I can still remember when I started my blog. I had a burning desire to share some knowledge, but also faced a monumental hurdle. I knew exactly how difficult it would be to build the audience for my blog and just how much time I would have to put into it.
But I did it anyway.
Initially, looking around at other blogs, the feeling was a bit overwhelming. I knew I needed to instill some solid blogging habits into my routine if I was going to get anywhere near the success that some of my predecessors were seeing with their blogs. And I also knew I was in for a quite an uphill battle.
So I started small.
At the time, I felt like it was better than not starting at all. I kept thinking about that old adage that says “One year from now, you’ll wish you started today.” Well, that’s exactly how I felt. I had wished I had started, not just a year ago, but years and years ago. Because that’s how long it takes to build a successful blog.
Having a background in SEO, I knew that regardless of how great my content strategy might be or how much effort I put into it, the beginning was going to be hard. I knew I had to build trust, and that could only be done over time.
Rather than overthink things too much, I decided to get busy writing. I honed my focus on building excellent content, and laid my faith in the fact that the rest would follow. Yet, that’s wasn’t all I did. I knew that if I wanted to build a blog, I needed to instill some good blogging habits into my routine. If I didn’t, I knew I would be dead in the water.
But, it was because of those initial blogging habits that I instilled early on that I was able to keep going. I was able to push past those first grueling months with little to no traffic. I constantly found myself refreshing my analytics to see if anything had changed, only to be disappointed time and time again.
If you’ve built up a successful blog or traffic on any Website, surely you can relate.
But I kept at it. I kept pushing. I didn’t give up, and eventually, things grew and have continued to grow exponentially. But by no means was it a walk in the park. It was hard, grueling work. It was endless hours of research, writing, editing, and socializing.
Was it worth? You bet it was.
So, how exactly did I do it?
What are the Best Habits for Building a Blog?
There are likely dozens of good habits when attempting to build a blog. But, when it comes down to it, 10 really stand out and they should become a part of your daily routine. What sets these habits apart? Some of them are considered keystone habits.
Keystone habits are like the gatekeepers to good habit development. They require no extra time to form from other good habits, and they also act as the glue to not only keeping other good habits in place, but also helping to eliminate bad habits from the mix.
So, no matter what you do for a living or where you live, if you can institute a large majority of these blogging habits into your daily routines, then your blog will succeed over time.
But don’t get this twisted — it will take a very long time.
That in itself is the biggest hurdle. To keep going after months or even years without a paycheck or earning a dime isn’t for the weak-hearted.
However, if you can keep up the motivation for blogging and delivering an enormous amount of value in whatever segment you’re dealing with, you will succeed. It might take you years. But it will happen.
#1 — Wake Up Early
I tend to blog or write throughout the day. But my most productive hours are early in the morning. I wake up at 4am and hit the ground running, so to speak. And, writing is a habit that slots in there just after working out. It’s so ingrained in me that’s it’s a part of my daily routine. When I gravitate away from that, I feel a sense of lack.
Now, 4am might sound extreme to you. But, it all boils down to what you want in life. If you’re seriously committed to doing something, then nothing will stand in your way. The early-morning hours are going to be your most productive hours to produce excellent content. Even if you’re not a morning person, over time, you’ll get akin to it.
The best way to build up this habit is to start small. Many people try to go from zero to hero and end up throwing in that proverbial towel due to stress, anxiety, and fears that set in. When they do that, it’s far easier to give up when they hit a major stumbling block.
For that reason, you should institute the good blogging habit of waking up early by using the micro-change approach. Set your clock back 15 minutes every week for the next 8 to 12 weeks. It’s far easier to keep waking up 15 minutes earlier, as long as you stick to it, than deciding to wake up 2 or 3 hours earlier in the span of one day.
#2 — Set Goals Often
Want to succeed as a blogger? Then you need to set goals often. This isn’t just about creating long-term goals; this is also about setting and achieving daily goals. Daily goals help to provide a compass for reaching your long-term goals. And, often, those long-term goals can seem really overwhelming.
When I first started blogging, I set a goal every single day to do at least one thing that could move me towards my bigger goal of succeeding with my blog. No matter what it was — no matter how big or small — I had to do it every single day.
Wake up in the morning and set some daily goals. What will you do today to drive your blog forward? This is definitely one of the most important blogging habits that you can instill. Don’t get dissuaded by the enormity of your goals. Just focus on things one day at a time.
#3 — Be a Prolific Writer
Stephen King once said that that he writes 2,000 words per day. Do you think that’s because he was a successful writer from the beginning? While he might be considered one of the best selling authors today, it didn’t start out that way. In fact, he’s one of the most famous people to fail before succeeding.
In his own words, he states that “only under dire circumstances do I allow myself to shut down before I get my 2,000 words.” You have to be prolific if you want to be a writer. And, blogging is all about writing. Set a number that you’ll achieve every single day and do it.
Pick a time when you’re most productive. Carve out a period that you’ll solely commit to your blogging habit and do your best to stamp out distractions that might cause you to veer completely off track.
