Struggling to Successful – How To Break The Barrier

This post was guest blogged by Ryan McLean of Smarter Wealth, the smart way to wealth.

Everyone that has ever had an A-List blog started out as a struggling blogger or entrepreneur. Everyone who made the big time with business in any sphere started out as a struggling entrepreneur.

The problem is a lot of people get stuck in the ‘struggling’ and never make it to being ‘successful’. Personally I have been stuck in the struggling for quite some time now. But I am now taking the necessary steps I need to take in order to build my blog from being a struggling with blog with less than 100 subscribers to a blog with over 1,000 subscribers.

If you have already made the big time then this is not for you. I have not made the big time yet (I want to be honest with you), but I am on my way. But if you haven’t made the big time yet and you are stuck in the ‘struggling’ area earning less than your fare share of income then this post (and this blog is for you).

So lets go ahead and talking about breaking the barrier because so few people tend to break it. Many give up before they break through and start seeing some real success. These tips are things I am doing to ensure that I break through.

What Is The Barrier?

The barrier is your cap, it is the roof above your head. Your blog or business grows to a certain point and then it seems to be capped. The grows slows down or stops completely and you don’t see any breakthrough.

In a blog this is the start of the blog. It is slow starting a blog, no one knows you, you aren’t in the search engines and you have less than 100 readers so no one is going to link back to you. Once you break this 100 reader mark then it starts to become easier because there are more people reading your blog so more people will link to your blog and it will grow faster (this is exponential growth).

So How Can You Break The Barrier?

Some count it as luck to be a blogger with a large readership. However, I do not. I believe there are specific things that can help you become a successful blogger. These tips I am about to give you are not the standard tips about building a blog such as build great content, connect with readers etc. This is about taking your blog from a great blog with no readers to a great blog with readers (and lots of them). It is assumed you know the basics about blogging.

Guest Post A Lot

Take advantage of the traffic other blogs have. Bloggers love people to guest post because it gives them a break from writing content. Make sure you write top quality posts to be submitted as guest posts and then submit them to bloggers starting at the top down. By this I ean starting with the big bloggers who have a huge readership (such as John Chow) then if they say no move down to bloggers with less traffic. This way you can try and get the most for your post.

Tip: When guest posting make sure your posts on your blog are engaging so the new readers coming through will stick around.

Run a Viral Competition

Running a competition is a great way to break the barrier in your blog. The most important thing is to run a Viral competition. A viral competition is a competition that spreads like a virus. Give people entries for blogging about your competition or linking to your competition. This gets the word out and more people will become involved in your blog.

Tip: When starting out don’t aim to get everyone to subscribe to your RSS get everyone to link to your blog. Then the new traffic will automatically subscribe to your RSS is your content is good.

Comment Like There is No Tomorrow

Commenting is a great way to get your blog notice both by the writer of the blog and the readers. When you comment you should always comment like you would guest post. Don’t spam, but write useful comments, then people will visit your site.

The more comments you have around the web the easier it is for people to find and access your website. It also helps in your search engine rankings.

Tip: Being the first one to comment will give you more exposure. Use an RSS reader that automatically updates every 30 minutes or less so you can know when new posts come through and you can comment.

Reinvest Into Your Blog

When you earn money from your blog don’t spend it but reinvest it into making it better. Get a custom design, get an ebook cover made up, pay for some advertising to your site. If you continually reinvest into your site then it will continue to grow giving your more to reinvest into.

Tip: Adbrite offers full page advertising for as little as $0.001 per impression.

Respond To Your Readers

People who never respond to their readers grow their blogs a lot slower than people that respond to their readers. I make an effort to respond to every single comment on my blog. I want my readers to know I am there to help them and I want to build a community. This helps keep readers coming back to your blog and means that you can build it up over time and break that barrier

Be Generous

If you give you will also receive. The blog-o-sphere runs so well because so many people link to each other. If you want a blog to give some exposure to you then give some to them. Link to them and (especially if they are a smaller blog) they will link back to you (or at least check out your site). When you give something of value to people then they feel a certain obligation to give something back. Use this to your advantage and give as much link love and free site reviews as you can and you will likely get some back.

The hardest thing to do in blogging is blogging when your site isn’t growing like you want it to. Do these things and it is likely that you will take your small blog from a small blog to a big blog. Then once your blog is bigger it is easier to make it even bigger.


