Posted July 12, 2007 10:42 am by with 19 comments

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By Sheila Beal

With great enthusiasm, I started blogging about Hawaii vacation planning three months ago.  I’ve been plugging and posting away and know that I’ve definitely been bitten by the blogging bug.   From my experience with blogging, I now truly understand the definition of a labor of love.  I’ve learned that in the early days of a blog, the effort outweighs the rewards. 

As I have been traveling up the steep learning curve, I’ve been searching for advice on how to make a blog successful.  Recently, Problogger posted an excellent guest post from Tim Hamm on 10 techniques he used to grow his blog from  0 to 12,000 RSS subscribers in seven months.  Point number five really resonated with me.  It says “Don’t give into negativity.”  I think it is human nature to feel a bit frustrated and unmotivated when your blog isn’t an instant success, but you can’t let it get the best of you.

As much as I hate to admit it, I’ve caught myself veering towards the negativity trap a time or two.  So, I’ve developed a list of ideas to keep me focused and motivated towards progress. 

  1. Stay Excited – Remember the passion and excitement that you had when you first started blogging.  Reflect back on that enthusiasm that kept you up late at night brainstorming.  Recapture and renew your excitement.  For myself, I love going to Hawaii and helping friends and family plan their trips there.  So, it was natural for me to want to blog about a place I love. I often tell people that by writing a blog about Hawaii vacations, I get to go there everyday in my mind.  It’s really quite nice.
  2. Recognize Improvements – Recognize that you are constantly improving your skills as a blogger, writer, and communicator.  If you don’t believe me, go back and take a look at some of your posts from the early days. I have certainly noticed a marked improvement in only a few months.  So, I pat myself on the back for having raised my own bar.
  3. Be Realistic – Accept that some industries naturally have a larger audience. Internet marketing, self improvement and political blogs are all high demand blog topics.  So I should accept that, a blog about general travel will naturally have more traffic than a blog focused on travel to Hawaii.  Perhaps your blog is more of a niche blog like Go Visit Hawaii is, so set realistic traffic expectations.  
  4. Be Patient – Recognize that blogs don’t become successful overnight.  Even the most successful blogs started out with only a handful of readers. Look at the overall trend for traffic and comments.  If it is moving upwards, you are gaining momentum.  At first, it would be rare for me to see a comment on my posts, now even my new blog has posts that get multiple comments.  (Woohoo!  Someone’s reading!)
  5. Stay Focused – Resist the urge to obsess over web analytics or the number of RSS readers. Instead, focus on what you can control and that is producing good quality content and networking with other quality blogs. I went through a phase where I was constantly checking my analytics.  Knowing the data is good, but spending too much time analyzing it is not.
  6. Investing for the Future – Remind yourself that all the content you are writing now will pay off dividends for years to come.  Most everything you are writing now will eventually come up in someone’s search results whether now or three months from now or even three years from now.  I continue to get traffic for a post I wrote three months ago about a Girlfriend’s Getaway Promotion in Maui.
  7. Celebrate Small Goals – Appreciate what you have, whether it’s that faithful commenter or the unexpected trackback.  Relish, nourish, and bask in the good feedback and interaction you are getting.
  8. Build Friendships – In the short period of time that I’ve been blogging, I’ve already made blogger friends and that has been fun and exciting.  By making these new friends and seeing their progress, it has been motivating for me to continue blogging. 
  9. Have Fun –  If you are not in the mood to blog, don’t force yourself.  Instead, step away from it, read, see a movie, or go for a walk.  I know there have been days that I just didn’t feel inspired to blog and though I felt pressure to blog, I didn’t.  The next day, it seemed that I had renewed vigor for the blog. Sometimes, a vacation day from your blog can be very refreshing.

I hope that you will find these ideas useful.  You’ll notice that this list is not your typical “top 10”.  I’ve intentionally left it at nine so that the tenth idea comes from you.  So, please tell me what techniques or ideas you’ve used to tell Negative Nelly to talk to the hand?

About Sheila Beal

Sheila Beal is the editor of Go Visit Hawaii a blog for those planning a vacation to Hawaii or simply wish they were. She’s also the wife of Marketing Pilgrim’s Andy Beal, but she hopes you won’t hold that against her.

  • I think Building relationships especially in the early days is key.

    Great first post Sheila!

  • I liked the reminder to be realistic about traffic. I have a very niche blog and sometimes it gets frustrating to read about how many readers bloggers who write about blogging/aff marketing/internet marketing etc get. You can remind yourself of that all the time, but it helps to hear it from someone else! Thanks so much!

  • Thanks for the info and great post. Glad to see you here!

  • Thanks for the kind words, everyone.

    @ Brian – Very true. That has actually been one of the pleasant surprises that I’ve discovered from blogging.

    @ Bonnie- I certainly know what you mean. I’m so glad you were encouraged by the post.

    @ Mark – Thanks for the nice welcome!

  • Great post, I’m with you. I think #4 and #5 are my biggest challenges day to day when it comes to blogging.


  • Kyle – I’m with you on that. I think it is because those are the quickest and most visible indicators. I went through a phase where I was constantly checking my analytics. (I nearly had to go to the doctor for “strained refresh finger” 😉 ) I’m still checking my analytics more often than I’d like, but certainly nowhere near what I was doing. I’d like to get to the point of checking it only once a day.

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  • Providing the best information that is on topic is what you really need.

  • I liked this post a lot and glad that you added an excellent add-on to the Problogger post. 2 and 4 have been important to me going forward.

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  • HH!

    #4 is hardest to me

    Being patient is OK, but when you see NOTHING is happening then you start to wonder if is it just a matter of time or is it you the one who isn’t doing the things all right.

    Grate article!

  • Hi Sheila,
    Wonderful post and tips. #8 Build Friendships is where I come in! You found my Hawaii Vacation Gifts blog and left a comment, which allowed me to see your blog and comment in return. Now I look forward to seeing what you are posting about for the day, and it keeps me motivated to post good content often because I know you are reading my blog too!

  • Derek, HH – thanks for commenting. I’m glad you liked the article. It never seems like there is enough patience. Hang in there and keep up the great content.

    HawaiiVacationGifts – Absolutely, you were one of the nice bloggers that I had in mind while creating #8!

  • Perhaps patience is the most important element you mentioned. Too many bloggers lack it even though it is obviously fundamentally important.

  • Very true, Study Guide. I’m already noticing some blogs that are about as established as GoVisitHawaii is that are practically abandoned. It makes me wonder if there is a 3 or 4 month “wall” that bloggers hit and then decide they don’t have the patience to continue.

  • Hi Sheila,
    I am re-reading your post because the 4 wall month is coming up for me. Some days I look forward to posting and other days I think I am wasting my time. To keep me going, I decided to celebrate 4 months of blogging with an anniversary post!

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