5 Things You Don’t Need For A Successful Blog
By: Taylor Davies

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When you take a look at the landscape of fashion blogging today, it can seem totally over-saturated. Our community is dense with content, overflowing with blogs and rich with talent. But how do you stand out? How do you rise above the blah? What is the secret of success for the bloggers that are fast becoming household names? (In households filled with fashion-minded girls at least.)

 

Guess what? I have no idea. There is no recipe for guarenteed success in blogging, or in any field really. It’s a wild, unpredictable, perfectly mixed, baked and served up hot mix of timing, talent, originality and desire. There are definitely certain strategies that you can employ to get the most out of your blog, reach more people and improve your site – if there wasn’t, IFB wouldn’t exist, am I right?

 

Here’s what I do know: There are some misconceptions out there about things you have to have for your blog to be considered “successful.” That term is certainly relative, and perhaps you consider your blog a success simply because you post on it often and you aren’t the only person reading it. I think that’s fabulous. So whatever your interpretation of success may be, let me at least tell you some things that you do not need to have a successful blog:

 

1. Lots of Comments on Every Post

 

I think that as bloggers we can get really wrapped up in the need for feedback on our posts. If no one has anything to say about it, was it even worth writing? It’s true that the amount of traffic different types of posts get can be an easy way to guage what your readers want to see, but just because you’re not getting 10 or 50 or 175 comments per post doesn’t mean your not reaching people or influencing them; especially when half those comments are just other bloggers’ URL’s and a “Follow me!” note. I’d rather have one genuine and thoughtful comment than a dozen of the kind I mentioned above.

2. Thousands of Followers

 

Truth? I have 312 followers through Google on my blog. That’s not 3,000 but it’s also not 30. I’m happy with this number, but working to grow it everyday. Additionally, my monthly uniques and my page views far exceed my followers, so just keep in mind that people are visiting your site but are probably too lazy to register as followers. Your traffic numbers are going to be the real gauge of how many people you’re reaching and how your blog is doing. Make sure to register your blog for Google Analytics (or something similar) and keep up with them weekly if your stats matter to you.

 

3. WordPress

 

It’s true that WordPress has many more customization options than Blogger or Tumblr, but it’s just not true that you absolutely should be on this platform if you want to have a successful blog. There are countless “big” blogs that use Blogger, from Atlantic- Pacific to The Man Repeller. Also consider Tumblr blogs like What I Wore and From Me To You. It’s all about finding a platform that works for you and the audience you want to reach.

 

4. Ads

 

Take a cue from Lawrence of Sartorially Inclined. The guy has never sold a lick of ad space and has thousands and thousands of readers and followers, and leveraged his blog into a successful career. You can absolutely be successful (and your readers might respect you more for it) without monotizing your site.

 

5. Partnerships With Brands

 

I feel like there’s a stigma in blogging that you really just haven’t made it unless a brand wants to send you free things or do a giveaway on your blog or sponsor a post. While  it can be really rewarding, fun and terrific exposure to partner with a brand or retailer that you love, it’s not the only thing that denotes success.

 

***

 

Editors Note:  As I’m sure you’ve noticed, different bloggers have different strategies for success, different elements of their site or of their social media that they use to grow their traffic and their online presence. Having some of the above qualities can make a blog popular. And in fact it sometimes does. I just feel like it’s important for bloggers who are on the cusp, just getting started or who have been at it for ages and still not global superstars – don’t get discouraged by percieved ideas of what you do and don’t need to make it as a blogger.

 

Choose the things that matter to you, and focus on them with unrelenting passion and diligence, and you will be rewarded. 

 

[Photo by Nando Alvarez, from IFBcon in September, 2011.]

 

 

Comments

  1. MJ says:

    Excellent post. I think at the beginning of a blogger’s journey, they should be focused on Content and interaction with the community first and foremost. Those things you mentioned above shouldn’t be a priority because then you get overwhelmed and discouraged very easily (and don’t make it to the six month mark!)

    As a blogger gets more established in the sense that they have a vision of what their blog is, are active in their community, and are producting great content on a consistent basis, then they can look at those things you mentioned and see if it works for them. I think the key to success is to do what works for you and your vision. That’s why there isn’t one clear cut way to be a successful blogger – we all have different visions for what we want our blogs to be.

