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Teach and Grow Rich Revised edition

Teach and Grow Rich
Now Revised, Expanded, and Updated!

Web Traffic: Why Guru Strategies for Blog Growth DON’T WORK… and What Does!

Blogging is where it’s at, right?

Whether you’re a professional blogger, or your blog is there to promote your regular business, you know that at the end of the day, your blog has one major purpose:

To engage a GINORMOUS audience.

That’s right.

Not just big… GINORMOUS. An audience so large you are guaranteed more customers than you know what to do with.

And yet, most blogs trudge along with an Alexa ranking north of a million, and you hear crickets more than you hear the pings of incoming web traffic.

What’s going on?

Eventually, you reach the conclusion that you must be missing something. You go looking for help, and are bombarded with course offers and bombastic claims:

“Make $500 in one hour with our no-fail system!”

“Beat any competitor to Google’s first page in less than a week!”

“How I make $4,729.19 every week in my pajamas!”

These claims raise an eyebrow and at least a few questions.

If it’s so easy to make $500 in an hour, then why are they selling their course for $27 instead of just hiring people to do the work and make them the money?

guru strategiesAnd what if your competitor buys that same course? How fast will she knock you out of that top spot?

But as skeptical as you might be, you’re also hopeful. It seems like everyone but you is out there growing a giant site in no time. What’s their secret?

You shell out the money for the programs, carefully ignoring the “results not typical” disclaimers. You sift through the nonsense and find some good advice, which you diligently put to work. And then…

More crickets?!? What the hell?!

To Everything There Is a Season: Skyhooks and Cranes

Remember the phrase, “to everything there is a season”—copied from the book of Ecclesiastes by Pete Seeger in his song “Turn! Turn! Turn!”

Well, it applies equally well to your blog’s growth as it does to life in general. You have to start at the beginning, and work your way up… one step at a time.

Knockout strategies can work, but they require a foundation that a blog with minimal web traffic just doesn’t have. When you try to skip steps, you fall down and make no progress.

This applies to everyone. No one gets to skip steps. I could write a book about the thousands of hours I’ve invested in this marketing blog. Trust me, it’s not easy.

One of the best explanations for this phenomenon comes from Dan Dennett, who introduced the concept of “skyhooks and cranes” in his book Darwin’s Dangerous Idea.

He uses it to explain evolution by natural selection, but it’s the perfect metaphor for growing an audience.

Here’s how it works:

skyhookLet’s say that you want to build a building.

In a perfect, imaginary world, you use a skyhook, a big hook in the sky to which you can attach a pulley system to pull things off the ground.

The only problem is that skyhooks don’t exist. There’s no way of making a hook just float in the air.

According to Wikipedia, “…the term ‘skyhook’ describe[s] a source of design complexity that does not build on lower, simpler layers—in simple terms, a miracle.”

That’s exactly what bombastic internet marketing products are offering—to create massive growth that does not build on solid foundations. In simple terms, a miracle.

So skyhooks are out.

Does that mean we can’t build anything?

Obviously, the answer is no.

To build our wondrous concrete jungles, we use cranes.

Cranes do exactly the same thing as skyhooks, only we build them from the ground up. Here’s the really interesting part: the way to build a giant crane that gives you lots of leverage is with smaller cranes!

If you want to build something huge, you need to start with something small that you can use to get there.

crane

Small Doesn’t Mean Slow

Good news: This isn’t a post about how you should be patient and take things slow and steady because eventually you’ll win the race.

As Sonia Simone once said in a podcast, “slow but steady works, but we’ve all had the experience of being beaten to the finish line by a jack rabbit with ADD!”

The point of this post is that the fastest way to grow a blog is by using the strategy that fits with your current stage of growth.

The more appropriate your strategy is to your stage of growth, the faster you’ll outgrow it—and be ready for the next one!

Now, if you’re a regular here at Mirasee, then you know that we’re all about action. (If you’re new, welcome, and please take a moment to subscribe.)

One of the reasons we’ve achieved so much success is that we understand this concept of growth stages.

To help you do the same, we’ve mapped out all four stages of blog growth, so you can figure out where you are and what you need to do next.

Here are the four steps:

Step 1 – Build the Foundation
Step 2 – Cultivate Relationships
Step 3 – Launch Explosively
Step 4 – Make Profitable Offers

The idea is to “launch” your audience by building a strong foundation and building on each layer of growth.

Now let’s look in-depth at each of the steps to see exactly what’s involved, and what you need to do to “graduate” to the next one.

(Oh, and if you want a free PDF checklist, make sure to read through to the end of the post!)

Step #1 – Build a Foundation of Content

You’ve just finished building your website. Your theme is designed, widgets are installed, and a welcoming homepage greets every visitor.

It’s normal for you to be super-excited and want to be out there, spreading the word.

foundationResist that urge!

Before telling anyone about your blog or site, you’ve got to make sure there’s good content for them to read when they get there. That’s why your #1 priority with a new blog or site is to create some really great content.

It doesn’t have to be tons of content, but you do have to have enough great content to grab people’s attention and make them want to learn from from you.

So if you already have a blog set up, then write some really great posts or anchor content.

Your website doesn’t even have to be a blog at this point.

It could be a single landing page enticing visitors to sign up for your mailing list in exchange for a free PDF, email course, or other incentive.

Whether you have a blog or a single-page website, you need to set up a way to get visitors into your mailing list. Do that now, so it’s ready when you start getting more traffic (because you will).

Not only do you need to think of outstanding content to create, but you’ve also got to stay motivated, even when your analytics are flat and you know nobody is reading it.

It’s hard, but it’s worth it.

Once you’ve created great anchor content that will impress people who arrive at your blog, then you can spread the word.

Reach out to everyone you know via email, Facebook, Twitter, the good old-fashioned telephone, live networking events, and any other way that you can think of. Add your website URL to your business cards, stationery, email signatures, and social media profiles.

Tell everyone you know how excited you are about your new blog and what your goals are. Ask them for feedback, then tell them how much it would mean to you if they would subscribe and leave a comment on posts they particularly enjoy.

You can even ask them to help you spread the word, but don’t expect miracles.

Keep in mind, this won’t give you tons of traffic, but it’s a start. Expect to get to about 10-20 unique visitors per day once you’re past the initial spike of people who come to look but don’t stay.

Step #2 – Cultivate Relationships

Once you’ve got that baseline of web traffic, and your family, friends, and social media followers have given you some feedback, it’s time to broaden your circle.

Reach out to other bloggers in your community—but not the big ones at first, they have no reason to listen to you. I’m talking about the little ones, other bloggers who are fairly new and are getting fewer than 10-15 comments on their posts.

Find the good ones (it’s important that they actually be good), leave comments on their posts, and engage with them. Share their posts on social media, get on their mailing lists, and respond to their content.

Invite them to write a guest post on your blog. In most cases, they’ll be flattered, provide you with a great post, and tell all of their followers to go read it.

Of course, you should do the same for them.

Share their good work with your network. The bloggers will thank you for the exposure, and your network will thank you for the good but obscure content you’re sending their way.

You should also offer to write guest posts for them and respond to all of the comments you get.

Doing all this will bring you up to the range of 50-100 unique visitors per day.

When you’ve got great content on your site that your friends and followers like, that has attracted good traffic and reviews from other members of your blogging community, then it’s time to take off the training wheels.

Move to A Bigger Pond

goldfish in the pondI’m talking about guest posting on the bigger blogs in your space. This is where you start tapping into bigger traffic numbers.

Here’s the short version of how to do it:

First, find the blogs you want to guest post on. Only choose blogs whose audience would like your stuff and are big enough to get you good traction. As a rule of thumb, you’re looking for an Alexa ranking of around 100,000 or lower.

Second, read the blog and figure out what you could write about that they will like and respond well to (by this, I mean that you’ll get lots of comments, tweets, and Facebook shares).

Third, if you haven’t already been active on the blog, read through it, and leave good comments on at least 2-3 posts. This is important! You have to get to know the style of the blog and blogger and show them that you care.

Fourth, send the blogger an email. Keep it short and sweet. Try something like this:

I’m new on your blog, and I really like your stuff. [MAKE SURE YOU MEAN IT!]

