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Sometimes Blogging is Like Watching Grass Grow

As we continue to settle into our new house, a new routine and new surrounds in our suburb I’m being constantly inspired by the lessons I see around me and how they apply to blogging.

In today’s video I want to talk about Grass (Turf that is…)

Our turf is brand new and as a result it needs a lot of attention for the next couple of weeks. If we don’t keep it wet – it’ll die.

Water is crucial at this stage as it is still putting its roots down and getting established.

Similarly – a blog needs to put its roots down in its first few months and can take a lot of work – for seemingly few results. However there’s more going on under the surface than you might think. While reader numbers might not be great those first few readers can spread the word of your blog far and wide, the decisions you make about design, SEO, topic, voice etc all can have a lasting impact upon your blog.

Yes – sometimes blogging is like grass growing – but this slow start up phase usually doesn’t last for ever.

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. Darren Rowse says:

    ‘Vicky’ – two things:

    1. I don’t expect everyone to like everything that I do. However some people come to ProBlogger for specific tips on how to improve their blogs while others come for a little encouragement and motivation. This post is aimed at the second type of reader – those who are having a tough time in the early stage of their blog and need some encouragement. There are 4000 posts on ProBlogger – I’d guess that around 2000 of them are aimed at the first group.

    2. There’s no need to use an anonymous comment. If you don’t like a post for some specific reason I welcome people to give constructive feedback on how it can be improved. Posting a comment like yours just makes me do one thing and that’s to search to see what IP address you used and what other comments you’ve made previously under your real name.

    Always happy to be critiqued – but take it more seriously when it’s constructive and when the person doesn’t try to hide themselves.

  2. Booklover says:

    Boy, I needed that message. I actually went to the site for some how to, but the grass metaphor was more helpful. I have been feeling like I may need to start paying or blackmailing my friends and family to even read the blog, much less get a following. So, your encouraging metaphor was exactly what I needed to inspire me to keep it up! Thank you!

  3. Cory says:

    Darren, I recently started my first blog a few days ago. While searching for how to’s your blog keeps popping up. I hope Vicky can realize just how popular and helpful your articles are.

    To make the point clearer this article has actually been the most helpful to me. I am writing a blog about poker because it’s what I do professionally. I have been posting on forums like crazy hoping that my signature with my blog address would get me hits and subscribers. In the few days since I started I have had 4 hits.

    I am very much results NOW oriented. This post was very helpful in bringing back to reality. Thank you.

  4. well,this is true.certainly my income has rose but at times,it can be a little tiring and not motivation to blog.lol.just a thought that i have.

  5. Jason says:

    I find the analogy very appropriate. I would add the idea of weeds to the grass growing. If you don’t pay close attention to your blogging and keep up every day in some way weeds start to move in. I’m still a beginner but better posts grow with a little attention every day until published. When the growing is neglected for a few days, numerous weeds seem to have sprouted and I spend more time “weeding” than growing. My rhythm is quickly lost and I spend time just getting it back so things can grow again.

  6. Steve! says:

    HEY! You stole my metaphor!

    I have the exact same thing going on on my blog!!!!

  7. A motivational posting to keep at it. Great post.

  8. Minic Rivera says:

    One of the best among the thousands of articles/videos here. After being silent for most of 2007, and now starting a new blog, I definitely get this stage. Thanks!

  9. Very inspirational message Darren. My blog is less than 3 months old and your analogy made a lot of sense to me.

  10. KiwiPulse says:

    I like this video, I agree with what you saying and I can easily relate it with my own experience. I don’t know how many design I have made for my blog, or how many time I spend to try to improve it. My design is one thing, but the essential is still my content. It’s my content that have made my blog grow and not my design. The design is only there to attract my readers attention. My blog can be a beauty, but if I don’t come with an interesting content. It’s a fiasco! :D

  11. JohnST says:

    Darren, you have drawn an apt analogy between blogs and grass. For some, it may be even more than that, it is a newborn baby. I like that part about things happening behind the scenes during those months, even if individual results do vary, at least it is a consolation to new bloggers to dig their heels in and persist.

