How to Beat “Invisible Content Syndrome”

How to Beat “Invisible Content Syndrome”

Reader Comments (156)

  1. You shared some good tips on building a blog following. I read in another blog article that it takes about 1.5 – 2 years, before you get a following. Gravatar is a good idea and it also can be used with many social media and some video sites. I like the tips to be useful and a good friend. Social media is more about what you give to others. Only by giving to others, can you get in return.

    • I agree with you Randy. We really need to be useful.

      My previous blog was already two years when my hosting provider’s server broke down. I was already gaining momentum, but has to start again.

      But writing is not only about gaining traffic. It is also enjoying the journey.

  2. I know first hand how this goes, I’ve been a victim of it many times over, but your tips are dead on, the basic general rule is hang out where your readers hang (forums, social media groups, blogs, etc) and you will grow.

    Chances are if you’re enjoying what you blog about you’ll want to hang out and meet these people anyways, it’s a win-win for everyone, as long as you are truly interested in what you do.

  3. I’ve been blogging for 6 years in Spanish and I still remember how invisible my blog was at the beggining. As soon as I applied most of the tricks you talk about here, it started to be more noticeable and I can tell is a leader in its niche now.

    I’m trying the same experience in English, my second language. I’ve just started and have less than a 100 posts published. I know it will take time and dedication so I do not desperate having 10, 15 readers a day. I’m still making my way to the top.

    “Great post!” If you allow me…;)

  4. Love this combo of personal development AND writing advice… getting un-scared is definitely a good move for everyone!

    I noticed that my blog started to take off (a bit) when I began writing about the topics that *I* was thinking about currently… and passionate about… rather than trying to 2nd position my audience and write what I thought they wanted.

    Great post Sonia, thank you.

  5. If I’d have known how much writing it involved I would have never have got started 🙂

    Some blogs (I have several, ok 22, but I have one or two private ones) are happy to be invisible, in my case I am not that confident in showing who I am. I have others that do very well.

    I do love joining in the conversations on many more blogs now, commenting and linking to them 🙂

      • It was full time I started out, but as you get more practice in you get better at it. Writing becomes faster, it improves and all of a sudden 22 isn’t a lot at all. It’s now down to three hours a week on average.

        I also have two regular ‘columns’ on other peoples blogs. One about twitter and one about blogging, that content would look silly on my delivery blog 🙂 When I started out (3 years ago) I went crazy trying to work things out, hence 22 blogs 🙂

        • Hello, I love this site, my first day here. My son sent me this link. I am 73 & trying to fit in with the world of……blogging, twittering, facebooking and …..all the wonders of this time in life. I love what was said here, and Sarah, I love what you say about writing on others blogs…I know this may sound like a “dumb”question but…..HOW do I find blogs with my interests? I dont know WHERE to look, etc. Would you consider telling me? Thank you. Sooo much. (I DO have a blog, but of course it is “invisible”…) LOL.

          • Myrna, two easy ways. Google Blog Search ( and Technorati ( Search for keywords on what you want to write about.

            There’s also a site called which connects people who want to write on others’ blogs with people who want guestbloggers.

          • Great advice from Mike, Myrna 🙂
            Also look for people on the blogs you regularly comment on. With the comments that you really like, click through and see if you have an affinity with their blog. you will quickly find like-minded people. Get in touch and start talking 🙂

          • My first day here, also! And I love it that there are like-minded folk of a similar generation (I’m 64) who are enjoying cyberworld too. There is so much to learn, and along the way we are able to “meet” people from around the world. All we need to do is take tiny steps….

  6. So true – it’s hard to put yourself in your content, but the blogs I follow, I follow because I feel like I know the people behind them. They are willing to be opinionated, poke fun at themselves, and share their less-than great moments. If only I could be as courageous!

    • If you allow me, I don’t think is a matter of courage but just a matter of finding the right subject to write about. When people ask me about how to start blogging I tell them: Find the subject you really love to write about, commit to your readers and have a schedule.

      That’s all! The rest is about enjoying what you do!

  7. Figure out how to fake enthusiasm, and actual enthusiasm will follow. The brain is weird, and sometimes needs a little jolt to remember who you are.

    My best posts happen when I can make myself really feel good about what I’m writing, even if I don’t normally care for it.

  8. Finding my ‘voice’ has been a question of trial and error during which time I’ve learned more and no longer feel a fraud, that old ‘who’d want to read what I say anyway’ problem!!

    I now write as me and it’s made all the difference to comments and sharing on various sites.

    • Ah yes, the “Who wants to read what I have to say” problem! That’s a tricky one. Good for you for moving past it.

      I went through plenty of that myself, but my readers (even when my readership was small) were the best antidote. They found it useful, so I kept writing. For which I am very grateful. 🙂

  9. Providing value is the key element in retainging readers. No-one wants to click a link, go to your blog and read some garbage that doesn’t offer some value in return. You don’t have to write a 1000 word epic. I find that roughly 500 should be most peoples limit to present a problem, create a solution, then add a summary.

    Your readers will thank you for your wisdom, and if you’re lucky enough to have struck a chird they’ll leave a response. Starting a blog isn’t easy and it takes perseverence and dedication. But using commons sense will ensure steady growth, and reader retention.

    • I have to agree with Elliot. I’ve found that people searches the Internet to learn. If you provide value to them so they leave your blog learning new, valuable stuff… then you are good! Your goal is being accomplished.

    • I’m pretty big on autonomy, so I vote that you get to be invisible if you want to be. 🙂 If you’re blogging primarily for expression, then you may not care if you have 1 reader or a million. But if you’re creating content to support a business (which is what we write about), then you do need to get enough readers to create the customer base you’re looking for.

      The main reason I wrote the post is that this issue is probably the most common concern I see among bloggers.

      • I was being sarcastic. I just find it entertaining how obvious it is to us who are running businesses who are using content marketing to recognize that we need to be heard. And for others they don’t even use any type of marketing online except “building a website”. To me it’s a no brainer you need content, and social media, and email marketing. To other businesses they just set up a website and hope for the best.

        It’s like they enjoy being invisible….

  10. Someone was asking a question on Linkedin which this post answers really well. A good summary of how to begin getting started in your blogging business, etc.

