Why it pays to be a patient blogger

I have a “healthy impatience.” Most successful business people do. But that is not necessarily an ideal quality to have as a beginning blogger!

Blogging success does not arrive at your doorstep wrapped up in a pretty bow. You have to work hard and have A LOT of patience.

  • Last month, I had more page views than in my entire first year of blogging. A lot more.
  • Ari Herzog recently left the 25,000th comment on my blog. After my first year, I had less than 100. And most of them were mine : )
  • Uber blogger Chris Brogan famously said that it took him three years to attract his first 100 blog subscribers.

The point is, the overnight success thing worked for Justin Bieber, but it probably won’t work for you and your blog,

You. Must. Be. Patient.

Focus on creating the best possible content. Insanely great content.

When you get a reader, love them like crazy.

Help others, Support other new bloggers.

Take risks. Try it and see what happens.

Handle criticism with grace. It’s a sign of success. A reason to smile, in fact.

Be yourself. Really yourself. That’s your competitive advantage.

Be consistent. Just keep writing.

Have the courage to hit that publish button, even when you know it’s not perfect.

And yes … be patient. ย It will happen. It will happen. It will happen.

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  • This is one of my favorite posts you wrote – very reassuring to me as a beginner still dabbling. It’s very pertinent advice to have courage – it definitely takes courage to express yourself. It’s funny that I have no fear writing long comments on here (comments that I KNOW I can turn into blog posts) and express myself freely. So thank you for making this such a welcoming community.

    As far as being patient, that advice trumps everything. Change comes with steps. Blogging has such a low barrier to entry (everyone can START blogging). Naturally other barriers have to emerge, and in this case it’s the patience required to stick around and succeed (not everyone can CONTINUE blogging).

    I am about to disagree with you over something and defend someone I never thought I ever would. I gotta give Justin Bieber credit where credit is due. He wasn’t an overnight success and he also exhibited the patience and dedication to the craft you often encourage. He was singing and doing R&B covers for 4 or 5 years before he blew up at 15 – which is inspiring in its own way because I remember how I was at 13 and I was doing nothing lasting with my life at the time. So even though I disagree with you there, he actually proves your point further ๐Ÿ™‚ One of his videos got accidentally seen by a big shot and it’s all history from there. Patience, great content, consistency, all there.

    But definitely a great article for me to read and get back in focus.

  • Allen Roberts

    I have been blogging (as “Strategyaudit”) for a number of years, almost 900 posts on a range of topics that I thought would be useful to Australian SME’s.
    As I look back, I see that my initial motivation to blog, a commercial one, has been overtaken by a very personal one, I simply enjoy the opportunity to have my say, and share a bit of hard-won commercial wisdom with anyone who may value the input.
    I have only a modest number of subscribers, and do not attract many comments, but that is ok, I am having fun.

  • Mark, thanks for continuing to share the occasional post like this. Its encouraging and humbling at the same time. Thanks!

  • Good things happen to those who sustain their efforts. Most blogs don’t make it past 90 days. If you view this as a marathon and work at providing value than you have a very good chance of seeing things work out.

    Of course that is a general statement and doesn’t take into account what metrics individuals use to measure/determine success.

  • Adam

    So true Mark! All of the successful bloggers I admire took different paths to get there, but they all have that one thing in common: they lasted. In an endeavor with such low barriers to entry, the first key is just sustaining your effort longer than the majority. It doesn’t guarantee you will be successful (however defined) but you certainly will not be successful without it.

    It’s like winning a 2nd term as President. You can win a 2nd term and never be considered a “great” president, but you will never, ever be considered great if you don’t win a 2nd term.

    “Be consistent. Just keep writing.” That says it all.

  • Adam

    Hi Pavel, I didn’t read your comment until after I had made mine. Great section on barriers to entry! You said it better than I did. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Awesome Thank you for the advice and encouragement. I’ve been blogging for just over one year. Slow and Steady

  • Julie Musial

    I enjoy your blog very much. Your content hits home regularly. This particular blog came at a time that it was much needed. Most people abandon everything they start. I personally refuse to quit.

  • OK point well taken on the Bieber thing. I still think he is a rare example of a true viral sensation though. It was YouTube to Oprah in six months : )

    I also think this is a very fascinating idea about how it is easier to leave a comment than write a blog post. I agree with you but am not sure why. Maybe you have less ownership or something? Less risk of criticism. Might be an interesting topic to explore on a blog post! Thanks so much my friend!

  • Congrats, Mark. And notice served that I really need to get off my @$$ and get my own blog site going. No more excuses.

  • I love this comment Allen becuase it rings true to my experience too. I started blogging about what I thought people wanted to see. But the real breakthrough came when I relaxed and started writing about what was interesting to ME! Instead of finding my target audience, my target audience found me, which is really the optimal situation. Great comment. Thank you!

  • Humbling for me at least! : ) I’m curious. What made this stand out for you? When I wrote it, it was just a thought and a riff but if you like this sort of thing I’ll try to do more of it. What caught your attention?

