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Blog Gestation Periods

Earlier in the week I was asked the following question:

‘How long does it take a blog to come of age?’

It’s a question I get asked regularly, usually by bloggers who have been blogging for a month or two who are wondering how long to stick with it.

I always struggle to answer the question so today thought I’d try doing so a little differently – with a tangent (hold on tight – this could be a little freaky)….

Here are the gestation periods for some of some mammals:

  • Mice – 19 days
  • Rabbits – 33 days
  • Foxes – 52 days
  • Lions – 112 days
  • Goats – 151 days
  • Baboons – 183 days
  • Humans – 267 days
  • Whales – 490 days
  • Elephants (Asian) – 645 days

As you can see – in the animal kingdom there’s a fair bit of variation between the length of time between conception of birth.

In a similar way different blogs have a large variety of gestation periods (at least the blogs I’ve been involved with have).

For some – it seems like a matter of weeks between the first post to that day when they burst forth with a flurry of inbound links from bigger sites and quickly build a loyal readership.

For others the growth is much slower and takes a long time, adding readers one by one rather than in leaps and bounds.

Of course the analogy of looking at animals breaks down when you look at the size vs days. In the list above it’s the larger animals that take the longest and the smaller ones that don’t take long – however there’s no such pattern with blogs!

How long did it take for your blog ‘take off’?

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. James says:

    It’s been almost one year, and I’m still not sure its taken off :)

  2. Alpesh says:

    Started in May 2006, and its been a reasonable start for me. Its true that you just need one big break through, before the influx and loyalty game starts. But hey, today I have 30 readers and I guess its not a bad start :-) 139 posts and 30 readers, means I have added a user after 4.63 posts. :-)

    I would attribute some success with this, thanks to you :-)

    Cheers!
    Alpesh

  3. Everton says:

    I think I was lucky as I only started blogging as a product evaluation for work, and as part of my investigation of the blogging space I went to a blogging conference. At the conference I ‘caught’ the bug and I did a big write-up of the conference which got me a lot of links from the great and good of the UK blogging industry. This meant I got a PR of 4 within a few weeks of starting, so I didn’t have to suffer the growing pains of normal new blogs i.e no traffic which can be de-motivating.

    All I can say is stick with it and don’t give up. All you need is that one killer article to get yourself on the map, and it might have been the next one you posted…..

  4. nakedpastor says:

    i’m a mouse, with “no authority”, but i plan on being an elephant! i believe in magic.

  5. Ollie says:

    My main site has been going to 9 or so months, and while it is growing, I too am not sure it has ‘taken off’ yet. But the advice to stick with it is sound. Keep writing and plugging away and eventually the readers will come, I hope!

  6. siong1987 says:

    Everton, how long you take to reach 400+ subscription readers? My blog age is about 4 month old. And, it currently have 20++ subscription readers only.

    Anyway, what are the circumstances to evaluate a successful blog?

  7. bill says:

    I accidentally launched my latest blog on Saturday, the 25th of November. I say accidentally because I had put in the HTML code for blogtopsites, and intended to wrap it in a commented PHP block until I was ready for my eventual “launch”. I wanted to make sure everything was just right.

    I FORGOT to put the PHP wrapper into the template, so the blog started getting ranked on blogtopsites. Once I realized this, I said “to heck with it”, and decided to forge on ahead using the “Ready, Fire, Aim” method.

    Started marketing on a few blogs, via comments. This generated something like 27 uniques, a few of which were me (can’t get Google Analytics filtering to block my traffic).

    On Sunday the 26th of November, I submitted the URL for the main page of the blog to StumbleUpon at 3:36PM PST. Checked my stats early monday morning after getting home from my graveyard shift job, and was sitting pretty at 927 hits, 95% from StumbleUpon.

    Traffic has gradually been higher and higher each day, until yesterday, it seems to be tapering off, but only time will tell.

    I’m just glad I already had about 8 posts on there for content when this “accident” happened.

    Sorry this was so long.

