Every blogger believes that they have something great to say in their blog and people will beat a path to their website to read it. This is part of the allure of blog writing, but it's also one of the fallacies that bloggers lament over once they realize it.
If you're going to start a blog to get famous, you're probably starting in the wrong place. Here are some of the realities I've learned about a blog reading audience:
- It will take a long time for your blog to become popular on its own, probably 18 months or more. You can speed up the process by socially sharing every post, which drives readers to it, but the organic traffic will take a long time to achieve.
- Don't assume that thousands of people will sign up to receive email notifications of your latest blog. Most people don't want extra stuff in their inbox. So don't be discouraged by the low signup numbers.
- The readers signed up for blog email notifications are your most loyal readers. Treat them well, write topics they request, and listen to their feedback. Long term organic numbers are more important, but without your loyal readers, you will never reach those long term organic benefits.
- Your blog might take three years to really increase your business in an amount that is directly measurable. Blogging builds exposure that you can then reinforce through other methods, but on its own, it doesn't bring lots of wealth.
- One day you might need to write a blog for a broader audience than your small group of online readers. You can impress them with your knowledge and hope they remember your name, but I find it's more important to have them remember what you are trying to teach. The side effect of this approach is that they look to see what else you've written.
- You should plan on at least 4 rounds of editing when writing to impress someone, or a special audience. I usually print the first draft, read it out loud and make edits by hand. Fix it in Word, print and read it again. Read it aloud and edit by hand again. Then repeat one more time before sending it to my editor.
- Include a photo with every blog post. It took me far too long to realize the importance of this.
- Readers love bulleted lists and numbered lists. Again, this took me far too long to realize.
- Sometimes you will be very proud of a blog you've written, but no one ever comments on it, or thanks you for it. Those are the days when you question why you are writing anyway. Don't worry, because your readers do care; they just don't express themselves all the time.
- Don't always use the same #hashtags when sharing your post socially. Diversifying the tags you use will attract readers from different audiences for that day, and a few might follow you for a while.
- Individual readers will not read your blog forever. Everyone has transitions in life that eventually lead them into different directions.
- Don't get upset when someone unsubscribes from your blog email list. It's better to tell yourself that they might still be reading your blog directly on your website, or following you through social media. They probably don't hate you, unless they unsubscribe right after you wrote a controversial post.
- Don't freak out when your email subscriptions drop by dozens of people in a single day. Many email systems, like AOL, can trigger an automatic deactivation of email subscribers due to bounceback rates. AOL arbitrarily bounces back emails a few times a year which triggers most email services to move subscribers to an inactive/disabled list. Wait at least a week before reactivating those accounts if your system doesn't automatically do it first.
This post is part of a series of what I've learned from writing 1000 blog posts. Maybe one of these other topics will interest you too:
* Content Tips
* Managing Your Blogging Ideas
* Writing Tips
* Attracting an Audience (this one)
* Organization Strategy
* Search Engine Optimization