  11. Thank you for the valuable information, it has been valuable to me, especially the one about getting involved in other people’s blogs…something I plan on starting immediately (ok, as soon as I tear myself away to have some breakfast).

    BTW…beware of metaphors! In The Country Of The Blind, the one-eyed king so-to-speak is defeated by the blind.

  12. Fortunately for me, the Remarkable Marketing Blueprint and later the Third Tribe, helped me to get through the Invisible Content Syndrome.

    I don’t know what I could have done without the support of the remarkable people I’ve met in these two communities, but I am sure of one thing:

    That getting involved in communities is definitely a great way to get over the Invisible Content Syndrome.

    I’ve found that if you proactively listen and then help people when they need it, makes a huge difference.

    So, thanks Sonia for the RMB, for the 3T (along with Brian, Chris and Darren) and for this lovely article!


    • Eugen, I think you’re a great example of how you can beat that feeling of shyness by focusing on other people. You’re always so helpful to everyone, that now everyone in those communities knows you and knows what a great guy you are.

      And super point that being in an online community is a powerful way to get out of being invisible. It’s really all about momentum. Once the ball starts rolling a little, it’s so much easier to get it to pick up speed. It’s hard to go from no readers to some readers, but much easier to go from some to many.

  13. I can’t believe you sent this out today. I’ve been looking at my blog and thinking nobody cares why am I bothering? I am not incredibly experienced but being objective I like the blog I’ve written what I think is good content but…….

    Sign me Invisible and discouraged

  14. Excellent post. I’ve actually had people tell me that they read my blogs they’re just not big on comments. It takes time to build an audience. Just switched directions on my blog and I have a few RSS subscribers and 35 newsletter sign-ups. That may not be a lot but I’m happy and grateful for my audience. I reward them with free stories and bonus content and they’re more than happy to spread the word for me.

    I’ve been experimenting a lot just to see what people gravitate towards, but the most important thing is I’ve been having a lot of fun writing the last few posts. So it doesn’t really feel like work.

    I’ve turned off comments for the meantime and encourage people to instead share and sign-up. We’ll see how it works. How do you feel about closed comments?

    • I’m not one who feels that “it’s not a blog if you don’t have comments.” They can be very useful for social proof and to let your readers form a little community around your site, but if your audience aren’t commenters, you can definitely experiment with turning them off.

      One really nice thing comments do give you is ideas for new content. Have you turned them off because you feel like having just one or two comments creates a negative perception?

      • I just like to experiment with what works for me and what doesn’t. I really didn’t put much thought on comments until I came across another blog that suggested closing it when you first start.

        I’m sure some people see an empty comment section and decide to click off but personally, it doesn’t top me from reading the blog as long as the content provides value and entertainment. Like I said from a recent post, who wants to read content that sounds like it came from a refrigerator manual or a prescription label?

        I thought the whole concept was interesting and I’m putting it to the test. =)

        • R, I’d love to know what your results have shown. In the past when I’ve seen blogs with comments turned off, my first thought is that the blog has just been developed for SEO purposes and therefore the content feels like spam. By the way, I find it off-putting when I can’t find the blogger’s real name…perhaps that’s why most successful bloggers use their real names. Do people just call you R? 😉

    • Reaqders may wan to join conversation… Even if they do not comment, you may want to leave them open. Just in case anyone wants to!

      Some people find it annoying and may not come back.

      Just my 2 cents

      • Hello and Thanks for the reply Mr. G.
        I’ve thought about that and I’m taking a risk in losing potential readers by closing comments off momentarily. But now is the best time to try things out so I’m going for it.

        Anyway, if I lose a couple of people who are easily discouraged by such a thing then they’re probably not the right audience for me. Just a thought. =)

  15. Got a lame comment for ya: This is one of the best articles i’ve read in a long time. Got goosebumps at one point. I’m not even a writer but I love the message you are so clearly telling

  16. My audience isn’t as big as I want it to be, so this advice, every drip of it is what I need to hear.

    I also need to remember this – the audience I do have needs to be nurtured and treated like the early moving royalty they are! My hunger for more subscriber can’t discourage me from serving the people who are already listening.

    • What a great way to put it!

      The folks who are there now will give you your momentum and growth. But it takes time. And it’s HARD to wait. I know how that goes. 🙂

  17. You know I always sit down to think about what to write and if it is worth writing. You get stuck in writing the content as fast as you can sometimes you forget why your writing it. I really like the idea of writing about what you just learned. That is really the key because thats what I am most interested in at that point. I just wish I could write like you … someday! lol thanks again!

  18. “Getting un-scared is the hardest thing you’ll ever do, but since you need to do it anyway in order to have a great life, you might as well get started now.”

    This line deserves a round of applause unto itself.

  19. I definitely had the experience of the invisible blog syndrome for the first six months of my blog. Mostly it was due to being brand new and just getting started.

    A couple of weeks ago, Mark Cuban read a post and tweeted it. Since then my traffic (and confidence) has gone up significantly. The day he tweeted my post, I had 3,000 visitors compared to the previous high of 19 for one day.

    It’s funny, though, because before this happened, I was complaining about being invisible. I’m sure others do the same thing. It’s only a matter of time before your content gets noticed, if it’s really good.

    So the tip I would give is to focus on great content. Don’t waste your time putting up half-ass stuff — make it great.

    The other point I like in this post is about injecting your personality into the blog. I haven’t done this that well yet, but people like people. Injecting who you are (without going overboard) into your blog makes it stand out from the crowd and gives it a personal feel. People start to have a relationship with you and not just your ideas.

    That’s my take, anyway.


  20. When I started blogging, I did so knowing it would take a long time to get where I wanted to be. 3 months in I find myself getting frustrated sometimes, but then I’ll get a thoughtful comment and feel better. It really is just a roller coaster ride, but it’s one I’m really happy to be on (despite the fact I hate real roller coasters).

    I just keep reminding myself that Rome wasn’t built in a day.

  21. The best quote has to be: “Every successful content marketer started out with an audience of two … yourself and your other email address.” …so true I laughed out loud.

    Thanks for the great piece.


  22. Definitely stuck there right now. The blog is about two years old–same as my business. I know that it takes time, and it also takes consistency. I’m way guilty there. I’m doing well if I post an update once a month, and I know that is no way to run a business blog!