    Bill

  8. John Wesley says:

    Great idea for a post Darren. I started my blog 2 weeks ago and I am still building content. I haven’t started promoting the site yet so I don’t know what my blog gestation will be.

    Regardless, blogging sure is cool.

  9. Mine is still ‘gestating’ as such, but I’m happy doing things one step at a time, you can’t expect overnight success!

  10. Rodney Olsen says:

    It’s been just over three years of solid blogging so far. I can’t say that my blog has really ‘taken off’ as such, I think it’s still taxiing waiting for permission to use the runway. :)

    I don’t think I’ll ever have a huge readership because my posts are more random than focussed on a particular subject. I’m fine with that. I’m not out to save the world or make money from blogging so I guess that while I’d love to have many more readers, my blog is already serving it’s purpose.

  11. Luke Meshios says:

    My blog is yet to take off. I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong as such. I think my content is good, I’ve got a good and simple layout.

    my blog is http://www.wmseo.com

  12. Eliza says:

    My blog still hasn’t taken off but I’m hoping it will some day, I know things don’t happen over night. Over the last two months I’ve really been learning about how to drive traffic and everything else and am starting to get the hang of it. Just got to blog every day or every couple of days, always have something new on the site. Still need to figure out a nice layout though.

    So for some it may happen as you say over night, but for others it takes a lot of time and patience.

  13. Leanne says:

    I’ve been blogging for several years, and I’m still not sure how to answer that question. To google, I’m all set. My daily traffic is moderate and doesn’t leave me feeling alone in the blogosphere by any means, but that being said, I do want more. I think I’ve just come to an understanding that my niche’ isn’t “normal”. Still, I’m doing alright and I’m happy being a slow grower, it keeps me humble.

  14. John says:

    I don’t think my will ever really take off, but I’m happy enough with it…

  15. Glen says:

    It took over a year for me and I still think that I have a lot of room to grow.

  16. I have been blogging for about a year and a half now, but never very seriously. It was only about two months ago that I decided to take blogging seriously. I have two blogs now and while neither has really take off they are both on their way.

    With my second blog I was lucky enough to get a mention on a fairly widely read blog the very first day I started so that was a big help, I had at least a few regular readers from day one.

  17. Alex says:

    I’ve just stated my first pro blog. After the initial week when telling my friends and my other-blog readers about it, the traffic has gone down the drain.
    I’m now down to 30 unique visitors/day.
    Man, this is really depressing, especially given that we really have useful and pretty cool content. What can I do?

  18. It took about 4 months for my new blog to get significant readership (over 1,000 visitors a week) and has grown steadily sense then.

    Growth has tapered off now (it’s been a year since the blog has been running) and has levelled off to about 10,000 visitors a week and 2,500 RSS subscribers.

    But, I’m writing for a relatively narrow topic (software startups), so it’s likely easier to build some initial traffic.

  19. Trent says:

    I think my blog took off this weekend, as it hit the front pages of digg and lifehacker in the last two days after going basically unnoticed for the first month of its existence. I started it on October 29, and it seemed to go boom on December 1.

  20. Richard says:

    I guess that depends on how you define ‘take off’ ;)

  21. Marti says:

    Sadly, in the blogosphere, there are a great many miscarriages and stillbirths. There are blogs that never take off, and never will.

    I’ve seen dullness succeed, and genius design, writing and content fail. Who knows why?

  22. Allen.H says:

    Started early May. Took me 7 months to make my first $200. So far in December i made over $210.

    Allen.H

  23. Allen.H says:

    Sorry, forgot to add ’2005′ after May.

    Allen.H

  24. Marc Ohmann says:

    Last month was the first month that I started posting seriously. I made about 45 posts. On days when I posted I would have about 45 visitors and 90 pageviews. On days I don’t post the visitors drop to about 10 to 15.

    I am ranked about 700,000 on technorati. Is any of that good? I have no idea. I tend to rank success more on comments than pageviews. I don’t get many comments yet so I know I have a long ways to go.

  25. Koby says:

    I’ve been blogging since May of this year (2006), and when I started I didn’t really think about gestation or anything like that. I knew that most of the more popular blogs had been around for a year or 2 at least before they became the mainstays that they are.

