How To Achieve Ultimate Blog Success In One Easy Step

I think your story is applicable to software development in general as well: as long as people continue to improve themselves, put time into their work every day and for a long period of time, you will reach the goals you’ve set (well, as long as they’re reasonable of course;))

Sometimes people ask me: “How did you write those 300K lines of code, you can’t have written that all by yourself”. But it’s true, and not because I’m talented, but because I keep focussed on the work, keep on going, day after day, week after week.

But boy… 100K readers… I just barely have 3000 daily subscribers :smiley:

I’m not quite sure if frequency of posting guarantees success. OK, I guess it depends on what Jeff calls success. If success means improving your own writing skills, ability to express yourself, organizing the thought process, enhancing research skills, and other aspects of personal improvement, then indeed, frequent posting can (but not necessarily will) help achieve success. But I suspect that the majority of bloggers (especially beginners), equate success with the number of hits (readers). Now, this sort of success does not depend on the frequency of posts. In fact, many accomplished bloggers (Steve Yegge, Michael “Rands” Lopp, Robert X. Cringely, Joel Spolsky, to name a few) are not frequent posters. As a subscriber to many blogs, I prefer authors to focus on quality of their posts rather than quantity. Somehow Jeff managed to achieve both, but most bloggers simply cannot produce more than one quality post per week (at best). I’m not saying that you should not keep writing more often, but if you keep posting crap, I doubt that you will gain a wide audience.

I think that the primary indicator of success in blogging (or anything else for that matter) is the desire to write (or do whatever you desire to do). If you have this desire, i.e. if you cannot keep yourself from writing (and it does not matter whether you have readers or not), then do it, and do it as often as you can. If you are lucky, maybe someone will mention your blog in a popular publication, you will be successful in gaining readers. If you do not have this desire, i.e. if you can keep yourself from writing, write for personal improvement, but do not expect to gain many readers, and please do not post too often.

This is true for any regularly published online content. A few years ago a company in another city gave me a call; not for a phone interview; but because they wanted to put me on a plane, fly me to the office so I could meet any of the many groups I could work in.

I was somewhat baffled, my resume is by no means stellar, so it must have been something else. I asked the group on the phone your sure you do not have any questions? The reply was an eye opener:

When HR sent us your resume, we immediately visited your site. We emailed the link to every IT group in the company; who subsequently crawled your entire website. We also downloaded your code and looked at work you have done with Open Source projects. We already know we want to hire you - we just want to know if you want to work for us.

Ever since that time I have made sure to regularly update content whether it be tutorials, admin guides, new code or just plain interesting stuff.

I think it takes a particular attitude, to start blogging. The difference is between waking up in the morning with “Mmmh… I feel like writing” and “Mmmh… I feel like reading” in your mind. It’s the difference between starting a topic and joining/commenting a topic.

You can improve, you can gain an audience, but will you always have something interesting in your mind to blog about? I’m not sure I would, and that’s one of the reasons for me not having my own blog. Nothing is worse than trying to write when you got nothing on your mind. You end up with your readers complaining about the quality of your posts, like it happens sometimes on WTF.

As for me, I usually wake up with “Mmmh… I feel like playing Warcraft/Soccer (depending on the season)”… too bad I gotta work on a stupid Credit Workflow Management application instead :stuck_out_tongue:

I’ve been blogging for 2 complete months next week and I’ve really enjoyed it.

At first, I decided to have 2 posts a week, one on monday or tuesday and one on thursday or friday but at this rythm, I was getting more and more lazy. Now, I try to log in every time I find something interesting to write about, at least two times a week.

I’ve been blogging for about a year and nobody reads it because there are too many text blogs out there. I think you would have better luck vlogging. Vloggers don’t have so much competition and they get more feedback than a text blog does.

How much time do you spend on each blog entry Jeff? You tend to consistently come up with some particularly well researched, high quality, meaty stuff, but that takes time. I guesstimate that if I were to go for the same quality and frequency I’d probably be at it for 4-5 hours a day at least, if not full time.

It’s true. There is an aspect of “I lost 50 pounds in one month! You can too! (Results Not Typical)” in this post. My results may be atypical.

Talent (particularly writing talent) helps. There’s no doubt about it. Still, you can accomplish a lot through sheer effort. And most people don’t even try, so the very act of setting a goal and working towards it sets you apart from the majority of your peers.

Who needs talent when you have intensity?

To be fair, my goal is 5 posts a week now, and I don’t always meet that. But I never dip below 4. Like it says in the original Larry O’Brien quote-- they don’t all have to be haymakers. You just have to keep throwing punches. Some of them will land, and the more you do it, the better you get at it.

Pick whatever schedule works for you. And be realistic. I think starting with one post a month, like Catto, is a fine goal. Try to slowly ramp it up a bit over time as you get into the groove, and you’re on your way.

But in 2004, that advice would have been “start in 2001”. The only thing that’s certain is that until you start, you cannot reap any benefits.

Lesson: start NOW.

Hi Jeff,

I couldn’t agree more with you that success takes time. My favorite quote is: “It took me ten years to become and overnight success.” This is more true than most people believe.

I’ve been posting on my personal blog for two years now, and I can definitely see the growth. At first it’s almost imperceptible. You get excited to hit your first thousand unique visitors in a month. Now there isn’t a day where I don’t hit four figures of unique visitors a day! Yes, each day I now get more traffic than I did for each of my first 2-3 months!

These things take time and effort, but if you keep at it, success will come.


Hey Now Jeff,
I remember the interview on DNR you stated the same thing to set a number of time to post as a goal for your self. Because I heard you say that I’ve been attempting to post 1 per month, plan to increase next year. To answer your question the last time I posted was 10.9.07 Your blog is great, I’ve learned so much from you in such a short time (less than a yesr). As always thanks for the info.
Coding Horror Fan,

Jeff, great post.

I have had a blog for a couple years and have found it difficult to keep a consistant posting schedule. Your post is going to motivate me to post on a regular basis, even if the content is not that great but to get in the habit of being a regular blogger.


Nice one Jeff, thanks for the advice. My own blog is dead new, and I’ve been wondering how to get people to read it (although the nice people at Fog Creek read and commented on my FogBUGZ 6.0, which was nice). Thanks for the advice.

I find the hard part is finding good external references to back up or balance my own thoughts. Sometimes Google is just too powerful and fishing the stuff you really want out of 1.2 billion results is hard going.

I’m just finishing up college, and my blog was the primary factor in getting my second internship at a Fortune-10 company. I didn’t see my blog as very successful until I received that inquiring email out of the blue. Cheers!

So, when is the self help book coming out?

Thanks for the inspiration! You have a dedicated link on my blog’s nav pane. Still waiting for the visiting masses…


Thanks for letting us all benefit from your “personal development”!

I gave up my blog shortly after realizing I had nothing left to say. That’s an even more important skill than writing every day. But my urge to be creative ends up surfacing in other ways. Right now I’m one of the few people posting anything interesting (IMHO) to the website Twitter.

My problem was always that I simply didn’t have enough to say. I’d have 3-4 things I wanted to say in a month at best. Just not enough for a reasonable blog. I think many people might be like that.

Congrats, Jeff :slight_smile:
We love Coding Horror !!!

I totally agree with you on this one. If people would spend more time blogging and less time posting comments on other blogs…