North X East

From Zero to Hero – Quickstart blogging

A while ago I wrote a post called Good to Great – Why Some Blogs Succeed and Others Don’t, now lets look at why some blogs seem to hop on the fast track and attract readership right off the bat.

When I launched this blog in early February this year I naturally noticed other similar bloggers starting around the same time and because I am such a competitive person I kept tabs on some to see how my progress compared. Pretty quickly I saw more than a few vanish or slow right down as they discovered how much work blogging actually entails. A whole bunch of others did averagely well and are still going well with growing readerships and continuing content, these guys are the norm. In the final group though are a handful of bloggers who just seem to attract success, in particular and using the metric of subscriber numbers:

  • Chris Garrett of has grown a readership of about 1400 readers in just one month
  • Matt Coddington of has also attracted over 1000 readers in a little over two months
  • and the example I’ll use the most to discuss this phenomenon – Philip Liu of has seen his readership grow to about 400 in a month

The reason I’ll use Philip’s iHelpYouBlog as the case study is that unlike Chris he isn’t already well known (Chris has written books and seems to be known from, and his blog is newer than Matt’s – though NBB is a pretty interesting case study as well. Also though, I just like Philip’s blog the most and some of his posts like: A Fool-Proof Method To Brainstorm Blogging Ideas, The Complete Blogging Resource List For The Pro-Blogger and most recently 101 Great Posting Ideas That Will Make Your Blog Sizzle have really helped me along in my own blogging endeavours. Actually I would even go so far as to say his blog has been more helpful than the illustrious Problogger – heresy I know!

So here’s why I think that iHelpYouBlog and similar blogs quickly attract readership:

  1. A Strong Voice
    These blogs always have a strong, personal voice. When I visit iHelpYouBlog (or NBB, ChrisG or more established successful blogs) I know where I am just from the style and tone of the writing. This is important in the early days as it sets the blog apart. Of course by personal I don’t mean that they discuss their personal lives, rather that they aren’t afraid to share their viewpoint and their opinions. Also with a blog like iHelpYouBlog there is an opinion that I don’t get elsewhere. This is particularly important in a blog about blogging because there are *MANY* others out there and at times reading about the same old plugins and the same old tips can get a bit old. I visit iHelpYouBlog because I get insights I won’t get elsewhere.
  2. Consistent Quality
    No surprise here, but it still needs to be said. There are many blogs in my feedreader that I just skim to check if anything interesting has appeared, then there are a few that I read almost every post because I know that its going to be interesting. When I first visited iHelpYouBlog I went through the last 15 posts, found that they were all interesting and immediately subscribed. I’m guessing that everyone else did too
  3. Take Advantage of the Freight Train when it Comes Along
    For a while iHelpYouBlog was building a steadily growing readership, and each week I would see the numbers going up by 10 or 20, but then one day he had a post hit and it jumped by about two hundred. Is that a lucky break? Not really, with consistent quality its a matter of time before something gets popular and blogs like Philips (and Matt’s with Digg) take advantage of this freight train and capitalise on the attention by writing more quality posts to follow up. Also they will have done the hard work to get to a point where they *can* get Dugg or Bookmarked. That is to say, Philip had built a core readership who could make sure that his super post when it arrived already had a good push and some momentum from the regulars to get the word out.
  4. They Get Around
    Somehow popular blogs just seem to pop up in different places, I notice this with all three of the blogs that I mentioned, that I’ll be somewhere completely unrelated and the person will have a link back to them, they will have posted a comment, there is an interview of them and so on. I can’t quite put my finger on it, and I know it happens probably the most with Matt from NBB, but somehow these guys just get around, get noticed, make friends with other bloggers and promote themselves

So there’s my analysis of why these guys seem to make it so quickly while others take a lot longer. What do you think sets them apart?

Liam Cavanagh

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