Several years ago when Technorati was still the rage, I used this trick to discover interesting new bloggers. I would do a search by authority (which at the time was the number of links a blog had), and then sort in ascending order, so that the blogs with 0 authority would be shown first. Normally, these were the bloggers that had just started blogging, and this method really helped me discover bloggers before the they became popular.
One day I found a blog that had really low authority, and it had about 2 months worth of posts. I noticed for the first couple of weeks, there was a new post almost every day. All very thoughtful, well-written (and lengthy!) posts. But I noticed that none of them had comments. For the next two week’s worth of posts, there was about 2-3 posts a week, then after that the frequency gradually fell to once a week, then once every couple of weeks. All posts were well-written, interesting and thoughful reads. And none of them had the first comment.
Then I noticed the newest post on the blog, which was over a month old. In contrast to the other posts, this one was only one sentence long. It read “Why doesn’t anyone comment on this blog?!?”
I realized that I had just seen this blog die.
When it comes to having a successful blog, realistic goals are so important. Because your blog will only grow if you can commit to it, and you probably won’t be able to meet that commitment unless you can see that you are making headway. And that starts with setting realistic goals that you have a chance of achieving.
If you are considering launching a blog, here’s some tips to make sure you are setting realistic goals for your blog:
1 – Underestimate how much content you can create. For example, if you *think* you/your team can write 3 new posts a week, start out with 1 or 2 a week, and see if you can work up to 3. It’s FAR easier to work up than it is to go back down.
2 – Underestimate how much time you can spend with blogging activities. If you *think* you can spend 2 hours a day, then half that to only spend an hour a day. And half that again to devote 30 mins a day to activities on the blog (such as writing posts, responding to comments) and 30 mins a day to reading other blogs and commenting on other blogs. Maybe you can up that commitment over time, but it’s better to start low and go high, than to start out too high and have to back down.
3 – Think months, not weeks when you are timelining your blogging strategy. Blogging is a marathon, not a sprint. You have to remember that a lot of the ‘pro bloggers’ that have very successful and vibrant blogs are NOT in the same situation you are. For many of these people, their blog represents the majority of their sales and promotional efforts. As such, they can afford to devote the several hours a day that it usually takes to create an extremely popular and productive blog. You probably cannot, so you shouldn’t compare yourself to these bloggers and look for similar results. If you can only invest 30 mins a day to your blogging efforts that’s fine, just understand that it will take longer to see that blog gain traction if that’s the case.
Those are some quick tips to get you started setting your blogging goals, for those of you that blog for your company, what has worked for you?