11 Reasons Why They Are A Successful Blogger And You Are Not

by Robb Sutton

What makes a blogger successful? As you troll the web looking for content filter through your cranium, you run into bloggers who are making a really good run at the whole making a living online thing. As you struggle to get your following, you might start to wonder what makes those blogs successful when yours is not. You try to pump out quality content on a regular daily basis. You are following all of the tips and guidelines that the successful bloggers are throwing out there, but you are still struggling to make more than 10 bucks a month and get past 100 subscribers. Is there a secret society of successful bloggers that I am not apart of? Will I get an invite at some point in time where they will share their secrets like in the movie The Skulls? Maybe their is a secret scroll I need to find that will lead me to traffic and subscribers. What am I missing? What makes them so much different than me?

Let’s spell it out…

11 Reasons Why They Are A Successful Blogger And You Are Not

  1. They Are Original – Even though it may not seem like it right now due to the massive amount of bloggers that are copying their success…successful bloggers were original at the beginning of their road to successful blogging. As they continued to see their results climb to the sky, they started to see other bloggers copy their idea and try to flood the market with unoriginal ideas. For you to be a massively successful blogger, you need to have an original voice, idea or subject that is going to grab readers into your content. If you are just planning on mimicking someone else’s success…you might as well save the muscles in your fingers and find something else to do with your time.
  2. They Are Running A Business – If you find yourself saying, “It’s a great side thing that brings in a little extra income”, you are on the road to mediocrity. Sorry to give you the harsh truth, but it is true. If you view your blogging as a little side income, that is all it will ever be. You have to start viewing your blogging as a real business that generates real income even if it does not at this point in time. 99% of all start-up companies make absolutely nothing in their first year of operation, but they treat the business a lot more seriously during that first year than bloggers do. If it cost you 10 grand to install Wordpress, would you be blogging differently than you are right now? If the answer is yes to that question and you have the dream of making it big through your blog, you need to change the way you are doing things right now.
  3. Testing, Testing And More Testing – Successful bloggers do not stop at one great idea and sit back and relax. They also do not give up after one of their ideas just happens to not give the result they were looking for. Successful bloggers test ideas, monitization techniques and business practices over and over again, and that testing never stops just because they are seeing success or failure. If you really want to make it in any business, you have to get used to testing your ideas and applying that knowledge to the future.
  4. Outsourcing – No one…yes even you…can be everything to everyone and be successful. Outsourcing is one of the major aspects of blogging that separates the successful from the tired and lonely. If you are not good at css coding, why are you wasting an entire day trying to style your navigation bar on your blog? You could be spending more time generating content and ideas that are actually going to increase your readership and bottom line! Get someone else to could slap that out in 5 minutes to do the job.
  5. They Deliver The Goods…Without Fail – I hope you know this by now…but successful blogging means delivering the goods on a consistent basis. This does not mean that every article you publish has to be a 2,000 word piece of literary art, but it does mean that you need to deliver content that your readers want on a consistent basis. And you have to do this without fail.  If you plan on just winging it and hoping for the best…you better set yourself up for failure now instead of later.
  6. They Plan Their Success – There is not a business out there that can be sustainable in the long haul without some sort of plan. Are you going to start in a sub-niche and conquer that in the web world before you start to expand? Are you going to start a forum once you reach a certain number of newsletter subscribers? What are you going to do when the traffic your blog is bring in might require that you bring on more writers? By thinking of the questions beforehand instead of when you are a day late and a dollar short lets you plan for a successful future and capitalize on situations that your competition might not. It is a great idea to physically write out your plans for this week, the next month, the next year and maybe even longer. This road map will help keep you focused and on track.
  7. Time – The blog of a successful blogger has some deep archives. As much as we all wish blogging was just an overnight success…it isn’t. You need time and testing to build your readership and content archives. Very rarely, we will see some incredible idea that hits the web like a tsunami, but that is less than 1/2 a percent of all successful blogs, so I wouldn’t bank on that happening to you. You need time to hone your skills, become a better blogger and generate enough content that you can actually look like you know what you are talking about!
  8. Expertise – Successful bloggers have positioned themselves as an expert in their field. Keep in mind, they might not have been an expert in the beginning, but over time…they became better at what they do by engaging themselves on a daily basis in their subject matter. This experience built up and they are now seen as an expert in their field of study. If you want to be successful as a blogger, you need to position yourself as an expert in your niche.
  9. They Teach Their Readers – Everyone in every niche is looking, yearning, bleeding to learn something new and become more proficient in the subject matter. One of the most beautiful things about blogs is the ability to teach readers and that is what will really launch your blog to the success you have set in your head. Engage with your readers and find out what they want to be better at. If you can bring them to a new level…they will lift you up to an even higher level.
  10. Luck – Yes…there is a tad bit of luck thrown into the calculation. Just like anything in life, a little bit of dumb luck can really help you out in the long run. The trick is capitalizing on that luck so that you can repeat that success in the future. Don’t be one of those bloggers who says, “wow…that was cool” without really looking into the aspects of that luck that brought you success. If you can repeat it on your own without the need to just fall into randomly, you can see even more growth.
  11. Passion – I saved the best and most important until last. Successful bloggers have a true passion about their subject matter and that drips all over their writing and engagement with their readers. If you do not have a real passion about what you are blogging about and your blogging…you are going to fail. Blogging originated with people putting their life and passions on a screen. That is the foundation that blogging was built upon and you are just going to fizzle out and fall into the web oblivion without that same amount of passion for your work. This is not a get rich quick scheme so you better enjoy what you are doing while you are slaving over a keyboard for pennies on the minute. If you would not blog about it for free…you probably should not be blogging about it at all.

