You Need One Of These Two Things To “Really” Have A Successful Blog

When I decided to write on what it takes to have a really successful blog, I heard my friend Holly’s voice in my head and went to Alexa to see where this blog’s ranked. It’s always been controversial because, unless you’ve loaded their tracker tool, you’re never going to accurately know where you stand.

Does this guy look successful?

My thought about it has always been that you don’t need total accuracy as much as a random idea of how well your site is doing when compared to the rest of the world. We used to get that via blogging toolbars that gave us a lot of information at once, but unfortunately those days are gone; sniff!

I’m not going to lie; Alexa made me feel pretty good. It’s ranking my blog around 353,000 in the world; based on an estimate of more than 500 million blogs in the world, I’m not scoffing at that! Considering that my business blog is sitting around 4,300,000 or so I’ll keep my smile for a little while.

Being in the top 1% should be seen as a great achievement, wouldn’t you say? Well… it’s not bad, but it’s not great either. It’s not even close to elite. It’s good for what it is, but definitely not good enough. Why?

One, the blog doesn’t generate any revenue. It’s had its day, but that time’s passed. I don’t have enough consistent traffic or comments. In the last year, I had one post that got 72 comments, and another that didn’t get any; ouch! The one that got 72 comments was a one-off, as I was trying to prove a point and kept a lot of horrific comments to prove it. Throw that one out and my most commented on post had 31; and all of them include my responses.

We have to face the fact that the world of blogging has definitely changed since I started back in 2005. It used to be about the written word and making connections with others. These days, blogs with only images or products being sold might beat you in one way or another; the written word isn’t dead, but it’s dog paddling.

With that said, there are some very successful blogs, some of which need an expansion of thinking to consider them blogs based on old standards. Heck, these days a lot of women on Instagram are calling themselves bloggers when all they have are pictures of them in bikinis (I’m not hating; they have hundreds of thousands of followers, some of them millions).

I’m excluding sites like Instagram in this instance; let’s talk about sites with actual written words, since that’s still a prominent thing. What does it take in today’s world to be really successful, and what can we do about it.

In my opinion, there are two overriding things that can help a blog be successful. One of them is probably out of the hands of almost all of us. The other is possible, but unwieldy; let’s take a look at my perspective.

The first way to have a really successful blog is to already have a prominent presence in the world. It doesn’t have to be as big as Tom Cruise or Halle Berry, but it does have to be somewhat well known. One of the most prominent blogs belongs to Seth Godin, which I’ve only ever visited twice (the 2nd time today since I wanted to copy the link lol). He writes about a lot of things that people are drawn to, yet he doesn’t accept comments, which is contrary to my beliefs in blogging. Then again, if I got the kind of traffic he got, would I do the same? It’s an interesting question; I’ll have to think about that a bit more.

The second is to have a blog with multiple writers and multiple articles. The most successful blog of all time is Huffington Post. It’s in the top 20 sites in the world. Not only does it have multiple writers, but it has multiple articles on a daily basis. I don’t know if they’re getting paid now, which might change things, but it was greatly popular a couple of years ago when they weren’t getting paid, so I doubt payment is what most of the writers care much about.

On a smaller scale with the same idea is Harleena Singh’s Aha! Now blog. It’s grown massively since she first started, with lots of writers, lots of topics and definitely lots of visitors. I don’t know how successful it is monetarily, or whether she has help running it, but Alexa has her blog ranked around 104,000; very nice!

Here’s the thing to consider, which I’m saying before anyone else does. The idea of “successful” differs with each person either doing it or visualizing it. For instance, I could call myself a successful blogger because my business blog will reach 16 years in February. But if few people are reading it, let alone commenting on it, does it qualify as successful across the board?

I could also call myself a successful blogger based on how many articles I’ve written on all of my blogs and the blogs of others over all these years. I’ve even made money off blogging, though right now most of that is gone (unless some of y’all check out the couple of products I promote over there on the right; go ahead, I won’t judge lol). I even have a famous name, though I’m not the one famous for it (curse you John! lol).

