Have you ever wondered what it takes to build a successful blog?
Why some bloggers absolutely crush it, while others struggle for years?
When you look at it from the outside it seems to make no sense at all.
The same blogging information is available to all. And there’s definitely no shortage of it. All you have to do is Google “how to start a blog” and you’ll see that there are well over 3 billion results.
It definitely doesn’t come down to how hard you hustle. All you have to do is join some online blogging communities and take part in conversations to realize that. Bloggers are working harder than ever before…pouring hours and hours and hours of their time into their blogs. And yet they’re still struggling.
So what’s the difference?
How is it that some bloggers are able to build 6- and 7-figure blogs whereas other bloggers can barely cover their blogging expenses?
We all know that there is no magic formula that will transform a blog from struggling to superstar status (as much as we would wish otherwise).
So what’s the secret?
What Does It Take To Build A Successful Blog?
Ahhhh, that’s the million dollar question isn’t it?
The one that every blogger would love to know.
I must admit, it’s a question that I obsessed over for years.
Particularly when I was the one who was struggling.
For two long years, I worked my butt off. I posted 1000-2000 words posts almost every.single.day.
I networked like crazy and promoted my content like crazy.
And yet, I could never seem to get any traction with my blog.
Eventually, I decided to start over. But when I did, I took a totally different approach to blogging.
Within 6 months of launching my new blog (my first “real” blog), I had my first 5 figure month. Within a year I hit more than 6-figures.
Now I’ll admit. At first, I thought it was a fluke.
I thought that maybe my blog was just a one-hit wonder. And one day, I’d wake up and it would be all gone.
It wasn’t until I launched blog #2 and had similar results that my success started to feel real to me.
Blog #3 is what really cemented it, I figured that if I had managed to create 3 successful blogs, then there had to be something to what I was doing.
That is what really started me down the path of creating this blog – Blog to Biz Strategies.
However, being an ultra-cautious kind of person, I didn’t want to assume I had it “all figured out.” Which is what led me into doing some research about blogging. Specifically – what sets the successful bloggers apart from the struggling ones.
For my research, I decided to survey several hundred bloggers in a variety of different niches.
From there, I went on to have one-on-one conversations with about 50 more bloggers.
It was through my surveys and particularly my conversations, that I discovered the answer to my question.
In a nutshell, successful bloggers do things differently.
Not just a few things, but A LOT of things.
They definitely don’t follow blogging norms.
In fact, there are so many things that successful bloggers do differently that it’s inspired me to write a series of blog posts on the secrets of successful bloggers.
In these posts, I’ll be taking a deep dive into the blogging secrets that differentiate the bloggers that make money from the ones that don’t. And I’m not talking about the bloggers that are making only a little extra money on the side. But the 6- and 7- bloggers that have turned their blogs into profitable online businesses generating a full-time+ income.
Let me tell you, I pulled out a lot of gold from my research. Gold that I’ll be sharing with you.
Before I get started though, I want to warn you that you need to be prepared. Some of the stuff is hard to swallow because it really goes against the grain of popular culture.
In other cases, it’s stuff that’s just not openly talked about.
This post, in particular, is going to require you to really open your mind, and stretch yourself.
I’m going to start my series by focusing on the top 10 mindset secrets of successful bloggers.
The Top 10 Mindset Secrets of Successful Bloggers
Why start with mindset secrets?
I realize it may sound kind of cliché, but success really and truly does start from the inside out.
It starts in your heart, in your soul, and in your mind.
In fact, I would probably say, that your mind affects your success most of all.
So let’s take a look at mindset secret #1.
#1. You Have The Power to Make Or Break Your Blogging Success
This is something that a lot of people don’t want to admit. Particularly because it’s not just about blogging, it’s about success in general.
We live in a society where we have been programmed to blame everything and everyone for our mistakes and failures.
Let’s face it – it’s way easier to blame someone or something else when things don’t work out.
Usually, we blame our circumstances.
I hear so many bloggers complain about not having “enough” – time, money, support…whatever.
I’m not saying that these aren’t legit complaints. The thing is, you can’t let your circumstances define you or limit you.
As with anything and everything else in life – you are ultimately in control. Not of your circumstances per se – but of your choices within your circumstances.
