The Giant Growth & Milestone Checklist for Bloggers (Part One)
As a chronic planner and organizer I find such joy from, you guessed it, planning and organizing. So I’ve put my skills to the test and below you will find part one of the gigantic Milestone Checklist for Bloggers.
In part one we cover everything website related and special firsts, in part two – coming out next month – you’ll find milestones for social media, income and benefits. While this post isn’t specifically informative hopefully you’ll find it as fun as I did to venture through to check off your achievements and set new goals for advancement in the new year.
That first fuzzy little subscriber has a powerful effect on your blogging outlook and it often feels like getting that first measure of success is the hardest thing of all – it may take weeks or even months to convince a reader to subscribe, especially when you are not receiving a large amount of traffic.
On the flip side, this milestone brings an obligation that now adds a piece of extra work to the pile, you actually have to start thinking about making a newsletter!
How to get there:
- The simplest and non evasive way is the sign up for Mail Chimp, Get Response or Aweber (or some other obscure mailing list provider) and add the form into your sidebar.
- A second highly debated way is the use of a popup. Some people will despise these and will happily let you know about it. The least annoying way is to add a scroll triggered or a time triggered pop up- say the reader has to read 85% of the page or be on the site for 3 minutes before it pops up. To be even less annoying you can set a cookie for the pop up (if your plugin allows it) so the same reader won’t see the pop up every day – weekly or monthly cookies can be set.
100 people are now subscribed to your blog, I mean, do you even have that many friends in real life?
In fact, I bet you that 99% of those subscribers will be complete strangers; strangers that actually want to listen to what you have to say behind closed doors. Those 100 people liked your blog so much that they decided to let you into their inbox and here is when you should begin to have (if not already) your newsletter plan down pat and ensure you add value to keep them on board.
How to get there:
- Alongside the above tips you’ll also want to add the subscriber form at the bottom of your posts – this can be very easy or very difficult depending on the theme you’re using – good luck young grasshoppers.
- Offer some sort of goodies to your readers in exchange for signing up – a short Ebook, wall paper or competition will do.
- If you’re still in the realms of low traffic guest posting on other blogs can do wonders to get your blog a fresh set of eyes. You can set up a lead page or just direct eyes towards your blog for an increased chance of sign ups.
- Apparently you can set up a sign up form on Facebook, haven’t tried this personally but it could be something to look into.
Despite what many may say, pure luck will not pave the way for 1000 subscribers, you’ve got to work for this one!
Once you’ve reached 1000 subscribers you should begin looking for non intrusive ways to monetise your list as well as adding unique and value adding content to your newsletter. You’ve done very well for yourself and chances are your blog has now got a bit of a following on social media and is sending some pleasant vibes your way from Google Analytics.
How To Get There:
- Start making your newsletter content unique – don’t just regurgitate what’s written on your blog, add your personality, discounts or competitions, exclusive photographs and commentary. We are lucky that in the creative blogging industries our readers often want to know a little about the person behind the blog so unleash yourself to your email list. If you haven’t got that type of blog at the very least throw something entertaining or something they want into the email – a competition exclusive for your email subscribers will do the trick – make sure to mention it in your sign up form.
Holy shit, 5,000 subscribers, who are you?
Give yourself a well deserved pat on the back, – or since you’re probably rich by now you can pay someone else to do that for you.
With 5,000 subscribers you have immense assurance in the continuation of your blog even if promotion in terms of social media and SEO were to begin to fall wayside.
You should also be taking a serious look at what to do next if you haven’t started to monetise you list at this point – unless monetisation is not your goal. With 5,000 subscribers you could be making at the very, very least a part time income depending on the theme of your blog.
If you’re not selling products or courses think of affiliate links, and advertising spaces.
How To Get There:
- You’re going to need a lot of targeted traffic or many mentions on high trafficked blogs. Not many bloggers reach this level so if you do – be grateful and start thinking about this whole blogging thing professionally if you aren’t already doing so.
- Think offline, are you an expert in something – is there a tv or radio program that could help take you to the next level?
- Plan a strategy to boost your unique visitors and have your list exposed to more eyeballs.
