How to Grow Your Blog from 0 to 1,000 Subscribers in 30 Daysby Rachel Adnyana
Want to know how big-name bloggers grow their blog subscribers so quickly? In this article we reveal the secrets to success of five hugely successful bloggers and map out a blueprint that you can follow to build your own blogging empire. Interested? Then read on!
Why are Blog Subscribers So Important?
The value of your blog can be measured almost directly by the number of subscribers it has. Subscribers are valuable because they are a ready and willing audience who have already demonstrated that they’re interested in what you have to say. After all, nobody subscribes to a blog that has no value to them.
Once a subscriber is on your list, it not only makes it more likely that they’ll read your new posts (subscribing to a blog is just like subscribing to a magazine – you’re much more likely to read it if it’s delivered to your door than if you have to buy it in a shop); but also, dedicated followers will be more receptive of marketing messages, more likely to buy products you produce or recommend, and more likely to follow you to new sites and other ventures that you may start.
Whatever type of blog you have, whether it’s to support your main business website, to make money through affiliate sales, or purely to provide value to readers on a subject you’re passionate about, focusing on growing your subscribers is the key to success.
In fact Jon Morrow, former Associate Editor of Copyblogger and considered by many to be one of the world’s most talented bloggers advises you not to even start blogging until you have 1,000 subscribers. How do you get subscribers for something that doesn’t exist yet? Keep reading…
Building a Successful Blog
Blogging is a tricky game to succeed at and only a very small percentage of bloggers manage to grow their mailing list into triple figures. Hundreds of new blogs are started every day and many more are abandoned just as quickly. Many people start blogging with dreams of becoming the next Jon Chow or Darren Rowse and are discouraged when they pour their heart and soul into their blog for many months and their traffic and number of subscribers never seems to rise.
Publishing great content is of course important, but it’s only part of the puzzle. A successful blog not only contains great material but also markets itself well. By putting a little (or a lot) of effort into marketing your blog you can push it to success much earlier – maybe even within a month, than the years it would typically take for a blog to grow a dedicated audience naturally.
You’ve probably read quite a bit of advice on how to convince people to subscribe to your blog and may have a fair idea of your rough strategy. But 1,000 subscribers in 30 days? Impossible? Think again – building a wildly popular blog in double-fast time is indeed possible and there are several examples of people who’ve achieved it in the past:
- Help desk software startup, Groove built their subscriber list to over 5,000 in just five weeks.
- Sean McCabe has a highly niche specific blog about hand lettering and typography and yet he still managed to grow his subscribers by over 2,000 in just 72 hours.
- Derek Halpern, grew his blog Social Triggers by over 2,000 in 27 days and built a brand new list from 0 to over 1,000 subscribers in 28 days.
- Stephanie Pollock grew the list for her business success blog by 1,500 in just one week.
- Jon Morrow built his first blog, On Moneymaking, from 0 to 1,000 subscribers in 60 days. He then went on to help grow copyblogger.com to 170,000+ subscribers and his new blog, Boost Blog Traffic to 13,000 before the blog had even launched.
A Proven Strategy for Success
We’ve done all the research for you and compiled all the advice given by these top bloggers into one handy guide. So if you think you’re ready to supercharge your subscription rate, grab yourself a cup of coffee and get ready to take notes – all you need for success is here:
1 Find your unique identity
There are hundreds of thousands of blogs out there, clamoring for attention of readers every day of the week. What makes yours special? In writing it’s said there are only a handful of basic plots in literature and every book and movie regurgitates these same plots over and over again. What makes the difference between having a bestseller and a flop is presenting a new twist on the same old plot and the same goes for blogging.
If you’re writing generic posts that could slot into any blog, you’re never going to make it as a blogging superstar. Likewise, you can’t just copy Techcrunch or Perezhilton and try to emulate their success. You need to find your own space in the blogosphere by drilling down your focus, figuring out your unique selling point and injecting personality into your blog posts.
Don’t water down your identity by trying to appeal to everyone. It’s helpful to decide on one “ideal” reader – this may be someone in real life or an imaginary character. When you write a blog post, imagine you are writing it purely for this person and forget about trying to please everyone. Your authenticity will truly shine through and this will be much more engaging for readers, whether they agree with everything you say or not.
2 Be Bold
If you sit back and wait for people to sign up to your blog, you may be waiting a very long time before you reach those 1,000 subscribers. You’ll notice big name bloggers make sure their sign-up form is right in your face when you visit their blog. This is often in the form of a pop-up, or at least a really obvious sign-up form, right at the top of their side bar.
It’s also an effective strategy to remind people to sign up for your list at the end of each post. If you don’t ask, you don’t get, so don’t be afraid to ask people to subscribe when they’ve finished reading your article.
