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The Secret of Blogging Success

What makes a blog successful? Why do some blogs thrive while others struggle to attract any kind of readership?

If I knew the answers to these questions, Mark Evans Tech would be a TechCrunch or a Mashable as opposed to a modest little writing project that chugs along on enthusiasm, curiosity and early-morning coffee

My thoughts about blogging success versus blogging anonymity were sparked by a recent article in the Toronto Star about “1000 Awesome Things”, a blog devoted to putting the spotlight on life’s small pleasures – e.g. the smell of a bakery, catching food in your mouth or taking a spin on grocery cart.

The blog isn’t rocket science or amazing prose but, for whatever reason, it has resonated with people to the tune of 40,000 visits a day. Please don’t take my description as criticism because the writer, Neil Pasricha, has hit upon a wildly successful formula that has led to two Webby awards and a book, “The Book of Awesome”, that comes out this week.

The blog’s success is one of the reasons why blogging is so intriguing, exciting and mysterious. With no barriers to entry, the blogosphere welcomes with open arms anyone and everyone looking for a public platform. In theory, anyone has a shot at becoming a blogging superstar by simply having the right content at the right time that captures the imagination of lots of people.

Another great example of this phenomena is “Stuff White People Like”, which became all the rage by being different, quirky, irreverent and entertaining.

On the flipside, a blog that my brother, Sean, and I wrote for about a year called “Four Reasons Why” (which has disappeared into the digital ether) had very little success even though we thought it was creative, original and different.

Four Reasons Why offered four reasons about a wide variety of topics such as “Why Ketchup is Better than Mustard”, or “Why Thanksgiving is the Best Holiday of the Year”. It was a labour of love that eventually ran out of steam partly because the audience was so small.

1000 Awesome Thing’s success demonstrates one of the awesome things about blogging – the fact that anyone has a shot of making it..and making it big.

What do you think makes a blog successful? Are there any secrets?

More: Speaking of blogging and success, Tumblr has sort of rejected the idea of embracing advertising, according to the LA Times. “We’re pretty opposed to advertising,” said founder David Karp.

About Mark Evans

I'm the principle with ME Consulting, which provides strategic and marketing services to startups and entrepreneurs. This includes strategic and tactics plans, core messaging, brand positioning and content planning and creation.
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  • Kevin Restivo

    Hey Mark,

    Good post.

    I’d say time to market is a success factor too. You’re a case in point. You started blogging way back when so you had a better chance to develop a large following than say someone who starts writing about the same things today.

    Keep on blogging,
    Kevin

  • http://www.growthtimes.com Greg Boutin

    Sometimes the answer is simple (but hard for geeks like us as it relies on emotional intelligence): Entertainment factor.

    That’s it.

    The difference between 1000 Awesome Things, Stuff White People Like, and Four Reasons Why is that the first 2 are a fun, distracting, light read, whereas the latter sounds – if you excuse me – a bit more dorky, serious, almost like work and learning.

    It makes sense that people will refer a post like “What White People Like: Picking their own Fruit?” much more than “Why Ketchup is Better than Mustard”. In a nutshell, the first one sounds way funnier.

    This is stuff that’s obvious to good copywriters, that’s why I love to work with them.

    • http://www.markevanstech.com Mark Evans

      Greg,

      Well, we tried to make 4RW fun and entertaining, although it did touch upon some serious topics as well. I do agree that distracting and light are good formulas for mainstream success.

      Thanks for the comment.

      Mark

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  • http://www.bpwrap.com/ Barry Welford

    I believe there’s a very simple reason why 4RW did not succeed. It was the number of reasons that made it just ‘too heavy’. I wager that if it had been 3 reasons why, it would have had staggering success. 3 is a magic number. 4 begins to look like a serious list.

    • http://www.markevanstech.com Mark Evans

      Barry,

      Now you tell me. :) Thanks for the comment.

      cheers, Mark