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.

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