Ok, here’s the truth: the secrets for growing a successful blog are not really secrets. I know, right? Whaaaat?
For years I wandered the interwebs (my friend Heidi says that’s what it’s called these days) trying to find out the secrets for growing my blog. I tried this class and that book and those tips and these proven methods.
Then Pinterest came along and if you could see my feed you’d think I’d found the answer. All day long it’s filled with posts like:
- How To Grow Your Blog In 75 Steps
- 50 Ways To Grow Your Audience
- 250 Easy Steps To Blog Growth
- How To Get Your Blog To Blow Up In 3 Days
Yada, yada, yada…….
Listen, I write about blogging. It’s my job to read each and every one of these articles. So I do. I can tell you without a doubt, I found no secrets.
To tell you the truth, it is rare to find a post that claims to know all the answers that actually works. Very rare.
You want secrets? I’ll give you the most fascinating secrets I’ve discovered about growing a successful blog.
1. It takes hard work.
There is no magic potion, no pill, no backdoor to success. You have to work for it.
I don’t know how to say it any simpler than that. Get to work.
I have some brilliant blogging friends. I mean, really brilliant. We recently got into a discussion about the biggest bloggers we know. The consensus was those who are big successful household names today are so because they started early and stuck with it.
Not one of them shot to the top after 6 months of blogging. No one jumped onto the scene overnight. They put in their time and it’s paid off in spades for some of them. There are several who have been doing it for a decade or more.
They didn’t quit when it got hard, they just kept going.
Hard work leads to success. Old fashioned elbow grease. Early mornings. Late nights. Writing when you’d rather be playing. Working towards pre-set goals. Staying focused on what you want.
You want to be a success?
2. Be consistent
There is no blogger or writer or artist or musician or knitter or potter or public speaker or parent or spouse who finds success by practicing their craft only sometimes.
Every time you find success in life it’s because you’ve practiced over and over and over again.
There are two areas that require your consistency, writing and posting. One requires constant practice and the other requires a dedicated schedule.
First, if you want to grow a successful blog you’ve got to write all the time. You’ve got to write when you feel like it and when you don’t. You’ve got to keep moving forward every day. Whether you finish a post every day or not doesn’t matter. You have to write every single bloomin’ day. Period.
It’s called practice. The more you write, the better writer you’ll be. It’s that simple.
Second, you have to post regularly. Here’s what I tell my followers and my clients – I don’t care how many posts you write, I care that you post regularly.
Consistency over quantity. Every. Single. Time.
You have to be consistent. Readers have to be able to count on you. It doesn’t mean you have to post every day or even every week (however, weekly is a good goal to shoot for.) You just have to be consistent.
You can’t do it sometimes and then take long breaks. You can’t do it once in a while and expect to be successful. You can’t post, post, post, and then stop and assume your audience will stick around.
Blogging is hard and it requires constant attention. Even if you decide to be what they call a “slow blogger” you still have to be consistent.
Remember my brilliant blogging friends? One admitted to us recently she has 40 posts in the hopper at all times. After I picked my jaw up off the floor I realized that’s why she’s got almost 100,000 Facebook followers. The girl is a blog posting machine. She’s producing and success is following right behind.
There is no part-time (as in 1 week on 5 weeks off) on the road to success.
If you want to be a successful blogger you have to produce. Consistently.
3. Stick to your own plan
First, you have to know what your plan is.
If you’ve been around here for any length of time you know I am a stickler for blog planning. It’s not rocket science but it is vital to your success.
Figure out what you want and then make a plan to get there. Make sure it fits your lifestyle, your family, and your personality.
If you need to make some serious dough, make a plan that reflects that.
If you want to share your heart your plan is going to look different than the one above.
If you want to write a book someday, create a plan that reflects your end goal.
If you love blogging and want to do it for the rest of your life (like me) you’d better sit down first, then have a large glass of wine, then make a really good plan.
Second, memorize your plan so you don’t get sidetracked.
This is where all those Pinterest articles drive me nuts. Your plan is totally different from my plan. My plan is completely unique to me. Her plan would never work for you. She’s not you. They have their own thing going.
Me. You. Her. Them. Everyone is different. But if you know who you are and where you are going, it makes all those crazy posts about getting a million views in 3 days not seem so overwhelming.
Maybe participating in a hundred link ups a day is a good idea for you. Maybe it’s the worst idea ever.
Maybe joining as many social networks as you can will work for you. Maybe it will make your head explode.
If you know your plan and you have it memorized, when the latest trick or tip comes along you can line it up over your plan and see if it fits. Anyone remember Tsu?
It’s okay to try things, but give yourself a deadline. If it isn’t working go back to the drawing board and try something else.
Here’s a personal example.
I love Pinterest. I mean I REALLY love it. I was an early adopter back when you had to be invited to join and I was hooked right away. But I use Pinterest differently than say, a food blogger. I have a long term plan. I pay money to keep my boards full and interesting. But I don’t post 200 times a day. That’s not part of my plan.
Pinning blogging articles is a lot different from pinning toddler crafts for my audience. Noodle art is well, noodle art.
But plugin suggestions, theme reviews and social media tips are exactly what my audience wants to read. So, I pin things that I know will benefit my readers.
Some of my blogging friends however approach Pinterest differently that I do and it works amazingly well for them. It’s an important part of their success.
I know my plan and I have no problem sticking to it.
Do you know yours?
4. Don’t limit yourself to a list
You already know blogging takes hard work, consistency, and a plan. Success comes to those who take all advice with a grain of salt, even my advice.
Blogging is a very creative endeavor. Like all creative outlets the soul of blogging ebbs and flows. Trends change, readers are fickle, and life happens.
With this in mind never limit yourself to someone else’s list of do’s and don’ts for your blog. If you are willing to put in the effort, time, and planning that it takes to find success, you will absolutely find it. Make your blog uniquely your own. Take the path you need to take. Find your road and run like the wind.
I can’t wait to hear about your success.