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Define Blogging Success

This post from Evolver on stopped me in my tracks.

If this Blog does not succeed, then I must hang my head and shake my fist. Cause dammit, I am done with toying with this Blogging shit once and for all.

While the author of Evolver admits to being both an optimist and pessimist, willing to explore both equally, the comment had me thinking about what defines blogging success. We need to talk about this.

Blogging Success: Giving Without Expectation of Return

Let’s examine the ways people define blogging as “successful” by beginning at the core of the issue of success: The Feel Good Factor.

Blogging is something personal. While used for commercial and political gain, it is still a personal reflection of the blogger’s views, opinions, attitudes, perspectives, and life experiences.

At its core, blogging is glorified journal writing. For those who consistently write in journals and diaries, you understand that the pleasure is expressing yourself. You pray no one will ever read it, and you may even carefully hide it. Journaling is your private one-sided therapy to help you handle your day-to-day life.

Blogging takes journaling a step beyond, bringing your therapy into the public eye, similar to turning your journals into an autobiography. Still, the reason you do it is highly personal. It gives you something. It provides a release. It enables creative expression. It is freedom. It feels good.

The longer it feels good, the more inclined you are to continue. The Feel Good Factor is the fuel that keeps you blogging.

No matter what your definition of blogging success is, at the root, it must feel good. It must give you some personal reward that keeps you getting out of bed every day with an urge to get to the computer and write down your thoughts, goals, plans, ideas, opinions, and perspectives. It needs to motivate you throughout the day to find new things to write about. The joy of sharing your words supersedes everything else. It must feel good.

For many people, this is the sum definition of successful blogging. As long as the Feel Good Factor is fed, they will continue to blog. Unfortunately, they are in the minority. They blog without expectation of return. Most people blog with expectation of return as their definition of success.

Blogging Success: Giving With Expectation of Return

So how do you measure your blogging success beyond the Feel Good Factor?

Many use comments and replies as the scorecard for their success. Others use traffic scores to measure their success. If site traffic continues to rise, they are doing the right thing. If it dips, especially if it dips too much, people panic and seek out methods to drive up the numbers again.

Others use income as their definition for success. Money equals success. Most use a combination of these.

The problem with these definitions is the expectation of return being defined by elements you may or may not have control over. You are dependent upon external influences to reinforce the urge to continue blogging.

Someone commented on how much they enjoyed an article I wrote, surprised there only one comment. The truth is that I have many articles that get massive volumes of traffic which have very few comments. I have many posts with dozens of comments and very little traffic. And a lot of mixed traffic and comment numbers in between. The number of comments on your posts or blog in general is not indicative of good writing, so be careful replying upon these to define your success.

Traffic scores are difficult to interpret. Soaring numbers one day can be near to zeros the next. Micro-managing your blog statistics is like micro-managing your stock portfolio. Short term gains are nothing compared to long term payouts, in general. It takes months to get an understanding for how your blog traffic is going. Do you have enough content and enthusiasm to last that long? And then keep it going?

Reliance on traffic and money means a lot of extra work beyond just generating content. You have to keep an eye on the market, change your advertising plans as fads shift and change and advertisers change their methods. Traffic and income is also based upon content. If you don’t have anything worth reading or seeing on your blog, and it isn’t generating fresh content several times a week or even a day, then you won’t get the numbers. You have to work at it all the time in order to see results. The work must come from different angles, from content research, development, and writing to web design and layout, and even from market research. Always working. Always studying. Always pushing and pulling how this works in order to get that return on your investment. The blog becomes a work project. Blogging becomes a business.

Reliance on comments, traffic, and/or income is not good nor bad. These are measurable scorecards people use to define their success in blogging. It’s important to understand how it works and then to work with that understanding.

How Do You Define Blogging Success?

What do you use to define your blogging success? Is it the money, the fame, the limelight, the applause? Or is it just the feeling of satisfaction when you click PUBLISH and your words are out for everyone to see?

Do you enjoy the sharing? Or do you like all the research, investigation, and learning process? It is the project or the words that get your motor running? What is your blogging success definition?

When you are clear about what defines blogging success to you, make a note of it. Put it where you can see it often, preferably every day. You might want to add it to your blog, incorporating your definition of blogging success into your blogging purpose. The better you understand your justification for blogging, the clearer your blogging purpose will be, and the more focused your blogging will be. I’d call that success!

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Copyright Lorelle VanFossen


  1. Posted April 12, 2006 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

    I used to have much more traffic but as I narrowed the content visitors were fewer but results were better. I look for three results:

    1) Educate entrepreneurs and business owners about business issues for starting and operating a business.
    2) Generate inquiries for my services.

    From the feedback I get I know I am helping my fellow entrepreneur. From the enquiries I get, they tell me they feel like they know me because they have often read my blog or heard me via my podcasts.

    I subscribe in the ‘If you build it they will come’ philosophy. For eight years writing on my website, now blog it has always fed me leads which turn into income.

    If you add value and help people you will be rewarded. Plus as I write I learn more about business and how I can help people. It is my way of making sure that I am constantly growing and always stretching.

  2. Posted April 12, 2006 at 7:53 pm | Permalink has been my creative outlet, and I’m not measuring success in terms of traffic, comments, trackbacks and pingbacks. I’m not measuring success by the number of blogs that link back to me, or my technorati authority.
    At this point in the lifecycle of, I measure success by my ability to express my thoughts in a fresh, relevant manner, while maintaining my “voice”. My measurement criteria might change over time to include some of the criteria you have mentioned.

