How Do You Define Blogging Success?

My blog often stresses me out. As much as I enjoy writing and actually having a decent audience that actually reads what I write, it’s definitely become part of my regular routine.  What was once just an occasional hobby has grown into more of a responsibility now that I have established a bit of an audience.  I’m always looking to grow my readership through creating helpful, informative and entertaining content, marketing such content, and engaging with like minded readers.  But it can take quite a bit of time to manage all of this, especially with a full time job.

It’s gotten me thinking about how I personally define blogging success as it pertains to me.  It’s obviously a question that can be answered quite differently for people depending on their particular situation.  Whether it’s impressions, page views, rss subscribers, or affiliate conversions, everyone is different.

My blog isn’t really a source of income for me directly, but it has opened up quite a few doors for me in my career, so indirectly it does.  For me I’ve measured success through my blog traffic, subscribers and engagement.  Lately I’ve been working hard to improve my link back strategy.  While I’ve been able to grow my audience and blog traffic, my engagement and back links are a little less then to be desired.  It doesn’t surprise me though as this is a direct result of a lack of time.  To improve my engagement I simply need to comment more on other like minded blogs.  As much as I enjoy doing this, it’s a time thing.  There’s only so much in the day that I can devote having a full time gig.

Back links are a whole ‘nother animal.  I haven’t quite figured out my lack of success their as much, but it probably has to do with the types of articles I choose to write.  I don’t often jump on topics that are timely or popular.  I typically roll with ones that relate to what I experience at any given time, and I feel could be helpful or stir conversation.

It can be easy to get caught up with the numbers and try to stray away from what comes natural to you as a writer.  My own desire to crack the AdAge 150 often has me banging my head on blog topic choices and how to drive my Alexa, Yahoo Backlinks, and PostRank ratings higher.  Unfortunately I think for me, I will always be fairly limited as long as my blog is just a small part of what I do, and not a major time investment.

I’d love to hear from you how you define blogging success and what has and has not worked for you.

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Comments

  1. says

    I totally agree with you there simply isn’t enough time in a day to be able to comment on other like blogs and to keep up with everything else that’s necessary to be a SEO Marketer.

  2. says

    Jason, you have obviously succeeded in blogging as you have numerous interactions with every blog you write (comments, re-tweets, re-posts, and likes). Consistency is key with the any blogs success as well as actual knowledge and expertise of the topic being written about. Some people determine the success of a blog by the number of followers, but I define it differently since my blog is on a much lower key than yours. I didn’t think many people read my blog as it’s just there for work purposes and to keep track of my writing, but I was at a wedding the other day and numerous amounts of my girlfriends came up to me and said they really liked reading my blog posts when I posted them to FB (I write bridal posts for my internship and these girls are newly engaged or plan on being engaged soon). That to me means my blogs success; that I am reaching people who care about what I’m writing about, even if its a small number of newly engaged girls. Thanks Jason for all your great blogs!

    • says

      That’s a great point Gabi.  The reality is most people will come and read our blog posts and that’s it.  No real proof that they were there or any way of knowing who actually read it.  I’ve had that happen quite a bit.

  3. says

    I’m really very green at this whole blogging thing.  For me, it is much of a hobby as it is to simply have something to hold myself accountable to.  While having subscribers and getting hits is flattering, I actually derive the biggest pleasure from friends who read my posts and tell me that they have learned a lot from my blog, that I have converted their way of thinking, or who ask me if it’s okay to share my blog with their friends. Oddly, the topics that drive most of the traffic to my site are not the primary focus of my writing.  I’m trying to decide what to do with this stat as I can only generate so many posts about these particular topics.

    • says

      Hi Sarah. I find that a challenge too.  I often feel motivated to write about a broader range of topics, but try to stick with the primary focus of my blog to not lose readers.

  4. says

    Hi Jason, am looking at the Ad Age thing myself, 50% of the posts on your blog have to be about marketing / marketing related. When you are starting out that can be easy to factor in but to a blog that has been running a few years, well it’s that bit harder. If you want an accountability buddy am happy to chat, maybe we can help each other?

    I also find my goals change from one month to the next when blogging. As I achieve them the next step is to be taken and work towards that.

    Good luck with your engagement and backlink strategy

    • says

      Well I’m pretty sure I qualify on the 50% rule.  The times I’ve applied, I lose on their point system. In fact recently I missed it by one stinkin’ point!  Almost there though.

  5. says

    I own a niche blog and success is measured by traffic and revenue. They’re both growing steadily.

    Not that much engagement since most of the traffic comes from search – so they’re not really followers or fans but the content they find solves their problem and that’s important.

    Too much “zen” blogging may lead to online or offline friendships and potential business deals but a niche blog can be a money making machine (+friendships and business deals). It’s a matter of decision for each blogger to choose his/her way. :-)

    • says

      Thanks for sharing Constantin.  I’ve often thought about starting another blog that isn’t personally branded.  I think blogs that are aligned to specific people are not as likely to be money makers. Of course that idea is usually shot down when I think of the idea of maintaining 2 blogs.

  6. Anonymous says

    I think this is a determination that has eluded me in my writing.

    It’s easy to get caught up in the recommendations of large blogs but it truly has become a matter of small wins for me. I have gauged my success post by post with repect to comments.

    Although I write on fatherhood, and my audience is less than staggering, the more interaction I get in my comments section the more success I feel I achieve.

    Like you, I have a full time career (and three small kids to boot), so my posting schedule and my level of interaction on other blogs is limited.

    Hovwever, I have taken some of the advice of Seth Godin and tried to create work for the sake of creating art (art being something that takes several forms). Thinking about it as less of a business venture and more of an exercise in “creating” has been good for me and less of a burden.

    It may not be the recommended method for growing a substantial following but it has allowed me to enjoy my writing more.

  7. says

    Great point Jason

    I think defining the main purpose of the blog, main goal is the
    hardest part people are faced with. Majority hear about “make money
    blogging” and assume it IS the goal.

    My personal experience that I always shared was – when I started to
    blog about something I love and know and provided information people
    needed – that is when I started to earn.

    Thanks for sharing!

  8. Peter Cook says

    For me blogging is successful when:

    It engages people – evidenced by receiving detailed comments, numbers are part of it but not the whole point

    It connects me with new people around the world

    Ultimately if some of those people develop longer term business relationships.  They don’t have to be ones that lead to money 

    Peter

  9. says

    My first blog in 2005 was started just because I loved the growing hobby of digital scrapbooking and wanted to share cool products I found.  I started posting daily about things that I loved.  I didn’t know that blogs could make money and I never even thought about things like backlinks and traffic stats.  One day I found a section in Typepad that showed me how many people were reading my blog.  I had 1000 unique views a day. People were linking to my blog all over the world!

    Eventually designers started asking me if they could advertise on my blog and I had to come up with ad rates.  Companies started sending me products to evaluate for free!  

    When I went back to work full time I had to abandon my blog. People asked to buy it, but that seemed gross to me for some reason.

    In 2010 I decided to try blogging as a money making venture that might bring me back home from the corporate world.  I read books, took blogging mastermind classes and never came remotely close to duplicating my original success.

    The moral of my long story?  I think the truly successful bloggers start with sharing something they are truly passionate about and once they start to grow an audience they learn about all the SEO and monetization stuff and start to cash in on their passion.  So keep doing what you love and the rest will come :-)

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