There is no magic formula for achieving blogging success

no_magic_formula

In a scenario I made up just now for the purpose of this blog post, people often ask me about the magic formula for blogging success.

“What’s your secret,” they will ask me.

“What is the one trick I need to know,” they will continue.

“Is it your hair? Follow-up question: Can I have a lock of your hair,” they will plead.

“Drink this…it’s not spiked with knock-out pills,” they will promise.

“People,” I will tell them, after waking up, groggy, while tied to a chair.

“There is no magic formula. Now, please, let me go home to my wife.”

A “magic formula” or easy blueprint for achieving blogging success does not exist.

If one existed, not only would you already know about it, but you and every other blogger on the web would be doing it.

And if everyone was doing it, wouldn’t we cancel one another out?

And yet, we bloggers still try to find it. We’ve searched for it since Al Gore created the first blog in his parent’s basement back in 1962.

We read blogs, we subscribe to newsletters, we listen to webinars, and we buy eBooks and courses.

We cling to the hope this next tip, this next tidbit of knowledge, will be the one to take us to the top.

But, as helpful as many of these resources may be, all they can do is help us on our blogging journey.

They can give us pointers.

They can guide us in the right direction.

They can tell us what they did to achieve success, and how we can hopefully emulate them.

But they cannot guarantee our success.

No, whether or not you achieve success is entirely on your shoulders.

Here’s why…

Success is hard work

Some people look for reasons to give up or not try.

Jon MorrowAnd then there are people like Jon Morrow.

Diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy when he was a baby, Jon wasn’t expected to live a very long life.

Thirty years later, Jon has the distinction of being a driving force behind three of the web’s most popular blogs.

How did Jon do it?

He worked his butt off.

As a blogger, Jon is often on his computer ten straight hours. He’s writing, reading, editing, teaching, networking and doing everything else he can to succeed.

Do you think Jon would be doing this if there was an “easy” way to be successful?

Crystal PaineOr how about Crystal Paine?

Most would know her from her blog, the insanely popular Money Saving Mom.

Crystal created one of the highest-trafficked personal finance blogs on the web while supporting her husband, running a household, and raising three children!

With so much on her plate, nothing Crystal has done could be characterized as “easy.” She worked hard for MSM’s success, and she continues to do so.

She publishes several posts a day, and I can personally attest to how active she is on social media.

Would Crystal bother replying to silly lil’ bloggers with 313 followers (as of this writing) on Twitter if there was an easy, not-time-consuming path to success?

(In Crystal’s case, the answer is probably YES because she’s such a nice person, but otherwise… No!)

Be it Jon or Crystal, Darren Rowse or Seth Godin, Pat Flynn or Amy Harrison; the bloggers who “made it” all paid their dues and worked hard.

But in addition to hard work…

Success (often) takes time

True, sometimes success happens fast. Some blogs and bloggers get big and popular so fast it makes you go “how the heck did that happen?”

It’s the desire to be like these bloggers — the desire to speed up the be-successful process — which causes people to seek out magic formulas and shortcuts.

Success often takes time, though.

Take actor Patrick Cranshaw, for example.

Patrick CranshawIf his goal was to be in show business, Cranshaw’s career was a success. But if his goal was to become famous, his career had to be a frustrating one.

Cranshaw worked as an unknown actor for almost 50 years.

He never got to be the lead. He never got to shoot the bad guy. He never got to kiss the girl.

And then, in 2005, at the age of 84, Cranshaw was cast as Joseph “Blue” Palasky in the movie Old School.

The movie was a box-office hit. Forty-five years after his first acting credit, Cranshaw became an overnight success.

Fans would yell out lines from the movie whenever they saw him.

“You’re my boy, Blue!,” they would shout.

His family members say Cranshaw loved the attention.

When he passed away in 2007, an odd thought popped into my head:

During those forty-five years, did Cranshaw ever consider throwing in the towel? Did he ever almost quit?

I like to think no, he kept plugging away, confident “success” would happen for him someday.

And when it finally did, he was able to look in the mirror and say: “It took nearly 90 years, but I knew it would happen.”

You’re probably not going to have to wait forty-five years for your blog to become a success, but it could take some time.

Even if you’re doing everything the right way, it could take some time.

You need to be okay with this. You also need to realize…

Luck has nothing to do with it either

Many of us fall victim to the idea “success” or “fame” is some kind of a giant who is going to walk up one day and pluck us from the crowd.

This belief is enforced whenever some random person achieves fame or fortune after winning the lottery or having a picture of them at a sporting event go viral on the web.

To these people, we’re all one ReTweet from an influential person away from hitting the big time.

This mindset is dangerous. It convinces you to sit idly by and wait for something great to happen to you rather than making something great happen to you.

Want a truism? “Luck” is when preparation meets opportunity.

Ralph Waldo Emerson put it a bit more bluntly:

Shallow men believe in luck. Strong men believe in cause and effect.” [tweet this]

If you want to succeed as a blogger, you’re going to have to roll up your sleeves and work at it.

