Starting a new blog or growing an existing one can certainly be frustrating, as it may seem like you are not on pace to achieve your goals. Like anything worthwhile, building a solid and effective blog will take some time and hard work. As Daniel wrote recently, it gets easier with time if you can stick with it.
I see many bloggers completely give up or seriously slow down their activity because they feel like they are not getting anywhere, when in my opinion they are on the right track.
Hopefully if you are doing the right things and making progress you will recognize your growth and accomplishments, but not all do. Here are 10 signs that your blog is on the right track. If several of these items apply to you, don’t give up just because the achievements are not coming fast enough. I think if you give it some time and continue to work, you will reach your goals in time.
1. Growing Subscriber Count
If your blog’s subscriber base is growing, even slowly, you are making some progress. Gaining trust and subscribers is not easy, so try not to get your expectations unrealistically high. If you have realistic goals for subscriber growth you will more likely be able to feel good about your progress and stay consistent with your blogging.
2. Increasing Numbers of Inbound Links
Links are important for any blog. They help with click-through traffic, search engine rankings, and recognition. For bloggers, incoming links are also representative of how well you are known in your industry and your number of links will grow as you start to become recognized as an authority.
3. Increasing Numbers of Valuable Comments
If your blog is receiving a decent amount of thought-provoking comments, that is a good sign that people are reading and paying attention to you. Comments are the lifeblood of blogs, and those that have a lot of valuable comments from readers become even more useful for readers.
4. Increasing Visitors, Pageviews, and/or Pagviews Per Visit
Many bloggers are stats junkies. While growth in traffic isn’t always representative of meeting or surpassing your blogging goals, it certainly isn’t a bad thing. Hopefully, over time your blog stats will increase as more and more readers visit and subscribe to your blog.
5. Consistent Posting
If you are posting consistently on your blog, you’re already one step ahead of the vast majority of bloggers. It sounds pretty easy, but consistent posting is a huge challenge for many. If you’re able to keep posting consistently, good things are likely to happen.
6. Improving Quality of Articles
Quality is always going to be a somewhat subjective issue, but I think most bloggers can look back through their archives and get a pretty accurate idea of how the quality has trended over time. I know that when I look back at my first few months of blog posts I’m kind of embarrassed at the low level of quality, and I don’t think I’m alone. Growth in quality is natural as you will become more knowledgeable about your topics and as you learn about blogging and writing in general. Take a look back at how your quality of writing has improved and I think you will be encouraged to keep going and see what happens.
7. An Ability to Clearly Define Your Niche
One of the most overlooked items when starting a new blog is being able to accurately define the audience that you will be targeting. As time goes by, you’ll learn what types of content your readers appreciate (and what they don’t respond to) and you’ll most likely get a better idea of where you fit into your niche. Knowing your place is very important for branding and creating a blog that is appealing to the readers that you are targeting. If you know precisely where you fit into your niche, you’re on the right track.
8. An Increasing Network of Bloggers
Networking is probably the most crucial aspect of blogging outside of content creation, and in some cases it can be even more important. If you are continually meeting new bloggers and strengthening the relationships that you have made, you will drastically be in a better position for the future. Building a network will help you to learn from others, gain valuable and loyal readers, increase inbound links, increase votes at social media sites, and much more.
9. A Knowledge of at Least 1 Specific Way to Get Targeted Readers to Your Blog
As you continue to blog, you will learn more about traffic generation and getting people to read and recognize what you have written. If you have even one specific method that consistently helps you to reach your target audience, you are better off than most bloggers. Maybe you have spent some time writing guest posts for other blogs in your niche, maybe you’ve had success with leaving intelligent and relevant comments at other blogs, or maybe you’ve developed a strong profile at a niche-specific social media website. Whatever the source is, if it is something that you can continue to use in the future, you are one step closer to blogging success.
