A guest post from Glen ViperChill.
I’ve read a lot of blogging success stories in my four-year blogging history. Sadly, they’ve always been about other people, rather than me. And, when I do see them, although they are real, I get a sense that the owner didn’t have to work as hard as I have. I see people getting big on Digg yet my domain is banned for no reason or linked to by Seth Godin and getting ‘famous’ overnight. I don’t want to sound bitter, but it just seemed like success was happening to everyone else.
Once I had this realisation, I decided that if I wasn’t going to get featured on Digg or Delicious for my new site, I would work on:
- Being the most authentic blogger in my niche
- Providing the best content that I can
- Interacting within my community as much as possible.
And what happened? In one year I managed to build my blog to just over 4,000 subscribers. Sure, it isn’t the success story that everyone else raves about, but it’s realistic and it is attainable. Or maybe I’m being hard on myself, because I don’t see that many blogs reaching these numbers either.
1. Getting 500 Subscribers is Much Harder than 1,000
Some of you might be completely confused by that statement and to others it will make perfect sense; let me explain. When I look at my own stats, I can see that it took me 5 months to reach 500 subscribers (which isn’t a bad rate of growth at all). Can you guess how many it took to reach 1,000? Just two.
You see, when I first started out, I was a complete nobody in my niche. I was fairly known in the internet marketing industry but totally unheard of when it came to personal development. Because of that, I had to establish a brand. I went with a logo people would remember, a unique design, and a desire to focus on content that simply helped people be who they want to be. Everything I would write would have the focus of helping people get what they want out of life.
From there I started commenting on other blogs, being active in Twitter and writing the best articles I could. I worked hard, but within a few months I was at the 500 subscriber mark. Once you get to this stage, things start getting much, much easier because when you’re trying to promote content that has no audience, you have to find people who might want to read it and show up where they are. Once you have an audience and write great content, they’re going to start sharing it for you.
If you’re struggling to get your first few hundred subscribers then don’t worry, as they’re far harder to get than the next few hundred. With the 5 months left in the year I managed to grow my site by another 3,000 subscribers. How’s that for exponential growth.
2. If You’re Going to Guest Post, Vary Your Audience
I have been one of the most active guest posters on the internet in the last few months and for one simple reason: guest posting works. It gets you out there in front of a new audience and just as importantly, an audience that understands blogs and what they are all about. If someone subscribers to another blog in your niche, there’s a good chance they will subscribe to yours if you’re writing great content. One thing I have noticed some people do is “piggyback” off a certain blog and try to write there as often as possible.
This is usually for big blogs which can help you get a lot of traffic and subscribers quite quickly, but things will soon die down. If someone has seen you guest post on a site 5 times and still haven’t subscribed, they probably won’t when you write your 6th article. There are a few benefits to varying your guest posting which include:
- Reaching a new audience: If you’re going for the same sites all the time, you’re going to reach the same readers. By varying your activities you can reach new eyeballs that want your content.
- Creating new connections: Guest posting shouldn’t just be thought of as something you can do to benefit your own site, but also something you can do to help the author of another site. Most bloggers love free content in return for a backlink so if you can help as many people as possible, there’s no harm in that
3. Find Ways to Collaborate with Others
As a blogger, I’m quite sad about the rise of Twitter in a way. Instead of the hundreds of backlinks a good blog post could get a few years ago, it will now get hundreds of tweets. Sure the tweets can bring you traffic, but they are not going to help your post move up the ranks in search engines. Even as a way for collaboration, people are focusing on twitter communication rather than working with people via their blogs. Usually these writers are coming from the scarcity mindset and if they link to other bloggers they’re going to lose readers and help their “competitor” grow.
First of all, if you think of other bloggers in your niche as competitors then you have a totally backwards mindset. Secondly, I’m here to tell you that collaborating with other bloggers in my niche has been one of the best things I have done. To begin with, I created a list of the top Personal Development Blogs. This ranks all of the blogs by their statistics and of course helps my site visitors find other amazing blogs to read. This page has been linked to by hundreds of websites and it has helped put me in touch with tons of other bloggers.
On top of that, I also ran a series called the Personal Development face-off. I had the idea thanks to Daniel Scocco doing this in the blogging niche and thought that the content generated here would be excellent. Even though I was featuring two other bloggers on my site every week, hundreds of people emailed me to say how much they loved the series. This positioned me as someone who was at the top of my industry because I had all of these top bloggers taking time out to work with me and because I was sharing the best content in the niche.
Don’t be afraid of promoting other bloggers. These days, I try to promote great content on other sites as much as possible. It will come back your way.
Glen is the author of ViperChill, a blog on Viral Marketing. He aims to help people create remarkable websites that others just naturally want to talk about.