    Right now, I share a mix of basic studio updates, the occasional reaction to something I’ve read, and promotions for other artists.

    Once things calm down for me–on toward winter–I plan on sitting down and re-thinking how I’m doing things. I’m actually thinking of creating a format and getting in the habit of writing when I have time and arranging for automated postings. I know that will help a lot. I’m also going to give more thought to my content.

    This is a great article, and a lot of it really hit home for me. Thanks!

  23. Hi Sonia!

    Great post! That is all. (hahaha)

    I definitely feel like my blog is wearing Harry Potter’s invisibility cloak. With all the writing (I’m as surprised as Sarah that a blog would involved so much writing – I’m now in for 231 posts!), I don’t feel like I have much time to spend on other people’s blogs – but I know that’s where I need to put my focus if I want mine to be more widely read.

    Today I added questions at the end of my post (like the ones you pose here) and I hope that will help encourage the conversation, too.

    Thanks again for another thoughtful and thought-provoking post!

  24. You will always get people to help. It won’t matter whether you’re helping Tumblr users, but once you get somebody who needs your help, You’ve got a follower. The easiest way to become a great blogger is to solve issues faced by real people. It doesn’t have to be big say like world peace but if you can show a newbie blogger where they can get a free template or theme, you are getting useful.

  25. I love what you said about a one eyed man being king in a world full of blind people. That really struck a chord with me as I wonder sometimes if taking on a subject that no one else is talking about is a good idea. But with that one sentence from you, I’m feeling confident again. I really do want to go out there and start helping people and now I’m more sure than ever that it’s the right thing.

    Thanks for your help!

  26. True confession: For me the hardest part of posting (content or comments, it happens in both realms) is hitting that “publish” (or “post comment”) button. That’s the scary moment, the stomach-churning top of the climb at the start of the roller coaster.

    Okay…here I go…I will not be afraid of that post comment button….

    • I love it! I had that problem at first. I built 35-40 posts, then I just flushed it. I had 12 visitors per day, and I realized I was all over the map.

      So I started over, and now I have over 300 per day on one site =), and about 30 on the other 🙁

      Since then, the hardest part is reading my post AFTER I publish! Then I might see a typo. But I do it anyway, and I find great new ideas for future work.

      Keep it up!

      time to hit the publish button for me!

  27. Great answer to a comment I saw here the other day. I can speak from experience that these tips truly do work, but just planning to do them is not enough, you need to actually use them!

    My blog is a mixture of self-help, opinions and promotion, not as much a business blog as it is a tool to help people and show potential clients how good a writer I am. But even I need traffic in order to do that (lesson being if you have blog, regardless of WHY you have it, being invisible is usually not a good thing. Otherwise why have a blog?)

  28. Great post….(just kidding, or am I?)

    I will definitely say that if I knew my blog would be this much work before I started it then I would’ve never started it. But am I knee deep now, its a commitment, and I have already invested too much to abandon it.

    I still suffer from “invisible content syndrome” at least a couple times a month. But I do it less now than in the past.

    The writing content part is easy, because I love my subject, I love learning more about it, and I love sharing what I learn. It is the networking aspect I need to work on much more.

    Thank you for this advice Sonia! Always great to read your take on things.

  29. Sonia,

    I always enjoy receiving your emails in my inbox. To be honest I don’t blog anymore. I probably should but I prefer to write articles – linking back to my site – that get ranked on Google’s 1st or 2nd page within a few days of submission.

    I think I’m more afraid of starting a blog and having to commit to writing a new post every day and to be honest I just don’t have “free” time anymore.

    With my wedding approaching in 6 months and a full time job along with 3 cash paying clients for my lead generation services, I literally am working 7 days a week and up to 60 hours or more.

    I hear that submission of posts to Technorati and as well as Twitter are great ways to gain exposure to posts that offer something of value.

    I really liked the Cosmo Headlines article you guys wrote, I think if more Bloggers followed those guidelines in their writings that more and more people would buzz their content.

    What about you? How long did it take to get people to subscribe to your blog? How did you promote your posts online?

    Marshall Adler

  30. Your site has been so helpful and useful for creating and honing classes for the public, advertising and also that 30 second blurb I get to do when networking with business groups. Because of your writing I am changing what I do. As a therapist, I know the work is very good. You have given me insight for better and effective communication. Many many thanks.

  31. Those are all great tips! When I first started my blog I had already joined a tribe so I got a lot of tweets and a few comments from the beginning. That was a great boost at the beginning.

    Then I discovered how beneficial it was to comment on other blogs, many times when I comment on a blog people return the favor. It’s also a great way to make friends and it’s a lot of fun.

    I was reading a lot of posts on blogging tips and techniques since I was new and I was excited about what I was learning so I started posting about blogging. Those posts got a lot of attention from other new bloggers which built up my blog. I even took those posts and turned them into an ebook which has gotten a lot of great feedback.

    Remembering that quality content is more important than quantity makes a big difference. If people see you posting mediocre posts daily they will be less likely to come back, but if they see 2-3 good posts per week they are a lot more likely to return time and time again.

  32. It’s really easy to feel that nobody cares, or is reading, and then something completely unexpected happens.. a newspaper picks up something you said, you get actual paper fan mail (!), and people you’ve never met buy your ebook. Makes it all worth it.

  33. Hey Sonia, agree that lots of us are scared of real personal interaction – but nothing beats it in my view.

    And for those out there still at that early stage, keep at it, it does get to a snowball point 🙂


  34. Great post. (Kidding. And yes I know someone beat me to that joke already. Still, I couldn’t resiste.)

    Seriously, I love the advice about writing for beginners. Often we assume that people know as much as we do. (If they did, why would they be reading our blogs or newsletters?)

    I was given the same advice in writing recipes whether in a cookbook or on a blog. You can’t assume that people know what “saute” means or that Tbsp is tablespoon. The same can be said for any discipline – don’t use jargon and write for a really intelligent fifth grader. It’s all about being useful and sharing your knowledge.

    And love the advice about registering with Gravatar. It’s so nice to see what all you folks look like!

