27 Lessons Learned on the Way to 3000 Visits a Day and 2200 RSS Subscribers

It’s been nearly 6 months since the first post was published at Pick the Brain. Over the course of 97 posts and 1602 comments, traffic has grown to over 3,000 unique visitors a day, over 2200 readers have subscribed to the RSS feed, and several articles have been featured on the popular pages of Digg, Del.icio.us, Reddit, StumbleUpon, and Netscape. It isn’t the most amazing start (there have certainly been bumps along the way) but I’m proud of what I’ve built and optimistic the site will continue to grow.I want to share what I’ve learned, but it’d be pointless to try explaining it all. Rather, I’ve compiled a list of the 27 most important lessons.

    1. Just in case you don’t get past number one, my two most important points are a) help people solve a problem, it’s the most powerful way to keep them coming back, and b) differentiate yourself. There are so many blogs that if you don’t stand out, you’ll get lost in the crowd.
    2. Blogging is not a great way to make money. I don’t care what Pavlina says his earnings are. It takes talent, effort, and patience. Only do it if you love to write and have something to say. Be prepared to invest 2-3 years before seeing any serious returns.
    3. Make it as easy as possible for people to subscribe to your RSS feed. Subscribing is the best thing a reader can do.
    4. Offer a full feed, even if it means people visit the site less often. A person reading you is always better than a person not reading you. Make it easy.
    5. If you aren’t sure a post is good, sit on it for a day. If you still aren’t convinced, delete it. A bad post is worse than no post. Bad posts make people question if your blog is worth reading. When you make a bad post (and you will) learn from it and move on.


  • This is a great article! I’ve just started writing a blog and I found this information very helpful. Thank you.

  • tk

    I do not know how I ended up on your blog, but I glad I bumped into it.

    I am also working on self improvement but with a different angle. Let’s stay in touch

  • Hey John,

    Congratulations on your achievements and thanks for this informative post. I think it is possible to make money blogging faster than you describe although that depends if you want to blog on what you feel like or what will make you money.

    Sometimes both converge…

  • Thanks all.

    Ankesh, you make a great point about blog being entry points as opposed to primary money makers.

  • Thanks for putting this together, John. I knew that creating a successful blog takes time. This list is a helpful reminder…. and has really encouraged me to keep going!

  • Congratulations on this milestone!

    This was an honest, well-compiled, and useful list. Thank you.

  • John,

    This is about the most thoughtful and complete post on this topic that I’ve seen. It’s obvious why your traffic is what it is.

    Keep up the quality posting…

  • Jackie, clkl, and Steve,

    Thanks a lot. I’m glad you found the information useful.

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  • Just started a new blog and reading #5 made a lot of sense to me. But for such a new blog without even 20 posts I am hestitant to be slow about posting for obvious reasons. It makes sense to me to have 100 slighty above average posts that I can beef up rather than 8 or 12 that are completely quality.

    What do other people think about this?

  • Arthur,

    You definitely want to fill up a new blog with content ASAP, but I really think that 8-12 great posts are better than 100 slightly above average posts. A great post gets many many more links and much more traffic than a merely above average post.

    This blog has probably gotten 80-90% of it’s traffic from the 10-15 best posts. Great posts spread. They get picked up on social media sites. Posts that are just OK are soon forgotten.

  • Ankesh Kothari

    Great points.

    Re: Your Point # 2

    Imho, blogs are great “entry” points – allowing people to learn more about you. But if you want to earn a full time income from ads with your blog, its an uphill battle.

    Its easier to parlay your blog into something bigger to earn money – books, courses, seminar circuit etc.

  • Hi.

    I, too, stumbled on your site and am sure glad I did!!

    I’ve been blogging for 3 months and have learned an awful lot(mostly the hard way). I’ve read a gazillion tips and suggestions about how to be a successful blogger, and your tips were right on the money!!! Thank you!

  • I love these tips! Still, I feel somewhat anxious about #4. What about sploggers? It really hurts to have content stolen …

  • Sploggers will always find a way to steal content, but I don’t think it should prevent you from offering a full feed. All the most popular blogs have content stolen daily, but it doesn’t do anything to hurt their popularity.

  • Hi John,
    Being a beginning blogger, all tips are welcome, and most useful. Thanks for this comprehensive list!

    I can see that there are some things I could be working on, some I need to adjust, and some things I am doing right!

    And I agree, from what I get here on Pick the Brain, I get why you have so many fans. Thanks again and keep it up.

  • kumiko

    Brilliant pieces of advice! If everybody followed them, there would be a lot more good blogs out there!