  • I love the analogy of a marathon. It certainly is. And like a marathon runner, if you don;t love it and stick it out through the rain and the pain you will never achieve your goals. Thanks for the great comment Jack.

  • Can I get an “amen”?! Slow and steady definitely wins the blogging race. The problem with most in the blogging arena is that they peeter out before they finally get some traction, Those that stick with it, win!

  • Wow I love that Adam. It does take a lot of hard work and guts to persist and thrive in a field with low barriers to entry. Of course the barriers to actual success are high. It’s funny though that the small group of beginning bloggers that clung to each other and helped each other in the early days are still pretty much all still around so I guess I found other persistent people to provide encouragement. So happy you commented today!

  • Glad I could be of help Jules. Thanks for taking the time to let me know you’re out there and that you enjoyed the post!

  • You made my day Julie. Maybe I can do something to return the favor. If you’re interested, email me a link to your blog and maybe I can provide a few tips and other pieces of encouragement. Thanks for being a loyal reader!

  • I am really happy to see your blog picking up steam Laura. Well deserved. I hope others in the {grow} community will check out your blog at http://flybluekite.com/blog/

  • Thanks, Mark. That means a lot. And, I’m a testament to this patience theory too – it’s been two years for me to get to where I am now.

  • So true and yet so difficult! But it helps to look back and see where you’ve come from. I watch my traffic go up a little each month and then when I look back over the year it looks cumulatively even better ๐Ÿ™‚ Long way to go but baby steps don’t hurt and quitting is definitely not an option. I enjoy your blog quite a lot so it’s no surprise you’re talking about things in the thousands of thousands! Good for you and I’m glad for your success.

  • Ha! Go for it Mike!!!

  • Yup. My blog didn’t start to pick up steam for about 18 months and even then it was a slow and steady climb.

  • We are in such an exciting time where everyone has the opportunity to publish and have a voice. But will that voice be heard? For that to happen it takes consistent quality and persistence! Glad to hear of your success Carol!

  • Thanks, I needed that ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Very good pointers, Mark. And yes, patience indeed because we all learn from experience – the greatest teacher. Thank you for sharing this.

  • I love your points about creating insanely great content and loving your readers. And I love it even more that you’re leading by example here.

    Just wanted to add that being patient shouldn’t mean not promoting your blog. When launching a new blog could it be more effective to spend less time blogging (e.g. have a weekly rather than daily schedule) and more time promoting (e.g. through guest blogging)?

    Thanks for another great post, Mark.

  • Excellent Mark… You are the best!

  • James Ulvog

    Another reason to persevere is you never know what will be the turning point.

    About 5 posts I wrote because they were interesting to me got tremendous internet traffic starting on the day they became highly relevant to my target audience. Those posts have drawn lots of traffic and have given everything else I write higher visibility to the search engines.

    I would have never guessed those particular posts would be so popular and draw so many readers. That shows to me I need to write what is of interest to me and persevere.

  • : )

  • Thanks for caring enough o comment Ferdinand!

  • Oh absolutely. I have been thinking about doing a post on that very subject, so I will go ahead and work on that just for you! : )

  • Thanks for your support Dr. Rae!

  • Very sound advice James. Thanks for contributing to the discussion.

  • That’s too much honor. ๐Ÿ™‚
    But I look forward to reading it. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Preach it, brother!

  • Just like an athlete, a blogger / writer needs practice, patience, persistence and pain…yes pain. The pain and disappointment of not getting comments, of not feeling like you’re making a difference, of questioning oneself, and of finally realizing: I am the best me that I can be, and I have something of value to share with the world. That’s gold-medal thinking and gold-medal results. Cheers! Kaarina

  • : )

  • Such a great post, Mark – very much appreciated!

    Patience is definitely a virtue when it comes to blogging! Your advice – to be myself, really myself – is a great tip, not only for me, but for all rookie bloggers! You can tell when someone is writing from the heart, no matter what their content.

  • Coming from an Olympic athlete … you would know!! Thank you Kaarina!

  • In all seriousness, overcoming the self-doubt and disappointment was something that I struggled with for a very long time in this space, mostly because I continue to have very high standards for what I will publish. I don’t ever want to feel like I’m phoning it in, so I’ve scrapped my fair share of posts in progress.

    I love filling my blog with stuff, and that’s the biggest satisfaction in the whole affair. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • I am encouraged…

  • it is so good to hear the truth. So many people want instant success and it is not possible. I went through this pain until iI realized that pain it was causing me was not worth it. One has a message or a story they want to share and it is difficult to accept that nobody is listening. The truth is they just need to find you and it will happen…I hope. I will work hard on my business project to help “voices” of people to be heard and shared….thanks again for your article

  • bkjrecruiter

    Good timing… Note to self: Keep Pressing on!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • You just described me! Wow, thanks for the words of encouragement.

  • Eliz Greene

    Great points and even better reminders of what is so easy to be lazy about – good content and loving your readers! Kick in the pants received!

  • I have high standards too but it doesn’t have to be a PhD thesis either. Witness this post. Something simple and true is appreciated.

