How I got 60,000 monthly readers within 6 months

Written by Paul on August 7th, 2008

Over the past few months, I’ve received a number of emails from readers asking about many things related to starting and growing a blog. I think there’s something you should know: blogging, like most things, is not about brilliance. Valuable blogs are the product of hard work and smart, disciplined processes.

Successful blogging is really about doing a few (seven, actually) simple things right and avoiding serious mistakes along the way. Don’t forget to grab the free checklist at the end of this post, it’ll save you hours.

Here’s what you need to know:

  1. Get tips from other bloggers. Despite what some people might have you believe, blogging isn’t new anymore — Technorati is tracking nearly 113 million blogs now. So, why not learn from the pros out there and avoid reinventing the wheel? When I decided to start this blog, I spent 2 hours reading nearly every post on Problogger, Copyblogger, Remarkablogger and Performancing. These guys are giving away nearly everything you need to know, for free. After reading all of those, I can confidently tell you that the secret to a great blog is incredibly simple: Help People. That is, help people by sharing what you love (and what you’re good at), and the rest will follow. The more value your blog provides, the more likely it is to succeed. Really, that’s all there is to it.
  2. Discover the quickest way to provide a TON of value. I’m going to let you in on another big secret: The blogs that focus on dominating a single market usually destroy the blogs that try to be the best at everything. Focus on what you do best and then tell the world about it — widen your lens, narrow your focus. Find out what you enjoy offering the world and the remaining steps are going to be easy. This is exactly why you need to devote as much time as it takes to this step. Failing to focus, failing to choose one discipline and stick to it, is exactly what leads most blogs to mediocrity.
  3. Form your team. The magnitude of your success depends on the number of kick-ass people around you. Instead of relying on your own brains, tap the collective wisdom of a number of smart people. I’ve learned that it’s really not hard to get mentors to help you – I found bloggers that I knew and asked them for advice. (Let me take a second to thank two people that provided a ton of great advice: Ramit Sethi and Chris Yeh. Thanks, guys!) So, go find your goal buddies – today.
  4. Don’t waste money (or anything else). I didn’t waste money on paid blog hosting or custom designs. It’s simply not worth it when you’re first starting out. Sign up for a free blog at WordPress.com and move on to the next step. Seriously.
  5. Just get started. I know many people that have great ideas. I know far fewer that are actually successful. The problem is that they never even got started. Don’t fall into this trap. The sooner you start, the quicker you will actually understand what works and what doesn’t. By the way, don’t waste time thinking about which one thing to do – the choice doesn’t matter, just do something. I forced myself to simply sit down and start writing – you need to do the same.
  6. Don’t become technology’s bitch. Sure, there are a ton of great WordPress plugins, editors and gizmos out there – ignore them all. They take away precious time that you should be spending on writing and creating new content. Here’s the key: exploit tech only when you know precisely how it can help accelerate your ability to get ahead. (Here’s how I avoided becoming technology’s bitch.)
  7. Get used to the work. I hate to break it to you: Plain old hard work is the best way to get better – it’s really that simple. You’ve got to have the self-discipline to stick to your blog for the long term. It takes patience, passion, vision and a little bit of luck but you’ll get there.

So, there they are — the seven steps I followed to get this blog to where it is today. Follow this process for your own blog and you’ll get further than you have ever imagined.

Introducing: The Skimmer’s Checklist to Blogging Success

Save yourself some time, pick up a free one-page checklist to learn everything I think you should know about successful blogging. All you have to do is sign up for my newsletter below and download the checklist immediately!

4 Responses to “How I got 60,000 monthly readers within 6 months”

  • Thanks for including me in your first tip among such excellent company. And I really like your bit at the end with the download sheet in exchange for sign-up. I think I just learned something from you. :)

    — 08/08/08 at 9:17 am

  • Dude, I love your point about not becoming technology’s bitch. Well said.

    — 08/08/08 at 11:12 am

  • Great blogs DO help others and I want to say congratulations and thanks. Your help on my blog has made a difference. I’m working on the quality of my posts and I’m using Crazy Egg to actually see what works and what doesn’t, as opposed to guessing.

    — 08/08/08 at 6:29 pm

  • Great tips! I’m really looking forward to checking out the references, and the suggestion to build a strong team is spot on. I’ve been writing an e-newsletter for years, but I’m new to the business of blogging. I’m hopeful that tips like these will help me build an audience and better share my insights on personal development.

    Also, I’d point out that your writing style is crisp and honest – two more qualities that I think make for great bloggery. Thanks very much!

    KAED

    — 08/22/08 at 2:26 pm

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