I’ve been thinking about writing a post about [SUBJECT], and it occurred to me that it could be a great fit for your audience.

What do you think of me writing it as a guest post? A headline for this post might be [HEADLINE IDEA] (of course, that’s just a suggestion).

If you want to see samples of my writing, you can check out [YOUR WEBSITE], or look at my last guest post on [SITE YOU GUEST POSTED ON] – it got [SOME MEASURE OF TRACTION].

What do you think? Shall I write up a draft?

If you do your homework and only pitch ideas that fit well with the blog, most people will be happy to receive a draft. Once they say yes, send them the draft within a few days, and when it runs on the blog, be active and gracious in the comments.

Do this for a handful of blogs, until you’re getting up to about 200-400 unique visitors per day and at least 1,000 email subscribers.

At the same time, use your growing traffic numbers to optimize conversions. Get your site to the point where your mailing list opt-in rates are good, and if you’ve got something to sell, people are buying with some regularity.

Make sure everything is optimized before progressing to the next step in the process.

Step #3 – Launch Explosively

blog launchWhen you have at least 1,000 email subscribers, then you can launch (or relaunch) your blog—and you’ll have at least 1,000 possible readers!

And now, you have enough of an audience to possibly go viral.

In other words, you need a minimum amount of traffic to increase it exponentially.

There are lots of ways to do this, and I’ll share two—but first, a warning: If your blog doesn’t have a good amount of traffic and the process isn’t optimized, hold off. Stay on Step 2 until your traffic and conversions are solid.

This is important, because virality requires a critical mass.

If you create an awesome piece of viral content and release it to your audience of seven readers, then sure, you might get lucky and someone might share it with someone who eventually shares it a lot… but that probably won’t happen.

You have to make sure your content is getting enough exposure that when you produce something worthy of getting past the tipping point, it will be able to tip!

Okay, so let’s get practical. Here are two ways that you can go viral (for more ideas, and more details about these ideas, you can read a whole post about viral marketing campaign ideas):

Idea #1: Viral Content Contest – Run a series of posts about your subject, and make sure these posts are all share-worthy (read: really good). Then, add an incentive for sharing. For example, run a contest and enter people into a draw if they share. That’s exactly what we did with our FIRE-PROOF Selling series when our blog was new. Before publishing this series, our hottest post got fewer than 10 comments. The hottest post in the series got 35. ‘Nuff said.

Idea #2: Bonus for Sharing – Create an awesome piece of content, and give it away for free in exchange for sharing on Twitter or Facebook (you can do this with a free service like Pay With A Tweet). Innovative Thunder did this to launch their book called Oh My God What Happened And What Should I Do?, and got over 150,000 people to tweet about their book.

This is when your traffic grows a lot. Be creative. Just a couple of campaigns, properly executed, should bring you up to 500-1,000+ unique daily visitors. That’s as much as 30,000 a month. Now we’re talking!

Step #4 – Make Profitable Offers

Now is the time to monetize your blog.

But keep it in balance.

Most blogs falter because they’re busy trying to sell something when they should still be building an audience. Once you’ve got an audience who loves your stuff, selling is easy. This is the part where you can parlay your audience into big sales numbers.

I’m not going to go into all of the different ways that you can make money with a blog (selling a product, selling a service, selling advertising, affiliate products, speaking fees, etc.)—you can read the Make Money Blogging report to get all those details.

What I do want to stress, though, is that you should focus on building the audience first and selling second.

Too often, when people ask why their site isn’t making money, the answer is because nobody is visiting it.

Growing your audience first—and selling after that—is how you solve that problem.

Ready to Start? Get the Guide!

First, let me clarify something. Having shared these stages with you, I am NOT saying that this is the one and only way to grow a blog.

There are lots ways I haven’t covered, and there are many paths up the proverbial mountain.

This isn’t the only path or even the only good path. It is, however, a good path, a safe path, and a path that will get you there quicker than most of the others that I’ve seen—especially the ones that promise to teleport you to the top but really just lead you off a cliff.

Here’s the beauty of this path: It works even if you veer off of it from time to time.

And you will veer off from time to time. You’ll have ideas that you’ll want to try or opportunities will present themselves that you won’t want to lose while waiting for the next step in the process.

No problem! Veer off path, do what you’ve got to do, and if it works, so much the better.

But when you’re done exploring, work your way back to the path and pick up where you left off.

You can use the Audience Building Checklist to stay on track and help you remember how it all works. Download the PDF checklist below for the complete step-by-step system.

And please leave a comment! What do you think of this model?  Do you see yourself on it? What stage are you at? What are you doing to get to the next one?

Audience Building Checklist

Download the complete checklist for building your highly engaged audience.

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About Danny Iny

Danny Iny (@DannyIny) is the CEO and founder of Mirasee, host of the Business Reimagined podcast, and best-selling author of multiple books including Engagement from Scratch!, The Audience Revolution, and Teach and Grow Rich.

230 thoughts on “Web Traffic: Why Guru Strategies for Blog Growth DON’T WORK… and What Does!

    • That’s a great question! Let me answer by rephrasing the question – instead of asking how important a blog *is* to a business, let’s ask how important a blog *could be* to a business.

      The answer to that is that a blog *could be* very important, in that it can be a great way of building an audience, building relationships, etc. Of course, this depends on your building a good blog that people want to follow – this takes a real investment in terms of time, and energy, plus a good fit of skills, which you alluded to (writing ability).

      If you build a lousy blog, it won’t be valuable to your business at all; on the contrary, all it will do is drain your time and energy, and do a bad job of representing you.

      Ultimately, blogging can be a great strategy, but it isn’t the only strategy out there – when choosing the strategies that you are applying for your business, you have to balance their effectiveness with your ability to execute them well.

      • That’s interesting. I read the question a little bit differently. I read it as “Do you think the type of business/customer matter when you are considering blogging as part of your marketing strategy? Or do you think blogging has the potential to add value to any type of business?” What do you think?

        • Oh, sorry about that – maybe I misunderstood the question.

          My answer to the clarified question is an emphatic “YES” – marketing ALWAYS depends on the business and the customer. Blogging isn’t something that you should do just because it’s “the thing to do” (no strategy is) – you should only do it if you think it will help you achieve a specific objective.

          The first question to ask is whether your customers read blogs – if they don’t, then you’re wasting your time, right?

          A second question is what you can blog about that your customers will be interested in reading about. For example, if you’re selling toothpaste, I don’t think you’re likely to get a lot of traction with a blog about toothpaste – but if your blog is about something related that has broader appeal, it might do better (people that brush their teeth have other interests).

          Another important question to answer is what the blog is going to accomplish for you, even if it does reach customers. Will it expose your product/service to new customers that won’t have already heard about you? Will it help you to sell to them, by highlighting needs, benefits, or by adding credibility to your offer?

          The answer to these questions isn’t always going to be yes – for example, if you’re selling commodities, especially in a business to business (B2B) setting, it is very arguable whether a blog will expose new customers to your product, or get them to buy more of it.

          So yes – think carefully about why you’re blogging, and only do it if you have a good reason, and you can execute it well.

          Does that answer the question? 🙂

  1. Danny, quoting Dan Dennett in a post about blog traffic…count me as impressed.

    This is really great comprehensive advice. The balance between the first three steps is so important. I still notice that the content I am really confident in I have no shame in promoting liberally. The stuff that I am less sure of I am also more reluctant to promote, while there are older posts that I still link to frequently.

    I would also say your traffic estimates match my experience pretty closely.

  2. Hey Danny,

    Reading this post brought my focus back on developing great content. My blog (and website) is brand new, and I only have a few posts on it. I will also focus on quality, not quantity. And by making it a habit to write, quantity will come.

    I’ll share your post, thank you!

    Matt

    • Hi Matt, I’m glad the post put some things in perspective for you. Definitely, the first priority with a new blog is to write great content – without that, nothing else will do anything. 🙂

  3. Danny – great article, man. It’s full of content.

    I know this is stressed a lot by other bloggers (and i just cannot stres this enough). I have to say that one of the things that has propelled my blog forward is developing new and unique content that introduces new perspectives and ideas. Believe it or not, as big as the Internet is, the blogosphere is quite small and people get tired of reading the same concepts over and over.

