You’ve been thinking about starting a blog for a while now but you finally decide to get over your paralysis, set aside a few hours, and commit to starting it. So, you set up a blog and begin writing on your niche topic of choice. Within the first week or so, you average about a post per day and feel pretty good. Then you realize no one really knows that your blog exists. In the coming weeks, you learn that there’s more to blogging than just posting articles and get the sinking feeling that it’s more than you signed up for. You don’t want to give up on your blog yet but since you are your only regular reader, you start posting only two or three times a week. After a month’s time, your posts have already diminished to once a week, then once a month, then eventually you abandon your blog entirely.
More than half my readers already have blogs in one form or another. If you haven’t started a blog yet, I’m sure current bloggers can attest to the scenario I just described. Regardless, either you’ve been through it or know someone who has. Out of the 100 million plus blogs out there, only a handful survive. If only they knew what blogging really entails before they started.
The truth is, I don’t have hard stats to prove that only 10% of bloggers make it past six months. Based on personal experience, it’s probably closer to 5%. What can you do to make it in that elite group?
Here’s what I recommend to put yourself on a path to succeed.
- Set a goal on posting frequency and stick to it no matter what. Many top bloggers post every day but depending on your topic and your time, that might not be feasible. Just be realistic and consistent. I suggest at least three times a week and keep it up for a minimum of three months. Then re-evaluate and see if you need to increase frequency. Whatever you do, don’t skimp on quality just to meet your quantity goal.
- Find others in your niche and work together. The blog world is a little different from many other realms. Blog communities, even within the same niche, are often close knit and can offer an excellent support system. Your best bet is to find blogs around the same maturity stage and read each other’s articles. Leave comments along the way and hope to receive some in return. This should motivate you a bit since you now have an audience other than yourself.
- On non-post days or extra free time, learn about SEO and slowly apply some techniques. In the long run, this will be key for your blog. It may grow organically anyway because your content is good but a little bit of SEO could double your following. In some cases, an extra few minutes a week spent on SEO could be the difference between a blog read by 10 visitors a day or one read by 100 a day. If a bigger audience doesn’t drive you to chug away, then I’m not sure what will.
- Find a mentor. Many bloggers who have made it past the six month threshold had to have learned a lot. These folks can offer a lot of advice that is specific to your needs, which is a huge benefit especially during the first few weeks of your blog. They should be able to motivate you to post regularly, help you manage your time effectively, and fine-tune your blog. Having an idea of what to do next and having someone kick you in the butt once in a while is a great way keep that momentum going.
Of course, there are a ton of other things you could do. In fact, the longer your blog exists, the more there is to do. I didn’t even mention things like social bookmarking, directory submissions, social networking, advertising, affiliate marketing, email blasting, theme updates, design and usability considerations, plugins, and blog analytics.
The important thing is to just keep moving along at a pace that works for you. Blogging is very much like exercise or investing, consistency is the key to getting great results. So instead of running for 45 minutes, 3 times a week, you decide to do it once a month. Running once a month is about the same as not running at all. Same goes for blogging.