The ‘Secret’ To Successful Blogging?

By Caroline middlebrook

A couple of days ago I talked about how difficult it is to make a living online when your business model always relies on knowing the ’secrets’ of the trade.

Blogging is no different – it’s a huge industry and there are many high powered blogs out there with some very wealthy bloggers. So of course many people want to know what the ’secret’ is. Just recently one of my readers asked me how he could write ‘high powered’ posts like me. I have a theory of blogging success, read on to see what it is…

Blogging Success in Terms of RSS Subscribers

Ok first up, for the context of this discussion I am going to refer to the RSS subscriber count as being the measure of success of a blog. There are a ton of other factors but the RSS count is generally accepted as being an important one and its certainly the one that I value most highly.

I use Feedburner to manage my RSS feed and my keeping track of my stats on a monthly basis I can glean all sorts of useful information. Looking at the monthly stats for the months of November, December and January has revealed a startling truth to me but before I tell you what it is, let’s have a look at those stats:

Here is November, notice how it shows growth near the beginning of the month and then after that odd jump in the middle (I still assume this is a feedburner problem not showing proper growth in the middle of the month) it starts to drop off and flatline:

november rss

Now the real giveaway is December – the RSS numbers just tick over not really moving at all:

december rss

But what’s happening in January? It’s still flatlining at first but after a couple of weeks we start to see signs of life and it grows again. Its grown by over 300 in January!

january rss

What Happened to My Subscribers?

In the middle of November I split up with my partner of 10 years (not my choice) and at first I was devastated. I could barely function. I’ve already blogged about this so I wont go over it all again but the effect it had on the blog is that all through the latter part of November and the whole of December I just blogged in maintenance mode.

I didn’t do any real work on any of my projects. I read my emails, responded to comments and managed to find a few affiliate programs to promote but I was basically blogging by the seat of my pants day by day and it showed in the numbers!

In January it started to change. I got back to work, I released my ebook and I started blogging in a way that was more in tune with my usual self and again, this has been reflected in the subscriber numbers!

The growth of my subscribers has been an almost perfect reflection of my personal state of mind. It has nothing to do with post count, or social media or anything else because I kept blogging the whole time!

What Does This Mean?

The conclusion that I draw from it is that the decision to subscribe or not to subscribe comes from something intangible – a feeling, an emotion, a vibe. Somebody comes to your blog, reads the content and if they feel good about it they subscribe and if not they hit the back button.

You can’t fake it – despite blogging all through December, my numbers would not increase. As far as I can tell my writing quality did not suffer in an obvious way, I don’t think somebody could give me a list of things I did wrong with my blog at that time.

I believe that when we write (or speak, or communicate in any way) that we give out the vibes of what we are feeling within ourselves. If we feel good it comes across in the writing. If we feel bad, that comes across too. That is the only explanation that I can think of for why my subscriber numbers came to a complete standstill when the rest of my life was at a standstill and only when I started moving forward on a personal level did my subscriber numbers follow suit!

This is another reason why I keep bashing sleazy marketing tactics. I believe that if I succumb to the sheep methodology and start churning out sales letters or build a list in a way that makes me feel uneasy that the prospective buyers will pick up on my negativity and it will affect the results!

So What’s The Secret Then?

In a nutshell I believe the secret to having a successful blog is to be true to yourself in what you write. Believe in what you are saying, enjoy your writing, appreciate your readers and their comments and it will show through.

If you force yourself to blog, if you write about topics that don’t interest you, if you get irritated having to respond to comments or contact emails you will send out those bad vibes to your audience and your blog will falter!

Be true and succeed 🙂


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