You’re going to have to work at blogging the same way you worked at learning to ride a bicycle as a child, learned to bake cookies from scratch as an adult, and the same way you did anything else in this world worth doing well.

You’ve got to try, try again, and then try some more.

But before you do, you need to ask yourself…

How do you define success?

Steve UrkelUltimately, whether or not a blog is successful depends on whether or not it meets the intended purpose of its owner.

For example, a blog dedicated to the career of Jaleel “Steve Urkel” White will probably not interest 99% of the public.

If its owner hopes to achieve fame and fortune through his or her Urkel blog, disappointment awaits them.

It wouldn’t matter if the in-depth stories about the “Urkel-Bot,” “Stefan Urquelle” and “The Urkel Dance” were the definitive write-ups of those topics, for most people they’re unlikely to be anything more than a morbid curiosity you browse for five minutes while waiting for your friend to play their turn of Words With Friends.

However, if the owner’s goal is to create the be-all-end-all Steve Urkel blog, they will be successful regardless of traffic.

Everyone defines success differently.

Don’t compare yourself to others, or your blog to other blogs, especially if your definition of success differs from theirs.

Some people want their blog to receive lots of traffic, comments and social shares.

Some want their blog to make them money.

Some want their blog to help them be viewed as an expert on their topic, which will help them in their business.

Some just want to have fun.

How do you define a successful blog?

Answering this question will help guide you along your way.

Then it’s time to roll up your sleeves and get to work.

I searched for the magic formula more times than I can count during my almost-10 years of blogging. How about you? Let me know in a comment below!

Flickr Creative Commons Image via bark (adapted).

Comments

  1. says

    Hi Kevin
    The only secret of success for blogging is “no secret”. There is no short cut to it; even there is no sub way; you need to travel on main road to reach to your blogging destination.
    It becomes more clear after rule of quality overpowered the prior rule of quantity. Now it is just like the world of print publication where you can’t make your post popular by putting a few phrases (keywords) in it to divert the attention of people. Basic SEO still works but it does not rule the blogging success.
    Your cases studies of both Jon Morrow and owner of Money Saving Mom are so impressive and appeal. Whoever once visited the blog of Jon can full understand how much hard work he does to create a blog post.
    If bloggers believe in this bitter theory of having no formula for blogging success they will benefit more of it. Then they will not waste their time in searching any magic wand to become a successful blogger and remain focused at their work.
    Thanks a lot for sharing this wonderful post that is full of inspiration.

    • says

      Hi Mi Muba,

      Thanks for commenting! Yes, there is most definitely “no secret” to becoming successful at blogging. Shortcuts merely distract us from the task at hand, which is to buckle down and work hard!

      Thanks again for stopping by. Hope you’ll return.

    • says

      Hey Kevin and mi muba you both are right every new blogger ask me what your secret of getting success in short time in blogging. I have only few words i.e Hard and smart work by mixing this you can also get success. And they just think that i am hiding some secrets behind but this post will surely gonna clear their thought

      Thanks for Sharing

  2. says

    Kevin,
    As you pointed out, we each have our own definition of success ad what might satisfy, or even excite, one blogger would be a disappointment for another blogger. Success definitely takes time in most cases, and many bloggers aren’t willing to put in the work for very long when they aren’t seeing the results.

    • says

      Hey Marc,

      It’s sad, but you’re right… Many bloggers aren’t willing to work very hard or long before quitting. That’s why there are so, so many abandoned blogs on the web.

      If people knew the work it will take to be a “success” (however they define the word), sure, we would have fewer blogs coming into existence. But the ones created would have more lasting power!

      Thanks again for visiting, Marc. Have a good one.

  3. says

    Hi Kevin,

    Glad you posted this one…..I’ve been googling, and googling, and googling trying to find that magic pill……… I haven’t found anything. I’ve only been in the blogging world for a few months, but I’m quickly learning that there are no short cuts…just hard work, commitment and dedication! GREAT read!

    • says

      Hi Shirl,

      Welcome back! Thanks for stopping by again and commenting.

      Glad you enjoyed the post! Yeah, in the 9 1/2 years I’ve been blogging, I probably searched for the “magic formula” off and on during the first five of those years.

      Did I pick up some helpful tips along the way? Sure!

      Each tip was like a spice being added to a homemade pasta sauce. Each one made the sauce a little better, but not one of them could get me on The Food Channel with Alton Brown.

      Blog tips are usually the same way. Good ones (which are right for you and your blog) can make you better, but they’re not sending 100,000 visitors to your blog each month by themselves. For that you’re going to have to put in considerable time and effort!

      Of course, watch… You’ll prove me wrong and the next tip you implement will turn you into an overnight blogging success! :-)

  4. says

    Hi Kevin,

    Talking about success-on-blogging is always interesting because it is relative. That is why success in my perception may be different to others’ perception. I have talked about “sign of successful blog” a few days back. In my perception, successful blog achieved when we manage to get the basic needs of blog (quality comments, increase in traffic, passion of blogging, financial goal/make money online or any specific goal such as publicity, charity, etc).

    All of that achievements is the result of hard working, commitment and consistency.

    Thanks for this post. It is really inspiring. Wish you have a great week.