Readers should never have to look hard to figure out how to subscribe – make it blatantly obvious with highly visible sign-up forms and a variety of ways to follow your blog. Not everyone likes to read blogs through RSS – others prefer to follow along on Facebook or get posts sent straight to their email inbox. So as well as a direct link to the RSS feed, make sure to offer an email subscription (you can do this easily with Specific Feeds) and clear icons for the social networks you use such as Twitter, Facebook and Google+.
Be bold both in your blog design and the words you use for maximum effect. Utilize clear calls to action and be unapologetic about it.
3 Attract and Leverage the Power of A-list Bloggers
If you want to grow your blog fast, one of the most effective ways of doing so is by tapping into the power of bloggers who have already achieved a certain level of success. These so-called “A-list” bloggers already have thousands of readers who value their opinion and recommendations.
Once you get accepted into the inner-circle of A-list bloggers, they’ll help you out by promoting your website, sharing your articles and giving you mentions on social media. Not only will these messages reach thousands of people but as these bloggers have already proved their authority to their readers, people are much more likely to trust in what they have to say.
So how do you get into that inner circle? In many cases it’s easier than you may think. Most big-name bloggers are just ordinary people who are more than willing to help out other bloggers further down the ladder, if you are producing something of value.
The best way to get the attention of these blogging gurus is by first of all showing an interest in what they have to say – leave insightful comments on their articles that add value, share their blog posts on social media and send readers their way.
Once you’re on their radar, pitching a blog post can be an excellent way of getting a boost in blog traffic and new subscribers. Guest posts showcase your writing and provide a preview of your blog so they should be your best posts, not just a dull rewrite of information that’s already on your blog . Also think about what’s going to provide the most value for the readers of the blog you are posting on and write with them in mind.
You can also create a joint venture (JV) with other bloggers and A-listers which can be a great way of launching any new product, whether it is a course, an e-book or a blog. A JV brings the skills or assets of two or more people to the table and gives you the advantage of exposure to the lists of all the other people you are partnering with.
Never be afraid of approaching big name bloggers – the worst they can do is say no. The people who are the most successful are those that take action, not those waiting around until they’re more ‘worthy’ of an A-lister’s attention.
4 Build Anticipation
Anticipation is one of the most powerful techniques in marketing and can be used to great effect when building a list for your blog. Way back in the early days of the web, it was common to put up an “under construction” landing page for your website while it was being built. These fell out of fashion for good reason (an animated gif of a construction worker doesn’t exactly scream professionalism) but holding pages are now back with a vengeance, with one major upgrade – an email capture form.
It’s human nature that we don’t want to miss out on anything, so putting up a simple “coming soon” landing page with a short teaser about what you’re offering and an email capture form can be an excellent way to gain subscribers before you even launch your blog. These so called “viral landing pages” have an impressive conversion rate. Of course you still need to get the word out or nobody will ever find your page, which is where the A-list bloggers can come in handy, as mentioned above.
If you can build scarcity into the offer – even better. People love the feeling of exclusivity. This is the reason why invite-only software launches are so successful, as users end up literally begging to be let into the club.
Offering a webinar is one of the most effective ways to combine anticipation and scarcity. Webinar software only allows a finite number people to join the webinar so scarcity is built right into the system. Plus webinars run in real time – put a sign-up form up on your landing page with a countdown ticker for the date of your webinar and watch the subscriptions come rolling in.
5 Give Your Readers a Reason to Subscribe – Create Truly Epic Content
Of course, all of this advice will have little to no effect if your content isn’t up to scratch. Good content is the cornerstone of any successful blog and it’s vitally important to make sure everything you post is well-written, insightful and offers value to your readers. You need your website visitors to know that if they miss one of your articles, they’re really missing out.
Headlines are also important. Study copywriting techniques for creating appealing headlines and learn a few tricks to make your content read and shared more than ever before – this is the key to creating content that goes viral.
The bloggers I’ve mentioned in this article achieved success not only because they are savvy marketers but also because they know how to meet the needs of their readers by providing valuable content. If you’re blogging purely to make money or get more hits to your site, your blog will feel flat and inauthentic. Always put your readers first and think carefully about how you can provide the most value to them.
Plan Your Attack and Grow Your List
If you’ve read what we’ve had to say so far closely, you’ll notice that careful planning is one of the main themes that run through all the advice. Some bloggers stumble on success after years of bumbling along, while others go off with a bang from the very start. The difference? Those that plan are more likely to succeed.
We’d love to know if you’ve had success with any of the above strategies so leave a note in the comments to add your own observations. And as we like to follow our own advice, don’t forget to subscribe to the Specific Feeds blog for more articles about blogging and productivity.