Blogging

The True Believers Guide to Blogging

Photo by L*u*z*a

According to Technorati, it is currently tracking 112.8 million blogs, and estimates that there are over 175,000 new blogs created every day. What is it, then, that takes a blog from obscurity to a place where thousands of people read it each and every day? There are, of course, many different reasons but in this article I want to turn the spotlight on one reason that I consider to be absolutely essential: belief.

Why is belief so important? After all, can’t any fool believe their blog is destined for greatness? And belief is worthless unless it translates into action, right? Well these things are true. Anyone can believe, but the truth is many people don’t (even when they think they actually do!). There is a big difference between hoping your blog will become popular and truly believing it will. And this brings me to the key point in this article: what you believe determines how you act. When you truly believe you are destined for success, you do the things that successful bloggers do.

If you are sick of simply hoping your blog will become popular, the following are some specific ways in which you can take it to the next level by being a true believer.

Invest Time

Be prepared to invest time writing articles and maintaining your blog. Recently, Tina from Think Simple Now said she spent 3 weeks completing a particular article. What would drive a person to make such a large investment of time in one article? Well, as she says in the article she was testing and refining a simple 6 step process that she could use in dealing with her own personal feelings. But I think belief also played a major part in her decision. This is a belief that her own personal experience could help a number of people (note: this article hit the front page of Digg) and a belief that she was investing her time wisely. When you think about it, an article has the potential to help both others and yourself (by generating income) for years to come. I’m not suggesting you spend 3 weeks on an article, but it does go to show the amount of time and effort that goes into some articles.

Make Blogging a Priority

When you believe in the value of blogging, you make it a priority in your life. I don’t suggest putting it above your family or health, but you may need to make some small sacrifices (eg in your social life). Why would you do this? Well, if you are like me, you believe there are many potential benefits to blogging. And these don’t just relate to money. Blogging can open the door to a number of unique and exciting opportunities that you otherwise never would have had. Stephen Hopson from Adversity University credits a guest post he wrote on PickTheBrain for leading to a major speaking engagement in Orlando, Florida. And as John recently wrote about in A Guide to Quitting Your Miserable Job, blogging may help you find your ideal career. Heck, it may even be your ideal career!

Invest Money

Be prepared to invest money in your blog if you want to take it to the next level. I know many of us are attracted to blogging because of the low costs associated with it, but if you want to get noticed it is worth investing some money into your site. The first monetary investment many bloggers make is to pay for Web Hosting, allowing them to ditch Blogger and the like in favor of self-hosted packages from WordPress and Moveable Type.

Also, one thing that many top blogs have in common is that they have a custom made theme. In fact, I recall John Chow saying that a custom made theme was the most important thing he did for his blog in 2007. A recent example of a custom made theme that I believe has greatly enhanced a site can be seen at The Next 45 Years. So if you are a true believer, consider investing money in your blog even before it is popular.

Promote Promote Promote

If you believe you have written an interesting article, it makes sense that you will want as many people as possible to read it. So what do you do? You promote it in every way you possibly can. One habit that has worked well for me is to email friends and fellow bloggers in my niche alerting them to the article I have just published. My advice is to not be scared of emailing well known bloggers. After all, they’re only human. And yes, you will be ignored sometimes but that is the price you have to paying for putting yourself out there. Just remember, receiving a link from a well known blog will make it worth the time and effort.

Find Clever Solutions to Tricky Problems

When you believe in yourself, you find clever ways to solve what initially seem to be tricky, even impossible, problems. A few months ago when John invited me to start regularly contributing on PickTheBrain, I initially could not imagine how I would find the time. But where there is a will there is a way. Because I knew what an amazing opportunity it was, I used my brain to find a way to make things work. I started proactively approaching other bloggers to write guest posts for me. I adopted the “less is more” mantra by decreasing my weekly posts from 4-5 articles to 3. And I discovered that sometimes the posts that require the least amount of work, ie ones where I share information that is commonly available, can turn out to be the most popular (see Left or Right?, What is Success? and The Paradoxical Commandments to see exactly what I mean).

Protect Your Brand’s Value

Most bloggers who believe in the value of their blog will take steps to protect its brand. For example, while we all know that controversial or inflammatory post can bring a blog much attention, it can also damage its brand if it makes the author look irresponsible or immature. My suggestion, then, is to think very carefully before posting anything controversial as it may come back to haunt you. Another simple way to protect your brand’s value is to register the various extensions of your domain, eg register the “.com”, “.net” and “.org”.

Ignore the Doubters

You may find that other people in your life, for example your partner, consider you to be crazy for the time and effort you devote to blogging. I know my wife thinks I am a few sandwiches short of a picnic because I wake at 5am most days to blog (sometimes I think she is right). But she has slowly come around, particularly since my income from blogging has increased sharply in the past 1-2 months.

How do you ignore the doubters? Once again it comes back to belief – both in your own abilities and in the value of blogging. My advice is to be a true believer, because this will translate into you taking the necessary actions to drive your blog to success. It may not be easy and you will run into obstacles, but there are big rewards if you can break away from the blogging pack.

Peter writes about how to enjoy life at The Change Blog. If you enjoyed this article, you may wish to download his free e-book, A Year of Change.

  • http://www.adversityuniversityblog.com Stephen Hopson/Adversity University

    Peter:

    The bottom line is becoming a blogger with a purpose is something that will occupy a nice chunk of a person’s time, energy and awareness. Some bloggers get off to a fast start and shoot through the strasophere while others progress more slowly, one subscriber at a time.

