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The Secret to Explosive Blog Growth

This guest post is by Aman Basanti of Ageofmarketing.com.

Since launching my blog on the psychology of buying in mid-May, I have often wondered whether I am missing something; whether there is a secret to growing the traffic on my blog that I do not know about.

Am I not commenting on the right blogs? Am I not writing enough guest posts? Am I not submitting my links to the right social media sites? Am I not aware of some cheap advertising source?

But the more I look for that secret, the more I am convinced that there is no one secret.

Allow me to me explain.

Jim Collins on achieving explosive growth

In his book, Good to Great, Jim Collins examined companies that achieved explosive growth. These companies went from being average to suddenly gaining traction and growing exponentially.

Explosive growth

Image created by author

Collins theorized that something had to happen in that time period which resulted in explosive growth. Maybe it was a new technology that the company adopted, maybe it was new business process that they implemented, or maybe it was a new product that the company developed. Whatever it was, he expected there to be a defining moment.

As he wrote in the book, “We kept thinking that we’d find ‘the one big thing,’ the miracle moment that defined breakthrough. We even pushed for it in our interviews.”

The unexpected result

But that is not what he found. As he says, “The good-to-great executives simply could not pinpoint a single key event or moment in time that exemplified the transition.”

What Collins found was that each step built upon the previous step in an interlocking puzzle. Once all the major pieces were in place, that puzzle allowed the company to break through, and achieve explosive growth.

The company had to get the right people on board, set the right strategy, develop the right products, implement the right business processes, and use the right technology to accelerate growth. Slowly, as the pieces of the puzzle started falling into place, the company started to gain traction—and the more traction it gained, the better its results were. That, in turn, helped it grow even further.

What this means for your blogging efforts

Now, you’re not a corporation trying to land a spot on the Fortune-500 list. You are a blogger who is trying to turn your passion into an income stream. What does this all mean for you?

What it means is that there is no one secret to growing your blog. It is a combination of writing good content, promoting it, building relationships with other people, and doing that week in, week out, over a long period of time. This is what will help you gain traction.

That is not to say that there aren’t defining moments. Yes, a link from an A-list blogger will grow your blog quickly. Yes, finding someone to fund your idea will help your get your project off the ground suddenly. But looking at those events in isolation is meaningless. Those big events only happen because you have done a lot of little things right. They are just preparation for meeting opportunity.

I’m not the first to say this.

Darren Rowse on the secret to blogging success

Here is what Darren has to say about “the secret”:

“There is no blueprint for guaranteed success in this space. Ultimately it’s about being persistently useful to people and building a relationship with them. A by-product of that is that they will keep coming back, bring their friends, and respond to your calls to action.”

How Copyblogger got its initial spark

Here is how Brian Clark, owner of Copyblogger, got his first big link:

“In the first 3 months of Copyblogger, not only did I bust out the best content to get that initial spark where things start to take over on their own, but I also did all sorts of behind the scenes networking.

“I was establishing relationships, commenting on blogs, emailing people … and a combination of doing all that I got my first big link, and then I got my first big flurry of attention when I released a free report that pretty much all major bloggers linked to.”

But it wasn’t the report that was the defining moment. It wasn’t the commenting on blogs. It wasn’t the good content on its own. It was all of those things together. It was the pieces falling into place that came together to deliver the punch.

My own experience

It is only in the past month that I have started to see what Jim Collins, Darren Rowse, and Brian Clark meant. Between May-August the only traffic I was getting on my consumer psychology blog was from the guest posts I wrote and some paid advertising that proved too expensive to form a long-term strategy. My monthly visitors were around 200. At that rate it was going to take a long time to run a successful blog.

But I kept writing good content for my blog, submitting guest posts to major blogs, and in small measures commenting on blogs and submitting my articles to some social media sites like Reddit. Now all those guest posts, back-links, and list-building efforts are starting to pay off. For the month of September I got 1,200 visitors to my blog. That is a five-fold increase in just three months. While 1,200 visitors a month is no big feat, it is a sign that the blog is starting to get its initial spark.

So if you have been looking for those big opportunities, they will come—provided you are actioning all the little opportunities.

What’s your view on exponential growth? Was there a defining moment for your blog? If there was, what did you do to achieve it?

Aman Basanti has written for a number of A-list blogs including ProBlogger, MarketingProfs and Business Insider. He shares his secrets to getting guest posts on A-list blogs in his new FREE ebook—Guest Posting Secrets: 25 Tips to Help You Get More Guest Posts. Visit Ageofmarketing.com/guest-posting-secrets to download it now for FREE.