    • says

      Hi Okto,

      Welcome back! You’re right, blogging success is relative. That’s why I made it a point in the post to make sure bloggers weren’t comparing themselves to other definitions of success. Ask yourself how you define success, then work towards that goal.

      I’m glad you enjoyed the post and were inspired by it. That’s very kind of you to say.

      Hope you a great week, too!

  5. says

    Hi Kevin,

    Absolutely spot on. I searched too, like, 50 times, for that next secret tip. In some moments I believed I found it and after using it, I though I’d be golden. No such luck (ouch there goes that word again)…no such thing, magic.

    Persistent, smart, intelligently, focused work brings blogging success. Creating value for others and making quality connections builds success. Nothing else does. Nothing else ever will.

    So many people tell me I’m lucky to be living in Fiji. Umm….was I UNlucky, when I had 4 cents in my wallet, and was $75 K in debt, and was being sued by creditors, bankrupt, and a week away from being homeless? Nope. I made low energy decisions to reach that point, and I made high energy decisions, and acted on them, to reach this point.

    Life is a series of decisions, all yours to make. You work smart, daily, and feel good, and grateful, for months or years, and the world is yours. Success is yours. Guys like Jon Morrow prove that you can do astounding things despite all types of circumstances you may be living through. Love him, an inspiration for sure.

    Thanks Kevin, I dig the inspirational message here. Bloggers, no magic pill exists, because it would already have been bought, patented, and sold for millions of dollars ;)

    I’m tweeting in a few. Thanks again for the awesome comment on my latest post too.

    Ryan

    • says

      Hey Ryan,

      Thanks! Yeah, you’re no more “lucky” to be where you are now (in Fiji) than you were “unlucky” to be in debt. Spot on indeed.

      I really don’t like the way people credit “luck” with things. If you’re a success, saying you’re lucky is diminishing the work you put in to becoming successful! It’s offensive, when you think about it.

      And when “unlucky” is used, it’s making an excuse. “Oh, he got a ‘F’ on his English paper because he’s unlucky.” No, he got a ‘F’ because he waited until the last minute to write it! Don’t let him off the hook by placing the blame on “luck.” He earned that grade.

      Thanks for sharing the post with your followers on Twitter, Ryan. I really appreciate it!

      Enjoy your day in Fiji. You’ve earned it!

  6. says

    Another fabulous post!!! I think one of the keys to success is to be authentic. When I read your blog I get a pretty good idea of your personality (and yes – I “get” most of your jokes!) and think you are a pretty funny guy!!!

    I love that you included “how do you define success”. Often “success” seems to be a moving target. Once we can put some definition around it – it gets much easier to get there! (Plus, less “emotional”.)

    Remember – Rome wasn’t built in a day . . . and the success of a blog won’t be either. One bite of that elephant!!!

    • says

      Hello again, Lisa!

      Thank you so much for the kind words. I’m glad you enjoyed the post!

      “Be authentic” is an excellent tip. People who follow the “fake it til you make it” mantra usually end up fakes for the rest of their lives, or they quit before they make it! Just be yourself.

      Haha. I’m glad you have a pretty good idea of my personality and you get most of my jokes! You might be the only one! :-D

      Very true, “success” is a moving target a lot of the time. When I began blogging, “getting lots of social shares” wasn’t even a thing. You have to be willing to adapt… and sometimes this means adapting your definition of what it means to be a success!

      Time to go take another bite out of that elephant…

  7. says

    Blogging is a journey and not a destination. The ‘magic formula’, comes in the hard work and dedication of the bloggers. It is so easy to give up when things get tough, but the distinction lies in the ones that persist through the hard times.

    We would be fools to think that the successful bloggers ‘had it easy’ or were ‘just lucky’. They didnt get to where they are from sort of fluke, but instead they put their heart and soul into their work and are now seeing the rewards.

    Focus on what you want to achieve and go for it. When things get tough, work out how you are going to break through those barriers and keep on going. If your ‘why’ for blogging is strong enough, then you will keep going. If it is not, then it is never going to be a success.

    • says

      Hi Catherine,

      Welcome back!

      Yes, it’s amazing how many people believe successful bloggers “had it easy” or were “lucky.” Do these bloggers have insights they can share with the rest of us? Yes. Can these insights be worthwhile, even if they cost money? Sure.

      But they won’t guarantee our success. Just because it worked for them doesn’t mean it will work for us. And even if it can work for us, we’re going to have to put in a lot of hours. We’re going to have to be diligent. We’re going to have be patient. Basically, we’re going to have to go above and beyond to make it happen.

      Easy? Gosh, if only!

      Thanks again for stopping by and commenting, Catherine. Hope you have a great day!

  8. says

    Great post. I am glad there is no magic formula to make my blog a success as that would take the fun out of it. I am enjoying this new journey and my aim is to get some interaction from my readers. For me, the best way to blog is to keep it real. It’s still a huge learning curve for me, but if I get a few comments each day, that is success to me.

    • says

      Hi Lyn,

      That’s such an interesting way to look at it…

      “I am glad there is no magic formula to make my blog a success as that would take the fun out of it.”

