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On the Elusive “Next Level” of Blogging

We’ve all heard of it—the elusive “next level” that so many bloggers talk about online.

But what is the next level? How many levels are there? Is there an end point in leveling up?

These are all worthwhile questions—especially for more experienced bloggers who have spent a lot of time and energy in reaching the level they’re already at. For these bloggers, trying to reach the next level can involve a degree of risk, so the steps that get us toward the next level might be taken slowly and with care.

On the other hand, the web isn’t exactly undersupplied with “radical” ideas to get your blog to the next level, either. The idea here is one of leapfrogging your way to the next rung on the ladder—of taking a risk, and investing significant time (and sometimes money) in the hopes of a dramatically successful outcome.

In my experience, both approaches are valid—different techniques work at different times, after all. What might not be appropriate for you today might be the perfect solution to a problem you’re having growing your blog in a year’s time. After all, wherever you are as a blogger, there’s always a “next level.”

Over the next few days we’re going to be presenting a few ideas for getting to the next level from some of ProBlogger’s most popular guest bloggers. These ideas are varied—they cover content, conversions, and traffic—and while some are more subtle in their approach, others aim to help “blitz” your way to the next level—whatever that is for you.

It’s fair to say that these ideas could be of use to any blogger at any point in their journey, so I’m hopeful that they’ll be useful to you.

Before we kick off, I’m curious to know if you’ve ever had a blogging experience that’s taken you and your blog to the “next level.” What level were you at to begin with, and what was the technique that helped you break new ground? Please do share your experiences with us in the comments—we’d love to hear your stories and advice.

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. Hi Darren,

    I’m not sure what ‘level’ I’m on, but I do know whatever level I was changed recently and the difference was that I gave myself a break.

    My own transition was from being effectively ‘driven’ by all of the things I needed to do and consume (blog posts, guest posts, social media, training, learning, fixing things, listening to podcasts, replying to emails, replying to comments, watching videos, keeping up with the latest trends, G+, Facebook, Twitter…) to deliberately slowing down and doing things how I wanted and when I wanted.

    I’m sure there will be other transitions assuming my site continues to grow as it has been and maybe there will be other levels to reach, but for now, that has been my biggest shift.

    thanks for a thought-inspiring article,

    I’m loving pro-blogger and will certainly check out more (albeit in my own time ;-))

    take care & best wishes,
    Alan

  2. Dwayne@TWC says:

    I can’t say that I have had that experience with my blog yet but in all fairness I have been slacking off a bit lately. I am definitely back at it and ready to hit that next level.

  3. Jeff says:

    Well I’m actually in the process of starting a new blog, a site covering video game culture, but on my free Blogger blog covering games, the first time I hit 1000 daily visitors. It was an awesome moment, and most of my traffic wasn’t organic (surprising for an unknown Blogger blog), but through backlinks.

  4. Jon Loomer says:

    I’ve never completely been clear on what the “levels” of blogging are, so it’s difficult to determine where I am. My guess is that if there are five levels, my eight-month-old blog would fall somewhere around Level 3. Lots of progress and fast growth, but plenty of room left.

    My turning point was at the start of 2012. I focused my content significantly and also started churning it out at a breakneck pace. It was all about consistency, quality and quantity. I’ve stuck to a strict Monday-Friday posting schedule (with other posts sprinkled on top), which has led to consistent growth and a strong base of readers.

    Still looking to take that next step, but that’s how I got to “this level.”

  5. Ehsan says:

    Hi Darren, The levels of Blogging never end because every time we visit blogs like ProBlogger we learn something new about Blogging and If make all those new lessons level than it will be more than million levels.
    When I started Blogging at 2010, My first and main goal was to make money from my Blog but now I know that money isn’t everything. If we focus on good blog, quality posts with quality content, good amount of traffic than money will automatically come to us.

  6. Mohideen says:

    Best tip an proverb comes in my mind “slow and steadily win the race”

  7. Aaron Hoos says:

    I’m poorly qualified to talk about the next level of blogging but I love to blog and my income comes from the positioning my blog provides, so here’s what I’ve found:

    My first level up was in switching from a free blog (at blogger) to investing in hosted, designed WordPress blog. It felt like I levelled up in credibility.

    My second level up was in deciding to take the stick out of my butt and be myself on my blog — to stop trying to be wooden (which was how I envisioned the professional expression of myself) and instead let my personality and interests shine through. It felt like I levelled up in authenticity.

  8. Chris says:

    The first time my blog went to the ‘next leve’ was probably the first time one of my posts hit it big on Stumbleupon.

    Before I was getting maybe 100 visitors a day, if that. Then the Stumbleupon traffic hit and I received 4000+ visitors over the course of an evening!

    Since then the traffic has died down significantly, I don’t think I was prepared to capitalize on all the new eyeballs seeing my blog. But even still, I am seeing on average 200+ visitors a day, which essentially doubled my traffic.

    That was the moment where I said, “Wow, there are actual people out there that want to read what I’m writing!”

    I’ve been chasing that high ever since!

