“Dear Santa, please help me to achieve a successful blog.”
We’ve all seen the various income reports posted by successful bloggers. You know, those ones who’ve managed to churn a few hundred dollars in their first six months. We’ve also read posts by those whose following grew significantly in such a short span of time. I’m certain most of us have even read what they call ‘surefire ways to grow your blog’. We have read the how to posts, taken notes and implemented the steps… Well, at least I have, yet nothing seems to guarantee the success that each of these bloggers experienced! It’s frustrating, disheartening and can surely kill a newbie blogger’s drive to keep posting. Is that you?
Having interacted with quite a few other bloggers that have been at the game for under a year, it seems to be the one thing we all have in common. One of the main questions that I’ve been asked and seen floating around is “how can I make my blog successful?” But you know what? I keep asking myself the very same thing. It’s taken every ounce of effort to admit that I am genuinely not happy with where my blog is today. At the very same time, I have come to the realisation that success looks different for everyone.
If you are also feeling some type of way about the progress of your own blog, you’re not alone. Be it the number of followers, your page views, the levels engagement or the sponsorships – we’ve all been there! What I have realised this year is that we need to keep ourselves in check and be consistent. But we also have celebrate the small victories that come with each milestone!
Determine what a successful blog looks like to you
Did you start your blog out as a hobby or something to generate income? Whatever the reason, both will take a lot out of you before you begin to see any true results. My blog is hobby, but I do hope that it brings in additional income at some point. After all, the time and effort that go into it are worth something to me. What does success look like for you?
Not every blogger started out with the same end goal, so it is unreasonable to use others’ measures of success to evaluate your own progress. It is very important to decide what you want your blog to look like and what it’s purpose is. You also need to determine what you expect to get out of it before comparing it to your peers. The same way that you can study at the same university and take the same classes as someone but get very different jobs is exactly how things play out in the blogging world.
Set realistic goals
Thinking back to when I first started my blog, there were so many emotions involved that definitely brought on unrealistic expectations. Initially, I had hoped to just get any kind of interest in this new hobby I had found. Soon enough, I found myself watching the stats like a doctor monitoring a dire patient. I couldn’t sleep without checking the WordPress app on my phone a million times. I had even expected that with every ‘refresh’, there would be more likes and comments. Guess what? They didn’t come.
It takes time to establish yourself as a blogger and grow a decent following. This is something that cannot be explained by a simple formula or a wish list that you have jotted down in your diary. Yes, some are able to gain thousands of followers in the span of a few weeks but it boils down to covering the basics first then hoping the stars align. Let’s face it, wordpress.com has done a few things to make SEO a little harder so people won’t find your blog from typing a few keywords. You will actually need to comment on other blogs, promote your site, write relatable posts, etc. Even then you might not be found! Keeping that in mind, be patient and stick with it. I would even go as far as saying to expect nothing in your first few months blogging.
Just spend the time learning the ropes and having fun.
Write for yourself
A lot of blogging advice speaks to writing what your readers want to read. This is definitely important if you are trying to earn an income from your blog and need to churn the numbers quickly. The question I have to ask, though, is what exactly do people want to read?
If your blog has a small niche, it’s a great thing to make sure each post is very well rehearsed. This way, you can hopefully become the ‘go to’ site, kind of like how many of us would refer to WebMD and Healthline for medical concerns.
If you are blogging for fun and want to use your platform to bond with like-minded individuals, write for yourself first. It’s advice that get’s thrown around a lot because it’s true! If you are truly writing passionately, the right people will take interest. You really don’t want to get burnt out in trying to please others, or change your writing style to match what’s popular. Seasons change, people’s likes/needs change and art evolves with time.
The great thing about writing is that it is a form of art in itself, a love language if you must, and each person’s writing style is unique. Find your footing in your own skin doing what you love and you will see the rewards. It may go against popular advice, but we don’t need a million ‘how to’s ‘ on the same topic. Be different.
Many will read this post and think “well that’s probably why she isn’t seeing the numbers shooting through the roof”. That’s ok, but trust me when I say, realising the three things I’ve mentioned has been the best thing for my mental health and blogging journey. The fact is, if you want a successful blog, you have to be positive about it. I enjoy what I do and can tell when others do too!
To my fellow bloggers, how are you finding your blogging journey?