Heck, let’s call it what it is. Based on longevity, creativity, and experience, I’m definitely a successful blogging. Based on monetary history, visits, rankings and publicity, I’m not “really” successful. But I’m moderately successful, and I’m good with that for now. If I change my mind, y’all will be the first to know. 🙂

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12 thoughts on “You Need One Of These Two Things To “Really” Have A Successful Blog”

  1. You’re definitely a successful blogger – so glad to see you have continued joy in blogging through the years! I think part of blogging is also the joy of writing, which is something you surely have too. I think when it calls, we can’t run away from the call of being a blogger!

    1. Thanks Christian, and welcome to the blog! I go back and forth about the term “success”, but overall I know I’ve had a lot of fun doing it and have talked to a lot of people over the years and around the globe. It’s nice having a place where I can write unfiltered and unedited by anyone except me, which I’d never get anywhere else. And I met you; hi! 😉

  2. First of all, you know how I love being a little voice inside your head! Makes me feel like Jiminy Cricket.

    Second, I love this photo! YES, the guy looks successful – not to mention vaguely familiar. And colorful. All those FOWD photos can’t hold a candle to original, real, relatable YOU.

    Every time I hear about some famous personality or celebrity who has a billion adoring fans they can afford to ignore, I get this really annoying earworm of “Let’s Go” by The Cars, with the following line stuck in my head:

    “She’s so beautiful now, she doesn’t wear her shoes”

    I’m already barefoot; I’m not chasing anyone through the brambles till I put on my NB running shoes. Oh, wait – that’s too much trouble. Let me just finish this comment…

    Do you know that our mutual friend Rasheed actually told me, this morning, that I should “pitch a column to the Houston Business Journal”? The same man who’s been trying to convince me I should adopt a “freedom lifestyle” for the past few years tells me, now that I’m retired, that I should write for HBJ? My reply wasn’t very nice, I’m afraid. Something about ripping out fingernails sounding like so much more fun.

    You and I know what it takes to build a “successful blog” and could probably do it if we were driven like a Ferrari. Right? There’s a happy level of “success” and then there’s “blow an engine at 225mph”… I dunno. I’m kind of happy to take a slower lane and cool myself in the other guys’ draft, some days.

    Still having fun? Then keep blogging. That’s my definition of a “successful blogger” these days. Oh, hang on while I check… this is me, this morning.

    Global 238,597
    United States 83,757

    You’re catching up. I might have to write a thing, over here. 😉 And it’s really over 600 million blogs – I think you didn’t read the whole thing closely, because those dweebs are counting Tumblr (no offense, Tumblrers, but those are more like blurts than blogs). There are only an estimated 60 million wordpress blogs (seriously??)

    But really, now I have to go write a thing. Especially now that you’ve given me a link and all. Good gosh, feels almost like the olden days.

    You know what’s going to be interesting about those blogs with multiple writers? What’s going to happen if Section 230 gets repealed, do you think? It’s going to be a LOT harder to write for them. It’s going to be a lot less lucrative for hosting companies to host fly-by-night spammers, scrapers, and other unscrupulous bloggers. We might even have to get insurance (oh, God forbid, but I can see it happening) just to open a hosting account. I’m torn; I’d welcome a LITTLE reform of Section 230, but not wholesale repeal, because private companies and individual writers won’t be eager to assume the costs and risks associated with it. I hope that any repeal also adds some real teeth against frivolous lawsuits.

    That said, it might also mean a return to paying real writers for real writing – because some of those multiblog sites run as businesses will need reliably good, truthful, original content. And they’re not used to having to produce it all themselves. Or even edit it all that closely.

    SEO challenges…you poor man. Here’s a challenge – outrank the more famous “Mitch Mitchell” for your own name on Google! LOL (Hey, I have an imaginary monster who, at last check, outranked a staid-looking German company more than 10 years after the book was launched… and know fewer than 2000 copies of my book have been sold, to date!)