      This is on the money. Great thought.

      The blogging journey is such a fun one. Growing, learning, having new visitors, new comments… It’s a process I wouldn’t want to skip, that’s for sure.

      Thanks for the awesome comment.

      BTW: I notice you have an avatar image when you comment on your blog “A Hole in my Shoe,” but you don’t have one when you comment here. I’m assuming you have an avatar set up for the email address you use on your blog, but you don’t have one set up for the email address you use to comment on other blogs like mine.

      Assuming this is the case and you’d like to remedy it, just go to Gravatar.com. Then, when you comment using your alternate email address, your smiling photo will appear!

      Only if you want to, of course. I know some people like to use the default avatar for privacy reasons.

      Hope you have a great day, Lyn!

  9. says

    That was a great read, Kevin. You always find a fun and creative way to present your information. I do agree with you. Success is a process. Remember the song lyric “Nothing good comes easy”. I could never understand how people think they can become rock stars in 2 to 3 months and if not, they are done! There is a learning curve. The most important thing is to continue to make progress and learn the ropes of the trade. Imagine if Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Warren Buffet and the likes gave up on their dream after a few failed attempts!
    Keep up the great work, Kevin!

    • says

      Hi Onyeka,

      Why thank you! I’m glad you enjoyed it.

      Thank you so much for the compliment. I do try to find creative, humorous ways to introduce my content. This is partly due to my background as a humor blogger, but mainly it’s just my personality. :-)

      Right, imagine if Jobs or Gates gave up. Imagine if Warren Buffet quit investing the first time one of the stocks he purchased went down in price! You’ve got to stick with it. You’ve got to persevere.

      I like your thought… “The most important thing is to continue to make progress and learn the ropes of the trade.” It’s true. While working hard, you’ve got to keep learning. Keep reading, keep researching, keep improving.

      Combined with hard work and you’ll get where you want to be.

      Thanks, Oyneka. Hope you have a great day!

  10. says

    Hey Kevin, thanks for the mention! It’s true for any area of success, hard work, experimentation and persistence.

    Won’t stop people looking for the secret though, so maybe there is an opportunity to sell those locks of your hair ;-)

    • says

      Hi Amy,

      Welcome to my blog! You are very welcome regarding the mention. One of these days I will have to do a proper write up of your wonderful and hilarious AmyTV videos!

      Selling locks of my hair? That’s a goldmine of an idea! Gosh, I wish I had come up with it on my own. Instead, I’ll feel obligated to give you a commission. How’s 4% sound?

      • says

        4% sounds about right… now if I can sell that idea to a bunch of other bloggers, I may just have uncovered the secret to success…

        So glad you’re enjoying the AmyTV!

        • says

          Amy,

          Ah, but there is a flaw in your plan. You assume all bloggers have hair to spare. This just isn’t so! :-)

          Yes, I’m enjoying it very much. Looking forward to Episode 26!

  11. says

    It often reminds me of this dialogue from Kungfu Panda – “What is the secret sauce?”; “There is NO secret sauce!” – Yup if you “believe” in success that is the biggest secret ever.

    The dragon scroll is nothing but its power is purely the belief of others.

    First one has to define his/her success precisely. Otherwise the whole game is played in vain. And then the next step is to devise the action plan. The little steps that will get you there.

    And then the crucial (secret) step is to actually get down and do the thing! There is no point in waiting for the luck to happen. Coz as far as I believe there is no luck. There is only a reasoning behind every success. It is plain and simple. Do the work and see the results.

    Thanks for the brilliant post Kevin.

    • says

      Hi Jane,

      Welcome back and thank you for your wonderful comment!

      Your 3-step plan is spot on: Define success, devise an action plan, get to work.

      This is the “secret” to success stripped down to its bare essentials.

      Define, devise, work!

      Random: I have never seen Kungfu Panda. Isn’t that sad? How can there be in existence an animated movie about a panda who knows kung-fu and I haven’t seen it?! :-)

      Thanks again for the great comment, Jane. Have a great day!

  12. says

    Hi Kevin,

    That question on ‘ is there a shortcut to make money on a blog’ has been asked more than 70 times both as a comment and from private emails sent to me.

    Being successful as a blogger requires hardwork, determination and being focused. I’m mostly inspired by the likes of Jon Morrow, Darren rowse e.t.c.

    The simple answer is ‘ hard work and consistency'; get it implemented, then you will start seeing success.

    Thanks for sharing

    James.

    • says

      Hello James,

      Welcome to my blog! Thank you for visiting and leaving such a great comment.

      Sounds like you’ve been asked “is there a shortcut” quite a few times! It’s amazing to me how many people want to skip all the hard work and go right to enjoy the fruits of labor. It doesn’t work that way, folks. Only in rare circumstances.

      Jon and Darren inspire me, too. Jon because, well, who could not be inspired by Jon? And Darren inspires me because he has the “every man” vibe. Darren has this “hey…if I can do it, so can you” glow about him. And we can. Maybe. But only if we work hard for it.