#4 — Be Highly Analytical
If you want to succeed as a blogger, you need to be highly analytical. This means that you should be analyzing everything. Where’s your traffic coming from? What keywords are people using to find your content? How long are people sticking around on your blog once they get there? How many people are joining your list? And so on.
Setup a good suite of analytic tools such as Google Analytics, and track profusely. You have to be detail-oriented if you want to succeed with your blog. Of course, this isn’t just a good blogging habit, this is also a great habit to have no matter what line of work you’re in.
Every business or person that’s in business, needs to be analytical. They need to know where their customers are coming from, how much money they’re spending, what they’re overall experience is like, and so on and so forth. If you want to succeed with your blog, you have to emulate these traits.
#5 — Be Social
Your blog won’t succeed if you’re not social. This doesn’t mean that you need to cheerlead your blog at every turn. This just means that you have to do your part to get the word out in a non-intrusive manner. Spread your links on popular social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.
If your content is good, and I mean really good, then sharing on social platforms can help indicate that fact. But the only way to find out is to put it out there for the world to see. And to do that successfully, you need to have a following on social media.
Simply sharing content under your personal umbrella is okay. But, if you really want it to succeed, you need to find a good platform where a lot of your would-be readers are present. It’s up to you to find that source. But don’t try to spam those people or you’ll have a lot more to lose than you will to gain.
#6 — Add Value
I know, I know, this sounds so generic. But it’s not. One of the absolute best blogging habits is to add value, and to do so on a consistent basis. While this might seem subjective to you, I assure you that it’s not.
When you add value, you go out of your way to help other people. Whether you’re helping people figure out a way to do something, or you’re spreading value through another medium such as entertainment, the name of the game when it comes to blogging is to add value.
The top bloggers in the world spent years adding value before ever seeing a dime from their blogs. Yeah, that long. Sounds extreme? It definitely is. But, as a foundational blogging habit, this single mindset can either make your blog or break it.
#7 — Plan, Plan, Plan
The blogging habit of planning needs to become an integral part of your daily routine. Create a writing schedule and stick to it. Lay out your content rules and publishing guidelines and try not to veer off course. If you decide to publish 3 articles per week, figure out, at the beginning of the week, what those articles will be and create a schedule.
Plans also help provide fuel and direction towards your goals. This isn’t just about your daily goal setting; this is about hashing out your masterplan towards achieving your milestones and your long-term goals. It doesn’t take a whole lot, but it does involve being consistent.
Whether you set your plan in the morning at the start of the week, or the night before the week starts, ensure that you engage in weekly planning so that you can map out a path to success with your blog.
#8 — Implement the 80/20-Rule
If you’ve followed my blog for any amount of time, you know that I believe wholeheartedly in the 80/20-Rule, also known as the Pareto Principle. The Pareto Principle states that 80% of the results come from 20% of the efforts. Great salespeople also utilize this principle by understanding that 80% of the revenues comes from 20% of the customers.
And, resultantly so, 80% of your traffic from your blog is going to come from 20% of your posts and efforts. What you’ll come to find is that you’ll post a few really good articles that hit the sweet spot, so to speak, and they’ll result in large amounts of traffic.
The point? Pay careful attention to your analytics and see which posts are the most popular. Then, take the time to analyze what you did differently with those posts as opposed to the others. If you can scale and replicate those efforts, you’ll likely see the traffic that you’re after over time. But identifying and scaling out is hard if you’re not tracking meticulously, so be sure you pay attention to the details.
#9 — Manage Your Time
An effective time management strategy is important for anyone in business, no matter what line of business that might be. And, a blog is no different than any other business. At the end of the day, your goal is to exchange information and value for revenue.
While the business model of a blog might be different than running a traditional business, it still requires an effective time management strategy. And, since a blog is more of a passive income business, which requires a lot of upfront effort before seeing any results, better time management is required of you at the outset.
It’s going to take an enormous amount of time to get it off the ground, so be sure to institute this blogging habit from the start. If you can stay on track and schedule while also managing all of your other obligations, you’ll succeed in the long run.
#10 — Be Persistent
To round off the best blogging habits for building and running a successful blog, persistence finishes out the list. Last, but certainly not least, the habit of persistence is your best friend in succeeding with your blog.
The long hours of writing, editing, and sharing content might result in little to revenue for the first few years. But it’s the persistency of keeping at it that will ensure you succeed in the long term. As long as you don’t give up, anything is possible.
While it’s easy to talk about persistence, it’s far harder to implement. How can we be persistent when things seem to get us down? Well, that’s the nature of life. Anything worthwhile is going to take a lot of work. If it didn’t, don’t you think everyone would do it?
All told, blogging is a big commitment of your time and efforts. If you don’t create a set of good blogging habits from the outset, you’ll be caught spinning your wheels. Stick it out and watch as that traffic explodes. Give up, and kiss your chances for “overnight success” goodbye.