3 stages that lead to successful blogging

3 steps to successful bloggingThere are over 200,000 new blogs created each and every day. Yet less then 0.001% of those will last longer then 3 months.

Perhaps you know the feeling, you start with excitement for the new project researching great themes for your blog and brainstorming names.

You spend time creating your first blog post, which is a labour of love and something you are very proud of.

You publish it and send the link round to all your friends who now know that you too are a blogger. It’s a real great feeling.

You receive great encouragement and appreciation so you write a few more posts and then…. nothing…

The excitement fades away, traffic does not seem to be going anywhere and you feel like giving up…

Your friends who were polite enough to read your first post now have little interest in continued posts and you didn’t really gain too much traffic from the ‘amazing’ search engines.

Thus inevitable placing your blog amongst the thousands of other ‘dead’ blog cluttering the internet.

You may feel like a failure, BUT YOU SHOULDN’T!

You should be congratulating yourself because you just reached stage 1 in the blogging process!

You have finally realised that a successful blog is going to take more planning and structure and you will no longer spend all the time on the trivial superficial stuff that had very little bearing on the long-term future of your blog.

What matters most is content and that is what Stage 2 is all about. You had to fail in stage 1 to get there, but if you persevere to Stage 3, you will have made it.

Here is a breakdown of the 3 stages that lead to successful blogging:

Stage 1 of successful blogging:

This is the over excitement phase. Most people start a blog because of one of the following reasons:

  • Your company believes they should be blogging so force your department to start a blog, regardless of the strategic objective.
  • You want to get your own personal brand out there and blogging seems to be a great way of achieving this, so you jump in head first
  • You see it is the latest trend so belatedly you jump in too. Everyone is doing it so surely it can’t be that hard?
  • You have been told that you can make money blogging… so you jump in.

Fact is that very few people begin blogging for the right reasons. Blogging alone is very unlikely to make you a fortune, so it should always be secondary to another cause.

Most bloggers have authored their own books or courses. Thus blogging is simply an extension of their products allowing them to keep in touch with customers.

Very few blogger make money from only their blogs. In fact I find it hard to think of more than 2 people out of the hundreds of bloggers that I know. So of course it can be done, but it is really an exception and not the norm.

The problem however, is that most newbie blogger believe that blogging alone is a way to make money online. It really is now.

In this stage the main priorities seems to be:

  • Creating a blogging presence
  • Creating a few blog posts
  • Making sure your blog looks super cool (often spending hours looking for themes)

What people totally neglect is:

  • Thinking about what they will write about in the long-term to keep the blog going
  • How they will CONTINUOUSLY attract readers to their blog (they may have thought of the immediately short-term burst from friends etc, but no long-term strategy)
  • Often they fail to think about why they are really blogging in the first place.

This often means that whilst their blogs look great and their first few articles are actually rather good, they lose interest fast and their blog is doomed to the pit of forgotten blogs.

BUT, if a blogger reaches this stage and actually looks back or REFLECTS on their blogging journey then they may realise their past sins and may just reach blogging salvation!

Yep – they may progress to Successful Blogging stage 2.

Stage 2 of successful blogging:

I call this the blogging salvation stage and quite often you have been saved.

You will no longer commit the sins of blogging stage one as your realise the longitivtiy of the content and continuous traffic are real keys to your success.

This stage is really defined by:

  • An increased definition or focus on a particular niche for your blog. You posts will now have more of a common theme rather than jumping about all over the place.
  • An increased focus on interaction. Sharing of your content now becomes important and you really realise the true importance of your blog is to help build trust in your brand (whether that be you personally or your company).

Of course design may still be an initial focus, however you start to realise it has very little impact on the long-term success of your blog.

You understand that your design only has to be good enough to create some social proof, but it is the content and signs of interactions that will really set your blog apart from the rest.

You realise that blogging is not simply about putting content on the internet, but it ensuring your content stands out from the crowd. That you content stands out from the 200,000 plus new blogs being created each day.

You begin to narrow down your niche. You no longer set out to dominate the world but understand you will dominate a small segment of the world first.

