For the past five years I’ve been sharing tips and tidbits from the writing life here on The Write Conversation blog. One of the things I keep coming back to is the fact that small consistent steps make a big difference.
Today I want to toot my own horn a little, as well as share some small things you can do consistently to duplicate the success I’ve had with building an online platform.
Timeline for Success
December 11, 2009: Here’s the very first post, MasteringYour Dream. I haven’t gone back and edited or formatted it—it doesn’t even have an image to go with it. It was seen by 27 people and got 5 comments, really not bad for a first post.
- My goal was to blog once a week, reality was a little different. I posted twice that December and twice in January of 2011. Then, because I’d gotten so consistent at this blogging thing, I started a second weekly post in February of 2011. That was when my Thursday Review column began. That idea actually began to shape the focus of my blog. I didn’t do (and still don’t) general book reviews, but instead review things related to writing.
- I added my third weekly column on March 27 with my Weekend Worship devotion on Sundays. The first one was Beneath the Cross. As you can tell, I still hadn’t clued in to the fact that images make the post better.
- In October of 2011, I hit my first month of more than 10,000 unique hits.
- I stayed with three posts a week until December 11, 2011. Then I was asked to become part of the Clash of the Titles group of bloggers. That year (2011) I ended up with approx. 80,000 unique hits. 2011 was also when I began using social media (Twitter and Facebook) consistently.
- In 2012, I sort of leveled out. I had good numbers—approx. 20,000 hits per month—but couldn’t break past that. I ended up with approx. 296,000 hits that year. I stayed consistent with my blogging schedule and with social media
- In 2013, I broke into the 30,000 hits a month category and began to see my consistency with blogging and social media begin to bear significant fruit. August of 2013 was also when I started blogging seven days a week.
- A couple of months ago, I did a rather major change. I opened up The Write Conversation to other hand-picked contributors. This means I’m no longer one hundred percent responsible for posting seven days a week. I share the burden with other writers who, truth be told, know a whole lot more about this industry than I do.
- And just this past week, I hit 15,000+ Twitter followers and 1,000,000 unique hits on my blog. That’s why I decided to do a little sprucing up with a new header and design.
But all this personal bragging really isn’t to lift me up. It’s to encourage you with the thought that if I can do this—ANYONE can.
Tips to Achieve Your Own Successful Timeline
1. Come up with a blogging schedule and stick with it. If something happens and you miss a day here and there, don’t stress. Go right back to the schedule and keep moving forward.
2. Don’t be afraid to play around with the focus for your site. I’ve let you—my audience—help me refine my focus.
3. Don’t count the plateaus as failure. I truly believe those months where I didn’t see active growth were a time of strengthening. It’s almost like my blog had to develop muscle to get to the next level.
4. Use social media to enhance your online reach. I tried to stay as consistent as possible with social media—always promoting others instead of me. I know this helped my audience gain confidence in the fact that I’m not in this for myself.
5. Don’t be afraid to quit something that doesn’t work. I mentioned that I was a part of Clash of the Titles. Well, I wasn’t a successful part. My blogging audience wasn’t interested in that column. I gave it time to be sure (about 8 months) then quit when I saw it was the weak link in my weekly schedule. I rarely got more than a few dozen visitors on the days that column aired.
6. Remember that the numbers aren’t really numbers, they’re people. Through all this time I’ve tried to stay focused on the people I’m reaching. It’s hard at times, but always remind yourself of this when you get discouraged.
7. Always keep refining. I’m always looking for ways to make my blog better. Trust me, we’ve never arrived. No matter where we are, there’s always room for improvement.
This is my story and these are the tips I’ve used to get where I am. Now I’d love to learn from you. What things do you do to continue growing your blog?
Don’t forget to join the conversation!
Edie Melson is the author of numerous books, as well as a freelance writer and editor. Her blog, The Write Conversation, reaches thousands each month. She’s the co-director of the Blue Ridge Mountains ChristianWriters Conference and the Social Media Mentor at My Book Therapy. She’s also the Military Family Blogger at Guideposts. Com, Social Media Director for SouthernWriters Magazine and the Senior Editor for NovelRocket.com. Connect with her on Twitter and Facebook. Don't miss her new book from Worthy Inspired, WHILE MY SOLDIER SERVES.