After spending the last couple years watching blogs and blogging myself, I’ve seen several trends in blog life cycles.
First, blogs usually start off strong. They’ll have a consistent posting frequency for weeks and maybe even months. The bloggers are motivated to create a great blog, so the first couple of posts are high quality. This phenomenon is similar to new year’s resolutions. When the new year comes around, many people will start new workout programs or diet plans. They’ll go to the gym on a regular basis or avoid certain foods for the first couple of days of the new year.
However, just like most people that make new year’s resolutions, most new bloggers stop meeting their goals. They’ll skip a post here and there. They’ll write shorter articles. They won’t do as much research or spend as much time writing like they used to. Basically, they won’t put as much effort as they used to. Usually, the lack of effort can be tied to a lack of traffic.
New bloggers often get discouraged because of low traffic. They check their stats and they see that no one is reading their blog. They have no comments to reply to. As you can imagine, if no one is reading your blog, it’s easy to quit or blog halfheartedly. And even if a new blogger does manage to get some traffic, he could still be discouraged if the traffic plateaus for an extended time period.
Marketing is the Key
In my experience, the bloggers that get a lot of traffic on a consistent basis have been blogging for a while (usually over 2 years). So, it’s good to be patient. But what if you don’t have time to be patient especially if you’re counting on your blog to drum up more sales for your business in the next couple of months. Fortunately, there are some bloggers that have reached success quickly. Here’s what we can learn from them.
Marketing is absolutely crucial in the early days of a blog. The bloggers I have seen do well in a short time have spent a lot of time marketing their blog in the early days. Here are a couple things they have done to promote their blog:
- Leaving comments on other blogs
- Writing guest posts for other blogs
- Emailing other bloggers asking them to link to your posts
- Promoting your posts on social media sites
However you choose to promote your blog, the important thing is actually doing it. In your early days, you should spend at least 30% of your blogging time on marketing. My recommendation is to try different methods and then see which ones work the best. Then, focus on those methods and scrap the rest.
You still want to produce good content, but don’t fall into the trap of just writing good content. If you don’t promote your content, how will internet users know it’s out there? There are too many websites on the internet vying for same audience as your blog. Fortunately, most webmasters either don’t do much marketing or they do it poorly. Therefore, you can gain a big advantage by marketing your blog in a consistent manner.
After six months of solid marketing and content production, you should have a solid reader base. And since the internet is more social and interactive, some of your readers will also be content producers. They’ll have blogs, Twitter accounts, Facebook accounts, or accounts on other social media sites like forums.
As you continue to produce great content, those readers will help you promote your site by spreading the posts they like on the social media sites they participate in. The bloggers will blog about your posts. Those with Twitter accounts will tweet about your posts. Your reputation will build as a result and you’ll be considered as an upcoming blogger in your industry. If your industry’s blogging community, or “blogosphere”, has a small amount of bloggers, you could even be considered a top blogger instead of just an upcoming one.
Your main goal as a new blogger is to reach that critical mass of readers who will regularly promote your content. If you look at any popular blog, you’ll see they get a lot of links without doing much promotion because of their reader base. Once you reach this point, your traffic should grow much more quickly. And then, you can probably lessen your marketing efforts and focus more on producing content that has a good chance of spreading since you have a reader base that wants to spread your ideas.