10 visitors a day
While this seems like very little, ten visitors a day is a step in the right direction – that’s 300 visitors a month. At this point you should start to get a few return visitors and your highest referral according to analytics will no longer be desperate spam bots, or yourself.
How To Get There:
- Start writing consistently so potential readers will have something interesting to see.
- Start promoting your content on social media and tell all your friends about your blog.
- Leave insightful comments on other blogs.
- Stumble your posts!
- Submit your URL to Google – now is also a great time to sign up for Analytics + Webmaster.
1000 per month
Well, well look at what we have here? Thirty visitors a day, who would have thought you were so interesting!
Don’t let this small victory go to your head though, however this officially means you passed the point that many amateur bloggers have never reached (and given up) before you. It may not be much but you have just begun to establish your little corner of the internet.
How To Get Here:
- Keep posting – many may give up before reaching this point or start to get bored and forget all about blogging.
- Start networking on social media with other bloggers or in blogging groups to build knowledge and make friends.
- Start thinking of viral strategies – Pinterest is an easy tool to use and many bloggers get decent traffic when they learn how to use it correctly.
- Start seeking out guest posting opportunities to reach potential readers.
10,000 per month
Even less bloggers will reach the 10,000 a month mark before they throw in the towel.
With 10,000 readers this is a good position to start establishing yourself in your market. Begin connecting with brands and aligning yourself with other bloggers who share you values and motivations. Competition is fun and all but rounding yourself up a posse can help both you and them to gain readers and become a more sensible option for sponsors in the future.
You should be receiving all types of offers at this point, as well as beginning to receive reader emails – Yes those people who read your blog will begin to feel more like living human beings with whom you can interact with on a more personable level.
Monetisation efforts (if you decide to), will begin to pay anywhere between $0-a full time income depending on your genre, business savi-ness and thought processes around this time.
How To Get There
- Sign up to our newsletter to keep up with our best tips for growing your audience. There are a few other large blogging sites out there that can give you great information – more so than reading the tips of other bloggers on their blogs, which sometimes only provide basic information as they don’t want to deter too far from the main theme of their blogs
- Time helps, as does getting lucky – neither of which I’m assuming helps you too much.
- Write up an efficient promoting plan – do your research and review what has worked and hasn’t worked on your blog in the past and strengthen those areas – your analytics account will help you there.
- Guest Post on bigger blogs.
- Establish your blog’s personality and stick to it, a steady writing schedule will also help now so your readers will know when to visit.
30,000 per month
At 30,000 a month you’re starting to do quite well. At 30,000 visitors per month you’re sure to have a lot easier time getting sponsors, but don’t rest now. Many bloggers stagnate at this point, and that’s fine, in fact it’s a perfectly good place to stop and focus your time on other things – such as building engagement, social media accounts, income streams and the like.
Alternatively you can carrying on increasing your reach at this point and the foundations you’ve laid should make finding new readers a little easier, with less effort on your behalf.
How To Get There:
- Brand up: Make sure your niche is clear at this point and readers know what value you can offer them.
- Continue to guestpost but now aim for blogs with bigger visitor and DA numbers. At this point you’re more likely to receive yes’s from your pitches.
- Think offline – you may just become a real life authority in your own right. Are there any other forms of media that may be interested in your story?
- There isn’t one sure path to 30,000 visitors, you may get lucky and reach the number in a couple of months or battle for years to get there – indeed you may never get there. Don’t stress as you shouldn’t focus too much on visitor numbers alone as there are plenty of other important factors that blend together to create a successful blog.
My first comment was a lie – my then boyfriend (now fiancé) wrote it anonymously and told me twelve months later – but oh boy did it make my day.
There is nothing like having a stranger reach out of the depths of the internet to say Hi. It’s the first definitive sign that a real life human being is actually reading what you’re writing (or watching what you’re vlogging).
How To Get It:
- Commenting on other blogs is likely to get a return comment if you’re using Comment Luv however these comments will most likely be reciprocal in nature.
- Leave call to actions at the bottom of your posts or in your videos – a simple “Write me a comment below” is bound to encourage someone eventually. Try to make your call to action more specific to the post it follows though.