  9. Emila Yusof says:

    I am not sure on the level I am on. Been blogging since 2006. Looking forward to read entries by guest bloggers.

  10. Hi Darren!

    Blog commenting helped me reach the next level. I noted a spike up in opt-ins, quickly, after I left detailed, insightful, helpful comments on blogs like yours.

    A few moments or minutes of mindfulness can multiply your readership at a blazing pace. Stuns me how few people use the strategy. Patience is key and few people are patient. If you simply realize this: there are MILLIONS of hungry, eager readers of blogs like PB, copyblogger, etc, etc, and if you pen helpful, insightful comments day after day, hundreds, then thousands, then an even greater number of readers click on your blog, check out your content and opt-in or buy your product over time.

    Simple formula. Make sure you leave comments on relevant blogs. I run a gifting team so I am making money online. This means commenting on sites where people are hungry to make money online. Now, add value. Make an impact with each comment. Readers see you quickly. You stick out like a sore thumb in the online arena because few people make a real impact with commenting, or add real value.

    Now, repeat day after day. Persistently add value. Good things happen. Your blog reaches the next level because you branched out, helped fellow bloggers by adding value to their posts and expanded your presence in the process.

    Thanks for sharing your insight Darren!

    Ryan

  11. I’m very much looking forward to this upcoming series. Although I’ve been able to achieve quite a bit in my first year of travel blogging (breaking all my goals) I want to set the bar a lot higher in year two.

  12. Daniel says:

    Interesting topic, Darren….

    I think everyone has their own personal view of what is considered reaching the next(and subsequent ) levels..

    It would depend on what the site owner is focusing on.

    And when we do reach certain milestones, it is not always the big ” wow”! moment we expect, as we are often too busy working on other areas to fully appreciate this small step up the ladder…

    Later upon further contemplation, “the penny drops” and we go wow! As me now can see the progress…in it’s proper context……

    From that point, we then realize we can now go even further up the ladder, spurred on by this achievement…..

  13. Kevin says:

    My “next level” was when I stopped blogging about what I thought I should blog about to make money (which I wasn’t) and blog about things that are relevant to me. The other big change has been that I have put up my own personal blog and started building my own brand. All of this is in it’s infancy, but what better time to start than today?

  14. I can’t say that I have had that experience with my blog yet but in all fairness I have been slacking off a bit lately. I am definitely back at it and ready to hit that next level.

  15. When I crossed the first hurdle of transitioning from a personal blogger to a niche blogger, I thought I crossed a level.

    When I got my first Google Adsense cheque, I thought I crossed another level.

    When I crossed my first 1000 hits-a-day mark, I thought I crossed another level.

    Only to realize that my writing style is nowhere near to the professional writers, advertising income is not sufficient for a professional blogger, Google Panda and Penguin can make my site traffic fluctuate more than I anticipated! Hmmm……..

    Basically, there is a lot to learn (yet).

  16. Guest posting on other blogs can help improve the traffic to your blog. A good guest post on the right site will get noticed by people that may never have heard of your blog. If they like what they see, they will click over to check out your blog. Of course, it’s important to build up your own blog first.

  17. Gjivan says:

    Insightful article. I can’t stay without thanking Darren Rowse. Well, the term “levels” may meant different things to different people. For me, when I see the raise in my subscribers list, organic traffic and most importantly, the metric of leveling up of my blog is Google PR and lowering of Alexa!!

  18. TiaTofu says:

    My blog is less than 4 months old. I had never even looked into what blogging was about before I started my blog. I guess I just thought it was like Facebook and I’d write whatever and post the recipes I made each day. Luckily, I started out right with a paid domain and hosting- but only because having .wordpress.com on my domain name annoyed me. Once I googled about blogging and found your site, I realized I had gotten myself into a lot more work than I could have imagined!

    My first “next level” was trying to learn everything I could about blogging as fast as I could. I put ads on my site right away and I made $12 last month selling some ingredients I reccomended on Amazon. This month I felt like I reached another small level, because everything is starting to make sense now and I can start incorporating all the things I’m learning into my blog. I’m still not good at photography, but I had to buy some books on amazon and learn ASAP how to at least fake it… And this month I got 10 photos accepted on foodgawker and have made about $30. Previously foodgawker had rejected 21 photos so this felt like a huge accomplishment. I also went from almost 0 hits on days I didn’t post, to 300+ hits a day when I don’t post anything new. I’ve already had a day that I got over 4,000 hits because So Delicious liked one of my recipes and blasted it across their social media. I just hit 500 FB page likes this week. Every little bit feels like another level because I know I went into this not even knowing that there was a whole world of professional bloggers out there. I’m proud of my accomplishments so far. :)

    These seem like small levels, but I’m celebrating every small step. I’m teaching myself so much that I didn’t even realize existed just a few months ago. I think my next level will to actually understand photography instead of faking it, and my next $ goal is to make $100 next month. I figure, if I set my levels to attainable goals, its easy to force myself to reach these levels. I just keep in mind that other people are out there doing much better than me, and that I have to learn quickly in order to catch up. :)