57 thoughts on “Struggling to Successful – How To Break The Barrier”

  1. Natalie says:

    Saying something controversal which pisses people off on your blog is a great way to get return readers as well. 😈

    Sometimes a hater can be a more dedicated reader than a fan. 😎

    1. That is for sure. Howard Stern proved that years ago with his radio show. The people that hated him listened for hours longer than the people that liked him.

      1. Brad says:

        I visit my competition daily…. to see what they are up to.

        1. Thanks a lot for the specific suggestions to increase traffic and readership.

          1. Ah, dead on, especially about the guest posting. Never underestimate the power of building credibility with thousands of potential subscribers.

            Gosh, I can’t even discuss guest posting without making it seem obviously awesome. 😛

    2. Ha ha! So if I say something to piss you off, will you be a dedicated reader on my blog? 🙂

      By the way, just visited your blog, and I enjoyed reading it. I’m adding it to my blogroll.

  2. Kiniku.net says:

    I don’t really do much to get my readers back in track. In fact, some readers especially feeders by email don’t always comes back if i set a full rss feed.

  3. Great post I really enjoyed that. I fell that a lot of blogger give up once they hit that ceiling becuase they feel they can’t go any further. Its all about marketing and selling yourself to others.

  4. Stephen says:

    I didn’t know you could “to” successful, like the mail. I thought you had “to be” successful 😆

    Linkbait for people with good grammar and spelling. Gets them every time. Damn it! 😀

  5. Very good article! I know alot of people that refuse to link to other’s blogs because they view them as competition. This definitely hurts more than it helps, especially in the long run.

    I’ve always like the old saying, “Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer.” I’m not saying other bloggers should be your enemies, especially not the top bloggers in the industry, but they are your competition, so use them when you can, learn from them, and you will go far.

  6. Awesome post, I’m going to try to use these tips to bring my blog to the top. I know it takes a lot of time and patience which I have so hopefully I can get out there as well. If anyone wants to check out my blog, drop me a line if you do and I will gladly visit yours. I love reading blog posts. Blog on guys.

  7. Cash Gators says:

    I honestly believe that a blog with great content will sell it’s self. I see a lot of new bloggers these days that are writing a lot of irrelevant posts and while this kind of thing might fly when you’re an advanced blogger with a ton of viewers, it will not as a new blog.

    When you’re new and trying to break the barrier as you call it, people are coming to most likely check out your writing style and to see what you have to say.. you should never blow it just because you wanted to write something you thought was “cool” and is irrelevant to your blog.

    1. Vlad Balan says:

      Of course a blog with great content will market itself, but the main difference is the time it takes to get to a specific level. I mean, for example, why wait 2 years to get 1,000 RSS subscribers, when, with a little extra work you can do that in less than a year?

  8. Great post! You summed up everything you need to do to market your blog. It takes a lot of work to make a blog popular to where it is bringing in large amounts of traffic, which I think is every bloggers goal.

  9. Ed says:

    I had a blog for a couple of years and built it up to 10000 visitors a month and more, doing loads of posts and having fun. The readership grew organically but slowly, mainly because I think I was paying lip service to networking. Although I am a good salesman in real life, online I am actually a private person and being chummy with lots of people and being in the social crowd doesn’t come easily, so i did my best, but hit a ceiling of readership. In hindsight, I should have brought someone in on the “business” of marketing. I could have carried on writing and setting the tone and direction of the blog, the other person could do all the networking. 50% of something would be a lot better than 100% of nothing. In fact, thinking aloud, someone could still come in on it!!!!

  10. Richard M says:

    I’ve seen the “comment like there is no tomorrow” suggestion and I’ve had this debate several times. While I agree its a reasonable way to get some exposure I don’t see that it really drives that much traffic. Obviously any extra traffic driven is better than nothing but the amount of time spent versus the return just isn’t there. As for search engine juice, most blogs nofollow their comments so you aren’t gaining anything there 😐

    1. Vlad Balan says:

      While there are several ways commenting on other blogs can be good for traffic and SEO (CommentLuv, Top Commentators, etc.), these are only side effects of commenting on other blogs. The most important is that you’ll get exposure, people might recognize you in some completely different circumstances, not to mention that you might get lucky enough to be noticed by the blog’s owner.

    2. I disagree with the commenting not driving alot of traffic. I’ve only just started my blog on the 25th of August, and now having only posted my blog on MyBlogLog, Cre8Buzz, and Blog Catalog, and spending the rest of my time commenting on tons of posts, I’ve already started seeing a sharp rise in unique visitors each day. I’m already a little over the 100 visitors a day mark.

      Commenting on other’s blog posts has driven alot of that traffic.