You strive to build connections that are healthy for your blog, using methods such as:

  • Blog commenting – you comment on other blogs to be seen within your niche
  • Guest Posting – you use guest posting to establish you authority on blogs other than your own
  • Partnerships – you understand that certain blogs complement each other and that by working together you all can succeed.
  • You strive to increase the interaction on your own blog. You perhaps join my Blog Commenting Tribe to really help you blog create the social proof needed to make it popular.

You have taken great strides from Stage one of blogging success, but there are still a few issues that need to be ironed out.

  • You blog often but very irregularly. Quite often neglecting posts for a few weeks and then releasing many at once.
  • Sometimes you leave blog posts to the last-minute even though you promised your would blog at certain time period.
  • Although you have a short-term strategy for your blog, you have not really considered the very long-term strategy.

Your objective was to make a successful blog in this stage and you did not really consider how to make the blog super easy to run.

Blogging is definitely something you can handle but it does take time out of your life which in this stage, is something you quite often resent.

You know it is working and that it is good for you, yet sometimes you just wish you didn’t have to get down to writing that blog post.

Every successful blogger has been here, so do not worry. In fact, I suggest you congratulate yourself again because now you are ready for stage 3 of successful blogging!

Stage 3 of successful blogging:

This is what I like to call the ‘enlightenment’ stage. This is the stage where you finally become a master blogger.

By this stage you already have some sort of following because you have been writing good content and you have been interacting with influential circles.

This stage now is all about making blogging super easy for you.

Stage 2 was a very successful stage, yet blogging sometimes still felt like a chore. Perhaps a necessary evil but one we will be at peace with in stage three as we learn the arts of true master blogger.

Blogging strategy becomes the true focus of this stage.

You will begin to:

  • Plan your blog posts months in advance so you know exactly what you will be writing about for the foreseeable future.
  • You will create many of your blog posts all in one day or week and schedule them for the months ahead. You will not longer be susceptible to illness or other delays, you will become super organised with your blogging.
  • You will begin to really enjoy your blog posts as you experiment and become far more creative with them. In fact your following has grown so much that the interaction with them alone is immensely motivating.

You will still continue the good work from successful blogging stage two but you will do it with immense ease.

Blogging is no longer the centre of your life. It is a major tool to keep in touch with your followers as you create great new products and companies in an incredible adventure.

Blogging is a bog part of your life, please do not get me wrong, but it will no longer take over your life.

You may even hire a team to help you blog as you ease yourself away from the day-to-day running. You may decide to blog less frequently (perhaps only 2 to 4 times a month), but all your content will now be planned months in advance.

You take on the principles of great magazines and newspapers that plan their content up to a year in advance. This gives you greater focus in your content creation and allows you to collaborate with many interesting people and thus creating many great connections.

Organised blogging now only makes your blog even more popular, it makes fantastic content too.

Your blog accelerates and your become known as a blogging supremo.

Summary

During the last few months coaching clients I really began to observe the three stages towards blogging success.

Stage one is very easy to identify and perhaps almost everyone has been there at some stage.

Stage 2 is where almost 90% of current ‘active’ bloggers are. They are working hard and creating a presence but are not always realising that they need to be making progress towards stage 3…. the stage where you really receive the rewards for all the hard work you have put into your blog.

Stage two still feels like work and that is why many will drop off. Stage 3 of successful blogging is where you realise how to make blogging work for you and not let your blog control you. It is where blogging not only become ultra fun but it becomes something you could not even imagine.

It’s become part of who you are. You learn to love and cherish it as it gives you as much support as you once gave it.

I went through Stage one when I first started this blog in 2008. I then ‘rested’ and changed direction before I re-established the blog at the business end of 2011.

I’m currently making my transition from stage 2 towards stage 3. It’s an incredible change and one which has made blogging fun again. As I watch fellow bloggers fade away, I can rock on knowing that I’m making my way to the ultimate blogging goal.

Now your turn!

Let’s hear from you… let me know:

Where do you see yourself in my 3 stages to blogging success?

What challenges are you facing and what challenges have you already overcome?

I always reply to comments so don’t be shy!

8 Comments

  • Reply April 26, 2012

    Noel Cunningham

    First!!