    That’s why, as young as my blog is (going on 8 months next month) I’ve been featured in a handful of blogs, have had a couple of requests for interviews and have received request for guest postings on other blogs, including this one 🙂

    It doesn’t stop there however, as you mentioned Danny, it’s also about looking for blogs that are in your niche, getting your face out there and truly adding value to the conversation. I cannot tell you how frustrating it is when I people simply write “nice article”. Not only are they not adding any value to the conversation, in fact, they are doing a huge dis-service to their brand and the perception other people have about who they are.

    When I see comments like that, it tells me that 1) they really didn’t read the article and are just posting a comment to post, 2) they read the article but did not really understand it well enough to leave a comment or 3) they truly have no value to add to the conversation.

    Entrepreneurship is all about being a student of your industry and f your niche – it’s all about education. If you cannot add value to a conversation that generally indicates you do no invest in yourself (education) and therefore lose all credibility and authority in your niche.

    I say that if you cannot leave a comment that truly adds value (or even leave a question for the author of the blog about something you do not understand or would like to comprehend better), do not leave a comment at all. It hurts you mire than it will help!

    Thanks for the perspective Danny! What do you think about all of this?

    • Hi Hector, thank you for stopping by, and for your detailed, thoughtful comment!

      If anyone is qualified to speak about fast blog growth through great content, it’s you – your stuff is great, which is why we’re looking forward to your guest post here at Firepole Marketing! (for the benefit of our audience, it’ll be in the next couple of weeks)

      And I agree with you about commenting; I think it’s usually either 1) they didn’t actually read it – in which case it’s just dumb spam, or 3) they had nothing interesting to add… Marcus Sheridan actually wrote a great post about this a few days ago:

      http://www.thesaleslion.com/how-to-network-online-superstar-grow-big/

      So yes – I agree with you, and I’m grateful that you’re here on our blog. 🙂

      • Thanks for the comment Danny, I really appreciate it! I am definitely going to enjoy sharing this article on mindset with your audience. I hope I’m not bringing the cat out the bag! 🙂

        But I definitely saw Marcus article and he definitely made some great points about commenting etiquette that everyone needs to follow, otherwise you’re just hurting yourself. Thanks again! Talk to you soon!

  4. Danny

    Cool article – and kudos for walking the walk too. Your post on Copyblogger was a good one – though didn’t connect it with you until I read your post on Problogger – also a good one! You’re hanging out with the big dogs!

    And what resonated for me was that this is the strategy that I’m using – though I haven’t got it mapped out so explicitly in the way you lay it out here. I’ve posted a few guest posts to blogs with good Alexa rankings, and I’ve got two or three waiting to go with blogs with really good Alexa rankings. From there I planned to try Copyblogger and Problogger – but hey there crazy horse, you’ve just stampeded straight to the big guns!

    One thing that I’d like to add that echoes something that Marlee says. I think that although the ‘major’ monetization comes when you’ve buiilt an audience and a community, I do think that the seeds of that should be laid early on in the game – mainly so that it doesn’t come as a shock to your audience and piss them off that you’ve ‘gone all commercial.’

    Good work.

    Paul

    PS – I haven’t forgotten the guest post btw….working on the angle. And did you know we were both on Jon’s Guest Blogging course at the same time, but I didnt have the time to do more than glance at the lessons. Let alone leave any comments….but, small world.

  5. Wow, Danny, talk about an article….this could have been about 4 posts! 😉

    But love how you’ve broken it all down, in 6 steps, for beginners to see how it all works. As you well know, I’ve been the guy hearing the crickets, and it can be really, really tough to get through those times. But by following the steps you’ve mentioned, it will happen, sure enough.

    Incredibly well done Danny. Very impressed.

    Marcus

    • Marcus, we’re honored to have you here. Everybody, Marcus and Marlee are two of the people I most look up to in the blogging world (and, embarrassingly, I transposed their names in an email to Marcus this morning :S).

      We’ve all been the guys hearing the crickets – but your success is exactly what inspires us to keep on pushing. 🙂

  6. Wow Danny! This is a very comprehensive post and you do a great job of explaining this with such clarity. A lot of what you share here lends itself to what I’m calling “Radical Marketing,” and if you’re going to successfully build a community and make a profit you need all of the elements you’ve shared here.

    One note: building and audience & “selling” something are of equal importance in my opinion and they should be tended to with equal effort. Just my 2 pennies. 🙂

    • Hey Marlee, thanks for stopping by. 🙂

      I agree with you – selling is super important, and bloggers should definitely be thinking about how they’re going to monetize the blog further down the line. I just think they shouldn’t be pushing those sales until they’ve built an audience.

      Let me know when you’ve got more on “Radical Marketing” – I’d love to take a look, and give our audience a heads-up!

  7. Howdy, Danny — Paul Wolfe says “Hi”. 🙂

    Anytime Paul points his finger in a direction (or sends me an email with a ‘firm’ recommendation), I sit up and pay attention. He sent me over here and I’m certainly glad he did. In addition to doing an exemplary job on this post and loading it buckets full of value, I had never heard of “Pay With A Tweet” before so I’m anxious to give it a whirl.

    Thanks again — very nicely done!

    • Hey Melanie, I checked out your site – very cool! I’m fortunate to be on Paul’s list, and I was floored to see his email – floored, and completely flattered. 🙂

      I really appreciate your support, and please let me know how Pay With A Tweet works for you!

      • Thanks a heap for taking a peek at my blog, Danny — very sweet of you! I’ve subscribed to future posts via email (my favorite way to hear from fellow bloggers) and I look forward to reading more from you.

  8. Hi Danny,

    Thanks for the step-by-step advice. I am just starting my own business blog and I’m happy to use your roadmap instead of having to simply rely on my intuition. Thanks!

    A question that I have is – how do I find good blogs in my niche? If I don’t find the right match, should I expand my search to related niches?

    • Hey Marina, thanks for stopping by! I clicked through to your new blog, and really like your new post on specialization. 🙂

      I think the real question is how to *define* your niche, and that could be tricky. Fundamentally, you want to be working with bloggers who are targeting the same people that you are. In my case, that’s entrepreneurs in the 0-10 employee range.

      What’s your target market?

      • Hi Danny – thanks for the visit to my blog!:)

        My target is real estate agents and my focus is on helping them with new ways of marketing to consumers on the web. You would think that there are plenty of blogs about that… but I haven’t found many that share my philosophy.

        To give you an idea: compare your approach to blogging with others which are less into giving and more into “old-school” selling.

        Oh, and Paul Wolfe said to say “hi”.

        • Friends with Paul, eh? You keep good company… 🙂

          No, you’re right, that sounds pretty specific, and even if you found someone doing the same thing, the niche is so tight that it would probably be competitive.

          So here’s the question – what sites are real estate agents on? What blogs do they read? If you scroll down (or up, depending on how the comments are rendering), you’ll see a lengthy answer that I wrote to comments posted by Ruthy107 and BP – the gist of it is that the starting point for any marketing effort has to be to go where your prospects are hanging out.

          So… where are they hanging out?

  9. Danny,

    Great work here and from a top level it’s clear you really put strategy to work with emailing some folks, writing this piece AND guest posting at Problogger today. Great job tying everything together (and thank you for sharing the spotlight with some of us).

    This article is fantastic. What I need to focus on more is borrowing some authority. Now, admittedly I had been placing promotion ahead of my content and I’m trying to adjust on the fly now. Between site tweaks, new features I’m rolling out, and regular content I’m a bit bogged down 😉 I’m sure everyone can relate.

    But your idea on using Cloud Floud or Pay With A Tweet is also sound. Why NOT make it easy to share the networks of people downloading your hard work? This is free promotion and “free” is one beautiful four-letter word.

    Keep up the great work, Danny, and thanks for sharing your wisdom. We’ll be cheering you on along the way.

    Jon

    • Well, Jon, whatever you’re doing seems to be working well, because every time I check back on your site there seems to be more and better content and more and better people!

      (side note – am I getting your feeds? every time I remember to check your site, it seems there are four articles that I’ve missed! :S)

      Yup, we can all relate – too much to do, too little time in which to do it, and sometimes you’re just playing hunches to see what will work and what won’t. I can’t take credit for Pay With a Tweet, by the way – got that from Heather over at Clever Marketer (who you pointed me to, if I remember correctly).