      Thanks again for visiting, James. I’ll be sure to check out your blog later today.

      Hope you come back!

  13. says

    Kevin,

    This is a successful blog!!!

    Tell it straight, and like it is. It’s hard work!!!! I am spending up to five hours or more a day while growing a web design / development, and coaching business. I know the key to my growth is through the web, and through speaking.

    So, I blog two articles per week, sometimes three. I’m reading as many as 15 or more blogs every day offering my ideas, tips, engagement and encouragement when needed. I’m engaged on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google Plus.

    Success is a very long distance away right now for me. Some have asked how can that be with well over 100 comments on every blog article and it’s only 2 months old?

    It’s because I work my bottom off building my audience. One day, I may be able to just write and they will come, but I somehow doubt it. It will always be about engagement and relationship for me.

    Already, the relationships I am earning are huge. Look at you Kevin! I appreciate the connection we’ve made. Then there is Adrienne Smith, Mi Muba (who I see posted above), and Enstine Muki.

    I’m hitting some great goals on Kingged.com, DoSplash, among others.

    You want a formula. How about this:

    Writing X number of articles / shares x engagement with others = relationships that will serve you well.

    Not sure that works, but hey; I took a stab at it…

    Thanks for another great post.
    ~ Don

    • says

      Hey Don,

      Thank you! That’s very kind of you to say.

      Yes, it is hard work. And it doesn’t surprise me to read you spend five hours a day at it. Writing, reading, commenting, being social… growing a blog is a job in itself, basically. But that’s what it takes. It’s what you have to do to grow your business, your brand or your blog.

      I’m one of those who have asked you how you’ve reached 100 comments per post in only two months (considering I’m doing fairly well to be in the 30-40 comment range after 6 weeks). And your answer is what I assumed (and what I’ve been doing myself): you’ve worked hard to build up an audience!

      It’s been a treat discovering your blog (well, I guess technically you discovered me first), Henneke Duistermaat’s, Enstine’s, Steven’s, Adrienne’s, and so many others these past weeks. And I enjoy knowing I’ll be growing these relationships and building new ones in the weeks and months ahead.

      I’m unfamiliar with Kingged and DoSplash. I’ll have to check them out. Mind if I pick your brain about them if I have questions?

      Thanks again for commenting and sharing, Don. I really appreciate it!

  14. says

    Hi Kevin,

    Excellent post! It would be nice if there was a secret formula but as you mentioned ‘hard work’ is where it’s at.

    A lot of programs out there lead you to believe it is easy. The fact is, it can be very difficult depending on you situation.

    I think a lot of defining success has to do with being realistic as well. If you can only dedicated a couple hours a week to your blog currently, then having thousand of visitors in a couple months is a lot less likely.

    Thanks for this Kevin!

    • says

      Hey Steven,

      Thanks! Yeah, there are some programs out there telling us it’s easy, but in all things I hold true to the “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is” mantra.

      Good call. Yes, if you are unable to put forth the same amount of time as someone else, it’s definitely unfair to be comparison yourself to that individual. “Be realistic” is a good tip.

      Thanks again, Steven.

  15. says

    Hey Kevin,
    That’s a great motivational post!
    Almost everyone with a success story has a hard work story to tell too. In today’s world of harsh competition, to rank higher, you must go extra miles and do things extra hard.

    If you work slow, you get slow results
    If you work normal, you get normal results
    If you work hard, you get bigger results
    If you work extraordinarily, you get extraordinary results.

    If you sit and wait for a retweet from Jon, you may wait until you are unable to pay your bills.

    To hard work, add smartness ;)

    Beautiful post Kevin and hope you have a wonderful day

    • says

      Hey Enstine,

      Thanks! I’m glad you liked it, and I really appreciate you sharing it with your followers.

      Exactly. You definitely get out whatever you put in. In school, if you didn’t study, you probably didn’t do very well. And if you’re not putting forth the necessary time to be successful as a blogger, you’re only go to be able to go so far.

      You have a wonderful day, too!

  16. says

    Hey Kevin.

    Great post, love your creativity. :)

    And totally agree with EVERY word you’ve said.

    Just like Jon Morrow, a long 10+ hours (usually 14) sat in the back bedroom where I work is a typical day for me.

    Hell yeah, many of times I’ve wanted to just walk away and quit, but I knew this wasn’t going to be an easy task when I got started and I’m prepared for that.

    Perseverance is definitely a trait all SERIOUS must have. And I see it like this…

    If you quit, you’ll never be a success, so giving up is not an option!

    Keep up the good work.

    Kerry :)

    • says

      Hey Kerry,

      Welcome! Thanks for visiting.

      Thank you! I try to be creative, so I appreciate the compliment. I also appreciate you agreeing with “every word” I said! That’s awesome.

      Wow, you spend 10+ hours (usually 14) working, too? That’s hardcore. I admire your dedication. With that kind of worth effort (not to mention “can do” attitude), there’s no doubt you’re going to be successful!

      Thanks, Kerry. You too!

      Hope you have a great day.