- Be interesting!
- Make commenting easy – there are many plugins available – I recommend Comment Luv or Facebook comments – or both!
Okay a comment is one thing but having a reader actually take the time to write an email is another thing entirely.
How To Get There:
- Build your traffic, be interesting and display an approachable personality. TBH this isn’t really much you can do to control this milestone apart from these main three.
- Add into your About section that you love to receive reader emails – a rather obvious hint.
- Make your email available to readers – preferably in a separate contact page (but add it into your About page as well).
Mention on another blog
Gahhhh! Someone noticed you!
You’ve been mentioned by another blogger who found you from god-knows-where and you begin to feel like less of a hidden island and more of a peninsula in the sea that is the internet.
Whether they nominated you for the Liebster award, put you in a round up or just plain gave you a shout out remember to send them a tweet to say thank you.
How To Get Mentioned:
- Make yourself better known in the blogging community – an easy way to do this is to join one of the blogging groups in your niche on Facebook.
- Respond to tweets of other bloggers if you feel you can add value.
- Comment on other blogs and follow their social media accounts (BUT only if you genuinely are interested – nobody likes a ghost follower).
- Be a better photographer, vlogger, writer and make your blog look unique and interesting.
One night you go to sleep with a measly 30 visitors a day visiting your humble blog, the next morning you wake up to see that one of your articles alone had 10,000 views – in one night.
Holy guacamole, the blogging gods have shined upon you today.
Having an article or video go viral can really make your blog – or at least accelerate it and not only helps you increase your traffic but also makes you feel pretty damn good about yourself. Let’s face it the traffic may not last but it’s encouraging and lets you know you’re blogging in the “write” direction (I couldn’t resist).
How To Go Viral Like The Common Cold:
- Stumble Upon & Pinterest are your friends.
- Get mysteriously lucky through no part of your own.
- Share on social media – you have to be in it to win it right? Pinterest and Stumbled Upon are the most likely options.
- Be funny, have excellent pictures, be interesting and make sure to promote each article fully.
1st Time Being Recognized in the Street
You know you’ve made it when you’re walking down the street and you get recognized by a stranger, I mean that makes you practically a celebrity right?
Some sort of celebrity-blogger hybrid you are *Yoga voice*.
How To Get There:
- Having a large reader base would be the most obvious answer – this does take time of course.
- Have your picture on your blog – fashion and beauty bloggers have their faces all over their blogs, travel bloggers sometimes, and DIY bloggers may not bare their faces at all. If you want to increase your chances of recognition then make it easier for people to recognize you by having more self pictures on your blog.
- Know your readers will be gathering in one spot? Show up then! If you’re a vlogger Vidcon is a great place to go where someone might recognize you.
First Meet Up
While meeting your first reader in person is pretty special, imagine meeting a whole bunch of them!
Arranging your first meet up can be scary – what if they don’t like the off line you? What if nobody comes? Although if nobody comes then at least there are no witnesses to your embarrassment that nobody came – positive thought!
How To Get There:
- Wait until you have a larger amount of readers before attempting this if you want to do it in serious capacity.
- Alternatively you could casually mention you’ll be in certain places at certain times and ask readers to send you an email if they want to catch up – easy, casual and no embarrassment needed.
- See which areas your readers come from, if 90% are from Sydney Australia then arranging a meet up while you’re in Dubai is a bit pointless.
The best thing about most blogging conferences is that they are open to everyone regardless of the status in the blogging game.
How To Go:
- Wait until there is a conference in your city, state or in town while you’re on holidays and buy a ticket – it’s that simple! They’re a great way to learn new skills and network with other bloggers
Congratulations you’ve officially completed your first year of blogging. This is a proud moment as it shows that you kept going through boredom, hard work and many, many distractions.
It’s always fun to celebrate your first year with a reflective post to show the next generations of newbies just what they can achieve – you’re welcome to leave a link to your First Year of Blogging Post below in the comment section.
How To Get There:
- Resilience, commitment and effort: Maintaining a blog can be time consuming and hard work.
My question for you to answer in the comments: Name one defining milestone you’ve had so far?