  11. Right now I’m just trying to read as much as i can on John Chow, Shoemoney, and uberaffiliate. I post a lot and I definitely notice the traffic.

  12. Thanks for the tips. I have a few mass traffic bringing Ideas in my head but I need to pump out the content before I implement Operation Traffic Tsunami. Having a flood of people hitting a low content Blog won’t do much good.

    👿

  13. Reinvesting into your blog is smart. You can market your blog much easier.

  14. Glblguy says:

    Ryan, great article and was a good reminder for us that aren’t just starting out too. Must admit, I don’t respond to comments as much as I used to…I really should though.

    Nice to see someone in our personal finance niche featured on John Chow too! Congrats!

    1. Vlad Balan says:

      You really should respond to your readers’ comments. People who think that there isn’t someone out there reading their comments will leave your blog for sure.

  15. Ryan McLean says:

    A big thanks to John Chow for featuring me on his site. I really appreciate it. Thanks for all the great response guys

  16. Great tips. If anyone is interested in trading guest posts let me know.

  17. These are actually really great tips. Much better than the rash of articles that just say “network with other bloggers”
    Anther couple that I would add are:
    1. Get real with your readers, make sure they see you as a person and not a posting robot, people are interesting but articles not so much.
    2. Get into the places where your readers would be. Comment to others in social networking like Twitter, join groups in Stumbleupon for your niche and add your Squidoo stub pages to the various groups in Squidoo. What I am saying here is to make sure that people that you should know and peiople that should know you are all together. Let the people know about your blog this way and you will be much more likely to get your posts seen.

  18. Great tips and nice post! Cheers to making the big time!

  19. Lawrence says:

    there’s an ideal song for this post.

    Title/song: Break on Through
    Artist/Band: The Doors

  20. cucoalmeria says:

    Grandes consejos que he tenido que traducir con el Google Traductor. He aprendido mucho con tu blog, sobre todo con el post de ganar un poco de dinero con otras empresas además de Adsense. Un saludo desde España.

  21. SEO Genius says:

    Good post however there were quite a few punctuation mistakes in the post. Usually they dont bother me however it was more grammar and was rather annoying.

    However overall great post.

  22. Roger says:

    True. Speedy communication is a must. People who never respond to their readers can’t be a succesful entrepreneur. Brad, which competition?

  23. Your competition is your best business partner if not gas stations,and drug stores here in the u.s. would not build right across the street from one another.

  24. soares says:

    John really,you make me crazy,everything you write its inspiring and its really true (ok almost everything 😆 ) and since i found your blog im a daily reader and subscriber….thank you John 😈

  25. kenny says:

    Last paragraph is great. Whenever I see cool stuff on other people’s blogs, I’ll link to it. I just hope people return the favor! :mrgreen:

  26. Ron says:

    Great article! I’ve been struggling for quite some time now, I really hope I get over my cap! Thanks for this!

  27. Dan Mihaliak says:

    Good post. I believe when commenting on someone elses blog you should treat it as a tryout for a guest author job.

  28. Just a heads up as well to anyone who comes over to my blog from John Chow. I am running a “Top commentor” competition. SO comment and you could win $50.
    Thanks again to John Chow…he’s the man!

  29. 100kjob says:

    John sets a perfect example here of being nice and generous to people and people reward back with exploding traffic and subscriptions. What a win-win post!

  30. great post ryan, i’m actually struggling to “break the barrier” with my own blog at the moment. these tips will definitely help out! i’ll start right here with tip #3, “comment like there’s no tomorrow” 💡

  31. VeRonda says:

    John… so encouraging!

  32. Hi Ryan,
    Thanks for this post. I found it very encouraging because I think I have hit a ceiling or something, and it’s good to know that you can get through it. I am just about to invest in a new theme and update the look of my blog, I am just picking out the theme! I am also looking at way to advertise my blog more.

    You tips have been very helpful.

    Nick

  33. John all i want to say is “thank you very much ” i’ve been reading your blog maybe about 1 year now. every time you post something i always learn something new…so thanks bro.

  34. My first experience writing a blog was almost like how you mentioned it. I started writing a lot of posts. Driving a lot of traffic to it the first month. Then I got impatient because the traffic wasn’t coming as fast as I wanted it to. I guess you can say I was caught in the barrier. I wanted instant gratification. So I abandoned it and moved on. Not a good idea when I look back. The little traffic I generated which was mostly organic started creating activity on my blog. People started posting comments and I made a few affiliate sales. This was 3 months after I abandoned it. Now imagine if I just kept going and pushed through the barrier. It was a valuable lesson. With all my projects I now try to exercise consistency and patience. Very important if you want to make a living out of this and be around for awhile.

