This may seem like an interesting turn of events … but what I advise you and all the other bloggers out there to stop believing.
Sounds harsh, doesn’t it?
Now, what I actually mean here. This is not about stopping to believe that your blog can be successful, or that you can attract massive traffic and gain big – even mainstream – popularity. No, this is still possible.
I’m talking about smaller things. The things that happen when you read some post presenting yet another piece of advice on how to achieve this or do that in blogging.
Let me explain what the nature of the problem is. Most (quality) blogging advice being published these days is a result of solid research, testing, and tweaking various strategies until they’re finally starting to work.
The amount of time it takes to reach to a given level of expertise in order to be able to make truly good use of a specific technique can be significant.
And once a blogger wants to explain such a technique in a single blog post, inevitably, carrying it out will seem much easier than it actually is.
This is the core of the problem, believing that what has worked for others will work for you too, and that it will work overnight.
Now, I don’t want to focus on the “overnight” thing, as I’m sure everyone here realizes that there’s no such thing as overnight success. Even if your success becomes apparent overnight, it’s always a result of constant, ongoing work that has started long before “that” night.
Moreover, everyone’s situation is different. There’s just so many factors that determine our blogging success that it’s virtually impossible to point out some specific actions that have worked for a given person. It’s always a perfectly put together combination of things.
What to do, then, since we should stop believing?
First of all, I’m not the biggest authority on blogging out there, so feel free to disagree, but the approach I’ve developed over the years (and the one I’m about to show you) has helped me get a lot more clarity in what I’m doing, and allowed me to adapt each advice I stumbled upon to my own situation.
Stop listening to the same advice
Or should I say stop listening to the same advice with the same pair of ears.
The thing is, if you take a moment to look at a standard piece of blogging advice these days, you’ll find that everyone kind of says the same stuff…
Write quality content. Engage with your audience. Guest post. Be careful with SEO. And so on…
At some point, it starts to get boring, but only if you don’t pay close attention. For me, every advice you get is not about the what or the how. It’s more about why and what for.
What and how only gives you instruction on how to replicate a given strategy or method, regardless of the fact how much actual sense it has in your situation.
Why and what for gives you a broad look at the purpose of a given method, and it allows you to tweak it to match the distinct scenario you’re in. Only then you can focus on how to put it in practice.
In a nutshell: Focus on finding the purpose before taking action.
Don’t do the same things hoping for a different outcome
Was it Einstein who first advised not to do this? I can’t remember… Anyways.
When we take a look at this issue from a distant perspective, we can clearly understand that doing the same stuff over and over again, yet hoping for a different outcome is simply not an approach that can work.
However, once we get a bit closer, we often realize that we’re guilty of following such a mindset ourselves.
Don’t believe me? How often do you send promotional tweets to get people to visit your blog? Are you monitoring this to know if it’s actually working? How’s that guest posting going along? You’re getting 50 visitors from a guest post on average, does this mean that your campaign is working? What if you could get 1,000 visitors? And so on.
I know that simply saying something like “don’t do the same things hoping for a different outcome” is a cheap shot if I don’t follow it up with some additional advice, so here goes.
For me, the key here is to track whatever you’re doing. If you’re using Twitter as a promotional tool, track your performance down to a single tweet. If you’re guest posting, not only track your visitors, but also provide them with custom landing pages depending on the source they’re coming from.
These are just two examples, but the main message is this: You can only hope for a different outcome if you track what you’re doing and tweak along the way.
Don’t believe in a single way of doing something
Just because someone points out a given technique that seems to be sensible, it doesn’t mean that you have to replicate it entirely.
For instance, there are many ways to win a basketball game, right? Same thing with blogging. You shouldn’t search for a magic-pill solution. Instead, try to tweak every method you stumble upon, and (most importantly) question everything.
Be suspicious, be skeptical, but at the same time be humble and willing to test things out on your own.
I think that the best way to summarize this step is this: The advice you get shouldn’t be treated like tutorials. Treat it like inspiration.
Give it some time
Patience you must have (hope I’m doing my Master Yoda speech right).
Anyway, this is something you’re surely aware of, but I just want to remind it to you.
Nothing happens overnight, and that’s probably one of the main difficulties in determining a given technique’s success or failure. You never fully know what has worked and what hasn’t.
However, if you are willing to try new things, put in some dedicated work, and remain consistent for the long haul then I’m sure even you will be amazed at how many things you can achieve in the next 5 years.
What’s your take on this whole approach? Do you think that challenging the advice you get is a good way to build your success?
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