      We’ll be cheering each other along the way – we grow together, or not at all, right? 🙂

  10. Danny, aloha. WOW! What a terrific job you have done in this post. Though it is so packed with solid info that it could have been multiple posts, the way you have broken it down makes it easy to follow.

    Innovative Thunder worked perfectly and I was able to download my cheat sheet. Danny, this is such a useful tool I will be sending others back to read your post and download the sheet.

    Best wishes for a terrific day and Congratulations on a post well done. Aloha. Janet

  11. This is a great post. I keep switching between worrying about content and monetization. Thanks for reminding me that without the content, there’s no point in worrying about the money.

    I’m still in the working on great content phase. I’ve told a couple of people who’ve told a couple of people about my blog, but I’m not ready to go “public” yet.

    I wouldn’t call mine a “mom blog,” but it’s definitely not as focused or business-based as yours or Problogger or Copyblogger. Do you think these strategies work as well for more personal blogs?

    • That’s a great question, Amy. I’ll answer with a “yes, but”:

      “Yes” – The strategies should still work, because the basic principle of growing an audience, and credibility with that audience, before trying to sell to them – it makes sense; you’ll do a better job of selling because there’s more people, they’ll trust you more, and you’ll know better what they actually want to buy.

      “But” – That only assumes you are targeting a coherent market that has specific needs; in other words, it’s fine (great even) if they’re coming for your content and not because of whatever it is they might ultimately want to buy, but that becomes a problem if there’s nothing to sell them related to the content.

      I’m not sure if that’s completely clear… definitely a bit hypothetical. I’d be happy to take a look at your site, and give you some feedback. If you like, shoot me an email to danny (at) firepolemarketing (dot) com with more information or a URL. 🙂

  12. This will keep me busy for while, wow – this post is a thorough map for building a blog. Thanks so much for sharing this with your community @Paul Wolfe. It has already helped me get a sense of what to do next : )

    Danny, thank you for putting this resource together… I’ll be sharing it in the community : )

  13. Danny, this is amazing! Sometimes, what makes complete sense needs to be outlined, so we don’t go following our intuition in the wrong direction. =P I love how you emphasize developing a community through baby steps and the bigger concepts fall into place as we go along.

    Thanks for such a thorough road map! =)

  14. Hi Danny,

    Fantastic post and I loved seeing the pay with a tweet in action. You have created a very solid plan that will suit any blogger at any stage of growth. I think the big lesson is to have a plan for blog growth. Know what your goals are and when you’re ready for the next stage. The visitor numbers are a great indicator. Nice touch!

    May I suggest that you change the html code on the button so that it opens in a new tab/window. That way your readers don’t lose your blog. I see you have it linked in the blueprint which is how I made it back here to comment.

    Great job!
    Heather

  15. Wow Danny what a post. If people can’t get it together after reading this then there is something definitely wrong with all of us. You really pointed out some major things we can be implementing now.

    I recently used the CloudFlood service on my main blog and it’s worked really great. With this new blog I created several months ago, it’s really moving up (or shall I say down) in Alexa’s ratings. I’m actually commenting on blogs that I really enjoy their content and can learn from but I know it’s helped spread the word and get my blog viewed by many. I do need to take into consideration the rankings of some blogs though. It’s just hard because I enjoy learning from others no matter what their rankings are. I think we are all at the same place so why not help each other out! They’ve got awesome content which we all know is key!

    Just wrote my first guest post so am waiting for that to go live so I’m slowly but surely getting there. Also with this blog I’m going back to the basics. I was making money online but not building a business which is why I decided to take a look at what I was doing and start from scratch. The same goes for your blog so I love hearing this from you so I know I’m on the right path.

    Really appreciate this post and can’t say enough great things about it. Will definitely be sharing this one and spreading the word.

    Adrienne

    • Thank you, Adrienne, you’re too kind!

      And you bring up an important point – if a blog is good, I think that by all means, you should follow it and learn from it, because the information is good, and the relationship with the blogger will be valuable.

      Thanks for sharing, Adrienne, and I’m looking forward to seeing you back here. 🙂

  16. Hi Danny,

    I simply could only say “WOW”. That was really one kind of a post. Worth a bookmark. I’ll have to read it multiple times to really make many useful stuff out of this.

    You ROCK.

    Cheers,
    Jane.

  17. Hi Danny,

    What a long depth & useful post. All these strategies are awesome and have to say it really works. Another best way to grow your blog is guest posting. Guest Posting is one of the biggest way to grow your blog and that’s what my friend onlinbalusi did.

    Thanks for sharing this great article. Have a great time.

    ~Dev

  18. Wow, this was comprehensive Danny! First time here. I actually came through after getting an email from Paul yesterday referencing this article. I’m glad he did because not only did I learn a bunch, but you’re a guy that I need to know…BECAUSE YOU KNOW YOUR ‘STUFF’!

    I’m in the growth phase of my blog. I’ve been on the scene for about 8 months and starting to feel a little growth happening (good feeling btw). I would say that I’m in stage 3, hoping to transition upward to stage 4 pretty quickly.

    I wasn’t able to RT through the big yellow button for some reason, I kept getting this message “Something is technically wrong.” I think it’s a Twitter issue, because I keep getting the same error when trying to access the main Twitter URL. I’m hoping that if you get a chance you can forward me the PDF via email – because I really want that sucker! hustlersnotebook@gmail.com.

    I promise to come back and RT!

    Thanks…and nice to meet you!
    I subscribed via RSS!

    • Thanks for the kind words, JK – I’ve only recently discovered your blog (sometime last week – I don’t even remember who sent me over, but I’m glad they did), and I’m looking forward to connecting! The cheat sheet is on its way. 🙂

  19. Danny, boy – that’s a huge crane of a post! Thanks indeed for your thoughts and insights – I’ll shortly go to bed no doubt to dream about this post, LOL!

    One thing I would like to add – but it may just be me, so don’t take this upon yourself necessarily.

    Occasionally I have my moments where I get to the point of saying “what the hell!”. I like slow and I like steady (kinda), but there are times when I boil, and that boil has to come out somehow and at some time.

    Thus its a catalyst reaction here. Slow, steady then grows to a bit faster cos I get frustrated that slow and steady is not fast enough. Then I get faster still cos fast is not fast enough. Then I blow and do something that I would NEVER do if I was totally sane (I’m not at all a daring sort of guy by nature, really – I’m pretty darn boring, actually!).

    So I’ll go and do something that normally would be WAY out of my comfort zone, and could in fact affect my life in a number of ways – either good or bad. And yes – this is all to do with my own online business, with particular emphasis on the part that I too am a blogger.

    I still get hardly any tweets or facebook likes. Obviously got lots of lessons to learn, right? But what to expect from an SEO type of bloke who not long ago would not have known his Facebook fan page from his Twittering tweet tweets.

    Thanks again Danny for sharing your knowledge!

    Regards
    Joseph

  20. This is one of the most comprehensive, well explained RADICALLY USEFUL posts about growing your blog I’ve ever seen.. to include the hundreds of thousands I’ve seen on authority blogs. You guys seriously did some damage on this one. Definitely linkable content that I’m already sharing across some of my networks. You covered every possible approach here.. and you even talked about making it viral! This gives me a ton of ideas. You’ve successfully induced thought in me. Great post.

    • Thanks, Ryan, I’m flattered! 🙂

      The really exciting part will be if/when people start following these steps and seeing results – I’m really hoping they’ll tell us what works for them, and where they’re at. 🙂

  21. Hi Danny,

    First of all, I want to express that I am proud to know you and Jon through Heather’s community. Now, reading this post has honestly overwhelmed and made me hopeful at the same time. Overwhelmed to the point that I was ‘trying’ to justify that I didn’t really ‘exactly’ have to go through this blueprint you presented as I belong to a different niche (well, I am not exactly an internet marketer; I am a network marketing utilizing the internet). (I may unnecessarily turn this into a long comment if I even try to share how ‘hyped’ online network marketing is 🙁 )…. Anyway, this very post, makes me hopeful too. Knowing that marketers are getting truly mindful about sustainability, now more than ever, makes me glad that there’s going to be less and less ‘hype’.