Let me give you an example from my own life.
If I’m not careful, I can easily let myself fall into a “victim” mentality.
In the last 3 years, we’ve had a LOT of crap happen in our lives. The biggest being that I unexpectedly lost two family members who I was super close to. And my step-mom was diagnosed with a very aggressive case of Huntington’s Chorea.
Then there’s my battle with time. I’m a mom-to-5 (all still at home), a full-time caregiver to my 98-year-old grandpa, a helper to my sister with her two boys when she works, and I have a husband that travels A LOT.
Now let’s throw in the health issues. I struggle with headaches, fatigue, and depression.
Honestly, some days, just putting one foot in front of the other feels like a huge struggle.
But I have a dream. A really BIG dream. And I’ll NEVER make it happen if I let my circumstances hold me back.
It’s definitely legit stuff going on in my life, and I could use it as an excuse for why now is not the time to pursue my blogging dreams. BUT I’m not the only one in the world with difficult circumstances. In fact, there are plenty of people who have it WAY worse. And they have found a way to do it.
Like Jon Morrow. He can literally only move his face. And yet he has built several 7-figure blogs and his posts have been read by millions of people around the world.
If he can do it, I don’t have any excuses. I can do it too.
There is so much truth to the saying “where there is a will, there is a way.”
And that’s the first mindset secret. Own the fact that you are in control of your blogging success. When you do, you’ll find a way to make it happen, no matter how challenging things may be.
#2. Believe That You Can Do It
I realize that mindset secret #2 sounds kinda corny, but I have to go there – because it’s important. And so very true.
I have seen more bloggers than I care to count give up on their dreams because they didn’t believe they could do it.
This particular mindset secret is one that I have struggled with all my life – and not just when it comes to blogging. When it comes to success of any kind.
You know how they say that some people are “glass half-full” kinda people, while others are “glass half-empty”? I’m the latter. And I’m not proud of it. In fact, it annoys and frustrates me to no end.
For as long as I can remember, my go-to self-talk is I don’t know if I can do this. That’s always the thought that is the first one to pop into my head whenever I am faced with something challenging. It has stopped me from doing things that I want to do more times than I care to count.
Yet deep down inside, I know I can do whatever I set my mind to because I’ve done it before.
So that’s when I talk back to myself and say: Andrea, you CAN do this. You have been through worse. You’ve gotten through worse. You’ve done harder stuff. Don’t give up. You’ve got this.
There are days I repeat this to myself dozens of times throughout the day.
Most days it works. But then there are days when I throw in the towel for the day. I crawl into bed, pull the covers up and spend the evening feeling sorry for myself.
The next morning, I get up, give myself a good talking to, and get going again.
And that’s what I want you to take away from this.
In the last mindset secret, I talked about choices.
Believing that you can do it is a choice.
Even if you’ve never built a blog before, or you have but never built a successful blog before – you CAN do it.
Listen…your entire life has been one of learning. Walking, talking, running, biking, driving, sports, hobbies, making friends…you name it. We don’t go into life just knowing how to do these things. We somehow figure it out. Blogging is no different.
You CAN build a successful blog. Remember from our last mindset secret – where there is a will, you will find a way.
You just have to choose to believe it.
Honestly, belief is more than half the battle. When you believe, you will take action.
When you don’t believe, you won’t.
Okay, on to mindset secret #3.
#3. Never Give Up
If you haven’t faced this already, I can tell you right now that there are days where you are going to want to give up.
That feeling is natural. And normal.
Remember my story from above? I throw in the towel at least once a month. Sometimes every other week.
But then I get back up and keep going.
And that’s the key to this mindset secret.
Don’t beat yourself up for wanting to give up.
Don’t even beat yourself up if you have given up.
It’s not the giving up that’s so important. There are plenty of people in the world who give up.
It’s what you do after you give up that defines you.
And that is to get back up again and keep going.
#4. Set Your Intention For Your Blog Right From The Beginning
You now know that your blogging success is 100% in your hands. You also know that in order to succeed with your blog you have to choose to believe you can do it, and commit to getting back up whenever you want to quit (or do quit).
The next mindset secret is about intention.
You can’t be wishy-washy about what you want from your blog.
