be and obtain knowledge to fill in my gaps.
Develop a realistic timeline for what you want
When you decide to change your direction, it will take some time for your new efforts to pay off. Give yourself a deadline for when you will be finished implementing the changes and for how long you will wait to evaluate the results of those changes.
Now, it's time for you to get started! Once you have a strategy in place from your research and you have developed a timeline, you are ready to go. Remember that you will always be learning as you go, so keep an open mind and don't be too hard on yourself. Just stay focusd on the prize and know that your work WILL pay off when you keep at it in a smart and strategic way.
Have you ever changed your direction on your blog or business strategy? Did the changes that you made pay off for you? Share what helped you most in the comments below!