    I may not be from your same niche, but I am with you when it comes to truly putting up a plan and strategy and definitely starting small and growing BIG! I will definitely ‘follow’ and learn from you, as ALL online marketers, no matter which niche, have to have their fundamentals strong.

    Thanks Danny, and I am looking forward to engaging more with you on other social networks too!

    – Rowena

    • Hey Rowena, thank you for your comment!

      I think a lot is shared across niches (though of course not everything) – certainly, growing an audience would fall into that category. 🙂

      That being said, I’d love to hear about your experiences in terms of what works for you, and what doesn’t. I’d love to check out your website, as well. What’s the URL?

  22. Danny,

    Thanks for this! The title in itslef did it for me. As a new blogger I’m naturlly drawn to the guru sites to find out what works and what doesn’t only to learn very quickly that a handful of the tips that I have taken away from “guru/experts” aren’t very helpful.

    Its nice to hear from someone who’s knows what they’re talking about through experience. The success that I am experiencing so far as a new blogger has come from great tips and advice from people who don’t consider themselves a guru.

    By reading this post only confirmed my thoughts. Not that guru’s are bad but sometimes I tend to read more fluff than legit content. I like to hear form real people with real solutions to real problems. I’ve found that the fastest way for me to progress.

    • Hey Chelsea, I’m glad you liked it, and thanks for stopping by! It’s not that the gurus don’t know their stuff or don’t have good intentions (for the most part), but they’re playing with a very different deck than the rest of us real folks.

      What sort of things have you been trying and seeing good results with?

    • Hello Chelsea you sound like a real person that has done a
      lot of research and has had your share of trials and errors if you can offer
      any critical 1st timer screw up I would appreciated it greatly thank you!

  23. Pingback: An Interview with Danny Iny from FirepoleMarketing.com | Belief and Action – The 2 Keys to Success
  24. Pingback: Danny Iny Interview Part 2 | Belief and Action – The 2 Keys to Success
  25. I’m impressed. That is a very innovative way to get more traffic to this post – and number four is a very good how-to for that strategy.

    I noticed you’ve been asking other commentators what has been working for them. Collaborating is my favorite thing to do and I blog about that often. One thing we do in the CommentLuv community is to go out commenting and then share the posts where our comments appear. Doing that well will double traffic and result in many new readers, subscribers and commentators.

    I wrote that strategy up and updated it with my results and results shared by others in this Comment Share post: http://www.growmap.com/comment-share/

    • I clicked through to read the post, and it’s very interesting – it dovetails very nicely with the third step that I described above!

      I’ve subscribed to your blog, Gail, and I’m looking forward to reading more. 🙂

  26. Pingback: The Interview Blueprint: Great Blog Content, from A to Z
  27. Danny,

    Superb!

    I’m clearly on a step #4 and I’m focusing on that part now, since the blog launch stuff is behind me.

    I love the analogy of cranes and that PDF is awesome too! How did you create that?

    • I’m glad you liked it, Timo!

      I actually put the PDF together in PowerPoint – the background is from a stock photo site (either iStock or PhotoXpress, I forget which), and the rest is PowerPoint elements. 🙂

  28. Lots of great stuff here. Very valuable post. Thanks. I spent around $2500 on ‘programs’ and had to realize the hard way, these guys have great success but they don’t tell you that you need a foundation of links and a network etc. They should put ‘This won’t work if your a new blogger -sorry’. But the new bloggers are the idiots who buy the programs because they want to get ahead quuickly.

    I read a post the other day that made a LOT of sense. He said as a child the child just wants to grow, grow, grow but he doesn’t see it physically. Fact is he IS growing in invisible ways. He’s growing stronger, his muscles is developing etc.And so it is with a blog. Many people (including myself have) get despondent about not seeing ‘quick results and then quit. Zac Johnson challenged me once and said ‘Let’s see if you can make it past six months’.

    I am nowhere near a superstar. But my tenacity and hustle everyday will make my blog a huge success. Thanks for bringing the truth out./

    • That’s a really valuable insight, Ivin – growth is often happening, whether you realize it or not, but you need to take it bit by bit.

      You’re right – it’s tenacity and constant hustle that leads to eventual success – and if you follow the right steps, you can get there that much faster. 🙂

    • That sounds like you were reading Jim Connolly at jim’smarketingblog. I find a lot of what he says gels with the messages from Danny.

  29. This makes sense, Danny. I’ve been tempted to purchase some of those guru offerings, but deep down I knew I wasn’t ready.

    I think the “create good content” statement is also very amorphous and subjective. There must be more details about how to do that. It’s almost like saying, “get more visitors” but you’ve shown us that there’s more to it than that.

  30.  Danny, 

    I finally got around to reading this.  It is no mystery why it is so popular!  This is possibly the most sound, detailed advice I’ve seen for growing a blog.  

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  32. I have to say – I have read a lot of posts like this, and this is one of the first I have seen with real quantification.  Most posts seem to skirt around the idea of providing exact numbers, but I really enjoyed how you specified target points (number of unique visitors per day) for each of your steps.  I’m about 2 months into launching my blog and have been pleased with the success so far, and this helped me to put together a plan for moving forward.

    • Hey Zane, thanks for stopping by!

      In a lot of cases, the specific numbers aren’t included because they’re just approximations, and will vary from industry to industry and blog to blog – but yeah, I like to have some kind of benchmark, so I included the numbers. 🙂

      I’m glad you found it helpful, and look forward to seeing you again!

  33. Danny, thank you so much for this excellent post. I enjoyed the specifics, and think you’re right on. We just launched an original entertainment network with videos and blogs going up every day, totally focusing on the content even though monetizing it is obviously important. Your post confirmed what we’re doing. Our original 100-episode soap is what we hope will help tell people that we mean to be around for awhile, and help build that relationship with readers and viewers. An exciting new time for all of us bloggers and content creators out there!  I’ll continue reading your posts… thanks again!

  34. Pingback: Two Ingredients of Awesome: Content and Metaphor
  35. Is blogging as a team fun as it seems? It’s rare to see more than one person in the about page. I would think that you guys can bounce ideas off each other and that’s make for better content.

    I like the pay with a tweet button, very cool.

    • Thanks, Stephen! Yeah, it’s great to be able to work with Peter – we’re there to support each other when we need, and it helps a lot. Makes the whole process more fun when your partner is around. 🙂

      The Pay With a Tweet button isn’t ours, we just used the service – you can use it for free here: http://paywithatweet.com/

      Great to see you here at Firepole Marketing, Stephen!

  36. Hi Danny — just got to reading this post. Thanks for the “template” for building traffic. You have obviously followed your own advice because I seem to see your guest byline everywhere!

  37. TThanks, I will try this tomorrow! even though i‘m a dane (and the figures being unrealistic ), this sounds like a serious way of getting a successful blog. mange tak!

  38. Hey Danny,  

    This is my first time on your site and it’s awesome… really like what you guys are doing here.  Love this post — I’ve never seen blog progression laid out like this but it’s correct and the PDF is really useful.  

    I think my blog is somewhere between Steps 4 and 5.  I’ve started writing guest posts for high authority blogs and the traffic is moving upwards.  Not quite where I need to be to move into Step 5, but like you said, it’s a process and I’ll keep plugging along.

    Thanks for the great information!

    Bob

    • Hi Bob, welcome to Firepole Marketing!

      I’m really glad you found the post helpful. Keep on plugging, and believe me, you’ll get there. 🙂

      See you around,

    • Hi Bob, welcome to Firepole Marketing!

      I’m really glad you found the post helpful. Keep on plugging, and believe me, you’ll get there. 🙂

      See you around,

  39. This is all so true. I found that when I started logging, I expected to see the profits rolling in right away. Obviously, this did not happen. I was discouraged, but I stuck with it. I think that this is a fantastic post, and I really wish I would have read it earlier in my blogging career. 

    Kudos to you Danny, and I am happy to say that I thoroughly enjoy your site. I will be back more often, and I hope to talk to you some more. 

    P.S: I am a graphic designer on the side, I am mainly a freelance writer, and I must say that your logo is kick ass. 

    • Thank you very much, Tyler!

