As I promised to you all in the final monthly report, today I’m releasing an analysis of the growth of this blog over the last 12 months. Although ViperChill doesn’t turn one for another 10 days, I’m going on a road trip and have a product launch about to happen, so I wanted to get this out there for all of you.
I’ve always viewed my monthly reports not just as interesting updates (as I personally enjoy them) but also as part of an overall case study. If I’m teaching you how to build better websites, I want to share exactly what I do with my own and how they grow. I don’t think there is any better way to learn the ins and outs of marketing.
I’ve been a big advocate of guest blogging over the years; currently ranking no.1 for the phrase in Google and using it to build my personal development blog to over 6,000 subscribers. Many people who come across the idea of writing guest posts and the benefits they offer automatically think it’s the best use of your marketing time.
Well, it’s not. If I write a guest post for someone, I might receive 100 visitors to my blog and receive about 15 subscribers. Yet, if someone links to me naturally, interviews me, or mentions one of my posts they happen to like, the visitor to subscriber ratio is way higher. In other words, I would rather be mentioned on a popular blog than write for it.
It’s probably an understatement to say that most blogging advice out there is generic, regurgitated, and very rarely anything new. Everything you need to know about becoming a successful blogger is available already if you know where to look; the next step is taking action on what you learn.
Most of the advice that is being shared, and incessantly repeated, is dated. It’s aimed at a blogosphere where there weren’t millions of blogs in each niche, all working hard to grow an audience. I call this advice aimed at the Oldsphere, whereas you need to be focusing on the Newsphere. Things changed, and you need to know how to deal with them.
One of the first lessons that newspaper journalists are taught is to structure their content so that the most important information is first, with the importance decreasing as you read through the piece. Pick up any newspaper around you and you’ll see that the first few sentences contain the most crucial elements of the event.
This not only creates impact, but also allows editors to simply snip off the bottom paragraph of a story if they need space for other articles. As the final paragraph is the least important, their editing does not affect the article too much. I’ve already shared how I personally became a much better writer (though I don’t rate myself that highly) and now I want to get into the specifics of how to create compelling content.
I’m very excited to say that if you’re reading this, ViperChill has now passed the 10,000 subscribers mark. I’m actually writing this sentence (not the post) on March 11th 2010 sitting on a feed count of 4,717 subscribers (I’ll explain this later). In my monthly posts I often say that I don’t have any goals for the site, but if I’m totally honest, hitting the 10k subscriber mark was definitely one of mine.
When I ran PluginID I wrote a blog post after hitting 5,000 subscribers as that was a huge achievement for me at the time. I decided to refrain from that here at ViperChill until I reached 10,000 subscribers which I think finally puts this blog on the map. I’ve managed to grow this site by over 9,000 subscribers in 9 months which is quite rare in the blogging world. Here’s how.
A question I receive time and time again is “Once you’ve published a blog post, how do you promote it?” and right now my response is simply “I share links to it on Facebook and Twitter.” That’s it. And I don’t even do this manually; the process is automated thanks to RSS feeds.
Of course, I’m able to do this because I’ve managed to grow the audience to a considerable size here at ViperChill. If you’re trying to get a new blog off the ground, it’s advised that you put in quite a lot more work. Even though I do such little promotion, many posts get hundreds of retweets and comments. The reasons why are quite simple.
Any time that you take and apply blogging advice from me, you’re trusting someone who has created a number of blogs that failed miserably. But, even though I said I wouldn’t trust someone with marriage advice who has been divorced three times (they couldn’t learn after the second one?) I think the best people to trust are those who have made mistakes, learned from them, and then went on to success.
I built a celebrity blog which I sold after a month because I couldn’t care less about how Paris Hilton spends her time. I ran a DJ blog which I later let die due to other interests and I even ran ViperChill for a year (a long time ago) without getting one single comment or feed subscriber. I’ve made most of the blogging mistakes you can think of.
Any blogging advice besides telling someone to choose a niche they love, write engaging content, network in your niche and stay consistent, is secondary. With those fundamentals alone you can go very far. There really aren’t any “secrets” that people are holding back from you, but there are things to learn that will make you more effective with these fundamentals.
I’m going to focus on the fundamental of networking and reveal a tactic so underused that it may as well be a secret. I’ve seen so few examples of this that I wonder actually how many people know about it. Today I want to blow the doors open and share something that all of you can use to grow your blog and become a niche leader with much more ease.
It’s no secret that one-man blogs can make a lot of money. Steve Pavlina makes over $100,000 per month with his; Darren Rowse had an estimated $300,000+ month when he launched his last eBook and my friend Al’s site, Coolest Gadgets, was having $60,000 months way back in 2007.
In a sea of over 100 million blogs, these guys are the exception. It’s certainly not easy or quick to build a blog to reach these income levels. If it were, they wouldn’t be called the exceptions. Many bloggers will tell you that there’s no “one size fits all” strategy when it comes to building a huge blog. Well, I’m going to leave the personal sites alone, and possibly prove those people wrong by examining the Technorati Top 10.
Note from Glen: At your request, I’ve added a Print option to the bottom of all posts. This post is quite long, so you may want to give it a try. As there are over 100 million active blogs online I think it’s safe to say that the vast majority of them don’t earn much money at all. I suspect a lot of blog owners can’t even cover their hosting costs. Whilst there are other benefits to blogging besides making an income, many people do aim to be financially rewarded for the efforts they put in.
If you don’t want to make money from your blog (which I totally respect) then this blog post is probably not for you. If you do want to get a return on the time and creative effort that goes into building a blog, then this guide will show you how to do just that.