Everyone knows that compelling content – storytelling with a point of view – brings readers to a blog.
Everyone knows that applying search engine optimization (SEO) expands readership for a blog.
But no one talks about patience.
I suppose patience isn’t very glamorous.
Our society gravitates toward instant gratification and speed. Usain Bolt has become a global brand, but do you know who won the marathon at the London Olympics?
My personal experience in building a blog demonstrates the power of patience.
I started blogging in November 2008. As you can see in the graphic below, it was a tough slog in the early going:
For more than a year, my readership consisted of my mom, friends and a few lost stragglers. It was a humbling experience.
Thinking about the Albert Einstein line, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing twice and expecting a different result, I decided to try some new things at the start of 2010, not the least being to post on a more consistent basis.
The first real breakthrough came in early September 2010 when a friend and colleague, Steve Farnsworth, a.k.a. @Steveology, asked me to participate in an experiment. Steve, Todd Defren and Paul Roberts and I wrote on four different communication topics over a four-week span. Thanks to these colleagues pointing their readers in my direction, I saw a significant jump in traffic that didn’t disappear after the 4/4/4/ series ended.
Since that time, it’s been a slow, albeit satisfying grind to build the traffic to what I consider to be meaningful (not that my mom isn’t meaningful).
I thought the No. 1 factor behind the growth was the return visitors.
Check out a breakdown of traffic sources in 2010 compared to 2012 (through Oct. 31)
Traffic from organic search has almost doubled in less than two years.
That’s what I mean by patience.
It takes patience to stockpile enough content to bring more relevant readers to your blog.
Nieman Lab discussed the challenge for media properties with readers increasingly arriving through their side doors, not the home page. They’re often searching on a timely news topic. As media properties strive to appease the search engine gods, a certain commoditization of news has occurred.
Bloggers don’t have to go down this route.
The beauty of effective blogging is that much of your content over time will relate to an evergreen topic with relevance to your target audience, which results in people finding your posts months or even years later.
Thanks to search, the viewed pages on my blog in 2012 through October have roughly doubled the total number of page views in 2010.
It just took a little patience.
By the way, the winner of marathon at the London Olympics was Stephen Kiprotich.