  • I agree. It is pretty easy to sniff out the fakes! Thank you Jennifer.

  • That makes me happy.

  • Note to everyone: Keep Pressing On! : )

  • Glad to be of help. Thanks for stopping by!

  • And you’re always welcome to kick back, too! : )

  • My pleasure Mark!

  • Bookmarked to read, and comment… Thanks Mark!

  • My pleasure Mark!

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  • valerie

    Good content is key, but the line that really stood out to me is the one about supporting each other. When you’re new to an industry and just beginning to reach out to other people, it’s really helpful to get a tweet back or a response to a message. We’re all busy, but taking a few minutes here and there to acknowledge each other and support each other can make a big difference.

  • Having a support group was extremely important to me when i started out! Thanks for commenting Valerie!

  • Very inspiring words backed by personal examples and genuine encouragement. This is one of those that needs to be re-read every now and then because it is so easy to get impatient or discouraged. Who hasn’t felt invisible or that the ‘submit’ button might as well say ‘delete’ for the impact made.

    Starting up, though, you have to do it for the love of the game. Nobody’s an all-star without practice. Be persistent, get bold, try things, use it to think things through (journaling your path to fully developed thoughtful conclusions over time), find your voice, and make those rookie mistakes while few are reading so that you’ll be a seasoned pro by the time many are.

    “It will happen” is the right attitude for this inspirational message, but we really know it won’t happen in a big way for all.

    Playgrounds are full of those dreaming of making the big show. Practicing over and over, fueled by that encouragement to never give up — made real by the personal stories of a few over-achievers who actually did that warm our hearts and hopes.

    If your expectations soar high, the odds grow long. But if you believe and feel you can have it in you, you owe it to yourself to give it your all. You’re going to find the most success that way and with that attitude anyway. And whether you succeed beyond your wildest dreams or fall short, hopefully you played a game you loved — writing about things you care about and are the better for it.

  • Your point that I take to heart is definitely to hit the publish button even when it’s not perfect. That’s my greatest point of cognitive dissonance. Thank you Mark.

  • Much like anything else worth doing! You have to be patient! Great post!

  • Really superb observations Troy. Nothing more to add but to say thank you!

  • I sense that is the biggest challenge for most people. I have never been completely happy with any post. But I can’t get frozen there or there would be no {grow}! : )

  • Thanks Ben.

  • Thank you for the encouraging reminder. Just this week, I resolved to dedicate time daily to write. Some mornings it comes easier than others, but already my mind is filled with more ideas than when I didn’t write regularly. Now that I have a “stockpile” of a few articles (for days I have meetings or if I am sick), I am posting to my blog regularly again. It feels good. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks again, Mark!

  • Mark, the blogosphere is full of advice like “work hard”, “serve your audience”, “create great content”, “guest post”, “know your keywords”, and 2,000 other tidbits.

    Although you finished with some similar notes, it was the dose of reality about the time it takes, the reference to Chris Brogan (which I hadn’t heard) and your own experience, that I really appreciated.

    There are too many posts about how to double traffic, instead, this was real.

    Interesting tangent: most businesses don’t have this kind of patience. What do they do?

  • Hi Mark,

    I especially enjoy your “Be yourself. Really yourself. Thatโ€™s your competitive advantage.”

    Recently I started including more personality into my blogs instead of writing basic articles with no life. I’ve also read to write your blog the same as if you were talking to a friend. That has helped me out as well!

    Thanks!

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  • That is just excellent Tess. Way to go!

  • Yes absolutely. I just did a blogging workshop today and gave that same adivce — be conversational. I encouraged people to read their posts aloud and soften them up if they were too stiff. Thanks for sharing your wisdom Jacob!

  • Mark,

    I love this, “Have the courage to hit that publish button, even when you know itโ€™s not perfect.”

    So easy for some so insanely difficult for others…

    Appreciate the breath of inspiration.

    Hanley

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  • Nice and encouraging reminder, Mark. I’m getting a steady increase in traffic, but it has been a slower road than I expected. I’m being patient, but I’m also considering any “bumps” I might get by going to a self-hosted WordPress site. Most of my blogging friends have self-hosted, but they have also monetized those blogs. In my case, I would only make the jump to allow more customization of banners/graphics, inclusion of video, choosing a different comment platform (like Disqus or Livefyre) and other plugin options. I could have a little more compelling “branding”, and Calls to Action relative to my company’s offerings, if I had more control of the widgets.

    Tough to jump from the comfortable, though! Luckily, I did pay the extra to have my own domain name versus use the free WordPress one, so I hope the transition is transparent for subscribers.

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  • You are a true master of the quill! This reading was the so absorbing!Write more and thank you!

  • Very encouraging reminder, Mark. And very well put. Also appreciate the reminder on where to keep the focus so that persistence will be rewarded. Thank you ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Mark, congrats on the milestones. Inspiring!

  • Thank you – very helpful as usual and you are speaking to me with this post. I will take your advice to heart.

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