Not All That Glitters – The Story Of Elena
Sometime around year 2013, I co-hosted an online business seminar in Calabar. A lot of people were in attendance on that very day, majority were complete newbies and so we had to start explaining a lot of topics from scratch just to make them understand. The seminar was a very huge success in the end.
I stood behind my car after the seminar just to finalise some things before signing out of the premises, at that point a girl walked up to me and after the normal greetings she made her point straight. “I’m a blogger, though still young and new to the whole blogging scenario, I will like to get your contact details so I can seek your assistance at any time I’m in need of opinion or advice. Please visit my url and help me with some tips to improve my blogging skills” At this moment she gave me a hand written complimentary card containing all the necessary details I may need, I accepted it and gave her my card in exchange “You can drop a message anytime and I will reply ASAP” She thanked me and left.
Her name is Elena (not her real name though, I contacted her before publishing this and she told me to alter the name), a blogger from calabar. Her blog was barely a year old by then, the niche was okay (at least she knew what it means to be on a specific niche, unlike many Nigerian bloggers) she blogged about the Nigerian entertainment industry. I received an email from Elena within a week and I followed her up, I helped her with some very important seo tips to get her page climb higher in SERPs and I also helped her restructure her blog in terms of design. All these I did for her without asking for a dime and she was very grateful. She always updated me with all the recent developments on her blog. Elena was a very consistent blogger, she didn’t even have any means of monetization on her blog back then and she was very optimistic.
We always talked to each other once a while through email till around september 2014, I stopped receiving emails from Elena. I sent her a message after a month asking about the recent developments in her life and her website, the reply I got wasn’t that positive. I visited her blog and discovered her newest posts wore older than a month, I checked her blog’s alexa ranking and it tremendously dropped to 2 million. This was a website that was already getting very close to 100k the last time I checked, I was so surprised. I gave her a call to confirm her situation and what was actually wrong with her and she said somethings I couldn’t understand clearly. “Elena was a very promising blogger, what could be the cause of her present predicaments?” I arranged for an emergency visit to calabar just to see her personally. You know I live the Dotcom lifestyle, I always have enough time to do whatever I feel like doing, travelling is never an issue with me.
I discovered some key things that went wrong in Elena’s case, those things that led to her discouragement. She was like many other upcoming and very promising blogger who lost it on the way.
A lot of newbie bloggers have what it takes to get to the top, but without the necessary motivations they may just give up. I never knew that I became Elena’s source of motivation the moment we began chatting. I noticed the fact that her blog was climbing high at a very fast rate but I never knew she picked every bit of words I told her and took them as a challenge in most cases, she was always trying to do every new tip I suggested for her blog when we chat.
I always praised her works and she later told me on our meeting that those comments from me were a great push for her to do more. She told me that when she discovered I no longer reply her mails, part of her blogging mojo cooled off.
Not All That Glitters
She also talked about another issue prevalent in the mindset of new bloggers. The issue of “I deserve more, but I’m not getting it”
She started comparing her blog to other websites on the same niche with her, she started lamenting the way her articles get plagiarised by her competitors. She started narrating how her competitors get over 20 times traffic than she does, she also complained about the cost of running her website. My answer to her lamentation was a very simple word, “Not All That Glitters…”
We always look at ourselves from within, we know all our personal weaknesses and assume it is visible/audible for others to see and hear. In most cases we let our weaknesses overshadow our strengths and we begin to feel inferior in comparison to others. These main attribute can also be translated to our businesses and other aspects of our lives.
Elena was comparing her website to other websites she says were far ahead of her. Her site was barely 2 years old and her so called competitors sites were at least 5 years older than hers. She talked about the efforts and time she always invest on her site with no knowledge of what it takes to run those other websites belonging to her competitors. She was measuring her website with all the flaws she knew about it and comparing it to another distant website she barely know nothing about apart from its glittering aspect. She was weighing all her weaknesses against another person’s strengths, and in the process she failed to acknowledge her own strengths and the person’s weaknesses.
As for the traffic, I let her know she wasn’t doing bad at all. Considering her traffic source and the age of her blog, she was even punching far above her weight. “You are not spending a dime on traffic and you get close to 4k on a daily basis, do you know how much your competitors are spending on traffic everyday?”
At the end of our meeting she promised to go back and pick up from where she stopped, and that was it. Today her blog is one of the most popular/successful entertainment websites in Nigeria and she already has 4 employees currently working with her.
It can be very difficult to manage a website in Nigeria owing to multiple challenges that will always limit you on a daily basis. Some of these challenges include lack of electricity, very slow and expensive internet plans and services being rendered by Nigerian network operators, time factor, etc. The key thing that you need to make it big in blogging is Motivation, try to identify your source of motivation and always stay connected to it all the time. This will help you through your early years of blogging till you start getting your feet on solid grounds. The money will always come but never make it your source of motivation, reason for this is simple – as a newbie blogger trying to bring up a blog to the level of success, if the money becomes your driving force then you’d easily give up when its not yet pouring in as you expected.