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This post was written by a guest contributor. Please see their details in the post above. If you'd like to guest post for ProBlogger check out our Write for ProBlogger page for details about how YOU can share your tips with our community.

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Comments

  1. Now i am ready to have an explosive blog growth. I knew your secrets guys. Lol! Thanks for this informative post.

  2. eStyle Chat says:

    This is such a great, savvy post. I always love ProBlogger but this post really hit home. My blog, eStyleChat.com is less than 3 months old and I’m in the growth phase where I’m creating the best content possible and writing guest posts for other blogs.

    But that’s what is so great about the blogging community: bloggers want to help each other grow. One of my biggest sources of traffic has been through referrals from another blogger who linked to me. Whenever possible, I return the favor!

    So while I can’t comment on the moment of exponential growth yet, I’m looking forward to it and working to make sure the puzzle pieces are in place.

    Thanks!
    Emily
    estylechat.com

    • Hi Emily,

      Just checked out your blog and you have some great stuff there; don’t worry, the traffic will find you.

      I really identify with you and with Aman; I’m also in the growth stage and I sometimes get impatient because that exponential growth has not happened yet. But I think what Aman is trying to advocate here is organic growth and that is by far the best form of growth. As long as we keep on delivering quality content, it will all happen eventually.

      Thanks for the reminder Aman.

    • I’m glad you really enjoyed this post. Like you, once in a while a post comes around that really connects with what I’m thinking and feelings. I’m glad I was the author of such a post :)

  3. David fabbri says:

    Nice summary here. As you point out with your Good to Great example, this is something that applies in different ways to companies across the board – not just bloggers trying to build a following. When you give it any thought, it seems like common sense, but I think often times, especially in the online space we see something that takes off, REALLY take off and we assume there is a magic switch to flip. Truth is there are a lot of components to doing anything the right way. And persistence and a constant improvement mindset goes a long way to laying a solid foundation.

    • David you are spot on. The principle applies in many fields or change and success. You are also right about the ‘magic switch’. Because most people don’t see all the work leading up to the moment of break through, they think it was one key event when that was just the trigger. Thanks for adding that in.

  4. Amanda says:

    That is SO encouraging! Thank you. Great motivation to keep plugging away at the day-to-day stuff in addition to writing the posts that come straight from my heart. Your article re-motivates me. I often get comments from people in person who tell me, “Hey, your post really helped me,” or “Wow, I’d never thought about exercise that way.” So I know people are reading, and the momentum is building. We got our first new signup yesterday since the massive overhaul and retooling of the business we did two months ago, and now that I’m living from my heart, things are starting to turn around! Thanks again for the boost. :)

    • Thanks for the comment Amanda. It is so important to write what you are passionate about – at least that way if many people don’t read it, its still worth writing about. Otherwise you are just writing for the numbers, which may or may not come. Good luck with your site.

  5. Yeah! amazing post darren, I agree will all the points that you have mentioned in the post.
    Yes many people think that if they are just launced a blog which is 1 month old get frustrated very quickly that why my blog is not getting visits and why i am not earning enough.

    let me tell you one story that it takes time at least you must wait for 1 year, to see any good results.
    your blog will perform better and better as the time goes on.
    So Just be patience and keep on promoting your blog.

  6. Ellen says:

    My blog traffic doubled this month, and I think it was largely due to a guest posting on my blog. I’m still looking for those opportunity to guest post for others. This cross-fertilization is definitely helpful.

  7. I like your thoughts on that their really isn’t one particular thing or defining moment that makes a blogger successful. It takes a lot of moments, effort and hard work to get where you are today. Nothing is coincidental. It will eventually start happening with a lot of good habits that will lead to that moment of success!

  8. Lucas says:

    Very interesting thoughts. It’s like “The Tipping Point” applied to blogging (an interesting book by the way). I guess the lesson we can draw from this is to act strategically, keep going, stop investing so much time looking for “the big secret” and instead invest that time into growing our blogs :-)

  9. Aman,

    When I began blogging I hoped for faster growth. A year in and I am not where I want to be. BUT. My blog readership has not stopped growing. Why? Because I am in it for the long haul. Like you stated above “It is a combination of writing good content, promoting it, building relationships with other people, and doing that week in, week out, over a long period of time. This is what will help you gain traction.” That is simply the perfect way to put it. It works. It is working for me.

    I knew when I began a year ago that the odds were against me as a blogger. There are millions of blogs out there and most die the first 6 months (is that the stat? I’m not sure). That gave me the challenge, I’ll make it a year and see where I stand. I am there and more and loving what I do. I have great online relationships with other bloggers and readers. I’m on Social Media everyday reinforcing those relationships and creating new ones, and I believe my content is useful for my readers.

