Starting a blog was one of the most exciting things we have ever done. Building a loyal audience, gathering intelligent subscribers with insightful comments, and making plans for the future were all part of a wonderful first year blogging. The problem for us was that reading about blogging and actually blogging are two entirely different things.
Blogging is hard work. Much like becoming a parent, all the warnings in the world do little to prepare you for the reality.
No blog becomes famous overnight unless its author happened to be famous a couple nights before. Blogging requires hard work and diligent effort for a sustained period of time. Many bloggers give up in the first few months and the majority never see their sixth. I can sympathize. With all the blogs screaming for attention, how are you supposed to know if your work is going to pay off or if you‘re wasting your time?
Outside of tons of visitors, or lots of ad revenue, success is defined differently by different people. Some bloggers are seeking a path to money while others are more interested in simply connecting or sharing their voice. The list below is simply a way of gauging whether or not people are connecting to your blog.
Five ways to tell if your blog has what it takes:
Comments can be both an empty measurement and a solid indicator that things are going well. If your blog is receiving a lot of comments, that’s probably a terrific sign. However, if the majority of those comments ring to the tune of “great post!” then even 100 are rather meaningless. A couple of valuable comments that provoke discussion are far better than double digit comments that are only there for the benefit of a link. It means that people are finding value in your content and interested in engaging you and other readers regarding that content.
Darren previously wrote on 11 ways to get your comments noticed on a popular blog. Use this information to help you determine the value of the comments you’re receiving, while helping you to learn to make your best comments.
All growth is progress. If your subscriber count is growing, then you can consider yourself on the right track. Slow and steady wins the race and it can take months blogging to break into the triple digits. Many people, ourselves included, set unrealistic goals for their subscriber counts. This only leads to disappointment and frustration. Be realistic and remember, blogging is a process, not an event. If your numbers show steady growth, then you’re doing something right. If not, then you need to reevaluate your content, posting frequency or perhaps your social media strategy.
Darren has written many times on getting more RSS subscribers. This post has 9 tips to help you find more with a nice video and link roundup.
Links are the currency of the net and help to pay for whatever it is your blog needs: traffic, social proof and search engine rankings; all are the direct result of high quality links. And one of the best ways to generate quality links is to produce quality content (and make sure that content is seen). The more recognized you are, the more links you will receive. The beauty of incoming links is that they carry a cumulative effect. After a while, people will start linking to you simply because others are.
Getting links is important. Here are 11 ways to increase your chances of being linked to by a blogger, as previously written by Darren.
With blogging, an ever expanding web of friends and blogging buddies is essential to long term success. You could even make the case that who you know is sometimes more important than what you create, though I do believe the quality of your work must always stand on its own. Strive to meet new people and widen your network as best you can. I’m not saying to strike up phony friendships with people you’d otherwise have no interest in. Rather, find people you are genuinely interested in and can learn from. You will have created a network of mentors that can teach you a lot more than a dozen courses. If there is a natural complimenting of each other‘s strengths and weaknesses, all the better.
As part of Darren’s excellent 31 Days to Build a Better Blog series, he ran a post on Day 15 about finding a blogging buddy.
Many bloggers make the mistake of not clearly defining their niche. I know I’ve made the same mistake several times myself. If you are blogging as a hobby, it is unnecessary to build a fence around your ideas. If you are looking to turn your blogging into profit, or a full-time living, it is essential that you understand the audience you are targeting and how best to market to them.
Remember, we all define success differently. However, paying attention to the above list and the advice linked within can help ensure your blog lives up to its fullest potential.
Question: How do you define blogging success? How have your opinions of success changed since you first started blogging?