  • Thanks, Dylan, I’m glad you find the tips informative.

    Alex Goad,

    I accidentally deleted your comment because I forgot to check the “mark as not spam” box when looking through my Akismet. I don’t know if there is anyway to get it back.

    I agree that it’s definitely possible to make money off blogging faster than 2-3 years, especially if you go for a profitable niche. I used the 2-3 years figure though because I think it’s a good benchmark. If you quit before then you might be selling yourself short.

  • Thanks for the high quality suggestions. I allways get something out of reading your blog. Good to be reminded that this is for the long haul.

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  • How true… and I can definitely relate to #5 & #6.

  • ArthurHung

    Thanks for the advice John. Originally, I wanted to let the public know about my site (put it up on Pavlina’s forum) and if there were negative comments I would just use that as fuel to create even better posts. But instead I got apathy — no comments at all. I’m not discouraged. I’ll follow your advice — I’ll keep it “under construction” until I have at least 20 memorable, quality posts.

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  • Thanks for this – there’s some real gems in this list that have inspired me to blog more than I do now. As marketplaces go, the internet couldn’t be any more crowded, and the sites that stand out aren’t doing anything particularly magical, they just know who they are and what they’re about.

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  • Ahem… here I am commenting that I am totally in agreement with #20 and #22. It DOES grow into an obsession in no time and eats up hours of time when you could be (should be) doing other things. Like living your life.

    Thanks for an insightful read.

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  • Though it is a wonderful article, I may not agree with some points like point number 22.

  • Congrats John,

    This is a great post and great advice. Keep it up.

  • Great post. I agree that a bad post is worse than no post at all.

  • Thanks for the list of tips.

    Are there any plug-ins that you recommend for tip # 25 regarding listing your bests posts on each page?

    P.S. I almost didn’t post a comment because of tip #20 😉

  • Sheila,

    Don’t take my advice on comments too seriously! They still help build traffic, just not as much as emailing in my experience.

    I’ve heard of plugins that display top posts, but personally I don’t use one. I just put the links right in the sidebar.

  • listr


    there is this page i found which tracks all the top blogs about personal development in just a single page
    you are on it too

  • Sly

    Hey John, thanks for the tips. They really helped me out a lot, especially about the patience tip. I am an impatient person and like to have people go on my site. Sometimes when not a lot of people go to it, I feel like giving up. But what you have said inspired me to keep on going. Anyway, you (and others) might want to check it out. I give Online Tips to those who want to see them.


  • Saw your link on Problogger. This is one of the best original posts I’ve ever read about “the art of blogging”.

  • Great Article, thanks for sharing!!!

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  • Saw this on Problogger, and have now subscribed to your feeds. Thanks for the tips – lots of stuff which will help me with my new blog.

  • Have come to this site via Problogger. Great tips and I like the site. Subscribing to your feeds.

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  • great post! I will be definitely using these to my blogging experience, I might even create a post to this page as well – since I found this on problogger

  • John this is one of the best, most helpful articles I’ve read on blogging!

    Thank you. What a treat!

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  • 60 in 3

    “Posting comments on other blogs is overrated. Writing a quality post and politely emailing a dozen bloggers in a relevant niche can do wonders.”

    When you email other bloggers, what do you tell them? Is it as simple as “hi, I wrote this, you may find it useful?”

    “Make use of blog carnivals. They’re the easiest way to build links and find readers before anyone knows who you are. They’ve helped me crack the Technorati 5000 just today.”

    Where do you find out about these carnivals? Just from reading other blogs?

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  • This is very helpful for bloggers starting out — such as myself :3

  • Just surfed in from MyBlogLog, nice blog!

    However, this post really rocks! You nailed it on the head. I’m bookmarking it!


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  • Thanks for sharing what you’ve learned– I’ve learned a few things from your tips!

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  • Awesome article. Post 20: isn’t it better to post a comment on there blog. People may not like to be emailed. I guess I will have to try it. Good job.

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  • John Jackson,

    In my experience, bloggers don’t mind being emailed at all, as long as your polite and the post you refer them to is great content that relates to their site.

  • You are right! This post was excellent. It has to be referenced.

  • Great article!

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  • Hi. Thanks for the great tips. I’ve been at my language niche blog exactly the same amount of time as you. I haven’t had nearly the readership but I agree learning valuable lessons does take time.

    Good sharing, keep it coming!


  • Jaya Aaron

    Thanks for this- I found these 27 points helpful and informative.
    Congratulations on your success!

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  • wow, nice post! Dually noted!