      It’s great that you stuck with it – that’s what it takes to ultimately succeed (that plus some training, so you eventually find yourself doing the right things). 🙂

      It’s great to have you here, and we’d love to see you more often.

      And sure, let’s chat – drop me a line to danny (at) firepolemarketing (dot) com!

    • Thank you very much, Tyler!

      It’s great that you stuck with it – that’s what it takes to ultimately succeed (that plus some training, so you eventually find yourself doing the right things). 🙂

      It’s great to have you here, and we’d love to see you more often.

      And sure, let’s chat – drop me a line to danny (at) firepolemarketing (dot) com!

    • Thank you very much, Tyler!

      It’s great that you stuck with it – that’s what it takes to ultimately succeed (that plus some training, so you eventually find yourself doing the right things). 🙂

      It’s great to have you here, and we’d love to see you more often.

      And sure, let’s chat – drop me a line to danny (at) firepolemarketing (dot) com!

  40. You’re a great communicator.  First time I’ve read such specific steps to take and understand completey without looking at the screen in dismay!!  My blog is in its infancy so this post was perfect for me and step 3 is my 1st priority! Will sign up for your feed (you can thank “Copyblogger”).

    • Thank you very much, that’s very kind of you to say!

      Please report back, and let us know how things go for you – I’d love to hear about your progress!

  41. Really loved this article, never seen the progression of a blog laid out like this. It really makes the whole process seem a lot less confusing and gives new bloggers and veterans alike a great starting point and checklist to follow as they build their blogs. Thanks Danny, I’ll be checking back again.

  42. I’m definitely one of the idiots who try to reach out to blogs that are big enough to not care about mine, so I’d say I’m in the stage of finding those smaller blogs and exchanging guest posts. Great post in all honesty, this is something that really spoke to me because of the struggles my blog has been having, so thanks!

    • Don’t worry, almost all of us go through that phase, and hopefully we don’t annoy too many big players before realizing that it doesn’t work. 🙂

      I’m really glad you enjoyed it, and I look forward to seeing you around the Firepole!

    • Thank you, Tracy, that’s very kind of you to say! I’m looking forward to seeing you around the Firepole, and by all means feel free to drop me a line anytime. 🙂

  43. Hey Craig, sorry, I just got back from my honeymoon, so I’m a little behind responding to things. I’m glad you liked the post, and I’d be happy to take a look at your site – can you send me the details to danny (at) firepolemarketing (dot) com?

  44. Ok, I just found this, and you, and as you’re still leaving comments post honeymoon, you get my footprints also.  I bet you left a lot on that beach.
    Thanks for the blueprint. Paths up the mountain. That’s the way I look at things also.  I think the image says a good deal.

    • Haha, yes, we did leave a lot on that beach. 😉

      I’m really glad you liked the post, Anthony – it actually ended up becoming the framework for a book that I’m writing with Sean Platt, coming out very soon. 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by – we look forward to seeing you again soon!

  45. Hi Danny,
    Found your blog from an article from DIYthemes. your style of writing resonates with me and I find your blog posts just as engaging.
    Gonna start my blog soon (really late…i know), guess your blog serve as good learning reference 🙂
    thanks & keep up the good work!

  46. You know what i love about this article Danny? It’s (a) practical, (b) sensible-sounding, and (c) asks you to do a hell of a lot of work. Those two things often combine to make a great strategy. I’m already doing quite a lot of what you have recommended, but a few things you mention have made me rethink my overall approach. Great stuff!

  47. Hi Danny! Came by to peep those links you sent me {good stuff} – signed up!  Of course, I couldn’t leave without grabbing a few pointers.  You’re work is great over all but this one is a real plus for me – one, it showed me I know more than I thought & should listen to MYSELF sometimes – not that the advice I got was bad, it jus’ wasn’t the path I was supposed to take!  The other thing, I’m such a  VISUAL person – your path is going onto my Vision Board… sure, I’ll have to find my way by preparing, communicating, engaging THEN promoting, moving forward and on to monetization!!! Now I have some ORDER! Thanks, you’re a peach! -Meo

    • Hey Mercy, it’s great to see you interacting on the blog! 🙂

      I’m really glad you found the post valuable. Actually, as I mentioned to Tom, this post is forming the backbone of another book that I’m publishing, with Sean Platt. Coming out soon…

      But yeah, the key thing is that strategies aren’t universal, they don’t work across the board, and you need to find the right solution that works for your circumstances.

      Thanks again for all your help! 🙂

      • Hey Danny, it’s great to be surrounded by a wonderful community!

        The post is great, I was glad to read it!  You are welcome, ANYTIME, working with you is awesome.

        :D, Mercy

  48. Hi Danny, very incitefull post,.
    I’d say im still in the step one process,building content.
    When i started my blog the information i read to educate myself as to, where to start.
    led me to beleive, i should link to a product,sales page, affiliate link, etc from every post.
    I was wondering if you could give your opinion on this, would be much appreciated

    • Hi Joshua, thank you for your comment. Actually, I think that’s a terrible idea – why would anyone trust your recommendation about buying a product before having gotten to know you through a sampling of your work? I say build the audience first, and then worry about monetization (as long as you have a plan for it from the beginning).

  49. Danny:
    I thought others liked you because they were affiliate marketers, but this post showed me that you speak and write the blogs-honest truth about this popular internet sport.  Cheers and continued success. I became another follower!

  50. Danny – love the insight and clarity here mate.

    I’ve found – and I know I’m not the only one – that getting so caught up at any one stage of this process makes it very difficult to see how all the steps fit together, and therefore take action in an appropriate way for the current stage.

    Kinda like not really being able to see your hand when it’s pushed right up against your face, but seeing it clear as a bell when you move it a foot and a half away from you.

    Anyway – point is, you just moved my hand a foot and a half away from my face – thanks!

    • That’s a really good analogy, Jym, and it’s why it’s so much easier to give others good advice than to figure out what to do ourselves – we just have so much more perspective and clarity when looking at other peoples’ problems!

      I’m glad I was able to give you some of that perspective. Here’s to your success, Jym! 🙂

  51. Just a clarification: The Byrds (among others) covered the original song “Turn, Turn, Turn” by Pete Seeger. Unforgettable lyric made memorable by Jim “Roger” McGuinn’s 12-string electric Rickenbacker 360. The Beatles’ George Harrison sometimes played the same guitar, notably in the film “A Hard Day’s Night.”

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  53. Thank you for this great article. I needed to read this right now because I’ve been second guessing everything I have been doing up until this point. I’ve also got trapped by the white shiny object syndrome in the past and have brought products that didn’t suit the stage I was at. But it wasn’t until I read this article did that make sense. Before I felt I had to cram everything in as I have so many ideas for my blog that I want to implement. Now I feel a little more empowered now after reading this as it reinforces that what I’m currently doing is fine and I want to enjoy the journey as much as the destination.

  54. Ok. So this one came into my inbox today, and I clicked through. Are you familiar with the term chizuk? This was exactly what I needed! I have a list of so many things I know i need to do, I can’t possibly get to all of them. But the reason why the list seems so overwhelming is because my brain is jumping from one crane to the other, instead of staying put for a while before I move on. Great stuff. And amazing how you are able to get back to everybody.

  55. Hi Danny,

    This post is exactly what I needed! I can see where I’ve been stuck and you have given me the tools that I need to move in the right direction. I know exactly what I need to do and I’m reminded of a project that I nearly forgot about. Thank you very much!

  56. Hi Danny,

    I loved both this post and the “Engagement from Scratch” book – it was exactly the book I was looking for; I’d read so much about “increasing” traffic but virtually none about creating it from scratch. Thank you for putting it together!

    Can I ask you a question?

    I’m currently on step 3 (although still cranking out plenty of great content!) and getting 100-300 unique daily visitors. However, my niche (online English learning) has a lot of websites but very few blogs. Of the few blogs I’ve seen, none seem to have huge audiences, and “guest posting” isn’t really done. What would you recommend as an alternative strategy?

    • Hey Shayna, I’m glad you liked the post and the book – thank you so much for the compliment!

      To answer your question, you could probably skip ahead to the sort of viral campaigns that are at the next step – just focus on stuff that doesn’t happen exclusively on your own site. In other words, you can work on the virality part, but you just need to make sure to be able to leverage traffic from other sources.

