Something that gets missed off a lot of blog advice articles is the issue of topic. They're written as though any topic can find a niche and develop an audience. In a world where would-be-bloggers used common sense during topic choice, this would be true. Flower arranging won't be as popular as celebrity gossip, but there is still a core group of people who flower arrange as a hobby.
But those would-be-bloggers often don't have that common sense. They start their blog, post, promote it... and no one visits. Then they complaint because people aren't reading their content and they worked so hard and why can't they break into blogging.
What they don't realise is their topic sucks meaty chunks. Their chosen topic is themselves. And they're doing it like this:
- Anecdotes are written like a personal diary. It's the way children write diaries, where they start with brushing their teeth in the morning and end when they get bored of writing. Most all-about-me bloggers have left behind the toothbrush, but will still ramble without an aim or structure.
- Opinion pieces lack any conclusions. They'll ramble in a vague steam-of-consciousness way. It may be hard to figure out what the opinion actually is, as there's no firm statement. If the opinion is clear, the reasons why they think it are not. There's no way to engage in a conversation about it, because you're not sure what 'it' was supposed to be.
- They're angstier than an angsty vampire. A fair number of the posts (if not all) are about the blogger rolling around in their pain. It's not clear exactly why they're upset. There is a generic terrible of awfulness that inhabits the world. Also, their best friend was mean to them.
- There's nothing else. Most bloggers post some form of content as well as posts about themselves. Readers enjoy the content, then want to know more about the blogger. Balancing content / about me is a tricky thing, and I don't claim I always get it right*... but the all-about-me blog with no visitors doesn't have any kind of balance. There is no other content.
All these boil down to the same issue: the blog was never written with an audience in mind**. There's no attempt to be entertaining, relevant or anything a reader might actually want in a blog. If pressed about it, the blogger will say they're writing it for themselves and it's okay if no one reads it. But they think you're wrong and readers will find it interesting, so please tell them how to boost visitors.
At this point, anyone attempting to offer advice has probably knocked themselves out by hitting their head on the desk***.
There are things an all-about-me blogger can do to make the blog more accessible. Mostly by reversing everything I've said above. If life stories are written with a beginning, middle and end... if opinion pieces are structured and have conclusions... if the angst goes somewhere else. All that will improve the blog, but it still isn't likely to make it a success. If the blogger was capable of turning daily life into Hyperbole and a Half, they wouldn't be complaining about lack of visitors in the first place.
Which leaves reversing the last thing, and adding content which isn't about the blogger. It always comes back to this one in the end, because it's the piece of advice people are least likely to take****.
* When I focus too much on content posts, I get requests for more daily life posts. Only about the daily lives of my cockroaches, rather than me. Which goes to show, people can be totally interested in something as mundane as a life spent sleeping under cardboard and eating vegetables, so long there's an angle. For anyone who is set on posting the dull exploits of daily dullness, and doesn't want to take my other advice, here's an alternative: turn into a cockroach, because then everything you do will be interesting.
** I'll note there's nothing wrong with keeping a blog as a personal diary or a place to chat with friends. Not all blogs are intended to have a wider audience. But the writers of those blogs aren't complaining about the lack of fame and readers.
*** If you ever do try to help an all-about-me blogger, I recommend tying cushions to your head first. You'll look silly, but you'll be thanking me when the time comes to smash your head against hard objects.
**** Though excessive worrying about comment numbers is a close second. Even when people acknowledge they don't leave comments on half the blogs they read, they expect it to be totally different with their blog. After all, it's about them, so the pure awesome will make every reader comment.