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  • Thanks a lot. I bookmarked you right away. Great site and great article!

  • Mohsin

    Great piece of advice. You just earned another subscriber! :-)

  • Mohsin

    Oh and I too came via Problogger 😉

  • That’s great, Moshin. I’m glad you found the article helpful and I can never have too many subscribers!

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  • Rajesh Kumar

    Interesting. You have a point.

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  • Jim

    Hi John,

    I’ve had a blog for a few years now and as you say it takes time for traffic to build. I’m defintely getting there and using your email tip will definitely help get the word out more!


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  • Fantastic. Thank you

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  • Chris

    Great post, and it’s hard to argue with the figures. I wonder if you should qualify no.20 though.

    “Posting comments on other blogs is overrated” may be true for raw traffic building, but it would be a pretty boring world if we all took that approach 😉

  • But you didn’t answer the most important aspect: does everyone love redheads…?
    Thanks for some great advise.
    Catherine, the redhead

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  • Man, it’s exciting to watch your accomplishments. Thanks also for submitting to my blog carnival at:


    I hope you will submit again soon.


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  • Thanks Randy. Keep up the great work at TechLoaf!

  • Stop by to congrats on your achievement ( From Pavlina forum ) and great article .

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  • Some really great tips, thanks for posting them.
    We reposted a few on our site with a full link back, thanks :)

  • After just 10 days I probably have missed or violated every one of these rules.
    The great thing about this medium is that you can always start improving tomorrow!

    Great thoughts and advice.

  • These are some great tips. I agree that it takes time and patience for most sites to start making money. It took me a good two years of learning from trial and error to start making good money from my sites.

  • Great article and great blog. I found this article through Greywolf.

    I like number 12. I think that many successful bloggers forget to selectivly listen to their customers. Instead, they don’t listen at all and just blow them off I guess some get too big for their britches.

    I don’t know why but, after reading this article I’ve realized that I’ve been screwing myself by the way I run my site. At my site, I try to post articles that I find that I think are interesting and might not get widespread dissemination. Most of it is from small-town newspapers.

    However, I also throw in my own personal blog entries along side all those articles. The end result is that, my own personality doesn’t shine through.

    Thanks for the epiphany.

    To do list:
    1. Create a separate section my own personal blog on the website.
    2. Add Pick The Brain to Google Reader.

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  • This is a great post, thank you. Blogging in the Netherlands isn’t yet such a big thing, but being one of the few Dutch bloggers I really appreciate this article. Greetings from Amsterdam.

  • Thanks, henkbovekerk, I’m glad you found it useful. Although Dutch blogging might not be big now, you’re smart to get in early. I wish I’d started this site a couple years ago.

  • Hi,
    Very nice tips from you . i got your blog link from one forum ..i am SEO .. and your tips are really helpfull for my sites.. Thnaks and try to get more updates in SEO field..

  • Thanks for the tips. I’ve just started blogging and found them helpful. What would you recommend is the best method for increasing traffic? I’ve optimized all of my pages for the SE, Should I focus on getting good backlinks to increase traffic? Whats the best way to get people to link to you?

  • Great post! Thanks !

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  • There is some great blogs out there but this is one of the best, you have come along way in 6 months, keep up the good work.

    I would be happy if my tech blog http://www.britec.co.uk/techblog/
    achived a 1/4 of what you have done here

  • Thanks a lot, Brian. I really appreciate the support.

  • Great list of resources. I think the most important component is to be genuine and engaged with your readers.


  • Thanks for the advice!

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  • Great post, I think I’ll become subscriber number 4700!

  • Well written and very helpful article! Lessons that any blogger can learn from! Here’s to greater things….Good luck for the future John.


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  • Savanah

    hi i enjoyed the read

  • Kirsty

    Hey I’ve just found your blog and I like what I see so far. I’ve been building websites for years but have just started blogging and I’m finding lists like this really helpful so thanks!

  • James Mann

    Excellent and helpful information, thanks.

    Your #1 lesson on helping others solve problems is how I live my life, well for the past 20 years anyways.

    I have been a computer instructor for the past 20 years and because I help solve problems for people I have never had to advertise in all that time. Word of mouth is a powerful way to get business, if you are helping people.

  • That was an absolute great post. I would give anything for traffic stats such as those. You have done quite well for a blog that is so young. Keep up the great work and good luck. These posts are the ones that give bloggers hope.

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  • good

  • Great content. Great reading. Great tips. It’s very useful and will cut out at least 6 months of my time is making mistakes.

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  • Great advices.

