When we start a blog we have big plans for it. We intend that our message will reach the entire (online) world and we pour much time, effort, and money into making that blog the best we can. And sometimes our efforts pay off big but more often than not they don’t. So how do you tell when your effort far exceeds the benefits you’ll get from the finished product?

Your audience is stagnant
One of the worst things for fish is stagnant water. That is water that sits and does not move. More than just not moving it’s water that is never refreshed by new water flowing in. Your blog can suffer the same affliction. If the same people come over and over again with no fresh bodies finding their way to your site it is a good indicator that you have a stagnant audience.

But how do you identify if you have the same people visiting over and over again with virtually no new faces? A good analytics package is key to doing this. Personally I prefer Google Analytics because of how comprehensive the feedback is. There are other visitor tracking packages but I have no experience with any of them so can’t comment.

If it turns out that your audience is stagnant you have to weigh your options. For me there is only one question that needs to be answered; Is my audience stagnant due to lack of effort on my part or is my message not resonating?. I can redouble my effort to get a larger audience. I can comment on blogs, I can join discussion groups, I can offer prizes, I can work the social media angle. All of those things are easily doable, but if what I’m saying doesn’t resonate with readers getting more people it doesn’t speak to makes no sense. At that point I have to decide if it makes sense to continue on or to abandon the project. It’s a cruel decision to have to make especially if you’ve poured hundreds of hours into it, but imagine pouring hundreds or even thousands of more and still getting nowhere?

Your content is a rehash of what you’ve already written about
No one faults you for revisiting a topic that you’ve already covered. In fact it is appreciated when you’ve come to a new understanding and a fresh perspective. What isn’t so highly regarded is when you say the same thing over and over again but in different words. Then it becomes tedious. I’m pretty willing to bet you don’t just get up in the morning and say to yourself gee, I think I’ll write about something I’ve already written about because I can’t think of anything new. Do you?

Take a look at your content over the past 3 to 6 months. How much of it is rehashed? How many times have you echoed the same thing? And to be clear I don’t mean your overarching message. Readers expect that to be consistent. I’m talking about your actual content. I’ll give an example. There’s many blogs that talk about how to make money online. But very few of them come at it from a fresh perspective post after post. Their new content is often a rehash of their older content. If your blog looks like this maybe you should consider bringing it to a graceful end.

You’re not gaining any traction
When we start blogging we generally have stars in our eyes but the reality is that it is a cut-throat business. You are competing with millions of blogs for a slice of the virtual audience. At some point you will need to take stock of where you are now compared to when you started and decide if you are moving in the right direction. There are many methods to reinvigorate your blog but that doesn’t mean you won’t still be spinning your wheels after a short lurch forward. If for whatever reason you just can’t get on solid footing and pickup traction to move forward it is time to consider retiring your blog.

Your blog has become a spammers haven
It’s nice to get comments. They validate your efforts and when we first start writing we want our time and effort to be validated by our readers. In fact sometimes when we first launch a new blog we will let some of the less intrusive spam comments slide. Just so we can show others that there is interaction on our site. But there is a thin line between letting a few spam comments slide and being buried in a landslide of spam comments. In my experience once the floodgates open it is nearly impossible to stem the flow. That’s why it is so important to stay on top of the comments.

But why does it even matter? How do spam comments negatively impact your blog? Well for one it’s a complete turn off for other people who might otherwise enjoy your content and interact with you. After all what makes you think I’m going to comment on your article when there are 200 other comments on it that have nothing to do with the article itself or even the theme of your blog? Especially since I know you’re probably feeling so overwhelmed you don’t bother even looking at comments anymore.

What about you? How do you tell if it is time to put your blog (or any other web property) down?

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