Today this blog reached 2500 page views. In some sense, I think its fair to call that mildly successful for a blog started less than six months ago. But if you want to know how to create a wildly successful blog, I suggest that you check out the book ”Soft Skills” by John Sonmez. You can find my review of it here. Buy it and then jump straight to chapter 21 – ”Creating a wildly successful blog”.
Are you in a hurry and fine with settling on just mildly successful for the time being? Then be my guest and continue reading! 🙂
How to start up a blog
1. First you need a purpose, why should you start up a blog. My goal is clear, I want to release a book, but without any presumable readers it’s no point of trying to write one. How to get readers? You need some sort of platform to ”send your message from”, hence a blog (then it of course also helps if you are famous or have and ”interesting and selling context”, like working for a cool company. I have neither).
2. Then you need a technical platform for your blog. You can go the easy way and start up a blog on a free service like WordPress or Blogger. They will get you started in no time, but on the other hand, they don’t give you that much control over layout and themes. If you want to have that, you should go for a paid hosting service where you can host your blog. As you may have noticed, I have, for the time being, gone the easy way with wordpress.com. Don’t underestimate this step though! It took me nearly ten hours to compare two blog platforms against each other, learn the basics for both of them (select themes, create a blog posts with pictures. include content from YouTube and Slideshare etc.) and finally make a selection for one of them.
3. You also need something to write about on your blog. You can create content using random thoughts about your life, how to pair socks after laundry or just about anything else you can think of. For your blog to be (at least mildly) successful I think however that you need to focus on a few things. My tagline sums mine up pretty well I think: ”Humble servant in management, lean and agile”. That means I focus only to write about these areas, if I all of a sudden should feel a strong urge to write about for example root beer I would start up another blog for that.
4. Ok, so you got the content coming, now you need to attract huge amount of viewers to your blog. To be truly honest with you, I haven’t really figured out how to do that yet. Promoting the blog from other social medias (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn etc.) is the way that I have been using. What have worked best for me is book reviews. I send tweets about my blog posts mentioning the author and the publisher and they have been kind enough (in most cases) to retweet this to their much larger number of followers, which in turn has directed readers to my blog.
5. Finally is the hardest part, consistency. Starting a blog and create a few blog posts is something anyone can do, this is really simple! But to be consistent and putting up at least a blog post a week, and to continue doing so over weeks and months are much harder (I know now from first hand experience). Maybe you find a small theme and can create three or four blog posts out of that, but then? It’s very hard to sit down and write a blog post when the pressure is on. My suggestion is that you keep a list of topics that you want to write about. Then you think about what you should write when you do other things (like a background process). This could go on for days or even weeks. Finally you sit down and write the blog post, it will practically write itself (you will still have to push the keys on the keyboard of course 🙂 ).
Visitors from all over the world
One thing that I’m proud of with my blog is the fact that it has reached viewers from many countries, 74 when I counted. This is really amazing, and shows ”the power of internet”. I would almost call this wildly successful 🙂
I would like to say a few words about the top ten list:
- USA – The most lean and agile country in the world (except Japan that is 🙂 )? At least most of my viewers come from here.
- Sweden – My home country, but also very adoptive in lean and agile
- Great Britain – No surprise, large European country
- Germany – Same as above
- Canada – A bit of a surprise, a special hello goes out to you (I love ice hockey by the way 🙂 )
- Poland – Apparently I have a lot of fans here, thank you!
- Spain – What can I say, you have the best soccer league in the world! Last #ElClasico was magnificent!
- Finland – Neighbour country to Sweden, hyvvää Suomi!
- Netherlands – It think Swedes and Dutch is some senses are much the like
- France – Another large European country
At the end of the list:
Big ”hello” to all of you! How did you find me? I hope you are coming back!
In fact I owe much of the success of this blog to John Sonmez. He forced me to start up this thing! 🙂 Well not him personally, but one of his strongest advice when it comes to marketing yourself, is that you should have a blog (that is in section 2 – ”Marketing yourself” in ”Soft Skills” by the way). Right now I’m working on his ”taking action”-step: ”Commit to keep your blog up for at least a year”. Thanks to this blog other opportunities have emerged for me, that I hopefully can talk more about later!
John Sonmez also has a great blog himself. It’s aimed towards software developers, but much of the content is applicable to all knowledge workers. John also offers a free blogging course (that I have not had the chance to take yet), but from what I can see is very popular!
All the best,
Tomas from TheAgileist