The Secrets to Long-Term Blogging Success [Part 1]

In the last week, I’ve spent some time analyzing what I’m doing with this blog.  What I realized is I’m spending a lot of time on content creation, but very little on activities that grow the business.  As a result, I’ve decided to reconfigure my work flow and focus more on the things that will generate long-term profits.

The end result is I’ve created a pretty detailed plan about how to how to grow a blog that produces long term success.  While it’s not a perfect blueprint, I do think there’s a lot to be learned from the extensive notes I’ve taken.  So today, I want to start a new series of posts you can use to improve the success of your own blog.

Before we begin, I do want to be clear about something.  As I write this (on the last day of May, 2010), I’ve earned very little money with this site.

The reason that I feel like I’m qualified to talk about this subject is I’ve had success with both affiliate marketing and creating information products.  All I’m really doing with this blog is taking the lessons I learned from both businesses and applying them to this site.

Okay, now with that out of the way, let’s talk about the first step in this process.  Specifically, today I want to cover the process of creating content for your blog

#1- Create a Publishing Schedule

In this video I discuss the importance of creating a publishing schedule.  I don’t care how many visitors you currently get to your site.  If you’re a blogger, then you better have some sort of publishing schedule.

If a newbie blogger asked me for one piece of advice, I tell him (or her) to open up an excel file and create a master plan for their content.  Having a publishing schedule allows you to focus on the fundamental process of writing articles that people will actually want to read.

Another benefit of a publishing schedule is it allows you to brainstorm future articles.  If you’re like me, then there are times when you’re stuck with writer’s block.  A simple trick to overcome this is to write down every random thought that pops into your head.  Then when you plan out content for the week, you can flesh-out these ideas for your posts.

#2- Regularly Post Content to Your Site

Okay, I’ll admit that it might not be impressive to you, but I haven’t missed a day of posting since the middle of February. Even during family emergencies and traveling through parts of Europe where there’s limited Internet connectivity; I’ve still managed to post an article each and every day.

I’m going to come out and say it…  If you’re not updating your site at least four to five times a week, then you won’t have much success.  Yes, there are some extremely profitable sites that post less than this.   But usually this is the end result from years of hard work.

In truth, I think you should take things one step further… Make it a point to post at least once a day. By doing this, you’ll train your readers to expect that every day they’ll find something new to learn on your site.

#3- Create Recurring Themes on Your Site

If you’re a regular reader then you know I have two weekly columns.  One is my “Steve’s Sunday Selections” where I profile posts from my favorite blogs.   The other is a Friday video series where I cover a different Internet Marketing technique.

Having a recurring theme is a great to create a level of anticipation with your audience.  On certain days, your readers will know you’re going to cover a specific topic of interest.

As you grow your blog, I recommend that you create a regular series on a certain aspect of your niche.  With this one technique, you can build a steady amount simply because people will want to know more about what you’re discussing.

#4- Ask for Reader Feedback

Last week I had to be brutally honest with myself.  One of the things that bothers me is the fact that I don’t get a lot of comments on some of my posts.  I think this is happening because I’m not creating the kind of content that really connects with my readers.

To improve this, I’m now asking readers to submit topics for future articles.   (In fact, I recommend you go to this post and submit a few ideas of your own.)

One of the things I’ve had to learn is I’m not an expert blogger.  In fact, I think I’m still trying to learn how this whole thing works.  So even though I’ve had success in other online businesses, a lot of this information is useless when it comes to building a successful blog.

However, the one thing I’ve learned is your audience is dying to know more about certain subjects.  All you have to do is create some sort of mechanism where they can give their feedback.

My advice is to continuously ask your readers for article ideas.  In fact, come up with some sort of system where they’re rewarded for participating.   For instance, I now offer a permanent weblink in any article that a reader suggests.

#5- You’re a Publisher, Not a Writer

Right now, I’m going to admit something that I’ve kept hidden for five months…

Some of the articles on this site haven’t been written by me.  In fact, I only write about four to five articles each week.  The rest are created by an excellent outsourcer or have been rewritten from a Private Label Article.