None of this: Well…I hope that…you know…someday…I might be able to make a little money with my blog…but for now…I’m just going to take it a day at a time…and see how it goes.
If you want to make money with your blog, you need to set that as your intention, right from the beginning.
The most important way to do that is to think about your blog as a business and treat it like a business.
The minute it becomes your goal to make money with your blog, you can no longer look at yourself as “just a blogger.”
You are an online entrepreneur.
So mindset secret #4 is to think like an entrepreneur and therefore make decisions like an entrepreneur.
#5. If You Don’t Plan, Then Plan To Fail
Almost every successful blog starts with a plan.
Yes, I did say almost.
Because there are always going to be outliers. You know, those bloggers who just dove into blogging without much thought and now they’re raking in the money.
What you have to remember is that they are the exception, not the rule.
Especially in today’s online world.
I’m sure you’ve heard me quote this stat. There are almost 2 billion websites on the internet today. There are millions of blogs in your niche. New blogs are being launched every single second of every single day.
If you want your blog to make it, you can’t just fly by the seat of your pants like they did in the early days of blogging. You have to be strategic.
That means that it’s not enough to know that you want to make money, you have to put a plan in place in order to make that happen.
And you have to put together that plan before you actually start to blog.
What does that plan look like? Take a look at this post to give you an idea.
So why is planning a mindset secret?
Because planning isn’t fun. It’s time-consuming. And it’s boring.
Who wants to plan when you can do?
But not planning is worse. It’ll cause you no end of headaches and frustration in the long run.
So get yourself into the planning mindset.
#6. Keep The End In Mind
This is really about knowing your WHY.
Why do you want to blog? What’s your soul-deep reason?
Let me tell you, building a successful blog is A LOT of work. While there are ways to work “smarter” when it comes to blogging, at the end of the day, it’s still a lot of work.
Building a successful blog takes time. There is no such thing as an overnight success. No matter what anyone tells you. There was always something that led to that success.
Look at my own story.
I started my first online business in 2003, and my first blog in 2006. I didn’t see success until I started my second blog at the end of 2008 (what I like to call my first real blog). But then within 6 months of launching that blog, I was earning 5 figures a month.
I COULD say that I built a +6-figure blog in less than a year. And that would technically be true. But that likely wouldn’t have happened if I didn’t have all those years of experience under my belt.
There are a lot of ups and downs when it comes to building a successful blog. It takes commitment and perseverance to keep going. Especially in those early months when you’re working your butt off and it feels like NOTHING is happening.
You’ll face a lot of frustration. You’ll get writer’s block, designer’s block, tech block…you name it. Whenever you are doing something new and worthwhile, you will run into issues. Prepare yourself mentally for them and you’ll be less stressed when they happen.
Building a successful blog can be a HUGE emotional roller coaster.
Get yourself in the mindset that “poop” happens – and it will be so much easier to deal with. Focus instead on the outcome you are working towards.
When you know what you want – when you have a big WHY – you are more likely to commit to doing what it takes to make it happen. No matter how hard the work, how much time it takes, or how frustrating it may be.
#7. Building a Successful Blog Requires An Investment
We’ve already talked about the time and energy it takes to build a successful blog. But there’s more than that.
The particular investment I am talking about here is the financial investment.
The bottom line is that you can’t build a business for free.
This is a really hard one for people to wrap their head around. Especially because there are a lot of things in the blogging world that are technically free.
Free blogging platforms, free email plans, free themes, free plugins…
And of course who wants to pay if they don’t have to?
But here’s the thing. If you try to do everything for free, you’ll only end up handicapping yourself in the long run.
Why? Because these free services are meant for hobby bloggers or the absolute beginning blogger.
They are not designed for the business blogger.
Yes, you can use some of the free stuff out there. I’m not saying you can’t. But you have to be selective. Use free tools, where it doesn’t matter as much. So things like themes and plugins. Invest in the paid tools or resources when they are essential to the final outcome that you are looking for. Or they speed up your path to success.
So the mindset secret here is that you are investing in your ultimate success.
#8. You Don’t Need Experience To Make Money Blogging
You’ve already heard me talk about the fact that you have to adopt the mindset of an online entrepreneur. That can feel pretty intimidating for a lot of people. Especially if you don’t have any “business experience.” And especially if you’ve never really thought of yourself as an entrepreneur before.