10. Achievement of Goals
Many bloggers have long-term goals, such as making a living with a blog, or getting 10,000 subscribers. But what many bloggers lack are short-term goals that will help them to take the necessary steps towards those long-term goals. If you are setting monthly goals for blogging revenue, subscribers, traffic, etc. and you are achieving those goals, don’t give up because you are not getting to the long-term goals fast enough. Take pleasure in meeting your short-term goals and keep challenging yourself.
Blogger User says
I should have read this post much earlier. As i explore and liked your blog, i started exploring your archives recently and i now realize why you have so many comments and subscribers.
Every post you write makes readers to at least leave a comment that they liked it or else.
I went almost through every comments on this page and even comments were wonderful. And about post.. many others have talked about how wonderful it is.
For me, i think i am on right track just because i am patient enough to follow many things you have laid above. And most importantly i am at least trying to make some posts and be ahead.
And ya encouragement come with success, after you know you self realize that you are on right rack. My blog (bloggeruser.com) got a page rank of 3 and it has not been more then a month that i started writing for it. It was really wonderful and if bloggers keep on following some good tips from you, many of them are certainly gonna have success with blogging.
Gabe Killian @ Gabe's Internet Marketing Blog says
My blog wavers like crazy. I think what happens is that I get too lazy to write consistently. In otherwords, I’ll get inspired and write like nobodies business with some really interesting and fun stuff… then I fizzle out and not touch my blog for quite some time.
Then… I’ll pick up my motivation again and build it back up, by that time, I feel like I am starting all over again. But it is fun reading my old posts from waaaay back.
BTW excellent list, you definitely made me think about the direction I am going with my blog – thanks for the insight!
baseball pitch says
You are so right with the posting articles that are worth reading. So many times we can easily slip into writing content but forgetting to write with the readers interest in mind. Thanks for the reminder.
I am just trying to figure out how many of those I do/don’t have. Hopefully as I work through the list for my blog I’ll see things a bit more clearly. Thanks for the ideas… I’ll be sure use them.
Good, sound, basic advise for everyone. We can all improve in some areas. I’m doing alright for just starting last month. People love my blog title -Wiser By The Wrinkle- and say they can relate to that. My niche is age 50+ meets the technology world. I also offer bits of humor and photos of grandson. People need to laugh more, and who wouldn’t as they mess up with tech stuff. People love photos of little kids. I also helps that I love to write.
Chan Sui says
Good information, I’m trying to improve my blog. It’s almost One, indexed buy no PR yet. 🙁
Internet Marketing | Steve Renner says
Very nice article. Some very simple but important things covered here. I like number ten. It is definitely important to start with little success then work your way up.
SEO Genius says
Thanks for the article, some of the points do not relate to my website however the ones that do, definitely fit.
I am glad to see that my site may reflect a website which is on the right tracks.
Rob O. says
#7 is a tough one for me since our blog is kinda nicheless by nature.
I think that being able to clearly define your niche – and the effect that will have – probably hinges on whether you’re blogging for profit or as a hobby.
You have great advice there, im going to post this on my blog to let people follow these great guidelines.
I always try to take at least one tip away from your post. This time, I am going to focus on consistent posting. I am trying to figure out which time works best for me so that I can get into a routine. Thanks for the article.
Daniel Scocco says
executive hacks, I would say that the long term for most of us is linear.
traffic bursts will come once in a while, but they overall impact is not that significant.
some blogs experience exponential growth though at some points in their life.
Thanks for the inspiration. I’d be curious to get more information on how peoples blogs have grown….is it slow and steady…quick bursts of growth thanks to things like Digg…is it exponential growth or linear? Or, as I suspect, is everyone different?
Kelly J says
I almost give up till I stumble in your blog. Your article are encouraging and I will make a return to continue. At times it’s discouraging for a non-technics newbie to understand.
Will add bookmark to keep me moving. Thanks.
Solo Business Marketing says
Your 10 signs are right on track.
I was considering decreasing my number of blog posts, but then I looked at my stats (including Feedburner subscribers) and noticed a bump in readership.
