I recently reconnected with a former colleague who has a relatively new blog, and after visiting my site and looking at some of my stats, he asked how I had grown the blog to where it is now. I thought I’d share my response to him as I am heading towards my 2 year “blogaversary” on January 30, 2009. (by the way, I’m looking for prizes for a 2 Year Blogstravaganza Contest- anyone want to donate?)
First, let me say that one of my main goals for this blog is that it would build my authority and therefore drive my design business, and it has achieved that goal beyond all my expectations. I certainly could be posting more often if my main focus were traffic, ad revenue, subscribers, etc., but I choose not to put too much pressure on myself about posting frequency because I think it’s importance is rather overrated.
As I looked back over the last two years I found three categories of things that had a big impact on the growth of this site:
1. Find a void, then fill it
One way I’ve done this is by creating some free graphics that I thought people would enjoy using. Creating the little “I Follow Movement” badge brought me from a Technorati ranking of over 100,000 to into the top 500 blogs because of all the links on other blogs into my site. Another recent example is these free Twitter graphics. Finding these kinds of “voids” was just a matter of keeping my eyes open and then jumping on them as soon as possible before someone else did. Of course, creating graphics isn’t going to be everyone’s thing. More often, it will be subject matter that’s not being covered. Where are the voids in your niche?
2. Remember, there are always people just behind you on the learning curve
I can’t remember where I read this piece of advice, but it really helped me, particularly at the beginning when I felt I didn’t have much to offer. Whenever I would learn things along the way, I would write a post about it. One good example is this post about manipulating the wp_list_pages template tag. It wasn’t earth shattering news, but it turned out to be information that many people were looking for and the post generated a lot of traffic. There are tons of bloggers out there using WordPress all looking to learn how to use it better and do things for themselves rather than having to pay someone. What did you learn today?
3. Network, Network, Network
The other very important piece is networking with others in my niche, starting by leaving comments regularly on their sites, linking out to their posts, eventually guest posting here and there, and participating in a couple of forums. The importance of networking cannot be overstated. Where are the people in your niche hanging out?
These are a few thing that have worked for me. To what do you attribute your blog’s growth?