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.