When it comes to successful blogging there’s more to it than just starting a blog, picking the perfect niche, creating the perfect monetization strategy, and having the perfect email list. Of course, all those things are really important but, in my personal experience, it takes some very specific habits to separate a successful blogger from the rest of the pack.
I’m not saying your success is completely dependent on these habits, or that you will or won’t succeed depending on these habits, but I do know these blogging habits have been instrumental in my success.
When I’m talk about creating a successful blogging I’m mostly talking about being able to make an income that you can survive off. Meaning you pay the bills (and then some) with your blog.
Here are the habits I believe set successful bloggers apart from the rest.
#1. Treat your blog like a regular job.
My kids often say to me “If I worked from home I’d stay in my pajamas all day and watch TV”. Well, watching TV doesn’t pay the bills.
I treat my days as regular workdays. I’m up around 5:00 am, have a cup of coffee, and then exercise for about an hour. Then I get ready as if I’m going to work. Not one time have I ever sat around in my pajamas. The only time the TV goes on is if I’m on break or after work. I have learned to manage my time effectively and say no to things that take me away from getting work done.
Blogging offers a lot of flexibility that most jobs don’t provide. You can work when you want and where you want. However, to be successful you must treat blogging as you would a regular job. This means having scheduled hours, goals, a plan, and systems in place.
#2. Have a long-term vision.
Having a long-term vision is important when working towards a full-time income from a blog. Honestly, it’s important with any business but especially with blogging because you’re starting with just an idea. Also, you most likely won’t make any money for at least 6 months so that vision is what will keep you going. You need to be able to look a year or longer down the road and visual what your blog can become.
Seeing the bigger picture, and creating a plan that will contribute daily to your long-vision, is what will lead you to success. I find it helpful to think “what am I doing today that will bring me success 6 months to a year from now.”
Always remember, true success doesn’t happen overnight. You must have a long-term vision and see the bigger picture. More than that, you must believe in that vision even when the vision seems far away. It takes time to build a sustainable business that brings in a full-time income.
#3. Have thick skin.
Having a thick skin will serve you very well as a professional blogger.
First, you’re going to have people in your life, close to you, that don’t believe in your vision. They don’t understand what blogging is or how a person can make money from it. Some people might even try to steer you away from blogging. Don’t let others crush your vision. This is what I’ve learned. In most cases, when people are unsupportive it’s because THEY don’t think THEY can do it. They don’t have the long-term vision and are unwilling to put in the work to make it happen. If they can’t do it then they don’t want you to do it either.
I swear, even after I was making money, people still didn’t believe – I felt like I needed to walk around with my tax returns just to prove myself. At first, it bothered me. Now I don’t have the time to worry about, or make people understand, that I actually do make money working as a blogger. I just deposit my checks and carry on. If you spend time worrying about what other people think then you take time away from the things that matter.
Second, as you start to blog there are going to be people who are very tough behind a keyboard and say things that are rude and hurtful. This can happen anytime during your blogging journey but more likely once your blog becomes popular. People will try to discredit you, start arguments with you or other readers, or simply just be nasty.
How do I deal with these people? I don’t. I simply hit delete and move on. I never get caught up in any drama that takes me away from my blog. Drama don’t pay the bills.
The delete button is your friend and you shouldn’t be afraid to use it. Always remember, this is YOUR blog. You own it. This means you say who comes into your house and stays. You shouldn’t feel obligated to entertain a rude person who is just trying to cause problem. Delete and carry on.
Of course, you don’t want to delete a comment that is bringing value to the conversation – not everyone is going to agree and that’s okay. I read over the comment and if I feel it brings value then I keep, if not I delete it.
Don’t let a bad comment, or rude person, hold you back from success. Delete, let it go, and move on. While they are dwelling in their own misery, you’ll be smiling all the way to the bank.
#4. You must have persistence.
Each trait I’m talking about is important but if I had to pick one that’ll most definitely set you apart from the pack it’s persistence. You have to be in it for the long-term and to keep going even when there’s serious challenges. It’s critical to your success to push through the tough times and come out stronger on the other side. Even when you experience huge failures (because it will happen) you still need to believe in yourself and see the long-term vision.