  2. Sandra says:

    This is really great advice. It reminds us not to get wrapped up on all of these frivolous extras and just to blog because we love it. I firmly believe that if you write or share what really inspires or interests you then others will notice. Just continue being your truthful and lovely self fellow bloggers!

    xoxo

  3. Samar says:

    Love this!! Best advice for any blogger out there!

  4. This was really great advice. I’ve only been blogging since August and I’ve often found myself caught up in if I have enough followers or are enough people reading my blog. But if I sit and really look at my stats, I can see just how many people my blog reaches and it feels amazing. I may not have a ton of comments on each post but what I do are meaningful. Not to mention I’ve made some great friendships. Thank you for this post :)

  5. Great post.

    I am always reminding myself that if I try to copy other people then I am not being authentic to my personality and what I have to say.

    My numbers in Analytics keep improving and I keep setting goals for myself to keep improving things so I don’t worry about the number of subscribers or lack of comments, because I know it’s my visibility across different social media mediums that is the key to my growth over time.

    It’s just hard sometimes when you see people who suddenly seem to be overnight successes and have it all. I just remember that no one can see what went into them getting those things, we just see the end result on the blog.

  6. anne says:

    thank you for this.
    what’s important is to be true to yourself.

  7. Ashley says:

    This really is a great post. I have been blogging since August and have been looking for ways to “mark” my success so to speak. It’s easy to get caught up in the hoopla of it all and totally forget about why I started blogging in the first place- because I love it.

  8. lisa says:

    Great post! Success means different things to different bloggers and sometimes it’s easy to forget that.

  9. Ashe says:

    The bit about comments & engagement is SO useful to read. Lately I’ve felt the drop in engagement (or measurable engagement) and it makes me question aspects of my content– if people aren’t interested, does it mean I should cut it out? But I can’t really gauge that just by comments alone…

  10. Courtney says:

    I see no point in putting any effort into growing GFC if it’s going to be discontinued in March. What’s the point?

  11. Great advice. As a relatively new blogger, it really helps to hear this. I’m trying to focus on content for now, but can’t help feeling the pressure of getting followers/comments/partnerships etc. Just have to keep focusing on publishing posts I can be proud of.

  12. Great post, I think it’s nice to see a post that kind of goes against the norm of posts that focus on more..more..more. I sometimes get disheartened when my comments go down but this post made me put things in perspective.

  13. Synthetic says:

    Nice post, and just in time for me :)
    About followers: I follow many great blogs. For that I use a Firefox RSS reader plugin since it’s more convenient for me. I know many people follow blogs with their favorite RSS reader rather than google friendConnect. Personally, I have only “google followed” my friend’s blogs and a handful of my favorite bloggers who asked for it, just to show my support. That goes to show that the number of followers that you see on your blog does not necessarily represent the truth.

  14. Awesome post. To me, blog success is putting my thoughts in a post. I just realized this last night, that I blog as notes to myself. I was looking back at the past two years and didn’t even remember half the stuff I wrote.

    It was so awesome to remind me of things that were important to me and I actually have put some of those thoughts to good use.

    Oddly enough, my traffic has increased considerably, but most important I feel like I’ve come a long way and my blog helps me remember that.

  15. sherri says:

    Thanks! I really like the quote at the end. This makes me feel better :)

    sherri

    http://www.sherriamour.blogspot.com

  16. Really great advise, it does sometimes become a numbers game, but you have to remember behind every number is a person who followed your blog for a reason. Trying to keep that reason in mind is the thing!

  17. Emmy says:

    Another great post:) I’m also a fairly new blogger, and I will be honest and say that there was a time when I was jealous of those who have a lot of followers and commenters, especially those who have been doing it for shorter time than I am. It is great to put it in perspective. I always tell myself now that as long as I enjoy what I am writing, even if no one is reading it, then it’s ok. If anything, these successful bloggers are now a great inspiration.