  35. Dr. Sonia, if you keep this up we are all going to be blogging hypochondriacs.
    I’ve got this invisible content syndrome. Actually, I think I’ve got it beat but I agree so many get it.
    You try the 10 step program, the 20 step, the 31 steps but sometimes there seems no one is interested no matter what you say. I think the truth is there are very few overnight successes and it simply takes a bit of time.

  36. As a (blogging) novice myself, I just this morning experienced a very real example of the wisdom of your advice about writing for (other) newbees. This isn’t about writing perse, but it is relevant to your point.

    I’ve spent the past week dealing with a technical issue on a WP site I’m setting up – several people, faaar more experienced than I, have been trying to help, but nothing worked.

    This morning I just happened to stumble across the solution and was able to resolve the issue very quickly. I am so grateful for all the support, but in the end I think the issue turned out to be so simple, so basic that it likely had long ago fallen off the radar of those far more experienced.

    Great lesson(s) for me all around and I hope it will help me to be a better blogger.


  37. There are newbies and then, there are wannabes. Wannabes are those who have read a couple of personal development books or personal finance books, etc. and think they can blog about the topic.

    Readers are not stupid. There is a good reason why wannabe bloggers don’t grow, I think.

    • You’ve got a valid point – in fact I spent the past 7 years working for a global direct sales company and worked with (literally) hundreds of people anxious to start their own business and many thought all they had to do was rely on the company name and customers would show up.

      The challenge then becomes giving everyone the best you’ve got to give, despite (or maybe because) knowing some won’t make a go of it, because there are also gems mixed in with all those “wannabes” and everyone deserves a chance.

  38. As usual, these are great tips! I recently launched a new blog and this article could not have come at a better time.

    Sharing what I’ve learned about my field is always a source of inspiration that I turn to when coming up with material.

    Even better, the more I write, the more I learn through explaining, rethinking, reconsidering and reconstructing my knowledge. Writing only helps me grow.

    Further, the idea of being useful to someone else out there is exciting and motivates me every time I sit down to write.

  39. I totally agree with you on the beginner front. I’m a massage therapy student, and all the blogs out there for massage students were written by licensed massage therapists who graduated from school about a billion years ago. They were mostly unhelpful, unfunny, and patronizing. So about three months ago, I started my own, from-the-trenches blog. I’m not invisible anymore, but I’m still in the teeny-tiny audience phase. It’s okay! I’m growing an audience, and growing even more as a writer. It’s a lot of work, but I’d start again in a heartbeat.

  40. I did go through the syndrome. Posting more often seemed to help a lot. If you are a sporadic poster, folks stop checking back for you. Sure, everyone is all excited about your blog when you first announce it. Then they add it to their feed and forget about it. So then it’s YOUR job to keep fresh content coming. I was posting here, there and everywhere.

    So I started posting on a schedule. I started making promises (which meant I had to keep them, i.e. post). I started asking my readers questions and they started answering them. Every once in a while I even tapped them on the shoulder to remind them that I’m still here.

    You can’t blog on an island I’m afraid. You can’t be afraid to talk to people and to market yourself (sometimes shamelessly).

  41. I feel like after 1 year and 1/2 my blog has a decent following. I want to take it to that next level and feel that targetting other blogs (and hanging out) would help. With two little ones at home I have limited time but can fit it in somewhere!

    Thanks for the excellent post!

  42. “Link to the best posts you find. Create your own content by riffing on their ideas with your own take.”

    I used post an average of twice a month till I started doing this. Now I post every weekday. Not only is it an easy way to come up with things to blog about, but you get trackback links from a lot of the sites you link it. And sometimes the authors of the posts you’re riffing on will come to your blog and post a comment.

  43. Wow, that’s great stuff! As a 6-week old blogger, it is exactly what I needed to hear! My blog is going through a lot of fine-tuning and I have a ton to learn, but it’s a lot of fun. Still, it helps a ton to have encouraging posts for us newbies like this one. Thanks a million for the inspiring advice.

  44. 1-2 years to develop a following! My goodness. I’ve been at it since May, and I feel like I have good content–when I do get hits, the site is very “sticky” and folks tend to stay around to read. What I wish I knew was what the standards of success are…I feel like people have kind of stopped using blogrolls the way they used to (though if dooce linked to me I would totally hit her back). So then is it comments? is it hits? How much traffic do most blogs get? When is pimping your blog okay–“like” me on Facebook, or whatever–and when is it tacky?

    I just want to be a famous, billionaire blogger who’s a household name. Is that so much to ask?

  45. Great post, Sonia.



    Wait. I should say more. Your “old-fashioned advice” could not be more spot on. A couple of key phrases jumped off the page — “making yourself useful” and “building relationships.” I think utility can get lost way too easily as one is conjuring post ideas, monitoring social media avenues and doing 15,000 other things simultaneously.

    Be useful or be invisible. It ain’t quite “Get busy living or get busy dying,” but it’s still a good credo.

  46. You bring up such an interesting topic and great advice. The person who helped me get started warned me that “slow and steady wins the race” and I am glad I listened to her. I only have a few posts up now but plan to continue blogging away!
    Marla Levie

  47. Man I really do appreciate this post. I have just started my blog and my friends love the content but I just can’t seem to get it out there. If you do happen to check out my site the latest post is just for a laugh but the one before for that gives a good idea of what we are about.

    One thing that i wanted to ask, do you know of some websites that are normally open to the idea of guest posts?

    Thanks so much for the post.


  48. I’m still roaming in the land of the (mostly) invisible. Actually, it was what drove me to say what I said in my post today. Oh, I have a few subscriptions (mostly friends) and lots of google hits, but the comments are practically nil. Comments aren’t crucial, but they would mean that my readers are engaging in what I’m saying and that it’s making a difference in their lives.

    Getting un-scared for me means not caring so much what other people think about what I say. I talk about God and what I learn from Him in my life and anytime you start talking about God, somebody somewhere is bound to get mad. So I think I’ve tried to overcorrect for that and have become boring most of the time. Right now, today, I don’t much care what people think about what I write. I write the truth, I write about my own experiences and how God has and is taking me on a spiritual journey and I’m not going to apologize for that anymore. I’ll let you know how it goes.

  49. Wow! I really needed to read this article. I blog for two blogs and I feel like there’s great content—but, I now know its the way I’ve approached it all together. I like how you mentioned to help the new person.