Speaking of failure – you need to accept failure as part of the process. Fall down 8 times and get up 9. It’s just the way it is. If everyone could start a blog and succeed within a week then we’d have a lot more 6+ figure blogs out there. Most successful bloggers have been at it for years. They stayed persistent, pushed through and kept going when everyone else gave up ← that’s what separates successful bloggers from the rest.
#5. Planning + Focused Action = Huge Success
Every successful venture starts with a plan. Without a plan a vision simply stays in your head as a dream. You need to have plans in place to keep your blog moving forward. However, it’s not just about the plan – you need to have focused action. Having a plan around your vision is great but if you don’t take daily focused action on it then it’s useless.
What does a blogging plan look like?
What’s your vision? Overall goals? Yearly goals? Monthly goals? What specific steps are you going to take to reach those goals?
You need to plan out content. What topics are you going to write about and when will they be scheduled. How will you fit SEO (Search Engine Optimization) into your content strategy.
What will your social media strategy look like? How often will you share content on social media? Which platform will you focus on? Will you make videos? How will you create images?
What is your traffic strategy? What are your monthly goals for traffic? How will you reach those goals?
How will you track income/expenses/taxes?
These are just examples of the types of things you can find in a blogging plan. Basically, create a plan for each of your goals and then take daily focused action to get there. Trust me, it’s easier said than done which is why most bloggers quit before they even make it this far. However, it can be done and if you want to create a successful blog then you’ll create a plan and take action.
#6. You must put systems in place.
After you start a blog, and work towards becoming a professional blogger, it’s going to be important to have systems in place to keep the different parts of your blog moving forward. Systems make it easier to take daily action on your goals.
For example, you need to write blog posts. Instead of just waking up and trying to figure out what to write about putting together an editorial calendar would be helpful.
Same with marketing and promotion – how are you promoting your blog posts? Are you manual scheduling social media or using a scheduler. Are you sharing in Facebook groups on specific days?
What email service provider are you using to send emails? How often are you sending emails? Can you write them ahead of time? What are you going to write about?
Having systems in place keep all these blog tasks moving forward. A system can be as easy as an excel spreadsheet or a paid service. These are the services I use to create some of my blog systems.
The point is you want to be intentional with your systems. You don’t want to just throw spaghetti at the wall and see what sticks.
The last thing I want to say about systems, and even with planning, is you don’t want to overwhelm yourself with so many things that you don’t do anything. Remember, systems are made to make it easier – not overcomplicate the process.
Also, you can’t do everything at once. There’s just not enough time during the day to work on everything. My advice is to list out all the tasks that need to get done for your blog, create a plan, and then put systems in place to make it happen. Choose 1-2 tasks a day to focus on, finish, and then move on to the next. Keep a to-do list visible so you don’t forget anything that needs to get done. Most importantly, prioritize! Spend the most time on the tasks that are going to bring you closer to your goals.
#7. Don’t wait for success to happen.
Successful bloggers don’t wait around for success to happen. I knew early on that if I wanted to create a successful 6+ figure blog then I was going to have to do it alone. Nobody else was going to write my blog posts, promote my blog, or do any behind the scenes work. My success was completely on my shoulders. Therefore, if you’re used to someone else taking care of things then you’ll struggle with finding success. Because nobody is going to do it for you – it’s all on you.
Blogging is the definition of entrepreneurship. Successful bloggers know how to create their own destiny and are not afraid of hard work. They know if they don’t put the work in, and make it happen, then they’ll be sitting by watching other bloggers make the money while they wonder why they’re not. They know if their blog fails they have nobody to blame but themselves. Successful bloggers take full responsibility for the success of their blog!
#8. Don’t focus on the competition.
Trust me, there’s enough room in internet land for everyone. You can’t start a business thinking you’ll be the only one. There’s always going to be someone writing about the same topic and/or offering the same services. That’s just the way it is – and quite frankly the way it should be.
My advice is don’t worry about the competition – just worry about yourself. When you focus too much on what everyone else is doing then it takes away from the work you should be doing. Also, remember this. Readers come to your blog for your content but they come back for you. Even though there might be 1000 other bloggers talking about the same topic they don’t talk about like you do. Stay true to yourself and just do the best you can do.