    I started on my own blog about 2 months ago , traffic is increasing but it is painstaking work. I am not referring to the the writing as I take pride in churning quality content and it is issues which interest me. The killer is the promotion of the blog which often leaves me wondering if I am barking up the wrong tree.

    When such clueless days occur, I know there is this blog here which I can turn to.

    Merry Christmas to you!

  12. ITrush says:

    So I guess I’m not alone here. Very nice post, it inspires me to keep on watering my 2 months old blog until it’ll grow and bear fruits just like everybody is hoping. Keep on watering guys!

    Nhick
    http://www.itrush.com

  13. PeterSanz says:

    I think Blogging is not like watching grass grow but sow the seed of creativity and work.

    Creativity is essencial.

    Sorry for my English…:-)

    http://www.petersanz.com

  14. Juanma says:

    Having just launched my blog, I find this article super inspiring and honest. Keep’em coming!

  15. Monsenior says:

    Ive learned a lot in this videos, thank you sir because im inspired in your problogger.net, someday i will be created this site.
    My virgin blog is http://www.money-on-blog-easy.blogspot.com
    Will you give me some advice in my topic in blog posts,
    Thank you again sir

  16. Hi,
    Great watching the video. I really feel jealous about your blog. Cheers! and Wish you a great 2008.

  17. Alan says:

    This is the biggest load of garbage ever. Look at all the pathetic comments about how great this video is. Give me a break. 99.9% of you will never have a popular blog. Why do you all fawn over the crap spewed out on this site and the other big sites like John Chow? Don’t you realize they are just trying to sell you crap so they can make money?

  18. Darren Rowse says:

    Sorry you feel that way Alan.

    I’m not sure how long you’ve hung around here at ProBlogger but I genuinely try to help bloggers reach their potential.

    I do occasionally link to an affiliate program but in almost all cases it’s to a product that I’ve used and recommend.

    I don’t expect everyone to like every video or post that I do – but I attempt give good and helpful information and to make genuine recommendations. While I understand your suspicion of some sites like this (there is a lot of hype and deception out there) I attempt to run a legitimate blog here.

    If it’s not for you – I won’t force anything down anyone’s throat but I do ask you to give me a chance as I’m sure you’d want others to give you one.

  19. Philip Voice says:

    Hi Darren,

    At last, a gardening post :) – Something I am comfortable with.

    If I can add something – and I have not read all of the comments so I apologise if this has been said – grass, whilst it needs constant water when it is first laid, it will also suffocate and quickly die if it is over watered.

    Maybe this is a parallel that can be thrown back into blogging, over blog and saturate your site and it can suffocate your blog.

    A good sprinkling, timed to perfection will be the best tonic your lawn and blog will be grateful for.

    All the best

    Phil

  20. Just want to say that I love the site. Great analogy about turf and blogs. Maybe if my blog takes off someday I’ll be able to buy a lawnmower with the adsense money…haha

  21. Actually if you check out information on permaculture, you’ll find out that its principles and concepts relating to natural ecosystems also relate quite well to the digital ecosystem of the Web. Therefore, you’re not really building a site or community so much as growing it. And noting the patterns around you, as well as edge effects (where you connect with others), really can make a big difference in helping your site grow.

    If you’re interested in learning more, a great starter site on the subject is shown below (check out the Concepts section in particular and even the Principles section).

    http://home.klis.com/~chebogue/PermacultureIndex.html

    Also a great book on the subject is “Permaculture: Principles and Pathways Beyond Sustainability” by David Holmgren. Again the idea is to look past the specifics (how they relate to nature) and instead look at the general principles and concepts as they relate to an ecosystem.