    Great post 🙂

  50. I love the article. Right on the head – and I am glad I read it. You reminded me of one of the sources of my success at first…my second email address! JK… I mean the hanging out at other sites and posting and commenting on their great content.

    Seriously, the worst part of this post is the picture…reminds me of the human centipede.

    Love the content – keep it coming!

  51. This article has given me the kick in the butt I need to get back on my blog and get to it. I’ve had invisible blog syndrome since I started it. I started a book share site with 2 of my fellow writers and while I thought the idea was great, so far no one else has. I started blogging on the site and got discouraged by the kind words of friends and family, “nice site, great choice of books….” – okay so register and jump on in – so far zilch. I just did an article for client about setting goals and not giving up and then I find this post. Ta da!

    So now all juiced up from your article I return to my blog to be witty and prolific. Thanks so much for giving me the boost I needed!

  52. Yep, invisible about sums it up. I’ve been blogging for just over a year with just over 100 posts. I have some readers, sporadic comments, solid content, but it’s still pretty quiet. I provide medical level skin care info in the sea of spammy skin care hype. Not as much fun as ‘hope in a bottle’, but some folks want the real deal.

    I like your challenge to be funny, take risks, explore what’s holding me back. I think that’s key for me, but how to do it… Well, I’ll have to give that some thought, or maybe just be less precise and calculating when I write. Loose and funny comes more naturally when I speak than write, but I’m going to try to find that inner imp for my writing. Thanks for the inspiration.

  53. Hi Sonia–new here, and grateful for the advice. I’m a part-time freelancer who’s been writing and editing a business writing blog for just over a year now. I’m not satisfied with the quantity of my readers and have decided to do the extra steps to generate traffic. Your advice could not have come at a better time!

  54. Firstly, thank you Sonia for this article. I remember when my blog was getting zero traffic and how frustrating it was to feel like I was speaking to the wall.

    On the flip side though, that period when I got next to no traffic made me reflect alot on my reasons for writing and what my main motivation for writing was.

    Initially it was so that I could get potential readers and in turn potential buyers. This reason wasn’t strong enough for me to keep me writing since I wasn’t getting any readers let alone buyers after a month of writing.

    Eventually I decided that I would be happy even if no one came to visit my blog and that at the very least I could use it as a place to record everything I learned about the subject matter I was interested in.

    Once I did that, I found I was able to write more often and honestly since I wasn’t constantly worrying about trying to say the right thing in the right way or that what I was writing might turn people away.

    Eventually readers did start coming and while this does make me feel alot better knowing my content is having an impact on someone, I learned that learning to love the process of writing for an audience of one (yourself) helps alot to ensure you will always have the motivation to write, even if it seems like no ones reading.

    One experience I find particularly helpful whenever I start worrying what people might think about my writing is when I used to hang out with a group of friends who didn’t treat me well back in early high school.

    I realized that the reason they didn’t respect me was mainly because I didn’t respect myself and that I would let them walk all over me all the time. I was changing my personality just to try and fit in and they could see that.

    Eventually though I had enough and decided that if they weren’t going to respect me for who I was, then I didn’t want them as friends.

    The lesson I learned was that in order to attract real friends and to be true to yourself, you need to be willing to stand up for your beliefs and be yourself, even if it means standing alone for awhile.

    I think adopting this mindset will help bloggers realize that their goal shouldn’t be to try and get as much random traffic as fast as possible, but to stay committed to being themselves in order to gradually attract people who connect with their blog content.

    You can’t do that if you’re changing your personality or angle every blog post. People get confused as to who you are and in the end don’t associate any feelings to your blog whatsoever because there doesn’t seem to be a real person running it.

    So I guess my advice to whoever reads this is to not be afraid of being yourself. Hiding who you are is safe, but being who you are takes courage and people who read your articles can see that.

    Anyway, think I’ve gone abit long :P. Just my two cents which I hope will be helpful. Again, thanks for the great post – keep em coming

  55. Hi guys.
    I’ve just discovered this site and find it so useful already. I have just started a surfing blog and I’m pretty sure it’s invisible, I get a few hits now and then but mainly from spammers.
    At first I bit off more than I could chew and started up two blogs, a photography one and my surf blog. It was quite cheap to set up and I love both subjects so to me it was the obvious choice, “get them both up and running and make a sqillion dollars” I was going to be rich, a new house and car, my daughter was getting a horse, and my son, well he wanted a new bed (teenagers). To my surprise I had very little traffic and the people that did visit I was on first name terms and I knew their mums maiden name. I was disappointed to say the least but anyway I pushed on. I started reading other blogs similar to this one and realized that I had a long way to go. I still have both blogs but only concentrate on one at a time trying to ensure the content is as good as I can get it.
    I still read through some of my pages/posts and cringe about how rubbish they are especially after reading some of the stuff here.
    I really enjoy my blogs and hopefully in the near future they will have a lot of traffic and with your help I’m sure I can do it.
    Hopefully my blog becomes less invisible every time I read some of your pages, many thanks.

  56. Three things have worked for me:

    1. I wrote like a shotgun about everything I was interested in for a while, and noticed what got the most attention.

    2. Guestposting on other blogs is by far the best strategy I’ve found. (By the way, I see lots of guest posts on Copyblogger, but can’t find anywhere that says who you pitch them to…?)

    3. What Sonia says – I stopped writing like I was doing an academic essay and started to tell stories about my experiences, meaning that when people come to my site from my guest posts, they find something that interests them.

    Oh, and a fourth thing: I started an email list and asked the subscribers what they want me to write about. It’s a small list so far, and I don’t get many responses, but I value those I do get highly, and they’re guiding my current content.

  57. Hi Sonia, I have seen many of my friends who started blogging and quit it after three months in the invisible mode. This is the biggest dilemma of blogging , writing their best posts in invisible mode and getting recognized when feeling writer’s block … The ideal solution is to start slow and let it feel the search engine advantage in 3-4 months and then working hard towards your goal .. people start working toward becoming a great blogger from day 1 and that thing affects ….