Perhaps it’s because of the blog’s longevity, or maybe it’s because my Marketing Strategies book was recently published, leading people to the associated site and blog.
For whatever reason, I’m glad to continue blogging on a regular basis, increasing my readership as well as revenue.
Great tips! We’ll be working to follow these great guidelines.
Rob @ CSSnewbie says
This is a very encouraging post. It suggests I might be on the right track with CSSnewbie after all. I’m struggling get conversations started in the comments, but otherwise, I’m right on course.
Well, and it’s tough to say how much my quality has improved when the blog is really only a little over a month old. 🙂
Wow. I just started blogging and this post is very encouraging. I’ll try to improve my Quality of Articles in the future^^
Love this blog.
Charlie Gilkey says
Great post. It’s always somewhat comforting to see that you’re not alone, and it can get hard being a small fry blog. I think there’s great insight in this post and in the comments, especially Virtual Impax’.
I’ve found that your comment about goals is really helpful. I made myself a benchmark of 30 posts before I started worrying about monetization so that I could focus on content and have worked every day to get there. The funny part about it was that a past it a few days ago and didn’t realize it because I’ve just been enjoying the writing process so much.
Now I just need to work on not doing some of the unproductive things that I’ve been doing, especially with regards to stat fiddling with underbelly stuff.
Bob Younce says
Excellent and very practical. Two thumbs up (on StumbleUpon!)
Great guide posts on the path to success.
I also second that you must have very much patience, it’s impossible to grow in a couple of weeks/months, be famous all around the Internet and have hundreds of subscribers!
But all bloggers (I include myself) get a little bit nervous when we see our posts have no comments, visits are not as good as expected, no ads are clicked…it’s a bit frustrating to see your work is not properly judged….
However, the possitive side is I know I’m doing it well, no matter how many subscribers or readers I have, I know people who trust on me like and (sometimes) read the articles I write…that’s for me the most important thing.
As you see, I’m a self-confident person, thus, I think I’m on the right track 😉
@Monevator, it was a very gradual process. As the traffic increased so did my attention towards the blog. It still has a long way to go though before I would call it successful.
For Daily Writing Tips and Daily Bits you just gave me a good suggestion, I will write a post covering their launch process soon.
Todd Jordan says
Good post. Makes me feel better about my current blog. Thanks for sharing the ideas.
Quiet Rebel Writer says
Wow – thanks. This was just what I needed. Things are going well at QuietRebelWriter, but of course not as quickly as I would desire. This helped me remember patience, and what to look forward to in the future.
Thanks for this great information.
My blog has only been up for a little over a month, but I see that I’ve been doing a lot of things right.
Of course, there are some things that I could do better, and I plan to do so.
This was very encouraging for me…Thanks again!
Couple more things that shows forward movement
Niche leaders rather they blog or not contact you before you contact them.
New reader tells you they downloaded your entire blog (This one still confuses me)
Your stats show that people are finding your blog by googling your name. (If your name is important enough to google then your blog must be doing something to get talked about)
You get VIP passes to events within your Niche
Very inspiring Daniel.
Thank you very much.
Thanks everyone for your feedback and additions. I’m glad it was helpful information for many of you.
@ Barbara, @ Ruchir . Hey, I’d love to have some of these problems guys. 🙂
I feel like I’m getting somewhere because my RSS sub count is going up slowly, but Google still hasn’t indexed my site (I had a robot file disallowing it on there by accident for a few weeks. Eek! It seems the Googlebot holds a grudge!)
Daily Blog Tips must have one of the speediest comments section of any blog going. I guess that’s the advantage of writing for bloggers, and a sure sign of a blog that’s successful.
@Daniel, a question: when did you first realise that Daily Blogs tips was going to be a success? Is there a specific crossover? How would you compare the progress of Daily Bits and Daily Writing Tips? (Feel free not to answer of course just curious)
Very nice advice and some very good points. I struggle with a few of these things like others have posted, like being consistant.
