Starting a brand new blog can be hard. The first time I did, I thought writing everyday would be no problem. I had a lot to say? Or did I? That first go was short lived, mainly because I had no idea what I was doing. If I could go back and tell myself to do these things, who knows where I could be now?

  1. No Post > Crappy Post. Writing everyday is great, but if you don’t have any ideas, or just don’t feel like writing anything, don’t post. Not posting will be better than a short, useless one.
  2. Use WordPress to your advantage (if you use it). Go into your Permalink Options and choose the fancy URLs, tweak your template, learn to theme it, and get the most out of your software. Get all the cool plugins and hacks and extend your blog.
  3. Sign up to absolutely everything. FeedBurner, Technorati, Digg, del.icio.us, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pownce, all kinds of forums and communities, every bookmarking site, every network site. Not only do you need to claim and build your identity on the web, but these things can be leveraged for traffic.
  4. Don’t ask your readers questions until you know they exist! There’s nothing more discouraging to a fresh, new blogger than asking “what do you think?” or saying “leave a comment” to no response. Plus, it looks pretty bad to potential readers.
  5. If you’re going to use a free theme, don’t use a popular one. I touched on this in a new article I’ve written for Devlounge, “5 Reasons I Don’t Read Your Blog and How to Change That”. There are great free themes for all platforms that aren’t used like crazy.
  6. Email other bloggers asking for links. Out of every ten you email, you could get 2 or so solid backlinks. I shot up to PR5 pretty quick, so I had something offer, but if you write good stuff, people won’t be shy. Also, if you have a good amount of posts on a new blog (say 8-10) and they’re well written, reflecting your style, it also improves your chances.
  7. Don’t dwell on the feed numbers after a while. Seeing 5 people subscribe is awesome, but when you start getting up into the 20s-30s, seeing it drop is disappointing. It all depends on the client readers are using to subscribe. I actually touched on this back in June, with “How Strong is your Subscriber Rate?” If it drops, just try to be happy and watch it go back up the next day.
  8. Comment on other blogs, as much as you can. You build relationships with other bloggers, get your voice heard by their readers, you might get a little bit of traffic and maybe a return comment.
  9. ink out in posts often. When a blogger gets a trackback or link back that isn’t spam, they’re likely to visit the link along with some of their readers.
    You can get huge traffic boosts if you catch a post with Digg FP potential and link to it early on, this way your link is right at the top for the thousands of visitors.
    Save yourself from looking bad/stupid/dumb. If you have to think about whether you should publish a post, sleep on it. If it could be a bad idea, or in any way set you back, it’s probably not worth it.
  10. Don’t serve ads or monetize for at least 6 months. I’ll personally never monetize this site, but too many new bloggers are starting right out of the gates filled with ads. All this does is cheapen what you have to say, because you stop wanting to produce quality content and start writing link bait to make a quick buck. If you wait 6 months, I guarantee you’ll more in than 7th month than those first 6 combined.
  11. Everyone can use a little viral traffic. I’ve only ever had one piece of social media traffic, and it was from MacSurfer way back in February. The problem with that was my design and writing at the time was “worth” about 20 readers. I didn’t even know what link bait was, but when I shot up to over 100 subscribers for a day, it faded away very quickly. A taste is nice, but don’t depend on it.

Getting on your way to having a successful blog is pretty difficult, but with the resources available today you can always have a head start. It takes time, so patience is key if you want to see those numbers rise.

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