    Since I signed up for FeedBurner in August I have had a steady growth of readership. No, it wasn’t a giant jump, but when I look at my “All Time” graph I can see my readership grow steadily and I’m ok with that.

    Having a blog that is not entirely specific in that I take on a lot of different topics due to my opinionated nature so that probably accounts for some of the lack of readership.

  26. Diddy1 says:

    I am the same as koby I’ve a blog for a year or two and now my readers are starting to become regulars. It took some marketing not to mention finding good and reliable sources to get my posts from and making sure they are always fresh.

    Thank You

  27. I´m a fox, I suppose. It took about one and a half month before one of my articles hit the frontpage of digg and then other social bookmarking sites. My readership took a bit of a jump from there.

  28. I’ve had some blogs take well over a year before there was real traffic going into it. and one of my latest blogs has only taken 3 weeks from the time I started to advertise it for it to start getting great backlinks and reader participation.

    I also think it’s experience that helps, it’s like anything else. The more you do it, the easier it is and the less time it takes to make it.

  29. Steve Olson says:

    I started Sept 17th 2006. By October 17th I had over 100,000 visits. But on days without the Digg, Reddit, or Delicious effect, I have about 300 subscribers and about 2,000 visits daily. By November 30th 2006 I had over 250,000 visitors. So far so good. I just added adsense two days ago and I’ve made a buck so far.

    I think I need a better template and graphics.

    Steve

  30. Oradeanul says:

    I’ve seen one taking of in less than a month …but mine after almost a year … still doing it for pleasure …

  31. Erik says:

    It’s been a year and it still hasn’t “taken off.” Maybe I should get out of the blogging game?

  32. I think I must be a large mammal expecting to be a rabbit. I am pleased about having 34 subscribers and some (small) revenue already, but it’s been six weeks for me and I’m feeling very impatient about not being indexed in google yet. I’ve done all the right things (according to experts I have asked) but now I just have to be patient and keep posting good content daily.

  33. Michael says:

    How can you tell how many “readers” you have? I’ve been blogging on and off for over a year, but got seriously addicted in September of this year and things are really taking off for me. This is a great blog by the way, just discovered it today ;-)

    Michael Smalley
    http://www.crashintolove.com

  34. Jason Hooker says:

    Digitalfilmcrew is really still in it’s infancy. I’m getting a steady (albeit small) stream of readers coming through, andit will take time, I know it.

    One thing I’d like to know, Barbra, is how do you know how many ‘subscribers’ you have?

  35. Phil says:

    It’s only been a matter of weeks since I started. Folks are staying away in droves. Gives a whole new meaning to “talking to yourself” LOL

  36. Elle Brown says:

    Starting back in October 2005 all I ever wanted was steady growth each month. Looking back now over the last 15 months I could say in a round about way I have had exactly this. Some months are the same as the one before and I even had a drop one month, but as an overview I definitely see significant growth. November 2006 was my best month to date and very early predicts suggest December will be even better.

    I see my blog as a 3 year project, in so much I believe month 36 will bring me the traffic and earnings set out in my initial goals. So I guess in adult years I’m about 6 years old waiting to come of age at 18!

    I’m definitely in for the long game.

  37. Darren Rowse says:

    Luke – keep at it. You’ve been writing some nice content but it takes time. You’re only at the two month mark in a very competitive niche (ie there’s a lot of SEO blogs out there) so it will take time to break into the niche and attract readers.

  38. To those who asked how do I know how many subscribers I have…there’s two ways. In the case of HomeBusinessWiz, I have a “sign up for my newsletter” box. So the subscribers I refer to are those who have subscribed using that box. The newsletter is an ezine that I send out monthly.

    The other way would be if you had RSS subscription buttons on your site (I don’t have them on HomeBusinessWiz yet). Then subscribers would automatically receive updates via their RSS feeds.

    Of course, as you probably know, newsletter subscription and RSS subscription are two different things.