    If you are willing to stick it out and follow the great advise above, you will make it.

    ~Allie

    • “There are millions of blogs out there and most die the first 6 months (is that the stat? I’m not sure).”

      Allie, great point about the competition in the market and equally great point about why much of that competition is no competition at all :)

  10. Andre Cruz says:

    I think submitting your blog links to social media sites where your tartget audience hangs out is very important in gaining readership.

  11. Make friends with other bloggers is not just about helping you to develop traffic but also to gain new knowledge in blogsphere.

  12. Milos says:

    When I read the title, I was attracted like a magnet to learn a secret that will bring me visitors. I cannot say that I was dissapointed when I had found out that there is not one particular secret. I was just reassured that hard work and patience are the only secrets in building a successful blog. Thank you!

  13. I was blogging for fun in 2006, meaning I blog only when I was in the mood. I’m a social person and blogging provided the same experience that I enjoy offline, online. There was growth to 1200 readerships per month but alas, I didn’t know where I was going. My inner conflict and inconsistencies did not help either. Fast forward 2011, after a loss of my wife to cancer in 2009, life became real. I launched a business around my passion, building people, and became a life coach. Then I realized I had some experience in blogging and could utilize that as a base to promote my business. My first defining moment is the decision to no longer “try” to be successful but “be” successful by doing the necessary things that will become a legacy to many people many years after I am long gone.

    • You have obviously been on the ProBlogging journey for a while now and with all the ups and downs of life that come with it. Thanks for sharing your story. I hope end up being successful as you plan :)

  14. surya says:

    Social media is great way to build relationship..guest post also a great way to get reader, traffic and backlinks.

  15. Paul Jun says:

    Aman,

    This is great and it relates to me because I feel capped at the amount of visitors I’ve been getting. Also, though, the past 3-4 months is truly when I began focusing on my blog, and have a clear vision of what I’m trying to accomplish with it.

    Many things are being set into motion such as guest posts coming out next month, joining a Jon Morrow’s blog class, and signing up for newsletters and ebooks that many A-list bloggers offer.

    I know that after a few months the results will slowly come trickling in, but it’s my job to keep at it.

    This is a great article, and definitely true to people who are taking blogging more seriously than just a hobby — actually working hard to make it a life/career.

    • With so many options, one of the hardest things to do is to get a clear vision of what you want your blog to be and where you want it to go. I started with one vision, it has changed a little bit and I still don’t have it down pat. But that’s okay. Its all part of the journey :)

  16. Great post Aman! As I am relatively new to the blogging community, I began to wonder about when and if my blog would ever gain serious attention. This really inspired me to keep doing what I have been doing and engage more in building relationships. One thing that I have never tried to do is guest blog, but this seems like a great way to help get your name out in the spotlight. Thanks for the helpful tips!

    • Jedidiah, I don’t think there is a blogger out there who has not wondered whether their blog is ever going to gain traction.

      One thing I like about your blog is that you have a clear vision of what you want to do. Even better its stated explicitly on your banner. It gives readers an immediate idea of who you are and what this blog is about. Good stuff.

  17. Hi Aman my take on this is to automate the benefits to my visitors as much as possible through highlighting my most frequent visitors as one method. For getting exposure I am looking at syndicating my content into others forms with the least amount of effort from me whilst maintaining the personal touch in all of this.

    Exposure to other blogs is a great way to raise your game and let them know that you exist and are interested in what they have to say which may eventually develop into a working relationship.

    The key as you rightly point out is consistency of effort, the surge will not happen overnight but it will come if you focus in the right areas for you and your blog

    igor Griffiths

  18. Faizan says:

    I think your blog will get lots of hits now ! I am trying to promote my new blog these days too and I believe the initial days of blogging are the hardest. But once your blog gets established, then you do not have to worry about promotion too much any more and the traffic comes naturally.

    • Faizan, you are right. My blog is getting a lot of hits because of this post :) Yes initial days of blogging are hard. The only good thing is that you can experiment more – design, offerings, posts etc.

  19. Robby G says:

    Find what works, find what doesn’t, keep doing what is helping, add what you believe will help, it’s trial and error for the most part I believe for each blog. What may work for one blog may not work for another. In the end, perseverance and an intelligent approach is what counts IMO. This is a very good post and a great reminder to bloggers who have been doing this for a few years now.

  20. I totally agree that both social media, networking and a combination of other things are to help us build and get more traffic in the future. I hope you provide a resource on this in the future.