  22. Nhuong Son says:

    Wow,

    It really is! I’ve been blogging for about a week and it seems pointless sometimes, but I know I have to keep on trucking if I want my blog to live. I need to definately get do some SEO. Your entries are REALLY helpful to beginners like me. Thank You

    Nhuong Son

  23. KnoxFilms says:

    Man, I’ve been watering my lawn for six months and I still have not needed to cut the grass yet!

    Any advice?

    please feel free to leave comments on http://www.knoxvillefilms.com to help the grass grow!

    Knoxville Films–all about filmmaking–written by filmmakers.

  24. Majik says:

    You are so right about having to ‘water’ your blog. I’ve been trying to add a new post to my blog everyday, and just now after about three months I have been seeing new traffic everyday from search engines. I still have to work on SEO, but now that I am seeing an increase in traffic I can look at other options to improve it.

    Hope you have a Happy New Year!

  25. Ruth says:

    Your video is a great analogy to building a blog. And it seems to grow just that slowly — like watching grass grow. You’ve totally revamped your site since I’ve been here. The new look is great! Congrats on your new home.

  26. kylie says:

    like watching grass grow? Need some weedkiller, too? :-)

  27. WildTips says:

    Yes, starting a website, blog, or whatever takes time! Chances are you won’t see great results for months, or even years! It even took Darren a while before his sites became a success! Great post.

  28. abesha says:

    It puts everything in perspective. Very intelligent to use the grass approach to explain something that so many misunderstand.

    http://www.abesha.wordpress.com

  29. Oh, I really hope things are happening behind the scenes and that I will reap those benefits one day.

    This video is certainly inspiring and really has me thinking now…

    Thanks!

  30. gnoma says:

    I read your blog 1 2 times a week in order to find useful advice for growing the mio…ho started recently and I must admit that I never thought it was so difficult to make itself known and generate traffico…anyway thank you for the support to blogger’s community …

  31. Niki says:

    Good analogy – and I’ve still got a lot of weeds.

  32. Curtis says:

    I know I’m a little late on this comment but I am okay with that. I just wanted to say, as I am sure many others have, this has been an inspiring video. I have only lightly blogged for the last few months but this helps one keep their head up. Thank you Mr. Rowse

  33. Nikoo says:

    Hey Darren, I used to read this site awhile ago, almost ritually. I came back today.

    Apart from the fact that i completely disagree with the grass idea, it’s Monoculture and I think a blog should be like a permaculture fruit and veg garden, resourceful, and diverse, I think you are selling your readers short with this post.

    I respect you, and have learnt from what you have had to say in the past, but as someone who has taught me well, I think it would only be doing you disrespect to not give you constructive criticism.

    Move beyond some of the analogies that seem drawn out and less fruitful. Ask your self “Can this post be summed up in one sentence?” If yes, it probably isn’t worth writing about. This post, unfortunately, can be summed up in less than a sentence. We all want to push our ideas further in terms of content, I myself think I can get enough out of an idea that can be summed up in a sentence to fill a page, and its part of the nature of blogging as long term writing exercises designed to generate content that can be commercialized. I am not against getting as much content out of a simple idea that could be summed up as a sentence. But the least we can do as bloggers for our readers, is to make that sentence Proustian (long, complex, but articulating a very defined and directed idea)

    Anyway heres to the future and many more useful posts to come, even if this is not your most shining example.

    ps. sorry for the proust analogy

  34. Nikoo says:

    also, another piece of constructive criticism, is it just me, or are 50% of the comments here, whilst written by real human beings, just here for the trackback?

    I remember reading awesome discussions in the posts here over the years. Darren, I want your old blog back!

  35. Farid says:

    Darren, this was a very inspiring post.

    As I sit on my computer till 5 in the morning working on a blog that I started a week-or-so ago, it’s good to know that the work that I am doing in the early stages of the blog is setting the stage for something possibly greater in the future.