With that said, I always go through each article and add my own anecdotes.  The end result is every piece of content on this site has my personal touch on it.

Why do I do this?

Well, this comes from a philosophy that I have when it comes to online businesses.  Your ultimate goal should be to manage the process, not be stuck doing the day-to-day activities.  When it comes to a blog, I think it’s important to follow a specific mindset.

The type of mindset I’m talking about is to focus on publishing, not writing.  Sure, you should come up with a few articles each week, but eventually you want to focus on long-term growth activities over the daily grind of creating content. (In follow-up posts I’ll explain how to do this)

Overall, I think you can gain a lot of benefit by hiring an outsourcer to write an article or two each week.  Yes, this will require an investment of your money.  But I think this is a great way to avoid the micro-management type of mindset many people develop with their websites.

If you want to know more about outsourcing, I recommend you read my 8 tips for hiring an outsourcer and my post about how I hired a great outsourcer who writes a lot of my content.

Now if you don’t have the funds for outsourcing, I recommend you take advantage of Private Label Rights (PLR).  The Internet is chock full of PLR articles (and eBooks) you can use for content on your website.  All you have to do is find ones related to your topic and input your thoughts.  The end result is you’ll have extremely helpful content that’s matches what your audience wants to read.

Final Thoughts…

When I first started this post, I originally thought it would cover a few simple tips.  But after 1300+ words, I’ve come to realize there’s a lot more to cover when it comes to long-term success with blogging.

In this post, we covered what I consider to be the basics about blog content creation.  In the next part of this series, I’m going to review the productivity aspect of blogging.  Here I’ll cover how to incorporate your regular “to-do lists” with activities that help grow your business.

Finally, I want to mention that it’s my intention to turn this series into a free report or mini-course.  So could you please submit a few specific questions that you might have about creating long-term success with a blog.  While I might not have an immediate answer, any comments you provide will help me focus on what I should cover in these posts.

Take Action. Get Results.

9 thoughts on “The Secrets to Long-Term Blogging Success [Part 1]”

  1. Hi Steve,

    Great start to the series.

    How about specific tools and resources that you recommend?
    How to grow your blog and the specific steps you’ve taken?
    Are you in it for the money or the fame? Or both? When do you know?
    Why networking with other bloggers is so important

    Looking forward to the sequels 🙂
    .-= Karen´s last blog ..Two Inspirational Videos – Failure and Imagination =-.

    • I know a posting schedule has helped me in all of my online businesses. You’re right that it helps you plan the direction that you want to go towards.

  2. Steve,

    I’ve read a lot of advice on blogging, but there’s one thing that hit me hard from this post: “You’re a Publisher, Not a Writer”.

    Actually, I’ve had the reverse mindset all this while! I’ve been writing articles only when I’m inspired with a thought that crosses my mind based on my daily lifestyle. It has been my way of expressing myself, and also a way of recording my learnings for myself (and for my readers) so that I (and hopefully my readers too) could build up on those experiences and do better in life.

    Then there is the other part of me, who also wants to make the blog a “success”, hoping for it to be an alternate source of income too. And with the rate at which I have been posting, there’s no wonder why things have not kicked off for me over the years.

    So, that subheading actually aroused the inner conflict that I’ve been having, and I’d like to thank you for that. Indeed, if I’ve got to make my blog successful, I’ll have to move from my current Writer mindset to being an ardent Publisher too. I guess a fine balance of both should move things in the right direction for me.

    Thanks for the lovely post!

    Success always,
    .-= Mark @ Secrets of Success´s last blog ..Snore away to success! =-.

    • This is something I also have to keep in mind. It’s pretty easy to get caught in the trap of worrying about regularly publishing. The key here is to have a steady amount of content, but also focus on basic growth strategies.

      Anyway, glad you found this useful as you develop your own blog.

  3. Steve,
    I’m working on a way to systemetize finding subjects for content, weeding out the guff, and SEO optimizing that content, so any insights you have in these areas would be most welcome.
    .-= Gail´s last blog ..Investing in Junk Coins by Keith Hamburger =-.

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