Blogging is many things to many people and the personal blog is only a recent invention. It is younger than the mobile phone and the personal computer… in fact it has been with us for less than 15 years. The term “weblog” was coined by Jorn Barger in 1997 and was broken up into the phrase “we blog” by Peter Merholz in 1999.
In essence the blog is the digital version of a diary, a magazine or even a newspaper. It allows people to document their life, their passions and their interests. A blog is a type of website and according to Wikipedia there are currently over 156 million blogs globally. If you compare that to the number of websites (according to Netcraft that has been tracking the growth of the web since 1995 there are over 324 million websites based on a May 2011 survey). These numbers put into perspective how pervasive blogging is in the 21st century.
A blog provides the perfect platform to write, post photos, embed videos, receive comments and with the rise of the social web, the blog is providing the foundation and pulpit for people to spread their ideas and showcase their expertise.
So why has the blog resonated with people and why do people blog?
Why Do You Blog?
Early last year I ran a survey to ask people “Why Do You Blog” and the top 4 reasons according to the 766 people who have voted so far.. and I am leaving out blogging for business, are the following.
- Share with others – 17%
- Passion – 16%
- Self Expression – 12%
- Put Forward New Ideas – 10%
These are the main drivers behind people’s motivation to create and publish a blog.
Successful blogs that started small are now mainstream media and attract millions of readers every month and are becoming publishing platforms in their own right.
3 Highly Successful Blogs You Can Learn From
Huffington Post is a blog that was started by Arianna Huffington as a left- leaning blog and now has 20 vertical areas including religion to technology and it is about to add travel. It was recently sold to AOL for over $315 million.
What are some of the numbers for Huffington Post prior to its sale to Yahoo to provide some perspective from its entry 5 years ago to its current success?
- Over 50 million page hits per month
- More than 12 million unique vistors in May 2010 according to Compete.com.
- Moderates 3 million comments a month using 30 moderators
- 50 Editors
- 21 Verticals
More reading: 7 Secrets Of The Worlds Largest Blog
Peter Cashmore began the Blog in July, 2005 in Scotland and it is now approaching its 6th birthday and claims to have
- Over 3 million unique visitors per month
- Achieves monthly traffic of over 6 million (according to compete.com)
- 489,000 Fans on Facebook
- 2,290,000 followers on Twitter
Mashable success was the driven by the 2 core elements of passion and hardwork.
More reading: How Did A Blog Reach 2.6 Million Followers?
Michael Stelzner is the author and founder of the highly successful blog the “Social Media Examiner”
In 2005 he started a blog called “Writing White Papers” which was quite successful… its tag line “How To Capture Readers and Keep them Engaged”. He wrote whitepapers for Microsoft, FedEx, Motorola and Dow Jones. In just over 4 years he had just over 25,000 email subscribers. So he had obtained some blogging experience that provided him with basics of what to do and not to do with a blog. In late 2009 he started Social Media Examiner.
- 13,000 people visited the site within the first 2 weeks
- January 2010 (only 3 months after launch) he had 10,000 email subscribers
- January 2010 he had 55,000 unique visitors to the blog
- In February 2010 (less than 5 months after launch) the site was rated as the number one small business blog on the planet by Technorati
- It currently generates nearly 500,000 hits per month according to compete.com
- Less than 12 months after launch he has an email list of over 30,000 subscribers
More reading: The 10 Secrets Of A Successful Social Media Blog
So these are some examples of the potential that can be realized if you are willing to seize the dream and make it happen.
So how can you make your blog into a vehicle that fuels and keeps your fires burning, promotes your topic and markets your personal brand? How do you emulate those blogging behomoths?
How Can You Apply Success To Your Blog?
Here are some ideas to get you thinking. You may need to get up a bit earlier or go to bed a bit later to implement them.
How can an author use a blog as their pulpit to sell more books and get ‘discovered’? A writer without a blog is like a salesperson without a telephone.
- Publish excerpts from your books as posts
- Display your writing skills
- Link to your books on Amazon
- Exhibit awards that you won to display your credibilty
- Promote to a global audience
- Put your book into Kindle format and publish it on Amazon at a lower price than the hardcopy
Artists & Photographers
Artists are often waiting to be discovered and a blog can provide that channel to market your work that can be global and instant.
- Write about tips for up and coming artists
- Display high definition images of your artwork on your blog
- Showcase up and coming exhibitions of your work
- Publish your photos to the social media image platform ‘Flickr’
Musicians & Bands
Musicians quite often play in quiet bars and deserted pubs to audiences that number in the single digits. Take control and use your blog to promote your music don’t wait for a promoter to ‘turn up’!
- Upload music so it can be played on your blog
- Create and publish a music video on your blog
- Showcase a successful gig
- Upload the music video to YouTube (the second largest search engine on the planet)
Consultants & Speakers
Consultants and speakers sell knowledge and expertise. A blog is a perfect channel to display that.
- Publish posts that showcase your insights
- Write articles that cover topics that are hot within your niche
- Upload videos displaying your speaking skills
- Publish your PowerPoint presentations to the social media presentation portal ‘Slideshare’ so that Google can find you a little more easily
What a perfect opportunity to start a blog! All the time in the world between those interviews to continue to learn, keep you up to date and sharpen your expertise.
- Write posts that you always wanted to write but you never had the time
- Research and write articles about the latest trends in your industry
- Write a book one post (chapter) at a time
Are you waiting for someone to “pick you” to publish, or are you ready to curate, connect and lead you own tribe of fans, readers and viewers and wrangle your own audience?
A blog that is socially web enabled and promoted is all you need. What is holding you back?
- Is Blogging The Future Of Publishing
- Blogging For Dummies
- 23 Steps To Build Your Personal Brand
- 10 Steps To Promote Brand You With Social Media
- 105 Tips To Make Your Blog Rock
Image by Behrooz Nobakht