    I would speculate that as many as 75% of blogs do not make it past their first months because of “poor starts”, and blog owners that aren’t patient enough to “seed” their blog’s early on. Because of post’s like this, I feel reinvigorated and dedicated towards working even harder on my blog!

    I will have a beautiful bed of flowers growing in no time, but until then, I will seed the soil!

    Regards,
    Farid

  36. dave says:

    Good analogy: grass is one of the hardest plants to grow!

  37. I hear plants like music.
    If you want your grass to grow, you should play it some music! Not too sure if that works for blogs, but my blog likes music.

    Looking critically at my own blog, I think one of the things I could do better is to stick to a niche. During the first few weeks, I planted some grass, some carrots, some dahlias and some daisies, instead of patiently waiting for the grass to take root. Since then, some of the posts I really feel passionate about like these have proved to be popular:
    http://necrofiles.blogspot.com/2007/12/faust-love-of-damned-2001.html
    http://necrofiles.blogspot.com/2007/11/come-on-hollywood-remake-these-films_27.html
    http://necrofiles.blogspot.com/2007/11/nile-ithyphallic.html
    http://necrofiles.blogspot.com/2007/11/pantera-reinventing-hell-their-best-of.html
    http://necrofiles.blogspot.com/2007/12/black-sabbath-heaven-and-hell.html

    (I never post something to make money, but I feel more comfortable with some posts than others)
    Thanks to problogger, I feel more like the patient cow from PlasticPilot’s proverb. Really an inspiring blog!

  38. You are absolutely right! When I use to blog it was something like that: traffic grow slowly and sometimes I just thought that there wont ever be nice amount of traffic on my blog, but eventually there were, not much, but decent amount of traffic anyway and that surely took some time.

  39. Oprea Marian says:

    Thanks problogger for such motivational message addressed to us, the bloggers.
    I find this very true and I believe it. However, it would like to mention that it could take more than 1 year for many. It depends on the content bloggers write about. As long as its quality content that adds value to it, that’s when the blogs takes off.
    Some of you may know, or even experience, that even if you write weekly you still don’t get many visits. There are blogs that wrote for more than 3 years and still get few visits. I believe they didn’t set any goal to have many visits. That how you lose the time!

  40. Holly says:

    Yep, that’s exactly right! But you’re also right in saying that the beginning phases don’t last forever. With the TLC you give to your blog and to blogging in general, it most often pays off and the reward for all of your hard work is definitely worth every minute you put into it!

  41. Lawrence says:

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  42. Will says:

    I Dig the Analogy!!!

    Well in that case we just need to keep on watering it and make sure it gets plenty of sun, but not too much, as I don’t want it to brown out….

  43. So many good points Darren. I could listen to that accent allll day! :)

  44. Deepak says:

    Thanks for posting this Darren
    Actually i also got a similar idea like this one…
    the difference was that i thought it like planting a tree…
    i know you dont have have time but still
    here is the link of my post

    http://bloggerchamp.blogspot.com/2008/01/blogging-is-like-planting-tree.html

    & thanks for making such a great blog

  45. RIGHTTTT says:

    So i have been blogging about 2 weeks. I dont know any bloggers so im not sure how to feel about my stats from feedburner. I was hoping someone could give me some help doing that. So for the first couple of weeks my feed was fluctuating between 1 and 2 but the day before yesterday i had 5 and yesterday i had 10. Is this good. I wont lie im kinda excited. 10 subcribers in 2 weeks is awesome to me. But is it awesome to other NEW bloggers? I would really like some input. Hope one of you can help. Thanks in advance.
    http://parkerverse.blogspot.com

  46. Yongho Shin says:

    Very insightful video post! It is definitely keeping me going at my small blog, which took a surprisingly large amount of time making, despite the little content it seems to have right now.

    Darren, are your glasses from Prada? I think we have the same ones!

  47. Great video post. And yes, blogging is like growing grass, it will be much better after a while.