    1. Vlad Balan says:

      Patience, my friend, is a virtue 😉

  35. Nebraska SEO says:

    I think the most important thing related to breaking the barrier is making the conscious decision to actually do so. So many people set up a blog and dream about making johnchow.com-type money, but never put a plan in place to make it happen. Then they scratch their head and wonder why it’s not working.

    Plan your work and then work your plan!

  36. Lets not forget forum signatures 😈
    I get anywhere from 25 to 50 uniques a day from a couple forum posts, if your not incorporating forums as part of your blog traffic and grwoth strategy your missing out big time! Do it!

  37. Beth says:

    Thanks for these tips. I am going to get going on them! I think carving out the time to actually work on my blog is the biggest thing. Now I have some direction on what exactly to do, lol.

  38. Ibdreamy says:

    I’ve been blogging for 7 years on Live journal and just recently started blogging on my own domain with WordPress about a year ago. Becoming popular on Live journal was easy I had well over 1,500 “friends” and it was a blast. I never made money from my blog but that wasn’t my goal.
    Now in my new blog Divageekdesigns.com I’m trying to write a more mature less personal blog and I’ve posted a lot of really good content in my opnion but I’m having a horrible time with getting readers and getting comments. Not sure what I’m doing wrong. maybe some of you could check it out and give me some tips on what you think I need to change? That would be awesome.
    Oh and I totally agree with the first comment about controversial posts bring in the hits but I don’t want to have to be controversail everyday just to get a few peeks…HELP!! Advice? 😳

  39. Michael says:

    These are great tips especially for beginner-bloggers like myself who do not even have their site up yet.
    I have registered my domain and will be going live in a few days; I stumbled upon Yaro Starak and through him Problogger Darren Rowse and then through him John Chow and a host of others.
    The tips you give out here – for free as advised by Yaro, Problogger, John Chow – are great and reinforce similar ones made the ‘Triumvirate’.
    I agree that every blogger is unique and brings his / her own style which should be nurtured and cultivated till success attains your efforts.
    I have always liked writing and never dreamt I would start a blog; I am testament to what faith in self, discipline and hardwork can achieve. Of course faith in the Almighty is the most important.
    Over the last few days I have immersed myself in Yaro, Darren Rouse and John Chow (the ‘Triumvirate); I have learnt the essentials of bloggiing; choosing an ideal platform (WordPress); how to start a fresh blog, the importance of an ‘About You’ page; writing great content and great pillar articles; authenticity; I could go on and one. And of course the mantra is to ‘comment, comment like crazy but not crazily.
    One common theme running through several posts by the ‘Triumvirate’ is that blogging like all things require commmittment, dedication and discipline. Success does not favor the fortunate as we are wont to believe; success seeks the prepared and the diligent.

  40. Nice one. It’s amazing what controversial posts can do for your blog.

  41. Ryan, these are GREAT tips! Not all the same old, same old you see on so many blogs. Thanks!

  42. AverageGal says:

    I’m a firm believer that the more you give the more you get back in return. I love the points about commenting and also guest blogging. Who doesn’t love good content added to their blog. Nice article!

  43. Kenji Tay says:

    Great Article On how to break through barrier and become a successful blogger. I guess one of the most important thing is building relationships as mentioned in “respond to your readers”, “guest post” and “be generous”. After all- blogging is all about sharing.. no ?

  44. pearlin says:

    This is my take on starting a business: 21 reasons why starting your own business is similar to prostitution:

    1. You are both after money.
    2. The more clients you have, the more money you’ll make.
    3. You have to look good.
    4. It is tiring work.
    5. You have to be careful who you deal with.
    6. There are good days and there are bad days.
    7. Competition is stiff.
    8. The better you are, the more business you’ll get.
    9. Looks are not everything, service is more important.
    10. You don’t need a degree.
    11. Experience is not required.
    12. Relatively low cost to start.
    13. You have to work weekends and all through the night.
    14. You lose touch with friends and family.
    15. Marketing aka “pimping” is important.
    16. It’s lucrative.
    17. You don’t need a business plan.
    18. Self-improvement is key to survival.
    19. You can stand to lose everything.
    20. It helps to have “connections”.
    21. More assets = more value.

  45. Michael says:

    Very good point. This is something I needed to hear. I am in that “struggling” / startup period of my blog and just need the motivation to keep working at it and get to the successful stage with my blog! I will keep at it till I make it!

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