  58. I think this happens to the best of us. We have great ideas or what we perceive as a great idea until we try to write about it on a blog and then nothing happens. The words don’t come, the ten dollars was wasted and then another new idea pops up. For those who are not careful, this cycle can repeat itself over and over again. Great tips and I think when it comes down to it, knowledge, understanding and determination are three key points that every blogger or potential blogger should remember. The following will not be instant, not everyone will “get” what your blog is about and not everyone will find the information useful, but the ones who do will follow forever and share in your online blogging community with you.

  59. I really enjoyed this, thank you. I also loved your keynote at the Blogworld Convention a few weeks ago.

    Something that came up only a few times throughout the convention is what is on my mind as I read your post – I believe very strongly that I have good content. I am very vulnerable and have moved all fear aside to post what I find to be honest and open blogs that I hope people who feel isolated and alone can relate to. However… I am concerned about my long form content and that maybe I can’t keep people’s attention because at first glance, each post looks like a book.

    In the closing keynote, Penn said something that I loved in response to a question about long form blogging – as long as it is good content, all people need in order to be interested in it is a comfortable chair in which to read from. I was wondering what you thought of this and if you have any feedback as to how I can work out this issue.

    Thanks again – I hope to be on stage speaking one day as well.

    • Looking forward to seeing you on that stage. 🙂

      I think long can be good — Copyblogger posts tend to run long, and many of the most popular posts are long. My advice would be to break it into shorter pieces if you can do that naturally. Then once you’ve got your discrete chunks, make sure you’re breaking *that* up with subheads and short paragraphs. Use other formatting like bullet points and block quotes to keep it scannable as well.

      Long dense paragraphs put people off, but it’s easy to break them up.

  60. That opening paragraph along with the image you have there really set the mood for me. I felt a little chill like watching a scary movie. Great writing there!

    It is amazing how much of blogging actually takes place on other people’s blogs and out on the internet. If one actually breaks down the time spent, they probably spend less than half the time working on their blog actually on their own blog. The rest of the time is spent out there making connections.

  61. I feel relieved after reading this, because I just started a blog and it’s great to know that this is normal when people don’t automatically start posting. I guess it’s better to just continue posting and make online buddies for now. I can relate to being scared, because it can be hard to write about yourself.

  62. I think usually new blogs (like mine) somehow must face with the “invisible content syndrome” and your article can helps me cope with it. Thanks for a great post!

  63. Extremaly useful especially when I’m running a blog just about one month – its very natural I’m in the syndrome. I have to learn a lot to know how to smile. Your post was really influencial and I’ll try to be more useful.

  64. “spamming asshat” is classic. I can see a Dickens character called Spamming Asshat.

    Oh, I better add more to this comment or I might be called one.

    I haven’t started blogging yet, but need to soon. I’m going on an extended trip that will take me far away from my network – Canadian investments industry. I hope the blog will keep me in peoples minds while I’m not steadily writing for them.

    But I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was suffering form the “where do I start?” syndrome.

    • I started with the boring default atahualpa and WordPress, and tweaked it over the course of the month to get it like it is.

      The magic list on how to get started blogging:
      * Install WordPress
      * Who cares what the theme is (though atahualpa is nice and free)
      * Whip up ten posts (It’s good to start narrow and build out to more topics) and save them as drafts
      * Simmer on it for a while, editing the starting content from time to time
      * Work out a post schedule. Start at once a week if you aren’t sure

      It couldn’t hurt to consider caching and security, but those probably won’t matter until you’re ready to start promoting it.

      And that’s pretty much it. You’ll learn as you go along, but the learning won’t happen if you sit there wondering how to start.

      • I like that list a lot. The only change I’d make would be to move security to the top. Nearly every not-so-big WordPress blogger I know got hacked in the last 12 months, the evildoers are going after the smaller blogs that don’t have their security set up. (My personal blog was among the victims.)

        • Then putting a complex, but easy to remember password on wp-admin might be a good idea in the start.

          I didn’t know the hacking of new blogs was such a common occurrence.

          • Thank you, MKR and Sonia.

            I drafted a few posts, but realized I was writing to other writers, not my clients. (That content may find a use somewhere else.) I’m working on some new content now.

            Your security comments are duly noted.

  65. There are some really excellent comments here! Thanks again, everyone.

    Another thing I do–don’t ask me why it did not occur to me to post this with my original comment–is that I automate as much as possible. I have my blog RSS feed going to my Facebook business page, I think I have it going to Twitter, and I have it going to all social networking sites I belong to, where it’s applicable. Since I don’t have a counter installed yet, I don’t know what kind of traffic this is bringing me. I have 73 people “following” my blog (I use Blogger, because I like it,) but I have no idea how many people are reading my RSS feed, and I don’t have a “subscribe” button yet.

    I’ll be adding the subscribe button and a counter ASAP. I do not get a lot of comments, but I do appreciate the ones I get, and I see from my Facebook page that people read and appreciate the posts, because they “like” them, even when they don’t comment.

    One other thing I’ve been doing is this: When I get an idea for a post, instead of writing it down in my paper journal (I’m an artist–those are essential to us!) I instead log onto my blog, start a post with notes about my idea, and save it as a draft. When I have time or when I’m ready, I’ll go in and flesh out those posts.

  66. “Every successful content marketer started out with an audience of two … yourself and your other email address”. I truly love this line.

    Write for yourself too. I think we should write about something that we truly believe, and expression of ourselves. It does not matter really how many people will read our blog post. What is important is that we are happy with what we have written. I am happy that I still learn something new every time I read my old blog posts.

    Then write for someone who needs your help. They may not find you today, but they will eventually. Just keep on writing everyday. My best blog post don’t have that many visitors. The ones that I did even write well get the most comments. Funny. But I learned that each blog post has its own audience.

    Thank you for this post. You made me think…

  67. All do! I would still go back, to this day, and do it again and again. It’s so worth it, the number one problem is people not giving it enough time.

  68. Great post and at the right time for us. Good to know good people are afflicted with this syndrome! We seem to be blogging to ourselves and have no comments but will focus on good content and staying involved in our blogging community. Who knows, maybe Mark Cuban will tweet a post we do! Probably not…

  69. I got lucky with my blog. I rarely listen and I have a hard time coloring in the liners and my spelling and punctuation leave much to be desired. People read my quirky little blog and they hire me because of it.

