What is a “successful blog?”
Each person will give you a different answer. Everyone starts blogging for different reasons, and has different expectation of what they'll get from their experience. For some, defining what it is that gives you a gratifying experience of being “successful” gets tricky. Whether it's getting invites to fashion shows, getting flown around the world, or getting your first comment, everyone has their markers for what success means. I know personally, I'm super hard on myself, and am always pushing to do better. Finding those moments to reflect on everything that I've accomplished since I started blogging can take a little more conscious effort than it should. So, with that in mind, I'm sharing a list of things to look at so defining what that personal “success” means. Hopefully it'll encourage you as it has me.
This photo was taken from a sponsored international trip to see a fashion show, but it's not the only measure of success for my blog.
You are happy with your content
This is one of the most important measures of success… there is one thing that is more important than this, and we'll get to that later. What is the point of blogging if your content makes you miserable. While this may seem like a “duh” reason, believe it or not it is VERY easy to go down paths that take you away from what makes you happy. All those “freebies” come at a cost, favors, working with brands you don't like, pandering to an audience, there are lots of little things that can get you to a place you hate with your blog. A successful blog is where you're happy with what you write about, and bonus if others like it too!
You see consistent growth with your traffic
Traffic is not the be all and end all to success. However, it's a good measure that you're doing something right when you see growth. Perhaps your readers are spreading the word, your content is interesting and engaging, and it's resonating with others. Steady growth is an indicator you're on a good path.
Engagement is increasing
Engagement is a tough game these days, as it's getting more and more competitive, and people are engaging in different ways, ie on social media instead of commenting, or sharing, etc. Engagement can also mean click-throughs on your site. Perhaps tracking links or hosting contests to see just how engaged your audience is, and go from there!
You've made new friends
Ah, friends! It's one of the added bonuses from blogging that you may not expect, but can turn out to be the best thing ever. Establishing long-term friendships is one of the things that has kept me in this for so long. After all, community is what makes blogging so great.
You are making money with your blog
Money… like traffic, is not the be all and end all measure of success for your blog, but it does indicate a successful model that you can either live off of (which is great) or that you have developed a monetizable blog and it's working out well for you. Besides, tracking dollars is easier than measuring engagement!
Your readers love coming to your blog
You're getting genuine comments and emails from people saying that they really love your blog and or it's helped them in some way. Those emails always feel amazing, and if anything the most encouraging thing you can receive.
Your blog opens new opportunities
If you're sitting there thinking, “I would have never been able to do this if it weren't for my blog.” That's a measure of success. Whether you're seated front row at a fashion show, being flown on a trip around the world, or going to a store opening, press event or even interview someone very cool, there are all kinds of experiences and opportunities you can find with your blog.
Your blogging has pushed you to grow in unexpected ways
Before I started blogging, I was generally shy, afraid to ask for what I needed and didn't really think I had something interesting to say. Blogging had changed that for the most part. If your blog has pushed you out of your comfort zone and you have grown as a result, that is a measure of success. Do not discount this measure, it's an important one!
Your blog has met your personal goals
Setting goals is an important part of knowing you are on track to finding personal success. If you meet your goals, no matter how small, or or how big is certainly one of the easiest ways to determine the success of your blog.
Your blog makes you happy
Being happy with your blog IS the be all and end all measure of success. You can have all the money, traffic, popularity in the world, but if you're hating every moment of it, what is the point? Keeping track of your contentment with your blog will keep you way from feeling contempt for your blog. With every goal accomplished, with every post written, ask yourself, “Am I happy with this?” I cannot tell you how many times I've experienced external signs of success with ALL of my blogs that did not make me personally happy. Each time I had to take a step back an assess where things went wrong and try again. If you're not happy with your blog you're not successful with it, so even though it's at the end of this list, make it the first measure of success on your list.
How do you measure success on your blog?