    Thanks for the mention of Adversity University, Peter. It is greatly appreciated. But even more important is the work you’re doing here – I love how you implied that when there’s a will, there’s a way. It’s true. I bet when you were first asked to be editor of PTB, your stomach jumped to your throat at first, right?

    Then you realized you could do it – it was just a matter of aligning yourself properly and making some rearrangements physically, mentally and spiritually. That’s kind of what I had to do when I was offered that major speaking engagement you spoke of. The type of client and presentation was a little out of my comfort zone but I eventually went for it and am gladder for it.

    Great job!

    • http://www.pickthebrain.com Peter

      Stephen,

      Very good point about how some people get off to a fast start and others take longer to find their feet. Things have really taken off for me lately, but for the first 3-4 months I wrote for an audience of 2 on my blog (myself and my wife). The fact is it just took some time to find my voice. Plus my writing has greatly improved because I do it every day.

      • http://www.adversityuniversityblog.com Stephen Hopson/Adversity University

        It feels good to see yourself growing, doesn’t it? Same here. Best wishes for a successful year!

  • http://www.technogumption.com Tom Beaton

    This is a really nice way of putting across this message. It is sometimes hard to maintain your belief but if deep down we know we have it in us to succeed then we need to just keep on working. Just as importantly we need to work smart.

  • http://everydaytopic.blogspot.com/ Jory Brown

    Yes Yes i love that, believe in what you do passionately devoting lots of time is really essential, and look out for the doubter, don’t let em discourage you at all….keep writing my friend

  • http://www.varsityblah.com/about Eugene (Editor, Varsity Blah)

    Belief is so important. It reminds me of a quote from Talent is Never Enough by John Maxwell:

    “Belief lifts your talent. To become your best, you need to believe your best and determine to live way beyond average. Believe in your potential because not reaching it is a real tragedy. You must put believing in yourself, your mission, and your fellow human beings at the top of your list. Remember that you don’t overcome challenges by making them smaller but by making yourself bigger.”

  • http://enhancelifethinktank.blogspot.com Shamelle @ Enhance Life

    3 weeks completing an article.. wow .. I just wrote a post which took me about 4 hours to write and I thought that was too long!

    One thing worth noting is that when starting our you need to differentiate yourself. I suppose this is related to the branding. Practically everyone owns a blog these days and it is really difficult to distinguish best blogger. Or at least it takes a while.

  • http://theuniverseas.com/ Alex

    The Promote Promote Promote part is where I personally slack off the most. The only part of blogging I’m really in to is making the content. So, I guess if I want to be a true believer, I’m going to have to give the required amount of effort to all the aspects of successful blogging and start doing more promoting.

    Thus, I’ll do a little promoting here. Check out my Beginner’s Guide to Blogging Comic:
    http://theuniverseas.com/beginners-guide-to-blogging-how-to-be-a-blogger-comic

    Also, the being controversial and inflammatory point you bring up is something I’ve struggled with internally. Should I or shouldn’t I? And the way I finally decided to deal with it is to turn all my site content into comics. That way I’m able to appease my more immature, smart ass, side, with my serious purveyor of deep information side. In other words, by changing the medium, I’m better able to balance jokes with real information.

    Anyway, nice article.

    • http://www.pickthebrain.com Peter

      Alex,

      I love how you are really trying to do something different with your site. I can’t say I know anyone else who writes a personal development comic!

      Oh, and I dropped by and stumbled your “Guide to Making a Myspace Ego” article. I guess promoting works :)

      Peter

      • http://theuniverseas.com/ Alex

        Thanks!

  • http://financialphilosopher.typepad.com/thefinancialphilosopher/ The Financial Philosopher

    “Men often become what they believe themselves to be. If I believe I cannot do something, it makes me incapable of doing it. But when I believe I can, then I acquire the ability to do it even if I didn’t have it in the beginning.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi

  • http://www.wethechange.com Todd Goldfarb

    3 Great articles in one day…I’m stumbling them all…and you BETTER call your hosting company and prepare for the impending crash!
    Todd

    • http://www.pickthebrain.com Peter

      Thanks Todd! I have definitely been “getting around” the blogosphere the past day or two. Glad you enjoyed the articles.

  • http://www.lyved.com Andrew Galasetti

    Great article. I keep all this in mind as I continue to blog.

    -Andrew

  • http://davidvgonzales.blogspot.com David Gonzales

    Very good points. I myself am doing similar things (sacrificing a lot of time, money, etc.) but in the end I know all my effort is going to pay off – big time. See you all at the top, brothers

  • http://www.ImaNicePerson.com ImaNicePerson

    Great article. We totally believe in the objective of our website over at ImaNicePerson.com. It’s growing slowly but naturally. In trying to promote our site we have found a lot of people who take short cuts. We believe quality traffic will win over quantity traffic in the long run. We would love any additional advice on promoting our niche. Thanks again for a great article.

  • http://www.beingpeace.com/ Ani

    It can be hard sometimes to convince family that the time and recourses spent web publishing is worth it, especially when it does not generate any income. However I am a true believer in blogging as a method to share knowledge about what I am passionate about, which is conscious living.

  • http://www.declutterhomesfast.com/ Darla

    This article is refreshing ! I hope that using this useful tips will raise my writing ability to the next level! Nice job Peter! :)

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