  18. I agree with everything you posted, specially no. 4. Im by far hugely successful blogger but I love what I do. I began taking ads from a couple of fashion outlets until things began to get crazy. When they were running ad campaigns they wanted me to change the links on my blog. I dont have time for that so I removed them all and now I am so thrilled Im just sorry I didnt do it sooner :) Thank you for a lovely blog. Lizxo

  19. Stephanie says:

    This was a great post and very inspiring to me, being a new blogger. I will admit, lately I have been getting a little discouraged, due to not get lots of comments on each post, not having brand partnerships/sponsors, etc.

    However, this post made me really sit back and think and realize the reason why I started blogging in the first place – because I love it.

    What I’ve come to realize is that if you truly are blogging because you love it, stay true to yourself,stay active in the community and keep producing great content, then all the rest will come.

    Thanks for the “pick me up” and inspiration! :)

  20. Lien says:

    Great post!! IM just started.. Thnx for THE great advise!!

    ♥       ♥       ♥ 

    http://www.liensfashion.blogspot.com

    ♥       ♥       ♥ 

    Any tips? liensfashion@gmail.com

    xoxox

  21. Donna says:

    Great post! When I first started my blog I wondered how to get followers. Then I noticed that I had plenty of people coming to the page, they just didn’t sign up to follow. I don’t do that very often, neither, nor do I leave many comments. But I browse through blogs all of the time.
    I blog because I enjoy doing it. I’d love for it to bring in some money or a career, but if it doesn’t, I’ll still be enjoying what I do.

  22. Rebecca says:

    Another great post. I definitely think it’s important to get the most out of your blog for you. Like any form of art, it’s about self expression and creativity and those are very personal things. Though I wouldn’t mind free stuff, either. ;) Thank you for this post.

  23. Danielle says:

    It was very informative yet, encouraging to read this article. I’ve been blogging since june and a lot of the elements you mentioned mattered so much to me. With the lack of some of those elements I questioned if I could be successful blogger. Now I just blog for the fun of it talking about the things I love.

  24. Sucess is relative to the blogger´s purpose of blogging in the first place. If you are blogging full-time and your aim is not to one day receive an an email that you´ll be featured at Vogue, but to bring in dough, then selling ADs is something that you need.

    If you are a pro blogger and you´re keen in monetising it, then you need thousands of followers and at least 3000 unique daily pageviews in order to monetize it well at a right price. Also, having a lot of layal followers converts more if you are selling products.

    Therefore it´s more about evaluating your goals and your definition of success.

  25. Asia says:

    I really love this post. Bloggers should aim for building a community of genuine readers that enjoy your site and keep coming back for more.

  26. Agree with many of the comments, you need to measure your success from YOUR perspective! What do you want to get out of it?

    I do have to jostle your comment about readers maybe respecting you more for not selling ad space etc, it would be great if I was rich enough to blog full time for fun but I cant. So for me making a living from my blog AND being able to post interesting content AND having a vast readership is my way of being able to look at my blog and say, yes it is successful.

  27. Francesca says:

    that’s actually encouraging to continue blogging, especially if you did or do rely on those factors mentioned above.

  28. Tali says:

    After all, it’s all about having fun doing what you do.

  29. Mika S. says:

    This is a really great post, sometime I worry because I take my own pictures with my tripod inside my apartment that would stop me from getting a lot of traffic or followers. I am learning that this is my passion something that I enjoy doing, I may not bless with a photographer like the other fashion bloggers at the end of the day I enjoy posting my personal style with my 58 followers that is growing day by day . Thank you for your post, I really appreciate it and learned from it.

  30. Nicole says:

    I loved reading this article. It reaffirms my reason for blogging in the first place-it is fun! It is something I love to do! And, even if one person were following, what an accomplishment!

  31. Tracy says:

    Thank you for this! I have so been wanting to have my blog bring in some income, as I realized that I’m not able to work outside the home at this point in my life. I tried it last year and was constantly sick, but finances have become a terrible issue since I stopped.

    I really enjoy going out and finding backdrops and doing my own little “photo shoots,” then editing and posting my shots. I find it challenging, fun, and therapeutic. But, I have noticed that things seem pretty saturated, and have been discouraged at times. I keep trying though, because of the fact that it’s fun, and I hold the hope that if I could bring in a little side income from something fun, well, that would be amazing.

