Monday, December 2, 2013

What Defines the Success of Your Blog?

By Laurie Epps

Working with Edie is the experience of a lifetime. Always encouraging, she weaves in her book those moments that we realize, every writer is different, and every blog is different.

We can't expect the same results as everyone else. So I challenge you to ask yourself: how are you going to measure the success of your blog?

In this week's section of her book, Connections: Social Media and Networking Techniques for Writers, Edie reminds us that there are generalities that we can expect, but nothing is etched in stone.

What Defines Success?

Most new bloggers have unrealistic expectations for their blog, especially in regards to growth. I know that I did. 

Though in my case in was sort of imposed on me. My grade hung in the valance based on my blog's popularity.

There isn't a magic formula that will get you a few million hits in a day. However, there are some generalities that should demystify what is realistic and what isn't.

For realistic expectations:

  • Post regularly. I know a lot of bloggers that just post when they feel like it, or when the muse strikes.This doesn't work because your readers don't know when to expect your post.
  • Your posts have consistency in timeliness, quantity, and quality of work. It's my opinion that it's better to have a great blog once a week, than to have a poorly constructed daily blog. When you're blogging, you're fostering relationships online.
  • Frequency of your blog. The more you post, the faster it will grow. Again, to remind you of an older post, make sure you set realistic expectations for yourself. Example: If you're the mom of school age or younger children, you may only be able to post once or twice a week. Don't hate yourself for not being able to maintain a daily blog.

Stages of Growth: Stage 1

  • Networking can usually jumpstart a blog with 20-40 followers.
  • These followers are your first foundation, but not always with you till the bitter end.
  • You'll see a little momentum for the first six months.
  • Sometimes you'll feel a bit discouraged during this part of the process because the growth is slow.

Stages of Growth: Stage 2

  • The next 6-9 months you should experience months of small, but consistent growth.
  • Your blog has proven slowly that it has consistent and valuable posts.
  • Your followers are more willing to share your blog with others.
  • During this stage, search for relevant guest bloggers. Invite them to write a post, or perhaps repost one of their old blog post with permission.

Stages of Growth: Stage 3

  • This is where your blog really starts to take off. Expect to see your stats to improve dramatically.
  • You'll spend less time promoting your blog on social media, because others will do it for you. 
  • By this time, they'll be bragging about your blog because of its content, not just because you're friends.
  • Soon you'll be asked to write guest posts on other blogs, or for permission to re-post your older blog posts. By the way, it feels terrific!
  • From this point on, your blog's growth will take on a life of it's own. It will keep moving forward based on it's own momentum.

Stages of Growth: An Interim Stage
(An Interim Stage can hit at any time.)

  • For whatever the reason, sometimes your blog can seem to stall out.
  • Growth will almost stop happening, though you'll maintain your loyal followers.
  • So stay flexible. This could be an opportunity to change things up a bit with your blog.
  • Some things that could affect your blog's growth:
    • A regular posting schedule. (Keep a minimum of once a week.)
    • Be consistent with your social media, namely Twitter and Facebook.
    • Make sure you keep up with your comments section on your blog. Maintaining these forged online relationships is key.

Connect Activity: AKA Homework

If you already have a blog, take a look at your audience. With most blogging websites such as Blogger, Weebly, or TypePad look at your dashboard stats. Analyze where your viewers are accessing you from, and see if there are ways to reach your other publics. To get you going in the right direction, here's what to look at:

  • Most popular blog posts, judge this by visitors, views, and comments.
  • Look at the day of the week your blog gets the most hits.
  • Also, look at the types of posts that get the most hits, or comments.

Can't get enough social media? Check out Edie's Social Media Mondays at:

Be sure to come back next week, because we'll talk about why your blog isn't growing.

Laurie Epps is a senior at Anderson University majoring in Creative Writing. Already Laurie is most published as a feature article writer, essayist, and poet. A seeker of beauty and world traveler, Laurie hopes to grow into a career in travel writing illuminating the many stories that make us human despite our differences. Currently, Laurie also has a Thoughtful Thursday column dedicated to the fine art of poetry.

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