  39. p.s. and to fully answer the question about how do I know how many subscribers I have, I can look in my Aweber stats (Aweber is the autoresponder service that I use for ezine distribution) and see how many people have subscribed.

    p.p.s. Like Elle, I’m anticipating it will take 3 years for HomeBusinessWiz to generate the kind of revenue that I envision. Having said that, I’m still as impatient for results as a h**ny little rabbit!

  40. It’s good to see a lot of variety up here in these comments .. and keeping it real for the most of us. Not everybody can be a “Trent” and get 2500 subscribers in 3 months, dugg, and lifehacked… I think I will use that saying from now .. “pull a Trent” if you know what I mean hehe .. (comment #19)

    (j/k Trent – and I subscribed today to The Simple Dollar anyway!)

    I think when I look at Darren’s lifespans – which comparing the gestation of these mammals to blogs is crazy anyway .. I will think of the ones with shorter lifesplans to be like those blogs that are here today and gone tomorrow.

    :P

  41. reikiblogger says:

    i would say we are in the slow and steady group. our blog is about writing though.. if people want to read it.. great.. but it is really just about writing our thoughts and opinions out loud.
    because it is our first site, we have also used it as a way to learn about blog writing and publishing. It has been a good way to make mistakes, without worrying about it effecting the things we hope we will be worrying about in 12 months time, and a few more blogs later.. like indexing, readership, CTR, site flow.
    So far i would say our biggest boost in unique visitors has came after about 6 weeks to 2 months (we are approx. 3 months old) when we started getting indexed better in some search engines.
    Regular readership for us has been very much one at a time.

    thanks for writing darren. all the best for a great 2007 and beyond..

  42. Peter says:

    Started my blog early November and so far I’m pleased with the results. It’s a real estate site for Miami. I’d like to think that it is quite provocative and not staid and traditional like most real estate sites. Keeping it “thinking different” is what keeps it fun for me. Plan to add “adsense” soon.

  43. I started off with a couple hundred visits (not hits) a week. A little more than seven months later, I’m getting a few thousand visits a week. Readership recently doubled (month over month), and I’m optimistic about where things are going.

  44. Stropp says:

    I’ve been blogging now for about two and a half months, and I get about 150 – 200 unique visitors a day according to awstats. My first full month earned me about 85 cents in adsense revenue, and my second full month earned nearly two dollars. So if I double every month, in a year I’ll be earning around 512 dollars a month. ;-)

  45. Eber says:

    My main blog was born in april 2006, and today has 2.000 uniques per day. Detail: writing in portuguese, which has so much less audience than english.

  46. Brett says:

    This discussion is great. As a brand new blogger (less than 3 weeks) I have found all of these comments really helpful. I have no real traffic yet and it has been interesting to read about other bloggers’ experiences in this area.

  47. It also depends on what your target niche is. If you have a very small number of potential subscribers, based on a very specific, specialty niche, then success is measured differently than if you are doing a pop culture “Entertainment Weekly” style blog.

    It’s more important to ask if you are accomplishing your goal when evaluating your success.

  48. Brett says:

    My “super niche” blog hasn’t really taken off the way I’d hoped, but it’s still pretty early in the game (only about a month or so old). Just need to keep at it, I guess :)

  49. Jeremy says:

    Just getting started with mine, which is under a month old. Having fun with the experiment. I have had days as high as 500+ views on 200 uniques, and other days as low as just a handful. I haven’t done as much as I can to get out on other blogs and market it, but I feel like I am still building a good content base for reader loyalty to be a factor once they come upon the site. Whether mine is grows big or stays relatively small, it is still a fun outlet for me to play with.

  50. Shawn Blanc says:

    Depends on what you define as ‘taking off’?

    How long it took me to start writing consistently: About 3 Months
    How long it took to start seeing semi-regular comments: About 6 months
    How long it took to have a solid faithful readership: About 9 months

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Blogging Gestation Periods Published December 4th, 2006 in Offsite Tips Darren Rowse of Problogger has a great writeup on Blog Gestation Periods. He notes that some blogs can be profitable within a few weeks, while others are slow to grow and take a long time to develop a reader base. [...]