      Does that help?

      • Yes, makes sense. I’m currently experimenting with Cloud:flood and giving away a free grammar e-book, and I’m thinking of actually contacting some of the other websites and sending it to them as a free resource. Who knows, if they like it enough to post it on their own sites, it functions as a “guest post” of sorts 🙂

  57. Hi Danny,

    This is one of the greatest posts I’ve read and exactly what I wanted to learn! I’m currently working on steps 1 thur 4 and you have provided some extra tips in each step. I really look forward to proceeding to steps 5 and 6 soon when my blog is getting enough traffic.

    Thanks for providing such useful information that makes things more clear and actionable for me!

    • I’m so glad to hear that, Janus, thank you very much for your kind words! 🙂

      I look forward to seeing you in the comments here soon! 😀

  58. Pingback: Interview with Danny Iny from Firepole Marketing « Grow With Stacy
  59. What is the big take away? Don’t put the cart in front of the horse. Seriously though, people are in such a hurry to make money they skip over obvious steps. We have all seen the headlines of “make ungodly amounts of money in less than 24 hours”. Those people who fall for this don’t realize that it is quite possible to make a large amount of money, IF everything else is set up to do just that.

    • That’s really what it comes down to – trying to jump from zero to forty million in just a minute. That stuff never works outside of random flukes that can’t be predicted, controlled, or engineered. The fact is that if you go through all the steps, you actually end up seeing the greatest results in the least amount of time!

  60. How refreshing to read something real about building traffic and filling in the early steps. I found your site via Problogger – and thought I’d leave a comment after reading your very informative guest post on commenting – see, it worked!

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  63. Hey Danny,

    Great advice, thanks. I do have a question though. Do you think that the strategy needs to be altered when the target market is smaller? And if so, how? My target market is mainly personal injury lawyers in the UK, of which I believe there are between 5,000 and 10,000.

    All the best
    Matt

    • That’s a great question, Matt, and the answer is that yes, I think it does require a different strategy when the audience is so narrow. In that case, the traditional audience-building model just isn’t going to work, and something that’s much more traditional-direct-response is probably in order. 🙂

      • Wow ok, I’d better have a rethink then as I was going to focus on developing my website & blog as my main tool for business development! Good job I asked!

        • Definitely good that you asked. 🙂 Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that a blog can’t be part of your strategy – odds are, it can be a very *good* part of your strategy. It just has to be done differently. Do you want to talk strategy?

  64. Hi Danny,

    Might there be a post to follow on from your ‘consultation’ with Matt?
    That sounds as though it might be very helpful for a number of disciplines where there is interest in using a blog to promote what they do to a small niche as part of their arsenal of marketing strategies (though between you and me, most of them haven’t the foggiest what that means!!).

    I think the other thing to stress is that your guidance notes cut through the cultural difference between the UK and the USA, which much of the info in the blogosphere fails to do. I think Matt will be well advised to consider a consultation.

    BTW – I am from the UK too.

  65. Thank you so much. A really helpful article. Fort the first stages of the process but we have already been doing as advised here. The information about how to go further and the next steps is really valuable for us. Thank you so much.

    Kind regards,

    Sofía
    http://www.thecoolture.com

  66. There are no shortcuts when it comes to success. Be it online or offline. In order to reach that level, there are lots of work needed to reach that stage. Purchasing products that claimed to make money within a short while from the gurus usually meant to lure the newcomers into it, thinking that they can earn money on auto pilot without any work involved in the beginning.

    I used to have this thinking and I believe most of the people wants the easy way out to generate their income online. When I realized that I am not moving, this is when I knew that something was wrong. The main crucial thing that I have learnt is to provide value and establishing relationships with people that are in the same niche.

    I believe that these are the two most critical factors when it comes to building your group of community. There is no point if you have the content and no one is reading it. Therefore, these two factors correlate with each other.

    Once again, thanks for sharing this!

  67. This is a great post, Danny, and a great program to move forward. I’ve been blogging in my own little world and have organic traffic. You’ve outlined everything I need to it up and out to bring in more readers.

    • You’re very welcome, Chris, I’m glad you liked it! You might be interested to know that Sean Platt and I expanded this post to a whole Kindle book, called How to Build a Blog. It’s only $4.99 – you might want to check it out. 🙂

  68. Great article!
    Pay With A Tweet and CloudFlood are great, but now there is a better tool for that: SocLock (http://www.soclock.com/)
    1) Works with each of the 3 major networks (FB, G+, Twitter)
    2) Gives you statistics by channel (how many Likes, how many +1s, etc…)
    3) Completely FREE
    4) Does not require your email address
    5) Takes 30 seconds to configure
    Bye bye!

  69. Great post Danny!

    A fast traffic strategy we use, is to sell a simply product (like an ebook or mini membership site) upfront and then drive all of those customers back to our blog via email marketing. This gives us a few of major advantages over traditional bloggers:

    1. Fast traffic: Because we’re able to use PPC (unlike traditional bloggers), we’re able to generate immediate traffic. The product we sell upfront covers the cost of the PPC.
    2. Cash flow: The product we have for sale almost always makes some money upfront after PPC costs, but it also generates additional cash flow when these same customers and visitors go on to visit our blog.
    3. It allows us to set up joint ventures with other sites selling a product – a lot of these sites don’t even have a blog – but they are happy to cross promote. This alone sends us thousands of visitors each month.
    4. Licensing: We’re about to place our product on sites like clickbank, amazon.com, etc. and receive traffic back from them. Sometimes we don’t make much from Amazon.com, but they send a lot of traffic to our site. These people then go on to purchase either affiliate products or some of our other products.

    The bottom line is – it’s a very fast way to bring a lot of high quality fans to your site. You can take a new blog from zero visitors to 1,000 + visitors in a very short period of time.

    I’ve been using this strategy as a full-time blogger for over 10 years now!

    Thanks,
    Ansel

    • Hi Anselg, thanks for sharing that! It sounds like a great idea, and I’d love to hear more and share it with the audience here; how would you feel about writing a guest post for Firepole Marketing about it?

      Shoot me an email if you’re interested, and we can sort out the details. 🙂

  70. Thanks for the blog blueprint. I truly believe quality content is king. So many times I read a blog and all it is a prweb press release that was put out and the blog author just copied the press release into their blog. It’s not easy coming up with quality content and that is the reason that I feel blogging is down for a lot of companies.

    I get a lot of my blog topics directly from the questions my clients ask. If I get the same question a couple of times, then it ends up as a blog post.

    I like the idea of guest blogging, I will have to look into who would be a good fit for my blog.

    Thanks again for the great ideas.

    Brian

  71. Great Post! I’m just getting started, and feeling a little overwhelmed with all of the ideas out there. Love the foundational building strategy – and working on building an audience first.

    Thanks

    Michael

  72. Pingback: How To Build Relationships Through Smart Email Marketing & Guest Posting With Danny Iny
  73. Wow what an excellent post Danny!

    I think it’s great how you dismiss the idea of all the get rich quick schemes that are floating around on the internet. Unfortunately I bought into some of these products at first when I went looking for answers to my blogging failures. After realizing these products didn’t deliver on their promises, I decided that I would make a site all about truthful marketing and just being honest with your product promotion.

    I’m just starting out and don’t have any traffic yet, but I’m on my way to creating some great content.

    Thanks for the great posts and keep them coming!

    -Zach

  74. Pingback: 15 bloggers reveal: What is the most important mindset that an online entrepreneur needs and why
  75. Dear Danny Iny, I joined the stategy hunt, but had trouble figuuring out how to do a screen print. I put a comment on another blog on your site, but now I cannot find it . Your blog is great. I’ve put up a blog on WordPress some time ago and received a few comments. You told me how in this blog to start building an audience, and I’m going to try your suggestions, step-by-step. Thnaks for the help!

  76. Hey Danny, i didn’t think i was going to drop a comment here but you know what i just did, Any way this post i must admit is the most comprehensively insightful post have ever taken time to read. Big up bro 🙂 ,see you at the top

  77. “The point of this post is that the fastest way to grow a blog is by using the strategy
    that fits with your current stage of growth”

    This particular part really hit home. You really need to determine where you are and use a strategy that is appropriate for that area.

