How to Grow a New Developer Blog

So, you want to start and grow a blog.

I'm proud of you. I'm really rooting for you and I want you to be successful. But I want to make sure you realize that starting a successful blog is not easy by any means.

Most bloggers start out with big dreams, aspiring to get millions of readers so they can write for a living or at least make some money doing something they enjoy.

But the reality is, most bloggers give up after writing just a few articles.

If you want your blog to be successful, it really just comes down to a few key decisions you make. It has nothing to do with deciding on the name of your blog, or even how it looks. If anything, it's almost entirely your mindset.

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Your mindset not only shapes how you view your blog, but it's directly responsible for how you make decisions around it and whether or not it grows.

Why Mindset?

I honestly hate the word "mindset". It's overused by gurus who tell you how important it is without telling you why.

But it's definitely true. Your mindset is the most critical part of starting a new blog.

With the wrong mindset you are guaranteed to fail.

With the right mindset, every single decision you make will be the right one.

And if there's one single takeaway you get out of this article, it's exactly that.

Your mindset is the most influential factor in consistently making the right decisions.

Let's look at an example.

Stagnant Sally & The Blog That Wouldn't Grow

Sally has been blogging for a few weeks.

She watches her metrics like a hawk and when she sees a spike in traffic she digs into her referral data to see what caused it so she can double down on that source.

Focused on pageviews and visits, she sees a nice upward trend for a day or so but these spikes never seems to last.

After a few weeks of hard work and no results, she cuts back her time investment and posts less frequently. Her metrics don't go down so she becomes content with her blog as it is.

We haven't seen a new post from Sally in months, but it is rumored that she can be seen staring at her analytics page still to this very day.

Yikes... Don't be like Sally.

Lessons to Learn From Stagnant Bloggers

From the surface, they might seem to know what they are doing.

I mean, shouldn't you watch your metrics? And if something works, why not double down?

Well... depends. I'm sure Sally had the right intentions, but I can guarantee you she had the wrong mindset. And that mindset caused her to make a few mistakes that guaranteed failure for her blog.

1. Don't Focus on Vanity Metrics

We all want pageviews.

It can be hard to not obsess with how your blog is doing. I'll admit, first thing I do every morning is check my pageviews and search performance. I get it.

But you have to realize that this is an output measure.

Output measures are results from inputs, or things you can actually do to move the needle. If you're always focused on the outputs and not the inputs, you won't be changing your strategy to make better inputs. Your blog will fail.

Sally focused on her vanity metrics. Her tunnel vision caused her to miss the bigger picture, which was actually creating better, more valuable blog posts.

2. You MUST Be Consistent

The absolute worst decision Sally made was cutting back on her content creation.

Sure her metrics didn't go down, but what is WAY more important is that they didn't go up. If you approach blogging with a mindset of wanting to get millions of readers, this should be entirely unacceptable. Sally's mindset prioritized her time investment and she was okay with stagnant growth in return for less work.

You can't make this tradeoff if you want to grow a successful blog.

You have to be consistent and continue to push out valuable content, even when your metrics don't seem very motivating.

3. Pay Attention to What Works

Now, Sally didn't have it all wrong. She was smart to observe what caused her spikes in traffic and you should too.

This goes back to output measures vs input measures. Sometimes called lead vs lag measures.

If you see a spike in traffic, that is the result of something you did. It would be wise to figure out what caused that traffic surge so that you can increase your efforts and double down on those inputs. Sally had the right idea here.

If your blog is getting a ton of attention on certain platforms or when you post about certain topics, these are indicators that your are doing something well.

It would be wise to double down on these actions.

The name of the game is figuring out what you need to do to repeatedly get these positive results.

That's all it takes to create a successful blog.

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Hey, I'm Nick Dill.

I help people become better software developers with daily tips, tricks, and advice.
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