  21. Bougie Girl says:

    I really needed to hear this today. I am slowly navigating my way back through the blogosphere. I created my first blog over 10 years and a lot has changed since then. There is way more competition and it seems as though you really have to fight for readership these days. However, I love how there are more resources these days to educate bloggers on how to take their game to the next level! Thanks again for posting.

    • It’s good to hear how blogging has changed – both for better and for worse. I think now that blogging has become a viable income strategy, a lot of people are trying their hand at it. And yes you really have to fight for readership because there are a lot of blogs out there and only so many readers. Thanks for that insight.

  22. Thanks for this article. I’m pretty much in the same spot and starting to realize the same thing. There probably isnt just one thing that will grow my website, I just need to keep putting in the work. When I put the work in, the traffic comes, when I don’t, it goes away. Great post!

    • lol it really is that simple isn’t it – when you do the work, traffic comes and when you don’t it doesn’t. I suppose to goal is to get to a point when you don’t have to be present 24/7 for the traffic to come. And that will come with time. Thanks for sharing.

  23. Everyone is looking for the proverbial blueprint for success and it does not solely exist. It is a combination of things of course and I would have to say that being consistent and providing value has worked best for me.

  24. Chris Price says:

    Thanks for the post. Your slow but steady growth is an encouragement to me. I’ve grown the number of visitors about 3-fold over the last 5 months or so, and that was taking about three weeks off in the summer as I was out of the country. While I don’t have huge numbers, it’s cool to see more search traffic stumbling upon my site.

  25. Jonathan says:

    It’s all about consistency by the sounds of it. I think the slow build up of readers is the main reason new bloggers drop off so quickly.

  26. Nishal says:

    Aman, I am curious to know where the five fold increase in traffic came from. Referring sites, search engines or elsewhere? Excellent read.

    • Good question Nishal.

      Basically it’s a combination of search engine traffic, traffic from my oldish guest posts (though not much per guest post, now that I have a good 15 odd guest posts out on major sites, it adds up), subscriber list getting bigger (therefore returning traffic and more social media referrals) and current guest posts.

      Hope that helps.

  27. Beau P says:

    Very helpful tips… I just started a blog and am searching everywhere to get my site running and operating at full capacity.. Any advice for newbie blogger to jump start your blog?? Cheers

  28. Daniel says:

    Nice article post, Aman.

    I think as the saying goes, many people quit just short of the mark that would have led to their having succeeded.

    There is no one ” magical secret” as far as blogging Success is concerned.

    Often what works well for one site, may not do sowell for another.

    I think it is very important for people to keep an open mind, and to be on the lookout for opportunities.

    We may need to take a slightly different path, though, we feel hesitant to do so.

  29. Aman,
    Great post! This will definitely get more eyes on your blog. The key component is to continue to provide value to others and stay persistent with it. People often refer to people that give up right when they are at the tipping point – if you genuinely push out good content and stick with it, there’s no reason you won’t see good returns down the line.

    Cheers!

    -Eric Siu
    Evergreen Search

  30. James Greg says:

    With millions of blogs on the internet a new blog has to struggle endlessly to become popular. Guest blogging is an effective strategy and networking is very essential in every walk of life. Getting people to recognize your work requires dedication and smart planning. This post is informative and has clues to get a boost on your blog.

  31. Nice post Aman Basanti, I too have noticed sudden surges in traffic on my website. When that happens, I too tried to find out what did I do right to get that traffic, but like you said, you can’t pinpoint to a single cause. I guess it’s different for each and every blog or website. They just need to keep searching till they find what works for them.

  32. Use simple and timeless strategies day after day. Be persistent. Eventually you will experience explosive growth. Just keep with it.

    Thanks for sharing!

    RB

  33. Wasim Ismail says:

    If you are consistent at something, and keep providing valuable information, over time you will notice an increase. But you have to be consistent and try multiple avenues. This is where users fail, as they give up.
    Yes it is difficult to write articles every day, it can be difficult to stay on top of your social media accounts, and build new connections, at the same time balancing your personal life. But as American cyclist Lance Armstrong said:“Pain is temporary.Quitting lasts forever.”

  34. We have been blogging now for almost three years and are seeing huge growth. The first two years were slow and steady, but in July I took part in the Ultimate Blog Challenge which opened up a wealth of blogging relationships. Our blog has shot up in hits since then and stayed up! We are grateful the past content, although not read by many people, is good and we are able to re-post some of those older posts so our new readers can benefit.
    Thanks for always encouraging us and giving us tips on how to take our blog one step further!
    Blessings,
    Debi

  35. naijadotcom says:

    GREAT POST,DARREN THANKS

  36. Dana Wilson says:

    Insightful article, Aman! The reference to Collins’ book was especially helpful. Just like anything else in life, consistent, thoughtful effort and perseverance seems to be the key. Thank you!

