How to start a successful blog
It’s been a year and a half since i started this blog, and it’s amazing to look at how far I’ve come. This blog started out as a playground, where my best designs were wallpapers and my experience with development was limited to mostly front-end. In those days, I was proud of my average of 30-40 hits per day, and now I’m surprised if my traffic falls below 250 in a single day. The point I’m coming to is this.. blogging takes time, effort and consistency all of which make a three-legged stool. The stool cannot stand if all three legs aren’t relatively even, and as a tribute to the wisdom and knowledge I’ve retained from the past year; I’d like to share some key points on starting/maintaining a successful blog.
Doing your time
Regardless of having one writer or multiple writers for a blog, it’s going to take a hefty amount of effort and time to build up your blogs content and traffic. One of the areas I attribute a lot of the success of this blog to is the time dedication I’ve had. I dropped other hobbies like playing guitar and watching TV to start blogging and reading more. This has been the key to my growth as a person and having one leg of my stool strong as steel. To make sure you put in the right amount of time, trying pacing yourself, or joining in a group like project 52, where you dedicate to writing one post per week. Just remember one important rule.. too much will cause readers to flee and too little will fail to attract them. I think once a week is a good frequency for a new blog.
Putting in the effort
You may be thinking, “isn’t putting in time the same as putting in effort?” .. and the answer is NO. Putting in effort usually means research, capital, and marketing. To run a successful blog, you need a few ingredients to help you along the way such as a professional design, an understanding of SEO, and the right marketing tools such as twitter and facebook. Putting in effort is somewhat misleading, because some of the effort is external, but it all comes back to you. Any money or learning you put into your blog is an effort that will help you keep this leg balanced. As I mentioned with time.. a weekly schedule to teach yourself something new will really help you along.
I see two very common mistakes relating to consistency:
Scenario A involves traffic, a blogger (whether new or veteran) sees the blog as a failure because traffic is low and doesn’t seem to be climbing. The worst thing you could do in Scenario A is give up on it. Think of a blog as real estate or stock.. it’s value may fluctuate significantly, but if you look at the course and direction of the internet as a whole, it’s value is always increasing. If you look at the short term, you’ll see failure, but dedication and consistency will almost always prove successful (combine that with a good exit strategy and you have yourself a business plan).
Hype is like dessert: most of the time it’s incredible, but too much will make you sick
Scenario B involves lack of time or effort. Yes, I’m aware I’ve already mentioned these two points, but bare with me. If you’re putting a lot of time into your blog and it’s not growing you may be focusing on the wrong areas. I see lots of blog focus on social media or spend loads of money on advertising, and they feel highly successful because they see their numbers jump.. for a while. The problem is people get bored with hype, it’s like dessert: really great, but too much or too often will make you sick of it. People need meat and potatoes in their diet. Many loyal readers will favor quality over quantity. My site for example rivals others that have 300+ posts and write daily.. yet it only has around 60 posts.
Put it all together
The last piece is a not-so-secret ingredient, and doesn’t need a paragraph to explain.. you have to be passionate about what you share. Blogs can definitely be profitable, but if you content doesn’t communicate passion and true interest, people aren’t going to be interested in what you have to say. Write to share about what you love, not to make money. Once you’ve built up a successful blog of loyal readers, then try and strategize the financial successes. I’m sure other bloggers would tell you differently, but I’m telling you from my experience that heart has more value than profits. If you enjoy what you do, there’s no price that can replace that.