I wouldn’t call my life a big raging success, but I’ve set out to do lots things and I’ve achieved some of them. This is the 100th article published on Unbound Investor, so I’m going to spend the rest of this essay pretending like I know something about blogging and perseverance.
I’m not sure what I’m trying to say in this article, I just wanted to reflect on what it took to get to 100. Here are some of my random thoughts and lessons:
- New bloggers spend a long time writing to nobody
- 10 articles is more than it sounds like
- Keyword research is super important
- It’s much easier to write what you already know than it is to write about something you need to learn
- Making your first dollar online is super exciting, but your second dollar is not very exciting
- The more success you have, the more stuff you realize you need to work on
Anyways, here are some insights into my approach to reaching 100 articles.
It’s Hard To Write 100 Articles
This blog is about 10 months old, and I don’t think it’s any secret that the initial joy of starting a blog wears off quickly.
I was able to power through my first 10 articles or so with plenty of enthusiasm. But within a month, I experienced the same phenomenon that probably every human has experienced in their life at least once. The results weren’t apparent, and the work I was putting in felt pointless.
Ever started a diet or workout regimen and your body didn’t change as fast as you’d hoped? That’s how it was with blogging. I was writing, but nobody was reading.
I followed bloggers and watched YouTube channels and I knew that it would take time to gain traction, but somehow reading about it and living through it are two different things.
When you first start out, you have to get used to the idea of writing to nobody. Can you write 50 articles to no one? That’s basically what it takes to get a blog on its feet.
How You Measure Success
Your expectations are perhaps the most important aspect of persevering through difficult times. If you expect to be getting 300 pageviews in 6 months and you get 75 pageviews in your 6th month, then it’s going to be hard to keep going.
If you measure your success by looking at things outside your control, like pageviews, then you’re setting yourself up for disappointment.
I prefer to measure things that are in my control. Things like:
- How many articles you write
- How many words you write
- How much time you spend working on your blog
- Whether your writing improves over time
- The lessons you learn
If you set a goal to write 50 articles in six months, that’s a goal that very few things can prevent you from achieving that goal.
Everything Else Is Feedback
The pageviews, the sales, conversion rates, performance in search, visitor engagement, and all those things that are primarily outside your control are just feedback on how well you’ve done writing.
You can write 50 articles, but that doesn’t guarantee that you’ll have any success.
Obviously these are ultimately the metrics that create income on your site, and so they are very important. I look at these metrics regularly, but I tend not to create many expectations for them. I use them to tell me whether I’ve done a good job or not.
If I’m getting lots of pageviews to a particular page, then I like to look at that page for clues. Why did that page do well? Do some more research around that keyword and re-read the article to see if I did anything unusual. Find that article on search results pages and see if I landed a Google snippet.
When you have pages that do particularly well, you can try to repeat the success. And when you have pages that never catch on, try to learn why. Maybe you targeted a bad keyword or targeted a keyword that was too competitive. Maybe your content isn’t good enough.
It’s incredibly important to track as many metrics as you can, so you know how your blog is performing. Just try not to look at all that data and think of a given page as a success or a failure, just look at it as an opportunity to learn more about your craft and improve over time.
My Technique: The Streak
I’m still quite new to the world of blogging, but I told myself that the goal of my first year should be to get better at writing. I set a goal for myself to write for 1,000 straight days.
I started my 1,000 day streak 287 days ago. At first I told myself I just needed to sit down for 30 minutes each day and write. But as time has gone on, I’ve gotten slightly more ambitious. I try to write 1,000 words per day.
I’ve found that I can write 1,000 words in about an hour if it’s a topic that requires minimal research.
Like most things in life, my actual growth as a writer, and the growth of the blog has been slower than I’d hoped. But when I look back, I can see quite clearly that I and my blog are ahead of where I was 287 days ago.
I think the streak method worked for me because I told myself there’s no excuse for not writing. I’ve found it easier to maintain an every day streak than it is to workout 3 times a week, because there’s nothing that allows me to take a day off. There are no excuses, and the longer the streak gets, the more I want to keep it going.
It took me about 10 months to reach 100 articles, and the reality is, a lot of those 100 articles are failures. But I have learned a lot, and I have confidence that my next 100 articles will be more successful than the first 100.
If you continue to build off what you done and worked towards in the past, then you will succeed.