    I think that particularly “Make people think” is one of the greatest ideas. Like you say, it does not happen all the time, and is a good way to make people interact with you, is like an open door to communicate whatever you want to say.

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  • I think you should get tons of traffic, because your articles are useful..

    keep posting…

    Love U

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  • a.c mccants

    Excellent Tips!

  • publicidad en internet

    Hi, excellent lessons
    No doubt that helping people is number one advice to maintain a good blog and most of all, if you write quality content is the best complement to succeed with your blog.

  • Pat R

    John – thank you for some very good information. I’m fairly new to blogging and it has been slow attracting traffic to my site. What I keep hearing over and over is to be genuine and I strive to do that.

    Thank you. I like what you have to say and I will be keeping them in mind as I continue growing my blog.

  • Andy Michaels’ Blog on Internet Marketing and Online Success

    No one likes a boring presentation, and one of the most affective ways to keep people engaged and interested is to do your presentation on PowerPoint. PowerPoint allows you to add color, pictures, graphs, animation, and even music to your presentations, making it a useful marketing tool.

  • Thanks for the article! I’ve recently got into Blogging and need all the tips I can get! Thanks. :)

  • SEO Genius

    A great article thank you for that some terrific points which i am sure i will use congratulations on reaching 5000 technorati.

  • Thanks! This is some really solid advice! Theres no doubt bloging takes will power!

  • This is a fantastic article…I’ve actually bookmarked it for future reference..Thanks so much!

  • Why this obsession about getting big crowds to your website? If your into money there must be more easy ways to take than this?

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  • This is a great list. I appreciate you sharing your tips. I will definitely apply some of this to my blogs.

  • Great tips. I’ll be sure to keep them in mind as I develop my blog.

  • This was a very great article. Those were some great tips, thank you.

    I really like what he said about making it easy for people to get an RSS feed to your blog, I will take his advise and make some changes.

    Health, Wealth and Love!

    Ryan Pearson
    Personal Empowerment Coach

    • Keep it Really Simple

      Do people really read these RSS thingies, and if so, how do they really “read” them? Forgive me if I’m 25 but more like 125 when it comes to these confounded confabulations the young whippersnappers have goin’ for them these days… 😉

      I looked it up, and apparently RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. From the looks of it, RSS seems like just a different way of getting one of those email newsletters in your inbox, but without cluttering your inbox (and I read somewhere there are even ways to turn email newsletters into RSS feeds).

      To the writer: Great article. Will print it out, old-school dead tree edition (but only 50% dead tree because I use recycled paper), on account of I don’t really get this RSS or reader thing and would rather have a hard copy to refer to in planning my own hypothetical someday blog rather than always turning on the PC just to read a few bullet points.

      All in all, good advice. :-)

  • I disagree with 5…I think if you don’t take chances you won’t be able to grow. I have had websites and I find the post that I took the chance with and didn’t like was the hit. You can’t be afraid that you might lose a reader. If they are true readers they will come back.

    Good post though….

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  • Very good points. I think my favorite thing is responding to comments on my blog. It really helps keep conversations going, and people are more likely to return again.

    @ Taylor Blue

    I agree that taking chances is the best way to try and grow. Besides, what do you really have to lose? One post usually isn’t enough to scare a reader away for good. Unless it’s really bad…lol

    • It can’t be that bad that they would disappear..but taking chances is a good thing. And you can find out things that work and don’t too. :)

  • this is a great article, well-written. am glad i came across it. :) now if only i could work up the nerve to tell my friends about my blog… :O

  • this are the great tips i ever read in the net.im looking how can i improve my readers on my blog.thanks again


  • i have just started blogging and i’m sure these tips will be of great help to me.many thanks to you.

  • Alan

    Man i just dont have the patience to be succesfull at this game.

  • Oyuncu

    Well, this very nice and wonderful.

  • Great information and actually I was looking for it. I have started my blogging voyage three months back and believe me I am also going through the creative plateau.Well, I do not wanted to tell my friends about my blog. Now I will pass the link to them :). Thanks for the wonderful post.

  • Great post with a lot of information for us bloggers. I have also been blogging for quite a while now, and found this information very useful. I found out about this site from a popular TV channel.

  • Some really cool ideas here. Thanks!

  • Liara Covert

    Discovered your blog though Adversity University. These short and concise lists appeal for their wit and bottom-line practical tips.

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  • I like what you said about being genuine, having integrity in this industry is what makes you, and it is more than obvious when someone is being transparent.

