For many businesses, the first interaction a customer will have with you is on your blog. Content marketing plays a huge role in building brand awareness and creating a positive reputation with your target audience.

But here’s the problem. The average blog dies after only 100 days. Why is that? The most obvious reason is that the blog is not getting enough views, and the blogger decides that blogging is not worth their time and energy anymore.

But why do blogs fail to build up a steady stream of traffic? Here are five reasons why blogs fail to get off the ground, and what you can do to make sure you don’t fall into these ruts:

Failure to Find Your Niche

Many bloggers figure they can just write about their lives and their interests, and people will automatically be interested. This approach is fine if you’re okay with only your family and friends reading your posts. If you want to get a bigger audience and monetize your blog, this approach will set you up for failure.

There is a massive amount of content on the internet, and you need to offer something that is both unique and useful. Choose an area you have expertise in, whether it’s vegan cooking, young adult fiction, Japanese fashion design, skincare home remedies—whatever. Specializing in one topic allows you to claim authority on your subject matter and offer your readers something they won’t find anywhere else.

Failure to Branch Out

On the other hand, some blogs might be so specific that no one will be interested in them. This can happen when businesses start blogs in order to attract customers. For example, if you sell kitchen appliances, and you start a blog which is strictly about kitchen appliances, your potential reader pool narrows to people who are currently in the process of purchasing a refrigerator.

If, on the other hand, you start a recipe blog, your potential audience suddenly expands to the entire population who cooks, or wants to cook. Blogging about a broader topic increases the amount of people who are likely to be interested your content.

Too Much Marketing

Many businesses use blogs as a tool to direct potential customers to their products or services. This is a great strategy, but if your blog posts are obviously trying to sell something, people will not read them. Internet advertisements are annoying as heck; people avoid them at all costs.

So how do you disguise marketing content as non-marketing content? Let’s go back to our kitchen appliance example. A headline like “5 Reasons The New Kitchen Magic Slicer Is The Best Product Ever” wreaks of marketing. But “5 Easy Recipes For The Person With No Time To Cook” is an enticing headline, because it introduces information virtually everyone can use. Write the second article, and include a link to and a short description of the magic slicer in one or two of the recipes.

Failure to Build a Social Media Following

Many bloggers abandon their blogs because they can’t build up a social media following to promote their content. The biggest mistake people make here is assuming that sharing blog posts from you Facebook and Twitter accounts is the only way to promote them. To attract readers in the beginning, when you have very few followers, you need to consider other methods of promoting your content.

One of the best promotional strategies is to reach out to well-followed blogs and ask them if they will either link to your articles in their articles, or share your content on their social media accounts. If they say yes, you will start getting some of the traffic from those larger blogs.

Another method of promotion is joining Facebook groups which relate to your subject matter and sharing your blog posts in those groups. You can also do this in chat rooms and in sub-Reddits.

Finally, be sure to include social media share and follow links in all of your articles. Once you get traffic from the above sources, you want to convert that traffic into a greater social media following.

Not Trying New Things

This last point ties all the other points together. Many bloggers will continue to post the same type of content over and over again, in the hope that this time it will succeed. After it fails for the 10th time, they finally quit.

Don’t fall into the mindset of thinking that poor performance is a fluke. If your blog post performs poorly, there is a reason for it, or perhaps several reasons. Experiment with different types of content, like listicles, gifs, videos, cartoons, etc. Experiment with different methods of promotion. Take note of what works and what doesn’t. Blogging can be a long trial and error process, but be persistent. As long as you don’t give up, and you keep adapting, you will, eventually, find something that works.

Your blog doesn’t have to be another statistic. You can beat the 100-day lifecycle and build a blog that helps you spread your message and improve your reputation online.