  17. says

    I like your line “one re-tweet away from going viral.”
    It’s easy to get lured in to the “win the viral lottery” mentality and stalk influencers online. I’ve felt that pull sometimes.
    I’ve found I’m better off working on my craft and doing the work. I want to eventually make a living from writing and producing content. I tell myself I will make it happen.
    For now, I’ll work hard to write clear sentences.

    • says

      Hey Eric,

      I’m glad you liked the line! I think it’s very true… I know several bloggers who believe their “golden ticket” is to have a big, influential blogger notice them and Tweet something they wrote.

      And, sure, such an event would send a bit of traffic your way.

      But if you haven’t been working hard, building great content, correct any design flaws your blog may have, etc.; what will happen when those visitors arrive? They will look around for a few seconds, leave, and never return.

      A few may stay longer. And a smaller few may join your mailing list.

      But if you haven’t been working hard and doing what it takes, you aren’t going to be ready even if your golden-ticket Retweet finds you.

      Glad you’re not like that. Which is why I’m confident you’re going to reach those goals. :-)

      Thanks for stopping by again, Eric!

  18. says

    Hey Kevin,

    What powerful post! Too bad there isn’t just one secret to a successful blog.

    Well maybe so…

    It all depends on the person themselves.

    But as I’m blogging every week, I’m starting to enjoy the process all together. The implementing, meeting other bloggers, learning new strategies, watching my results. it’s a constant thing.

    Success for me is to just do it. Doing the thing that you enjoy despite the negative vibes that you may run into. Just like Patrick Cranshaw. If he didn’t enjoy the process then he probably would’ve quit a long time ago!

    Thanks for sharing this timeless post! Have a good one!

    • says

      Hi Sherman,

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

      Glad you’re enjoying the blogging process. Writing, networking, learning… it really is fun!

      Absolutely, you need to enjoy blogging if you’re going to do it. Otherwise it’s a chore. Every post is a grind. And even if you find success, you will not have enjoyed the journey.

      I’m so happy you enjoyed the post. Thanks for commenting! Hope you come back.

  19. says

    Hi Kevin,

    This is my first time here but I’ll definitely be back. I thoroughly enjoyed this post!

    I’ve been following Jon Morrow for a long time but I wasn’t familiar with his personal story. (That makes me admire his persistence.) No wonder he’s so successful. He stayed the course.

    Thanks for the introduction to Crystal Paine. I’ll definitely start following her. That’s a niche that I haven’t followed that much. So, it would be good to have content in that niche to share.

    How do I find success? I would say it’s being able to provide a comfortable living for your family while doing something that you love.

    • says

      Hi Sherryl,

      You finally were able to comment!

      (Back story for those who might read this: Sherryl tried commenting several times yesterday, but there was a CommentLuv error neither of us had seen before. She was kind enough to tell me about it on Twitter, otherwise I wouldn’t have known.)

      I’m so happy to hear you enjoyed the post and will be returning! It’s such a treat when someone tells you such things. :-)

      You weren’t familiar with Jon’s condition? Makes you admire his success even more doesn’t it? He definitely has put in the time and effort to succeed!

      I’ve heard Crystal called “the Queen of mom bloggers” before. She’s definitely prolific, considering I am nowhere near her target audience, and yet I had heard of her!

      That is an awesome definition of success. I aspire to obtain your definition of it. Baby steps. Baby steps…

      Thanks for persevering and leaving me a comment, Sherryl. I really appreciate it.

  20. says

    Hi Kevin,

    Great post here.

    One thing I want to say though is regarding the secret to success in blogging. There actually is a secret and every single blogger holds the answer and the key to that secret.

    It’s called persistence.

    Those that, more often than not, get frustrated with having no success blogging and are constantly looking at other people for answers – are doomed to fail. Mainly because they hold the answer to the question within themselves already.

    It’s persistence that allows you to commit to writing a blog post for 4 – 6 hours just to make sure it’s great content for your readers.

    It’s persistence that encourages you to read other bloggers blogs and not only learn from them, but engage with them and share their content as well.

    It’s persistence that allows you to keep your spirits up when you get frustrated at how slowly success is taking.

    And those that constantly ask others for the true secret are just looking for a shortcut to get there, while the person they’re asking knows the answers and persisted through to make it.

    Nothing in life is easy and there’s also no substitute for hard work in life and in blogging. People need to start realizing that, accepting that, and preparing themselves.

    This is a really great post and a reality check for many people. Great job with writing this.

    Have a great weekend.

    – Andrew

    • says

      Hey Andrew,

      Thanks for the great comment. I totally agree: the ones who “make it” are the ones who persevered through the rough patches.

      We all will reach a point in our blogging journey where we get discouraged. Maybe we’re not getting the traffic or comments we hoped. Maybe we’re not getting shared enough on social networks. Maybe we’re just blocked and can’t think of anything more to write.

      The bloggers who are successful today pushed through those hard times. They kept working and got to see the other side.

      Glad you stopped by. Appreciate the great comments. And thanks a bunch for sharing on Twitter. That’s awesome of you!

      Hope you have a great weekend, too.

  21. says

    Totally agree with you, Kevin.