So there it is…the nuts and bolts that separates the successful bloggers from those that are just hamsters running in a wheel. When you look at the list, it seems like an easy concept, but most bloggers fail to even consider any of it. Part of me thinks that most bloggers really believe that successful blogging just comes through attrition…I mean…look how easy those bloggers make it look! It must be that easy to do in real life…right? Wrong…

Image by Steel Wool

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Michael Holmes September 15, 2009 - 9:09 am

Wow this is really good. Time, energy, practice, passion, patience, and persistence. I love it.

Thanks Rob, great stuff.

Robb Sutton September 15, 2009 - 12:40 pm

Thanks Michael!

Dave and Deb September 15, 2009 - 9:58 am

Excellent Advice. I have to agree with the passion. I love blogging and have come to the realization that there is nothing else that I would rather do.
I also agree with original content. I see a lot of blogs out there with similar content to each other, but the original always stands out.
I think that the original bloggers remain successful because they are passionate about their subject. Not just copying what others are doing.
I think it is pretty easy to see though a copycat.

Robb Sutton September 15, 2009 - 12:41 pm

Thanks Dave and Deb…Passion is what drives blogging…without it…it is REALLY boring.

Rob Mangiafico September 15, 2009 - 10:28 am

Very nice list of reasons why a blogger is successful. I think time and expertise are two major ones that often are dismissed. Write about something you know more about than most, and keep writing about it in unique and interesting ways to cover all angles. Eventually your niche audience will notice it and soak it all up.

Robb Sutton September 15, 2009 - 12:42 pm

Time and expertise are often the two that are most looked over by outside viewers too. They do not see the time and effort that has been put in over the course of the blog that made it successful. All they see are the huge traffic and income numbers and think…”I want to do that!”

KNau September 15, 2009 - 11:22 am

What I’m currently wrestling with is where do you draw the line between expressing your opinions, sticking to your guns, etc. and alienating your sponsors?

I suppose ultimately traffic trumps everything else.

Robb Sutton September 15, 2009 - 12:44 pm

I wouldn’t worry so much about alienating your sponsors as how your readership responds. With enough traffic and subscribers…sponsors are going to want to be a part of what you are accomplishing. Just keep everything as fact based (backing your opinion) and you should be good.

Bob Bessette September 15, 2009 - 12:19 pm

Hi Robb,
These are all great points but #7, in particular, is speaking to me. I think all bloggers who start out are looking for overnight success. I was told before I even started that it will take time to gain readership and the idea is to grow your blog organically. And without #11 (passion) everything else falls apart. I’m glad that is why I started blogging because I know, no matter what, the passion will still be there. I think every reader can quickly see if you are going through the motions.


Robb Sutton September 15, 2009 - 12:45 pm

Overnight success doesn’t exist! I know…shocking but true! 😉

You are right about readers…they are extremely transparent when it comes to a blogger that is just going through the motions.

Klaus @ TechPatio September 16, 2009 - 3:30 am

I’ve been blogging a little over 2 months so far, and I’d say that I agree with you on all accounts, especially the one about “passion”. I think eventually all bloggers can become a bit tired of blogging and the time it takes and then it’s the passion that will get you back on top again. Lack of passion, you might just give it up.

Robb Sutton September 18, 2009 - 9:27 am

You are 100% correct…passion pushes you through the tough times.

Eat Smart Age Smart September 17, 2009 - 8:57 am


What a great post!

What really hit home for me was this sentence: “If you do not have a real passion about what you are blogging about and your blogging…you are going to fail.”

I agree with you. I could never see myself blogging about wood working, but I’m 100% there is a person out there who eats-sleeps-drinks wood working and it shows in their writing.

I eat-sleep-drink (pun almost intended) healthy eating and a healthy lifestyle and that’s what I’m teaching my readers.

Your post is an excellent reminder of what so many blogs don’t make it to the top!


Robb Sutton September 18, 2009 - 9:26 am

Thanks Krizia! Passion is what drives anything that is successful. That is one part about owning your own successful business that “workers” do not understand. Your mind doesn’t turn off at 5 on your drive home…and you don’t want it to.

Renato October 1, 2009 - 4:05 pm

This is pure gold. Excellent post. I think I’ll rewrite it as a check list and pin it on my door, just to be able to look at it every day! Awesome indeed. Cheers!

Ahsan October 7, 2009 - 9:22 am

i must say .. a great post.. Concise and true

Umer Hayat November 23, 2009 - 3:40 pm

Surely great tips and I agreed with you on all these points.

I think the most important is they consider it as a business, did proper plan and also make it as their first priority.


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