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  • Oh man, that’s a pretty good list. I am already following few of them and guess it’s time to try other tips. Thanks a lot.

  • Awesome awesome value and content. I will def. be adding some new characteristics to my blog and making sure I have those catchy headlines.

    Thank you again.

  • DVD

    The potential is great. Nice work!

  • Oh ! great work and nice article

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  • Perfect !! Now i go and use it in my site !

  • Congrats on all the success. I can only imagine where you are now. Very good points on making the blog valuable to readers. I will be sure to remember that as I begin my own blog quest.

  • bisnis internet

    thank you very much. Perfect !! Now i go and use it in my site !

  • Miracle Studios

    Nice Article, i will implement these things.

  • Thanks for your post. Very interesting

  • i am gona try all these 27 lessons.. will see what happens..

  • Interesting stuff, well done. I’ll definitely employ some of these tactics. I notice you didn’t mention twitter! I’ve found that tweeting my blog posts increases traffic a lot. I randomly intersperse titles of posts, questions posed by posts and inspiring quotes within posts to tweet.
    Staying true to yourself is probably the best bit of advice. Thanks again. Stu :)

  • site submission

    As long as you give bits and pieces you are usually fine. The good thing about doing that is it helps build credibility and can help you make more money as well.

  • These posts are the ones that give bloggers hope. :)

  • Keep up the great work and good luck. These posts are the ones that give bloggers hope.

  • Well said. “The 27 Habits of Highly Effective Bloggers!” 😉

  • I am developing a blog and I am trying to find a new template.Yours seems relatively decent! Be my guest to visit my blog and suggest things!

  • Hi…thanks for the list, it’s motivate me to work harder and be more patience. I wanna ask point 13. What kind of experiment have you take?

  • over 2200 readers have subscribed to the RSS feed, and several articles have been featured on the popular pages of Digg, Del.icio.us, Reddit, StumbleUpon, and Netscape

  • Omowunmi Afolabi

    Great thoughts!!!!

  • and it’s something I’m trying to address in this post. simsicak This niche suffers badly from a lack of basic principles that underline any type of business, so people get into it without having any simsicak background in real-world

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  • 28. Have a Print option, so people can print the blog content on paper or as .pdf – without the rest of the stuff that appears on a blog page. If there is good information, a user does not want to have to cut and paste to document, change font color to black, re-paragraph, and then print.

  • excellent list and great advice for a newbie like me. will probably re-read a couple of times. thank you!

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  • I am so appreciative of these varied resources that have been published for anyone’s benefit.

  • Success

    Your tips are amazing! Especially the blog carnival tip. I was hesitant to use that technology but clearly you know what your doing.

  • fidejussioni

    I am so appreciative of these varied resources that have been published for anyone’s benefit.

  • Social Skills

    Blogging is like a long-term investment. Most people want to jump into blogging and hope to make a quick bang-bucks, but I agree you need to provide value and help other first, before you start seeing the reward. Better mindset to have is see blogging as a hobbit and not as a business at first.

  • John

    Its really encouraging. Thanks a lot

  • Mary

    Thanks for the suggestions.  I shall take to heart the ones I have not read before.  I have been at for over a year and it is definitely a struggle.  But I feel I have value to offer.  We are all in different walks in life and we are always parallel  with someone who could benefit from what we have experienced.

  • I started a blog a few months back so these tips should serve me well. 

  • Dental Tourism

    These suggestions are so true and simple but seldom followed by bloggers. I wish I could follow half of them.

  • I agree with you 100% that blogging is the not the easiest job on earth. It takes a lot of effort and patience to build up your blog to the point where you start to earn. Great points there.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for all this fab advice.

    Ive just started out blogging so a total newbie. I look forward to putting this all into practice on my blog http://doug-loseweight.blogspot.com/

  • Thank you!

  • susana david

    great post,thanks dear

  • Len Inouie

    I’ve been blogging like writing my own diary. No one want to read. XD.


    its nice and thanks fr sharing dis article

  • Sarfrazul Ameen

    Thank you very much for the comprehensive advice. I have found it very helpful.

  • Anja M

    Loved these tips, I write a blog daily and sometimes it’s hard to come up with new material because it focuses on marketing, entrepreneurship, and design . Any suggestions?


  • sharonthoms

    These are great tips and applicable even in 2012. I especially like the idea of networking with other blogs and if anyone in the home and living space wants to do some recipricol linking and social sharing don’t hesitate to contact me.
    my site is http://routinehabit.com/blog you can leave me a message there.

  • Um, I can only see the first 5 here 😛 But they are really good points so far!

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