  70. We have gone through a few changes and are still mostly invisible. It’s ok, I write weekly and expect very little so it’s ok. I do like it when real people write to me or write comments. I figure I will get an audience in time and I do enjoy the writing so it’s definitely not a problem.

  71. So far the majority of the comments on my blog come from spammers (I laughed out loud at calling them asshats – so true! Stop clogging my inbox!), but I was also not blogging with a consistent message.

    I finally took the few hours to put together an editorial calendar, using one of your great tips about teaching to beginners. My biggest weakness is over-complicating, forgetting I don’t need to be a wizard, just helpful.

    Thanks for this post. And way to generate a couple comments! 😉

  72. I am really glad that I found your blog. Thanks for sharing this great advice. I am fairly new to the blogging scene and am picking up new readers every week. I find it exciting.

  73. I’m fairly sure most of my post are still invisible but I get a few comments every now and then, which gets me really excited.
    Still early days though.
    If the comments are of a positive nature I cant help feel the pressure to write more content that will keep my reader.
    But in a funny way the excitment takes over and I cant wait to get my next post up.
    I have just discovered copyblogger and as I have said in a previous post I find everything here a great help.

    I have a question though, Some of the comments I get just seem to be full on spam, they make no sense, just a jumble of letters and numbers. Does any one have any ideas? I hope I havent been hacked or something.
    No damage has been done to my blog, it’s just bloody annoying, I go from being excited to recieve another comment to frustrated that the post was just a load of rubbish.
    Any info would be greatfully recieved and thanks in advance.
    I think I’ve sorted my gravatar out, we’ll see.

  74. Great post!

    The invisible contents phase is a part of each blog’s lifecycle. Going through is not easy, whatever the tips you follow. It always takes time and determination. But in the end, it’s what differenciate good bloggers from the others.

    I’m not meaning that those who don’t get traffic and give up don’t have interesting contents, but what many people don’t realize is that blogging is not only about producing contents.

    Just like selling software is not only about developing good products. Having the right connections and being part of the right networks is also as important as content itself.

    It is possible to sell bad products with good marketing, just as it is possible to kill good products with bad marketing. But the biggest suggest come when a not too bad product is supported by a not too bad marketing.

    • The abundance of annoying advertising in our world turns a lot of people off the idea of marketing before they ever need it. I think that’s why so many bloggers neglect it.

      It’s the same with SEO. It has a stigma because people look it up and, wouldn’t you know it, the people at the top of Google are the people who do it aggressively (the black hat folks).

      It usually reads like cheap and cheesy advertising, so people get the idea that SEO is bad.

      • Well, I’m on top of Google with some of my posts on my main blog, but I must say that they are specific in a specific niche, so it’s not that hard to get there.

        Your parallel between marketing and SEO is right, and it applies to all tools. Tools are as good (or as bad, but being optimistic I prefer to write as good) as people using them.

        SEO is a part of blogging, whether you do it extensively or not at all.

  75. Maaaaaaaaaaan… I have Invisible Blog Syndrome. Yes. It’s true. Sigh…but there is hope!

    After reading this blog I realized what my situation was (I.B.S.) and ways to beat it. I think it’s kind of ironic that I’m blogging about dealing with diabetes, and yet I am the one who also needs help! Funny how that works…

    Thanks again for the great blog and I hope to fight this terrible disease with your help. 😀

  76. Yes, yes, I’ve been writing my blogs with invisible ink, but with the point of intriguing my entranced readers. Once I mail out the decoder-pen that they can use to noodle across their screens, my captivating posts will be revealed.

    Even if they are old recipes.

    Oh, you mean besides my gimmick, the CONTENT has to be good too? Back to the drawing (key) board…

  77. The comments on my blog are virtually non-existent. Every now and then I get a few but most days I don’t. I think I know why.

    I write about my two passions mostly – hip-hop and teaching.

    I get a lot of teachers coming by to check out my content but teachers are busy. They search the Internet, find what they need, and move on. I would like these people to comment but I know that most of them won’t (or probably don’t even think to)

    I think I can overcome this by asking for comments or writing an entire Teaching Tip Tuesday post about this lack of comments problem.

  78. Late to the party, but just wanted to say this post was helpful. I definitely have ICS.

    Thanks to Mike Reese-McMillan for the suggested links. I haven’t been able to find other bloggers in my niche. (Parents of adults with severe disabilities…Finding supports for families of adults with autism…)

    And yesterday I was totally freaked out when I started to get Twitter followers from the porn network using the keywords “adult supports” which included supports I NEVER even imagined.

    That was when I wanted to just quit. All I can think is that the porn folks have a lot more time on their hands than my target audience. But whew! talk about an eye-opener.

  79. Well, at least I know that my blog isn’t somehow cloaked by dark powers after I hit the post button!

    Being one that cares about good content, my lack of traffic was really biting in to my patience.

    I often think that allot of new bloggers are stifled by information overload and it results in a lack of action. I have read a staggering amount of information but it’s often followed by no activity….my form of mental paralysis.

    I really think that I have the information that I need to start shoring up my content and getting things moving, but my action plan (editorial calendar, networking focus, etc) is still lacking. I could blame it on the lack of time but that should simply cause me to become even more strategic.

    Great real-world advice that a slacker such as myself can use!

  80. I found this article because of participating in the Etsy Success Holiday Boot Camp and the link to here was in this week’s Newsletter.
    Sometimes my eyes cross with trying to keep up with ‘essential’ blogs. I recently read that one should consider keeping blog posts to approximately 200-250 words, something I’ve not quite mastered, but it’s a goal.
    I do suffer the ‘Invisible Content Symdrome’… I just didn’t know it had an OFFICIAL name. Now that I know, I kinda feel ‘free’ to continue ‘sharing’ with abandon. Thanks for the encouragement.

  81. Great entry! Very helpful. Some days are “big” for me and others are quiet. My favorite way to boost readership is tell an embarrassing or sarcastic story and give it an awesome title, post on Facebook or elsewhere, and let people remember that my little corner of the internet is there.

    Most recently: “Hiking, Crying and Other Sports” at my site:

    I even got my Dad to “like” it!


  82. Great post!

    Haha, I couldn’t resist. This really is a great post though. It’s smart and I really appreciate how you give different ways in which you can use your naturaly tendencies to your blogging advantage. My new blog is currently invisible but I feel like it’s more true to who I am so I hope I can find the right audience.