    Seriously, though, “success” is whatever YOU define it as being. For some, it’s earning their first billion dollars. For others, it’s having enough to feed a family of eight without holding down four jobs. Somewhere in between, it’s raising those kids to be decent humans. Developing a vaccine for COVID19. Caring for an aging parent at home. Writing a novel. Teaching a child how to cook. Ultimately, I think it’s “whatever brings you joy.” We don’t all have to be billionaires or win the Nobel Prize or have a gazillion daily visitors to our blogs – it’s enough, some days, not to hold a match to the world’s powder keg.

    1. First, this is another classic comment; thanks for that! lol Second, I’m not coming anywhere close to the number of words in my response. I am going to touch upon a few things you said however; that’s prudent and a great bit of fun. 🙂

      I was giving the term “blogging” a bit of leeway because after I went to my black blogger conference back in ’16 I found out that except for me everyone else was doing something else on their blogs other than writing, and that threw me off. I even mention that most of the models on Instagram (yeah, I check some out; so what! lol) call themselves bloggers. I was stunned about the 60 million on WordPress because I’ve always assumed it was larger. I was also stunned to see that Blogspot only has 675K blogs; they used to dominate the blogosphere (I wonder if anyone uses that word anymore).

      Regarding being found for my name alone, it’s not gonna happen. I did a quick search for me and in straight up general terms I’m #38 but because of Twitter. I’m not listed anywhere for either of my blogs or for health care, which is maddening, but my name comes up at #68 when mentioned as a consultant; that’s something. Luckily if I put in my entire health care keyword phrase I’m in the top 10, top 5 if job sites aren’t included… so there’s that.

      Finally, I don’t see Section 230 being appealed, but it could always be modified. I have mixed emotions on that one, mainly because the last two weeks have shown that if social media does its job with extremism that it has a great effect on those who participate in the lies. Now if we could just get Hannity, Carlson, Dobbs and Bartiromo off Twitter I’d be a happier guy (okay, I’m blocking all of them, but still…).

  3. Hi Mitch, yes you are a successful blogger as you have stuck with it and write from the heart. I’ve always admired your blog here. I love Seth Godin’s blog too as I subscribe via email, as I do with yours. I’ve probably been subscribed to yours for a decade, thus I would call you a highly successful blogger Mitch.

    My ranking is 134,000 worldwide and 78,000 in the US – you made me look after reading this 🙂 I’m not sure how much weight that pulls today along with DA and such.

    1. Thanks Lisa. You’ve grown more as a blogger since you became self employed, but you have a bit more time to concentrate on your content that way. Actually, your first comment on this blog was in 2015, but you’ve been a consistent presence and I thank you for that. 🙂 You’re definitely successful yourself!

    1. Thanks Ramana, but I think we’ve proven that you’ve written more articles than I have on your blog, whereas I have more on multiple blogs. I see you as successful because you’re writing what you want to write and you’ve found a consistent and loyal audience. You just keep on writing until I decide to hang it up, and I’m not planning on going away for at least another 15 years. 😉

  4. I’m one who has blogged for myself. The fact that a handful of other people enjoy my content is a plus. Success, then, means finding happiness with your results.

    As you know, I ignored all that SEO hullabaloo, since 2005. I mean, from the perspective of gaining followers, anyway. I did, until recently, use WordPress tools to make my Google blurbs look the way I wanted them to, or so I thought. None of that matters, because I just send links to my family and friends when I want to share something.

    Now, one word I will ascribe to you, Holly and a few others is consistency. As you said yourself, you’ve been doing this forever! LOL That’s as good an indicator of success as any.



    1. That’s good stuff Mitchell. I figured you eschewed SEO because you mainly served up stories, and it’s hard to SEO a story unless it’s on a specific topic… like SEO! lol I’ve written a few stories here and there and I always knew SEO wasn’t going to help any of them show up on search engines. Truth be told, I’m always wondering why I’m more popular on Bing & the Duck than I am on Google. Maybe Google’s still mad at me for those Text Ads I ran back in ’11, though that would be petty.

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