    I hardly blogged for most of a year last year, as working took everything out of me, but I’m back at it now. I know most of my family thinks I’m silly, lol, but I sure did miss it when I couldn’t do it. :)

    Anyhow, thanks for the advice. I do get frustrated about lack of traffic/comments, but I have only recently gotten back to it. I’m gonna keep going and see what happens!

    I wonder if there might be a niche out there for older bloggers? Maybe that could be my thing – although I’m not ready to dress like an old lady, lol. I’m almost 40 – so maybe I can inspire the 30-40 somethings and the moms out there who want to remain stylish?

    xx
    Tracy @ The Wardrobe Wanderer
    http://whimsicalwardrobe.wordpress.com

  32. Kailee says:

    great post, VERY helpful. And I couldn’t agree more about the comments! xx

  33. Fashion-isha says:

    This is so reasuring! True success is enjoying the whole blogging experience. Never forget why you started blogging in the first place!

    Thanks!
    xo
    Sharon

  34. SUCH a good point about comments. At first glance a blog can SEEM successful because it has 1,000 followers and 50-100 comments per post but upon closer inspection–it’s a bunch of phony ass kissing with the commenter hoping for the same. And the followers could be the “you follow me and I’ll follow you” type.

    Great article overall. That’s also good point about monetizing. Some people can get work through their blogs by using it as a brand, as opposed to relying just on revenue from ad space.

  35. Great post. Sometimes with so many success stories, it can be easily to lose sight of things. It’s not a competition, the only competition you are in is with yourself and everyone has different goals in mind and different definitions of what that “success” truly is.

  36. Jamie says:

    Wow, a great post! Success comes to those who work hard. Thanks for great tips.

    – success is a milestone, it’s not easy–

  37. Michelle Lee says:

    how do I know if I’m registered fr GOogle ANalytics? I think I sent it to them like few months back but really I don’t get the idea of registesring and googling my blogs to see what comes up? if anyone can help thanks!

  38. Ayah ♔ says:

    omg. super true again. many bloggers go for a lot of comments too. well, i get tired sometimes from commenting to others’ blogs. so, i dont really mind getting less of them.

  39. Janis says:

    Just getting started with mine… Thanks for some great points!

  40. MizzJ says:

    Thank you for this post! It can be highly frustrating and depressing when you get caught up in the whole cycle of trying to make your blog “successful.” For me, it took awhile for me to just let go of all that and just blog b/c I love to, go to events or be in partnerships b/c I want to, and not b/c of any strategic reason. Always try to remember why you started a blog in the first place :)

  41. Stevia says:

    Inspiring post, Taylor. I used to obsessed with comments as well but as I learn more (and posts more!) try to keep up with 100 comments are just too much so now I focus more on growing my followers, just like you!
    I do agree about point 5 the most! I know a blog or two who continuously holding a giveaway because there are so many brands want to sponsor it. As great as it is to give back, it can be a little dull sometimes when your post consists of giveaways or sponsored item. It feels like you’re losing your own voice.
    Anyway, just some silly thoughts ;p
    Great writing! Keep it up :)

  42. Great post with great tips! I especially like the little paragraph about comments – seems like many bloggers measure the success of their blog by the number of comments they receive.

  43. Aline C says:

    I’m trying to figure out my “strategy”, and I found this article VERY helpful :) Thank you SOOOOOOO much for writing and sharing!

  44. Sakura says:

    Do these partnerships make a blogger any less ‘independent’?

  45. rozziki says:

    Great post with some exellent tips.Do agree totally with the point on comments.
    Thank you for sharing :)

  46. Avatar of MonicaP
    MonicaP says:

    A good ‘pick me up’ post for a new blogger :-)

    Monica
    http://pear-shaped-gal.blogspot.com/

  47. Avatar of Lotte
    Lotte says:

    Really nice post! Could really use this kind off tips. I’m just a new blogger and a bit looking around. Sometimes its quite difficult to do the “right thing”.

  48. Avatar of Domenic Robert Bartlett-Roylance

    Thanks this makes me feel better about being a bit of a n00b lol.

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