    Hey Dee,
    I think I’m entering Stage 2 at the moment, I’m definitely out of the giddy Stage 1 area and am now looking at my blog in a different way. I’m beginning to see a theme which I would like to follow and define the blogs personality a bit more…

    Have recently began thinking about getting into Guest Blogging and other ways which would help me to build some authority. I’d like to progress to Stage 3 but I’m happy to take my time, be methodical with my work and not become one of the “dead blogs” which is floating around the web…

    I like the idea of planning ahead and what topics to blog about. This can be helpful and stop you from just blogging about any old topic because your under pressure. For me, I blog once per week so this sort of planning approach would be perfect and allow me to improve the quality and content of my posts.

    Cheers for these tips, will help keep me motivated for the Journey ahead;)

    Noel.

  • Reply April 26, 2012

    Dee

    Congrats on being First Noel !!

    Guest blogging is an great avenue to explore. It can help establish yourself as an authority very quickly. My guest posting helped me open many doors within the Online Marketing world – especially when you start your conversation Simpsons news reporter style ‘Hi I’m Dee Kumar, you may know me from such blogs as….’ – worked a charm!

  • Reply April 26, 2012

    Christine Brady

    Hi Dee,

    Like your response to Noel – “Simpsons news reporter style” :)

    My answers to the challenges question first because it’s kinda my thing right now – finding the tine to write a blog post has become my greatest challenge.

    When I first started my blog it was all about the blog itself. I hadn’t expanded into other businesses yet. Now that I have, yikes, it’s getting tough to get focused and get back to where I’m going with my blog.

    I am probably at stage 2 – still in it for the long haul, but not really sure by what means I’m going to get there.

    Would you be willing to share your goal for your blog???

    Thanks Dee!

    ~Christine

  • Reply April 27, 2012

    Wendy Owen

    Oh dear, I am devastated today as my 7 year old blog has fallen off the face of the earth. I went through the 3 stages as you mentioned Dee and things were ticking along nicely. Then suddenly poof! Vanished overnight.

    I have to tell you I’m now at stage 4 which is, “Why should I bother, because no-one will ever see it anyway?” (Translated this means “I’m giving this up and taking up knitting!”)

    Wendy

  • Reply May 2, 2012

    Ade

    It’s effectively about finding your voice. Authors like Stephen King spent years finding their voice. If I remember rightly, when he was starting out, King rewrote or tweaked a manuscript every time he got a rejection slip from a publisher. He had probably rewritten the story many times before that before even sending it off to the publisher. During this time he was learning his trade, learning the genre that best suited him, learning about writing dialog, developing his own unique style.

    Another example of this is the Seinfeld show. According to Larry David, the co writer of the show, The Marine Biologist episode from season 5 was when they first discovered their style. This is where the four main characters seem to have different narratives throughout the episode but somehow they all collide into each other at the end of the episode. This makes for great comedic scenes whilst still allowing the characters to develop in their own way. Larry David uses this same style in his current project “Curb your Enthusiasm”.

    Writing a blog is no different I believe. You have to learn the trade as you go. If you keep at it, you may just develop your own style and find out what you really want to write about. When you get to this stage, I imagine things will get easier. But you will probably struggle if the only reason you started the blog was to make money.

  • Reply May 24, 2012

    Bruce Mubayiwa

    I really enjoyed reading your article but I felt that maybe you could have broken it into 2 parts. There is so much detail in it, very useful information I must say.

    I used to have 3 blogs but have to say I ran out of steam in maintaining all the blogs. I can identify with your stages. There were lots of readers initially but they seemed to disappear. Now I only focus on one blog. I try and blog every single day. It’s not easy at all but I love it.

  • Reply June 11, 2012

    Freda

    Hi Dee, I read your post and found some great points that I can use in my future blogging. I also gained great insight in your tips and information on the importance of proper planning and indentifying your target market. Also the usefulness of surveys which can aid in quick feedback ( This I will be adding on my travel lifestyle blog) Creating a business model canvas was also something I need to learn more about as I think it will help me greatly in developing my business.
    I enjoyed reading your article and gained new creative business venture ideas. That I can use in my business plans. Thanks for sharing and I wish your continued success in your future business developments.

  • Reply April 27, 2013

    Irene Enriquez

    Thank you so much for writing this post. This is exactly what I’m looking for. I feel like I entered Stage 2 a couple of months ago. I still have a lot of work to do in Stage 2, but the thought of getting to Stage 3 seems really exciting. This post confirms that I’m on the right track. :-)

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