The reality is that you don’t need business training or experience. Sure they’re nice to have, but they are not essential.
I have no formal business training or certification.
All I had when I started my first profitable blog was the experience of a failed first attempt at both an online business and a blog.
But I figured it out.
Successful bloggers and online entrepreneurs learn by doing.
You’ll learn by doing too.
And if you make mistakes, that’s okay, because that’s the only way to learn.
The other area of “experience” that a lot of bloggers get hung up on is the tech.
A lack of tech knowledge and experience, or a fear of tech, has derailed so many bloggers. Don’t let a fear of tech get in the way of your blogging dreams. You do not need to have tech experience to be a blogger or an online entrepreneur.
When I started online all I had was a laptop and a camera. All I knew how to do was Google and send emails.
Now I build all my own sites, create my own designs and do all my integrations myself.
If you’re willing to spend time researching, trying and experimenting, you’ll learn.
That’s exactly how I did it.
It’s still how I do it. In fact, just last week I was teaching myself how to use a new-to-me online learning platform and how to use Keynote for video presentations.
So the mindset secret here is that you can learn how to do anything you have to do. No prior experience is necessary!
#9. You Don’t Have To Be An Expert
This is super important. A lot of people get hung up on the fact that they are not “experts.” As in they don’t have a formal degree, certification, credentials or on-the-job training.
You don’t need it!
In order to help people, you just have to have successfully walked the path you are leading others down. And you only need to know a little bit more than what you are trying to teach.
As you teach, you’ll learn and grow. Which in turn will help you stay ahead of your readers.
So focus on the skills, knowledge, and experience that you do have. Commit to being a life long learner in your niche.
That will be more than enough.
#10. Be Willing to Evolve
The online world is constantly changing. That means that if you want to succeed as a blogger, you are going to have to be prepared to change too.
Forget about what everyone else is doing.
Forget about the “way it’s always been done.”
Keep yourself and your mind open to trying new things.
That means being willing to get uncomfortable. The best things happen when you are willing to step out of your comfort zone. Instead of being worried or afraid, embrace the challenge of doing what it takes to make your blogging dream a reality.
Be prepared for some of the things you try to work…and others to bomb. And when something you try bombs, you try something else.
Being willing to evolve is key to staying in the game in the long run.
Let me give you an illustration from my own blogging journey.
Do you remember that blog I built that was my first real online success?
It was a card making blog where I taught people how to create handmade greeting cards using Stampin’ Up! products. For those of you that aren’t familiar with Stampin’ Up! – it’s a network marketing company.
My first paid product was a PDF style tutorial which I called a class planning service for Stampin’ Up! Demonstrators.
Basically, other Stampin’ Up! Demonstrators could buy my class and then offer it to their own customers. I included everything they needed to be able to run successful classes in their own card making businesses. I would release a new one every month. Now at the time, there was nothing like it in the online space. It was the first of it’s kind.
Well…not even three months into it, another Stampin’ Up! demonstrator started offering the EXACT SAME THING. I mean exact. Every single feature that made mine unique – she copied. Our audiences were the same. She sold it for less than one third the price of my product. She even had a catchier name for it than mine.
I was devastated. I cried for an entire day. Given the amount of time each one took me to create (40 hours), I wasn’t prepared to lower my price. So my first thought was that no one was going to buy mine. Let me tell you I seriously considered quitting.
But you know what? I didn’t. I kept offering my product. But as more and more people in my space, seeing my success, started copying what I was doing, I realized that if I wanted to survive, I would have to evolve.
So I started expanding my product line, changing my target market, etc.
And it worked. If I hadn’t been open to evolving, I never would have launched successful blog #2 and successful blog #3.
It was all because I was willing to evolve.
In this post, I’ve shared with you what I consider to be 10 of the most important mindset secrets of successful bloggers.
That’s not to say there aren’t more.
But I’ll save that for another time.
I hope that what I’ve shared here has been valuable to you. In the next post in this series, I’ll be tackling another category of blogging secrets.
In the meantime, I’d love to know – did any of these mindset secrets lead to an “aha” for you? Are there any mindset secrets that you have that I didn’t cover? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.