    Knowing what you want to achieve with your blog is super-important. And then the next question is, who is your audience?

    We all like tricks and simple formulas. Headlines starting with “7 simple tricks…” or “A 3-Step Formula… ” often do well in my experience (not scientifically tested).

    We all like to know the secret to success, but the truth is that hard work and focus is what will get us ahead.

    • says

      Hi Henneke,

      Welcome back! Yes, knowing your goals and your audience are musts. We would probably be amazed if we polled bloggers and asked them “what is your goal?” and “who is your ideal reader?” My hunch is a fair number couldn’t give clear answers!

      Hopefully I will look back and read this post should I ever reach a point where I’m discouraged. All of us from time to time need the reminder: this isn’t supposed to be easy…you have to keep working on it.

      Thanks again for commenting! Always a treat to see you on my blog, Henneke.

  22. says

    Hi Kevin, the mention of Steve Urkel has made me nostalgic and I declare it at the peril of being considered dated. :)

    I loved reading your post and spent a lot more time reading it and thinking about it thus putting the claim that the reader’s attention span is only 9 or 30 seconds to the test.

    I think our parameters for a successful blog change with time. I remember when I set up my first blog on blogger 3 years ago, I was thrilled to see 4 visitors in the first week – despite the fact that I had told those 4 people to check it out. Then a month later, I had 16 visitors and suddenly the numbers shot up. My goal was to establish a presence with a high quality blog. The goal is still being met despite the once a month posting that I do there on metaphysical topics while I focus on my website blog.

    My goal for the first blog was to initially build an audience and my goal for both my blogs has since changed to be informative and educative and to create credentials for the services that I offer.

    Thank you for making me stop to think.

    • says

      Hi Vatsala,

      Welcome back! Yeah, the Urkel references made me nostalgic, too. I love bringing out-of-left-field pop culture references into my writing. :-)

      You’re right on… success at blogging takes time. You’re not going to get 10, 20, 50 comments in a post right out of the gate. It’s a process! But if you make slow, steady improvement each month, as you have done, you’re going to find success (however it is you define it).

      I’m glad you enjoyed the post and found it useful!

  23. says

    Nice, informative, honest post! Blogging well, liking anything else, takes time and commitment.

    If you aren’t passionate about doing it, you may as well forget it, right? Examine your motives, define your framework for success, and keep at it! I’m on my second attempt at blogging and learned much from my first, abandoned attempt. My biggest mistake? Giving up. It takes patience!

    • says

      Hi Dawn,

      Welcome to the blog! Thank you for visiting and commenting. :-)

      I’m glad you enjoyed it. Yes, absolutely… you need to be passionate about what you’re doing. And, as you pointed out, sometimes it takes learning from your mistakes, too.

      Most of the best tips and techniques I use for this blog I learned through past failings. I’m glad you haven’t let your first blogging attempt discourage you from starting your new blog! As you said, it takes patience. But you’ll get there this time. Wherever and whatever “there” is to you. :-)

      Thanks again for visiting. Hope you’ll come back!

  24. says

    Hey Kevin,

    I was hoping to get by here yesterday but I sadly didn’t make it. I ran out of steam my friend but yours is the first one I hit this morning and I love this post.

    People are always asking me how can they be successful with their blogs. The problem with that question is like you stated here, it depends on what you want to accomplish because my definition of success may not be the same as yours. What are your goals and what is it that you want to achieve!

    I wrote a few years have about how I achieved success with my blog and I walked people through how I actually started getting attention. I mean that’s where it does begin at least right! The rest of the work is ongoing and up to me to get them to opt into my list and then go down that yellow brick road to what I want them to do!

    It can be an utter disappointment for many but I do believe just like Jon, Crystal and even Patrick, we all have to keep plugging away at this. Just enjoy the ride and I’m sure Patrick had a blast the entire time.

    Have a great week Kevin and here is to your success. ;-)

    ~Adrienne

    • says

      Hey Adrienne,

      Glad to have you back! Sounds like you really got behind, but glad to hear you’re starting to catch up. :-)

      Exactly. In fact, even among bloggers who would appear to have similar definitions for success, they are still going to be differences. “Get more readers” could mean “get 100 visitors a day” for one blogger and “100,000 visitors a month” to another. “Make money” could mean pocket change to one person, and “enough for me to quit my job” to another person. Even “become famous” is subjective.

      As you said, we just need to keep pluggin’ away and enjoy the ride. Know what you want and work your butt off to achieve it. That’s the only way.

      Thanks again for stopping by, Adrienne. My new post just went “live.” Hope you enjoy it as well!

  25. says

    I TOTALLY AGREE!!! It is all about working your behind off! Like most things in life, the harder you try, the farther you will come! I love that you mentioned Crystal Paine! I love her! She is my idol, lol!!! I love her free ebook How to Make Money Blogging! She is the reason why I started on WordPress.org! So thankful for her advice! And I am thankful for your support too! Keep it up Kevin!

    Thanks!

    • says

      Hi Valerie,

      Welcome back!