  37. Daniel Arora says:

    This post is a great help to any blogger. Thanks for sharing this. I think networking is a big part of blogging, as much as it is providing quality content. But above all, you just need to keep going, no matter what anyone tells you. If people say, give up, you keep on going. If you have very few readers, you keep going. If you write about something you are truly interested in and passionate about, you will get somewhere. At least that’s my belief.

  38. Thanks for your post Aman Basanti,

    I do think that indeed just keep on going with it, with all the little small success can eventually breed success and can result in Explosive Blog Growth. Just keep on improving keep on commenting on other blogs etc. etc.

    Funny thing is that some time ago I thought that my blogging didn’t really seem to be moving, also I was somewhat disapointed about the little Readers Response I got with hardly any comments on my blogposts, than at one time in a Forum I discovered that there had been several people that had actually tried to write their comments, but I happend to not have in my settings clicked on the possiblity for - Everybody - to write their comments.

    Also when I looked back at a few months ago and compared the amount of unique visitors
    I discovered that I had a growth + 400 % so I actually had a pretty Explosive Growth after all, only when you look at it daily you don’t alway’s notice that you are actually make progress.

  39. Great advice here. I think that everything great we do in life whether it’s in business, athletics, blogging, or life in general happens as a result of continuous hard work over a long period of time. Most people think that big goals and results happen overnight, but anyone who is successful will tell you otherwise. There is no microwave success. There are no shortcuts. We all have the opportunity to be successful, and all we have to do is make the choice to put in the work.

  40. I really believe hard, consistent and smart work will do it. I run 9 blogs, when I ignore one it goes down, when I don’t it goes up. If you really get involved in the niche you will have success also.

    Of the 9, I have 2 that are passions/hobbies of mine and they are really successful because of the community effect, I participate and network with people in the same niche because I love it, not for the purpose of increasing my visitors, but that happens anyways

  41. XuDing says:

    I have to agree with you that persistence is the key to build a successful blog.

    Just keep on doing what you are doing, and one day, people will find your blog useful.

  42. Yeah, blogs build traffic over a period of time….It is with time that blogs grow but the real problem is, how many of us have the patience to wait for this LONG time to lapse?

    On my personal development and success blog, I can see a slow increase in traffic with respect to time and all the other things I have done over time…So good points!

  43. Bryan says:

    Great post,

    It is exactly what I am looking for. Just launched a niche blog and want to get some massive amount of traffic to in.

    Bryan

  44. Sounds like your blog is doing well. Congratulations on your success and I hope it continues :)

  45. Aman,

    Thanks for the advice. It reminds me a lot of what my sagely gym instructor used to say. You don’t need wonder powders, just good, sensible nutrition and consistent and persistent effort behind a targeted workout plan.

    It seems the same philosophy applies here too. I’m getting back in to blogging and will work to remember your advice about being consistent and persistent.

    Matt

  46. Foxcrawl says:

    500 or 1200 a month? that looks like google did not index your blog or your niche is very narrow. Maybe you have to broaden a little your topics. In my case it was easier, my blog is just about news and sometimes could easily get 50.000 a day. Now is just stagnating somewhere around 6.000

  47. As with everything else, there’s NO “magic pill’ that can transform you into a blog superstar overnight. Hard work, consistency, and perseverance are crucial. That being said, it isn’t always easy to keep your motivation! I’ve been blogging for almost 8 years now and have seen the highs and lows. In my experience, the key is to stay passionate about your work and to let it evolve naturally. If you’re not seeing growth or just dreading posting, give yourself a break and try something new. ;)

  48. Joanna @ SBT says:

    Thanks for the post Aman, good to know there isn’t one simple obvious thing that I’m missing. I only started this month and so far I’m just hacking away at building content, but next month I hope to start doing some serious link building and getting my company out there more.

  49. MGalloway says:

    Good summary. Your chart above reminded me of a paper I read a while back on fractal analysis for some reason. In the paper they discussed analyzing hurricane wind speeds and analyzing soil samples. In both cases, there was a certain “tipping point”. For hurricanes, once a certain wind speed threshold was crossed the intensity increased dramatically. For the soil example, there was a major construction project and fractal analysis of the rock size in the soil led them to realize the initial site they wanted to build on would be poor because the potential for large, buried boulders would be high (even though on the surface they were only finding small rocks). Turns out later on the analysis was correct. I wonder if it is possible to apply some kind of fractal analysis to blog growth to determine which ones are most likely to take off suddenly?

  50. BT Stream says:

    gonna need that turning point to my blog :D