Instantly Growing a Blog

By on February 12, 2008

Growing a blog takes time. Maybe even several years. Or can it be done almost instantly? Recently there have been a few examples of bloggers building a significant audience almost immediately. Skellie launched AnyWired and racked up 1,100 subscribers in just 5 days. David Airey started Logo Design Love with a successful first week that included over 450 subscribers.

Of course these two blogs are the exceptions, but there are some lessons to be learned. Skellie and David certainly aren’t the only bloggers to accomplish this feat, but they are two current examples. In this post we’ll look at some proven methods for accelerating the growth process for a new blog, as well as some of my own opinions on the matter.

Here are 5 methods for instant blog growth:

1. Start a 2nd Blog on a Related Topic

Both Skellie and David had successful blogs before their most recent blog launches. Each had a few thousand readers and a loyal following that was immediately interested in anything new that they created. By starting a new blog in a related field, a higher percentage of current readers will subscribe to the new blog as well. This not only makes it easier to increase the subscriber count, but it also dramatically helps to start with an audience that already has a great deal of trust and respect for the blogger, something that will otherwise take much more time to develop.

Of course, this is only an option if you already have an established blog in the first place. While it doesn’t help everyone, it does clearly show the learning curve that exists with blogging and it is a demonstration that building a blog becomes easier with time.

2. Tell All of Your Contacts

If you are an existing blogger, you probably have a number of contacts and friends that you have developed that share similar interests with you. All of these people are potential readers of your new blog, so be sure to send them an email to let them know about your new project and many of them will subscribe.

New bloggers may also have plenty of friends and contacts that would be interested. Have you been working in the field for a while and developed a network? Do you have friends and family that might be interested in the topics you cover? Do you visit community-related websites or forums where you have gotten to know others online that might be interested?

3. Social Media

While social media visitors typically have a short attention span and are less likely to subscribe than other visitors, social media can still be an effective way to instantly jump start a new blog. Last week I launched my 2nd blog, and while I can’t claim the type of success of Skellie or David, I feel like I had a pretty good first week, primarily due to social media. I received 15,000 visitors in 4 days and almost 100 subscribers.

If you have been using social for a while this is a great option. You probably have an idea of what type of content does well and maybe you even have some strong profiles at some of the major sites. If not, maybe you have a friend with a good profile that would be willing to submit your content. StumbleUpon is especially useful for new blogs. You don’t need to be a “power user” to get great results, and the traffic will continue for longer than it will with Digg or other social media sites.

4. Giveaways

Freebies are always good for growing traffic, links and subscribers. Free e-books or other downloadable products are especially popular. This technique is used by many bloggers, but rarely by new bloggers to correspond with a launch. I think this is partly because of the time that it takes to create a successful e-book, plus in some cases new bloggers aren’t yet knowledgeable enough to create a truly high quality resource.

My opinion is that a great giveaway would be an excellent way to boost exposure for a brand new blog. Those bloggers that have success with giving away a free e-book will often get the word out by emailing other bloggers in the niche to ask for some help or promotion. With a high quality e-book this could be a good way to introduce yourself to other bloggers and to build some buzz around your blog launch.

5. Hire Writers

Freelance Switch has grown to over 20,000 subscribers less than one year after launch. Collis and Cyan started the blog and they have paid a number of other writers to keep Freelance Switch constantly producing top-notch content. If you are willing and able to approach the blog as a business and spend some money without and immediate return, hiring qualified and respected writers will do wonders for a new blog. Ideally you’ll want to find writers that are well-known in the industry that will automatically attract readers to your blog.

6. Partner with Someone Else

If you don’t have the contacts that other bloggers might have, maybe you have other valuable skills that would make you an ideal partner for another blogger. You may be able to find an established blogger that is looking for a new opportunity. I don’t have any specific examples for this, and I don’t think it is done very often, but I do think it could be effective in the right situation (if anyone has an example please share in the comments). Multi-author blogs are becoming increasingly popular and many bloggers, as we have seen, have multiple projects going on at once. If you can find the right situation to work with an established blogger for mutual benefit it could lead to fast growth for a blog.

What would you add?

What are your thoughts about blog growth and the time that it takes? Do you have experience growing a blog quickly, or have you seen other examples that you can share?

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About Steven Snell