      Exactly, “the harder you try, the farther you will come.” To me, a big part of the “try” is learning from others and ensuring my “plan” is a good one (otherwise I’m just constantly running into a wall). But hard work combined with a good plan? Dynamite!

      I’m glad you enjoyed my Crystal Paine mention. She is pretty awesome. :-) And I’m glad she’s helped you and inspired you. I hope my posts are helping you, too.

      Thanks again, Valerie. Keep up the great work.

  26. says

    I’d just like to say that I read your feature not 10 minutes ago on the Enstine Muki blog and felt the need to stop by. I appreciate all of the different examples you posted on why there’s no “one formula fits all” for blogging success because I’ve often wondered if I had money for advertising or promotion of posts, I’d have a better shot of getting organics or higher search ranks. For me, I just love what I do and regardless of whether it becomes a sustainable income, I’m incredibly happy. No measure of profits or readership can take away the knowledge I finally found an occupation in which I thrive.

    • says

      Hi Corinna,

      It’s so good of you to come over after reading my feature on Enstine’s blog! Welcome. I’m glad you are here.

      It’s so good to hear how you love what you do. That’s so important. If you love what you do, it doesn’t feel like “work.” You’ll be putting forth the time and effort necessary to make your blog a success, and you’ll be enjoying every minute of it. :-)

      Keep up the great work and keep plugging away!

      Thanks again for stopping by. Have a great rest of your weekend!

  27. says

    If there was any Secret to Successful Blogging , then everybody would have been a successful Blogger.You gave some really awesome examples about How it took great people a long time to reach their Goal.

    Same goes for Blogging:
    Blogging is not a Sprint Race; it is Marathon.

    If you want to be successful in it, you need to stay devoted,consistent and passionate about it.Never expect success overnight.

    Nelson Mandella face so many hardships and spent about 30 Years in Jail.Later, he came out to be a Successful Leader and President of South Africa.

    Blogging is not a difficult job, it is just a Time-Taking job.

    • says

      Hi YF,

      Yes, exactly. If there was a formula that worked 100% of the time, we all would already be successful!

      There are no shortcuts. You need to keep learning, keep working, and keep at it.

      Thanks again for commenting, YF. Hope you have a wonderful week!

  28. says

    there is no shortcut available for to archive blog success .only thing bloggers has to do is dedicated work towards their blog posts.if they have dedication towards his work they will surely get success.you post will helps a lot those who are waiting for their blog success .thank you for your post..

    • says

      Hi Harish,

      Welcome to my blog. Thank you for visiting and leaving me your comment.

      You are right. There is no such thing as a shortcut when you’re trying to have a successful blog. You need to work! And then work some more. And then work some more. :-)

      Thank you for the kind words. I do hope people find my post helpful.

      Hope you have a great week, Harish!

    • says

      Hi Alli,

      Welcome to the blog! Thank you for visiting.

      I wouldn’t say everyone is fan of my blogging. After all, the blog is only two months old. Give me another two months and we’ll see. :-D

      Hope you have a wonderful week. Thanks again for stopping by.

  29. says

    I started my blog about 6 months backback. So far, I have written a handful of posts for it. But now I know that the only secret to succeed as a blogger is burn the mid night oil.

    Will devote more time to my blog from now on. Your post inspired me a lot.

    Thanks and keep up the great work!

    • says

      Hi Abdul,

      Welcome to my blog, and congrats on your new (well, relatively new) blogging adventure!

      Put in the time and effort, and you’ll immediately have a leg up on most of your fellow bloggers. Blogging is hard work, but it’s worthwhile work if you love it.

      Thanks for the kind words. Glad you stopped by!

  30. justme says

    I think that to be successful you need to blog about something you really have an interest in. Also, you need to be prepared to invest into boosting your blogs because of the current trend on Google which is going away from organic traffic.

  31. says

    1% inspiration and 99% perspiration, as I believe Edison said!

    My family and friends often ask me “When will you have finished?” and they can’t seem to grasp the concept that it’s a complete “Work in Progress”!

    Glad to hear others (fellow bloggers!) do.

    Have a great week, Joy

  32. says

    MOrnin’ Kevin!

    Though I don’t disagree with you, I think even ‘luck’ comes down to definition. I believe in God, not luck–so the hard work and opportunity fit MY definition, but there’s also something to be said about unknown factors. Since we can’t accurately measure our online influence (it is limited except for a single layer), we don’t always know what happens or why–which may fit into someone’s definition of “luck”.

    After nine years of blogging, I can’t explain the “influence or draw” of my site. It can’t be measured, because many of the “results” are being experienced OFFLINE, not on. Someone may read a post–but that gets printed or talked about in a circle of friends, who shares it with another and so on–then I get confronted face-to-face in a grocery store, church, get a call at work–the list goes on.

    So I also agree with not waiting or fixating on that ‘tipping point’, but it does exist–just don’t depend on it. Think of it as a cherry on top, nothing more.

    The best way I can sum it all up is–You cannot guarantee success with your blog, but you can increase the chances of your success by planning and persistence. Do the right things, for the right reasons at the right times and you’ll hit your mark. Eventually.

    Awesome post =)

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