I came to yours from MattKeegan’s SU and are glad since this was a readable and educative post – at least a great reminder.
I have been blogging for a bit more than 2 years and I feel the success is based on that I’ve Clearly Define My Niche (post about Norway; our culture, traditions and habits) and stick to that subject. So my readers knows what they get and come back because they want more. I guess thats what you call Consistent Posting too.
I posted almost every day in the beginning, but that takes a lot of time. Now I believe more in quality that quantity.
I have read how important (#5) consistant posting is. I am taking the 30 day challenge to make one post each day. I’ve read it has been a challenge many have gained value from. Making each one a quality post (6) is in mind as well.
Tony Lawrence says
Timely article for me.. I do get discouraged sometimes – I’m growing, but it’s never fast enough for me and sometimes I look at something I wrote and sheesh, it seems like good stuff but nobody else seems to think so 🙂 Of course the opposite happens now and then too, but it’s never often enough, right?
Andy MacDonald - SEO & Marketing Blog says
Yeah that’s great advice there. Whilst my blog is fairly new and my subscriber count is still fairly small, i do receive adequate amount of traffic on a daily basis, i have thought about giving up at one point, but as they say, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and i think the same can be true for blogging.
It takes time, stick at it and you will one day get the results you are hoping for.
Carol - Blog.ConchoLakeAZ.com says
I know from experience that you look at your website and wonder “Why am I doing this? I don’t see any results.”
The results are out there! Sometimes you just have to look them. And they are not always show themselves monetarily.
I have a website for a small rural community in Arizona. The website has been active for three years, but I branched off to include a regular blog format last October.
It’s been a slow growth and sometimes discouraging. However, I know I an doing the right thing when:
1. I had a school employee approach me and tell me that are referring the website to help recruit a new principal, and
2. I had the local UPS office excited about using my site for physical address maps.
It’s nice to know that I am making a difference in this community. I know in time the money will follow…. 😉
PS: Visit the site to join in on the Blog Contest for an iPod!
engtech @ internet duct tape says
ooh… looks like I’m on the wrong track
Virtual Impax says
I’m a “blog pusher” by trade… and impatience is HUGE amongst beginning bloggers.
I tell my clients that it takes 100 posts for your blog to find “it’s voice”.
When I read about the io9.com launch… I wondered if I wasn’t setting the bar too low. io9.com had 700 posts loaded before launch.
The funny thing is, once my clients have a “goal” for the number of posts, they start focusing on that instead of on the other “distractions” such as how many comments, incoming links, etc.
Once you’ve got 100 posts… you have enough content to get respect from other bloggers. They can see you’re in this for the long haul and they’re more willing to link to you. PLUS it’s easier to find content to link to within a blog with 100 (original) posts.
I actually had a client who launched a blog and leave up the “welcome to WordPress” initial post. Four months later, she did a search on Google and wondered why her site wasn’t appearing under her uber competitive keywords. Sigh.
That’s when I began my “wait until you have 100 posts” rants!
Good additions 🙂 .
Jeremy Steele says
I’ll add even more…
Increased number of 12 hour work days
Increased number of e-mails
Increased annoyance at people asking asking you to link to their blog “just because” they linked to yours
Barbara Ling says
14. Increasing “how to” questions arriving in your inbox
15. Unsolicited mentions in industry niche blogs
16. Articles written about you – “When so and so speaks, we listen!”
Ruchir Chawdhry says
11. Increasing Spam
12. Increasing Negative Comments
13. Increasing Income
Though I’d add some…
Well written. Is there any specific data available in terms of percentage increase for subscriber counts,number of visitors,page views to assess the growth?
Ali from TheOfficeDiet says
Great advice, and very encouraging, thanks! I am seeing growth in these areas with my blog The Office Diet (albeit slowly at present) so I guess I’m on the right lines… And I only launched the blog 2 months ago so it’s early days yet.
This has given me considerable encouragement when my motivation for my blogging was waning a bit. Thanks 🙂