  3. Posted April 13, 2006 at 1:08 am | Permalink

    I started a blog a few weeks ago for a number of reasons, each of which has its own success measure.
    First, there was there was the pure and simple idea in my head: why aren’t I doing this. I’m a long time internet user and I felt like I’d been waiting too long to jump on this particular bandwagon 🙂
    Second, I decided on a particular frame/concept for the blog. I had been writing some material for a stand-up comedy act that revolved around a particular persona/character, not simple me standing there telling jokes. The blog medium felt like a very good way to try material out and refine the voice for this character.
    Third, I’m a strong believer that writing is a skill that must be practiced regularly to be improved (or even maintained). This is important to my work and me personally so I needed to set myself targets for writing regularly.
    Fourth, I’m vain. I’d love it if people thought I was clever and funny. And I’d like to be rich and successful and famous if that’s not too much to ask. And the relatively anonymous platform of blogging is an excellent balance between the opportunity to become famous and the ability to retain anonymity.
    So my success criteria: One – I’ve started, I’m there, it’s done. Two – work in progress. So long as I continue to improve (by my own estimation and hopefully with some independent feedback) this will be a success. Three – I set myself the arbitrary goal of posting new material every day for at least a year so check back with me in about 11 months. Four – well, who knows. In all honesty, being able to engage a few regular readers will feel like a success. Then I just build on that and try to get a few more each day.

  4. Posted April 13, 2006 at 1:19 am | Permalink

    I blog in order to make more friends and let more people share my ideas and findings. The return to my effort invested on the blog, i think, are those comments, no matter applause or criticism, left to me, to reflect the value of my ideas and vision. Through my blog, I think, I have achieved a lot. Let’s blog. 🙂

  5. Posted April 13, 2006 at 3:29 am | Permalink

    I’ve asked this question myself, and received some answers from the bloggers in my circle…

  6. Neeraj
    Posted April 13, 2006 at 5:25 am | Permalink

    I maintin two blogs.

    First is my personal blog, where I really don’t give too much of thoughts whether someone is visiting or not. If someone leave a comment I duly reply to that, that it. No success. No failure.

    Second is a sports blog. Where my prime concern is making sure that all relevent and important news is provided. There, my mantra for success is the quality of news/articles I give. I get 100-120 visitors every day there and that’s good enough for me, but as long as I maintain that average. Given the nature of blog, comments is something I cannot measure the success on.

  7. Posted April 14, 2006 at 12:16 am | Permalink

    Thanks for the insight. I’ve been blogging for the past six months and started to loose focus. This led to feeling of failure, though in reality I was quite successful. That is, what I thought was success (links, comments, etc.) was not the “real me.” I have since gone back to my blog with a renewed sense of purpose…and no expectations!

  8. Posted April 14, 2006 at 12:31 am | Permalink

    Wow, glad I could help.

    It’s really important to understand what it is that motivates us. If we are doing it “for the wrong reasons”, but still charging forward, we will lose interest and steam. If we do it “for the right reasons”, whatever they are and whatever IT is, the energy carries us forward.

    Good for you for pointing that out and discovering it for yourself. Congrats!

    And thanks!

  9. Posted September 2, 2006 at 10:01 pm | Permalink


    I’m really glad that everyone of you have been able to get thetraffic to you site. As for me, well I haven”t been so lucky. So I’d really appreciate it if you could visit my site at and let me know what it is that I’m doing wrong.


    Suranee (alias Rain)

  10. Posted September 2, 2006 at 10:37 pm | Permalink


    I checked out your blog and found that you have not even been blogging a month. Barely a few days. If you want traffic, create a body of work over months using many of the techniques of writing features on this blog and your traffic will increase. Begging for links and traffic won’t work. It takes time and hard work and traffic will come naturally. Some people wait three or more months for someone not a friend or family member to visit.

    This is what “blogging without expectation” means.

    Good luck and be patient.

13 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. […] First and foremost, I keep my same general rule: I write for me, myself and I. In a nutshell, that’s it. However, I think after one has been doing this for a while, questions still surface…Why am I blogging? And this will inevitably lead to “What is a successful blog?” […]

  2. […] Dite la vostra e leggete Lorelle che ha scritto un bel post sul tema e che è davvero brava. […]

  3. […] Define Blogging Success […]

  4. […] They have to be the right sort of links. They have to show you’ve read what they’re saying. People are not going to be impressed if you link to their site randomly, or tangentially. In this case by almost randomly linking to this page at Techcrunch, simply because it has the word random in the text is not going to impress them. They will not be linking back. It’s one step away from spamming. A more appropriate link following point one Stop Caring would be to Lorelle’s excellent article on defining success. Like Techcrunch it’s well written, but it’s also relevant to what I’m talking about. I don’t honestly expect her to link back, but linking to that page improves this entry anyway – which is another very good reason to link. […]

  5. […] Define Blogging Success […]

  6. […] Define Blogging Success […]

  7. […] Define Blogging Success […]

  8. […] your comments and not getting any can be as debilitating as negative comments. When you measure your blog’s success on comments, and you don’t get any, enthusiasm wanes and the desire to keep generating […]

  9. […] Define Blogging Success […]

  10. […] Define Blogging Success […]

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