    Last point, I like the what are you scared of part. I’m a lady who enjoys a good swear word every now and again, but my mom wouldn’t approve. Trying to be a “good girl” was killing my creativity so I agree that you havta face your fears and deal with your demons and if you want it to work…or hell, that could be your blog right there 😀

  83. My tip for trying to be useful and non-boring is to be candid. Be frank with people. Don’t try to be something for everyone. I don’t know who said it, but I like it – “You’re not a 100-dollar bill. Not everyone’s gonna like you.” Some people will like your openness and honesty, others won’t. The ones that don’t – oh well.

  84. Sonia, I think a lot of bloggers are scared of interaction you must write at least 2-3 quality posts per week to get readers to return to your site.

    I post about blogging and get a lot of attention from other bloggers and this helps build up my blog.

  85. I get 500 unique visitors a month. And 70-percent of them leave the site within ten seconds!

    I have 15 posts after really starting four months ago.

    I get one comment per post if I’m lucky. But when I talk with friends in person or on the phone, I’m surprised by how many tell me, “I liked you article about x.”

    Readers and friends more often email me rather than leave a comment on my site. Maybe because they’d prefer to share their comment with me privately. Only a small percentage of people are extroverted enough to make a public comment.

    Though my blog looks like a ghost town, it doesn’t bother me. I’m discovering the things I like to write about. I’m learning how to share valuable information. I’m practicing becoming a better writer.

    I’d write even if I had zero readers. I learn more about a topic when I write about it. It helps me master a subject, and each article that I write is a piece of creative art (or a failed attempt at one!). If anyone else finds it useful or interesting, then that’s a bonus that I’m grateful for.

    I’d love to have more readers, but first I have to produce more remarkable content.

  86. I’m just getting started like a lot of these folks and I suffer greatly from inconsistency because of fear. As a matter of fact, fear is the main topic in my blog about my process in starting my online business and my business online. I’m also struggling to find a consistent voice and to get rid of the stiltedness. Your words concerning boring blogs hit me square. I am most concerned with putting out a boring blog. Thanks!

  87. Something that stole your spark before you ever really got to share it.” – geez, Sonia, you nearly got a tear in my eye with this one.

    I honestly can’t think of anything more heartbreaking than that, and it’s something that everyone – blogger, writer or just “person” – needs to be aware of.

    Don’t you dare let that spark be dimmed or stolen because you think that’s what you need to do to succeed. If you do, I’ll find out and come over to slap you silly.

  88. Great post! lmao

    I started a blog last year that’s sole purpose was to promote my shop and my crafting. I tended to create posts for my readers instead of for myself. I started gaining a following within 3 months, but it flopped because I lost interest. Also, I think I wasn’t very interesting.

    This time, I’m 2 months into a new blog. That other one has become a personal, but not too personal, blog. The current blog was started with my business name, but I am approaching it differently. I decided who I want to show people, what part of my personality I want to shine, and post in that voice. Whether it becomes successful in the traditional sense is not my priority. I would rather have a written record of a learning process than perfect and appealing content that I just have no interest in. So, far I already have fans and people that comment regularly.

    I think keeping it organic is key. Let your personality out and people will respond to it. Unless you are talking about religion or politics, the naysayers will just move on. So, there’s nothing real to fear other than letting go. Good times.

  89. “Somewhere along the line, you got punished for being interesting. You got ridiculed for being yourself. You got your hands slapped for coloring outside the lines, and you promised yourself you wouldn’t expose yourself to that again”

    I especially love this! When I started writing my blog, I was extremely nervous about showing myself and sharing my feelings through writing. I definitely have felt ridiculed for being myself in the past, but taking the leap and doing this has been the most gratifying thing I’ve done in a long while…even if I only have a handfull of followers right now.

    I’m so glad that I came across this post!

  90. I’m a little late to the party, but wanted to chime in also. I love the point about finding a group who knows less than you and becoming an expert to them. I’m often stifled by the feeling that I don’t know enough to be offering the advice that I am, but I forget for every person who knows more than me, there are probably 2 that know less.

    Kudos also to the reminders to be authentic and keep at it. It’s so easy to forget that it’s our unique voice that will engage people and that it all takes time and diligence.

  91. my blog is a few months old and I’m so in an “invisible content syndrome” right now.
    I mean, I have great content but there isn’t anybody to appreciate it! Please help me!

  92. I blog with a specific message and that message is to inspire other women; content is great – what I’ve been told and I also feel that but find people are apt not to comment; they read, they receive what they need from the content to help themselves and that’s it. I’m not sure everyone knows how nice it is to get comments on blogs. I will continue to write for and I have been disciplined since I started blogging in March 2010; at first every 2 days a new post and now I am down to every 4 days a new post. I will continue to perservere since it is my passion to inspire women!
    In gratitude for your advice,

  93. I have searched and searched, I can not find anyone who does it better than copybloggers.
    You guys are the best. Ironically, I know your focus is businesses and how to improve their sites with your great articles.

    I continue to endorsed it, to college advertising and marketing students, for that matter anyone who is interested in the subject. I know everyone can learn from it, I sure have. A few weeks ago, I commented on something Sonia wrote, I was so excited that I let it rip only to re-read it and find about six typos. After the initial embarassment, I wrote a blog article about Boo boos and screw ups. It was actually fun.

    2011 will be a great year for your fans, we will all be smarter thanks to copybloggers.

  94. Very true info! I’ve been wading through many of these and just had a conversation with a successful blogger in my field who encouraged me to put my best work out there. In the process of breaking through scared now! 🙂 Plugging away with joy, fear and adventure!

  95. Hi

    Well I’ve just stumbled upon this article and there are some good pointers here I shall put into practice. As one who has only been blogging for three months my first “rule-of-thumb” seems to be. The longer you spend on an article the less readers it gets .. strange but true.

    I do sometimes wonder where the readers are but after three months it’s interesting to see the page hit history building up and the pages with the highest amounts of hits over time are not those I expected. It’s starting to show me that there are some methods of distributing your links, and topic, that have more longevitity than others.

    This article is a good case in point, it’s now some months old but it’ll continue to attract readers because it remains relevant.

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