    I think some people aren’t sure where they are, so they have trouble getting things off the ground. Hopefully, with some of the advice here they will be able to move to the next step.

    Great information.

  78. Hey Danny,

    I’m just starting with my blog. Pretty clear that I can not build a house from the roof, but what about distributing a free EBook when starting your blog, with a payatweet strategy to boost visits once I have the minimum content?

  79. Hi Danny thanx for the excellent info. I’m still in my planning and learning phase and obviously I think about the cha ching stage who doesn’t but your advice has helped to keep my focus where it should be when I get to that point, getting all my ducks in a row before i shoot them for a glorious big feed. Once again thanx and Christ bless

  80. Danny..as usual great content..my only query is that I started reading The Most Advanced Blogging Technique You Can Master and got to the first paragraph when I was redirected to “figure things out the hard way” which brought me here..but doesn’t that make reading the first post more difficult?

  81. Hi Danny, I’m new to your site and so far finding it absolutely excellent!
    My website / blog has been going for over a year now and during that time I’ve read everything I could find, taken courses, tried many suggestions etc in regards to making it successful, without much success!
    Reading this post however has given me the most sensible ideas as to why I’m going wrong! I just wanted to ask you (or your followers) if you came across a blog that had been going for a while but has so few shares/comments does that put people off from reading/commenting or sharing it themselves? If so, how would you deal with that? Thanks!

  82. Thank you so much for this road map. I have just started getting serious about this and this will be great help. Also, the pay with a tweet is a excellent idea.

  83. Danny! I love your fabulous posts. Thank you for the link to this one via e-mail. I am printing your info graphic and I appreciate your wonderful insight. I also love your in-depth response to comments. Amazing! Thank you for sharing what you have learned!

  84. Very well done. I think a good visual metaphor is Geoffrey Moore’s technology adoption life-cycle. At first, the people who are reading a new blog are like the “innovators”, aka family and friends, plus a few others who are willing to take a chance on your blog. Then the “early adopters” come along, aka other small blogs. Now you have to “cross the chasm”, to the “early majority”. To do that, you need to prove your legit, aka borrowing from authority. Once you cross that chasm into the “early majority”, it’s time to scale!

  85. Thank you for sharing this information. I am working to improve my own blog, which I haven’t written anything for awhile but many changes and circumstances have prevented me from doing so. The blueprint you have shared will help a lot. Thank you.

  86. Great article Danny. It was actually sent to me by a 73 year old woman whom I’m helping to launch an online program designed to help children read. Totally blown away by her knowledge and expertise in online marketing but I guess it just goes to show you you’re never too old to start! Thanks for the tips.

  87. Hey Dannfy, Great stuff here. Many thanks. I have read a lot of stuff from many “experts”, but your approach really resonates. BTW I posted to both my Twitter and Facebook but didn’t get your download…wonder what I did wrong?

  88. I have less than 10 visitors a day. My blog is a specific niche that does not appeal to most people I know. My blog seems to be attracting mostly readers who initially came to spam it and later had encouraging comments/suggestions.

    Also, I do not blog every day because every three days is suggested for steady growth. My goal right not is to avoid losing the audience that is there so that I am at least not going backwards before actually launching as a business.

    Starting with people I know seems like a waste of time because most of those people are not part of my potential market.

    My blogging community is also a very small emerging niche. I know there is a market for what I do because the limited level of competition makes it possible for me to have a ginourmous audience without a more popular, more accommodated niche.

    Can I overcome this by bringing in donations for ads online and moving away from using guest posting as my sole tool? Is it possible to thrive in the blogosphere without using your business model and just drawing on your suggestions rather than following your formula perfectly? I worry that your formula will not work for me.

    • Hi Jacqueline,

      Without knowing your exact niche – it can be a little hard to weigh in – but I think the answer is – yes.

      The process that we teach works for a lot of people in a lot of audiences a lot of the time – but that doesn’t mean it’s the only way to do business, or to run a blog or the only way to find success.

      That said – I think you should determine the methods you use by the goals that you have. Will ads bring you the type of reader who is receptive to what you have to say? Maybe they will – it might be worth a try!

      I do feel though, that guest posting is still a strong contender for getting that initial warm traffic. You may not have a lot of direct competitors – but I’d wager that the audience you want – if they are out there looking for solutions are reading some blogs and spending time in some online communities – and if that’s the case, it seems a shame not to try and be where they are.

      Who IS that potential market? Where are they and how are they describing their own problems? I think if you can answer those questions, then you’ll have more information on the best way to reach them – through guest posting, or through something else.

  89. Where were you 3 years ago when I was starting out?? I so could have used this advice then. Since I am not making any money now I am going to start with step 3 (I already have anywhere from 20 – 80 visitors per day depending on the day of week)

    I am really excited to see how this plan works for me. Thanks so much for sharing. I can’t wait to read more of your posts!

  90. Being a complete ‘newbie’ – the information I have gained will give me the motivation to start my first blog. I will be following this to the “T” for my first venture and am excited to see how this will assist me!
    Thanks for all the information and motivation ,.

  91. Hey Danny,

    Although I started blogging about 5 years ago, I’m just starting to put this to practice LOL.. yes, I’ve invested in a couple of programs where they left out a couple of crucial steps and just realized this this year. Well better late than never right? Thanks for the share! Have a good one!

  92. This is easily the most useful post I’ve read on guest posting thus far (and I’ve been through upwards of 10 at this point). Thank you, Danny, for this fantastic breakdown of the stages of blog growth. I am a newbie blogger with several posts in the works but none on my site yet (and thus no traffic), and this is exactly what I needed in order to understand where to go while I’m too small to even think about many of the more advanced audience building strategies. I especially loved that each section of this post is “just detailed enough,” providing concrete action steps and simple explanations for why they matter, rather than excessive elaboration that simply gums up the message. Will definitely be taking cues from this as I refine my own writing style. 🙂

  93. Hi Danny,

    Thank you for making this process a REALITY for so many of us. I too have been a victim of wanting to build my business on the premise of a miracle and I didn’t have a foundation. Keep sharing your trials and successes with us.

    Amber

  94. Considering I’m on several different meds for my screaming back and can barely comprehend anything anybody says to me at this moment (but it IS temporary) I know this is a great article. I haven’t read anything by you that hasn’t helped me in one way or another. So, I am taking this article to the couch on my heating pad and will reread it with highlighter and make sense of it. Then I will sent you a note about how it really helped me!

  95. Awesome article, Danny! This month I’ve been writing those foundational posts (after many months trying to skip ahead) and this validates I’m on the right track. I especially loved the traffic signposts and what to have solid before I move to the next level.

  96. Thank you for yet another simple, practical post, Danny. I really enjoyed knowing I’m on the right track in my decision to build my audience slowly, rather than the self-defeating ‘skyhook’ scenarios of the blaring sellers out there.

    Side note: When I first read your reference to ‘skyhooks’, I immediately thought you were going to use a 70s rock music analogy (Skyhooks were an enormously popular band in Australia in that decade). 🙂

  97. This piece of content is amazing, Danny! thanks for sharing your wisdom and knowledge.

    I’m completely agree with you: if one wants to sell, one must promote first. I have no blog (yet).

    There’s a niche (only colectors) that I want to reach and I’m aware that I must first promote my content (I’m working on it) to get their trust. I’m creating my blog’s content and the product at the same time. I know this sounds crazy, but after reading this article, I realize that I’m not as crazy as some people think I am.

  98. Hi Danny, I’ve been thinking about starting a blog for years, even set up a home page, but every time inevitably became overwhelmed with all the information and often conflicting advice out there. Your article explains it all so well and makes it seem doable. Not easy, not overnight success, but definitely doable. Thank you for that!

  99. Wow, Danny. Pretty sure this is the first time I’ve commented on your blog, but have been following for a while. This article, though, is perhaps one of the most helpful pieces I’ve read. It really helps put everything into a clear picture of where you should be at and what you should be aiming for. I’m saving this one. Thanks heaps!

  100. Danny, This makes total sense. I enjoy podcasting more than blogging but I do each once a month. I talk faster than I type ;-). Can I get some tips on applying this process to podcasting? Or is it simply better with blogging. I average about 50 visits to my site a day right now.

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