Last, don’t compare your day 1 to a blogger who has been at this for 7 years. Remember it took time for that blogger to get to where she is today. We all start at ground zero with only our mom reading our blog.
#9 Take care of themselves.
It might seem a little strange to see something like this in a list of habits to be a successful blogger but I do feel that when you take care of yourself you’re better able to take care of the other things in your life that are important to you. Most successful entrepreneurs are known to prioritize self-care.
I know when I exercise every day I’m able to focus better. When I get a good night’s sleep I feel more alert. When I’m eating healthy I have more energy to do the things that I need to get done for my blog. Taking care of myself helps me take care of my blog.
Getting a blog to a point where it’s making 6+ figures a year takes a lot of effort and focus. This means you need to be on your A-game every single day. So if you’re not getting enough sleep, eating healthy, or exercising it’s going to be hard to find the energy needed to be self-motivated to work daily on your business.
#10 Organize their business and life.
It’s no surprise that being organized is a positive habit to practice when you are building a successful business. Not only do you need to have your business organized for taxes, and things of that nature, but so you know what you’re doing everyday.
When you’re not organized it’s difficult to remember what needs to get done. This is when tasks start to fall through the cracks and you’re not able to do your work to your full potential
However, it’s not just business organization I’m referring too. I think it’s important to have your home and life organized. I’m not saying you need to be OCD about it but I do think it’s very difficult to succeed when trying to survive in clutter and chaos. Taking the time to tidy up, reduce clutter, and organize your home will free up space for you to focus on the things that matter. I discovered this when I started to lose weight and it rings true when trying to run a business too.
#11 Stay a student.
When I first started blogging, and for the first 5 years afterwards, everything I learned about blogging came from googling. I can honestly say I’m a self-taught blogger. Back when I started there were few websites that talked about starting a blog. It wasn’t how it is now where everyone who makes over $100 a month is a blog expert. I swear if I see one more blog income report saying “Learn how I earned $100 in my first month of blogging” I’m going to go nutso. Ummm talk to me when you add a few zeros to that number.
Anyway, in the last few years a lot of bloggers started creating ecourses to teach many different aspects of blogging. Some are general blogging courses and others are more specialized. I shied away from these courses for a long time because I honestly thought I knew everything. Or maybe I thought since I’ve been blogging so long that I should know everything. Well, a couple years ago I purchase two courses from Brilliant Business Moms (FB Brilliance and Brilliant Pinning) and was blown away. I learned so much in these courses and believe the information help me grow further. From there I purchased other courses that I found to be helpful and realized there’s no shame in learning from other bloggers no matter how long I’ve been at this.
I don’t think it’s necessary to purchase every course out there, but if you’re struggling with a certain aspect of blogging, or want a general blogging education, then I think a blogging ecourse can be very helpful. However, I do think you should be selective. Pay attention to the number of years the blogger offering the ecourse has been blogging. Try to take one of their free courses, or attend a webinar, to see what their teaching style is like.
My point is to always stay a student. Grow your blog by learning from other bloggers.
#12. They invest in their business.
I often see new bloggers asking about the cheapest way to start a blog. I understand we all want to save money, and nobody really has a lot to invest at first, but the thing is when you’re starting a business you should expect to spend money. Good news is starting a blog doesn’t cost a lot of money. Between a domain name, hosting, and a theme you can expect to start a blog for around $100 – $150 give or take. Considering the cost to starting a brick and mortar business this is dirt cheap – and there’s a potential high return on investment with minimal risk if you succeed.
Honestly, the monthly costs are not a lot either. The cost of running a blog goes up when you start paying for certain services. For example, schedulers for social media, landing page templates, backend services, and the list goes on. See the blog services I use here. Of course, there are many things you can do yourself for a time but if there are certain services that will streamline systems and make you more money then you might want to consider purchasing them.
Whether it’s ecourses, services, themes, or whatever don’t be afraid of investing in your business. My advice is to look at the return on investment. How will this service or product make you more money? If it’s going to grow your business then fit it into the budget.
These are the characteristics I believe played a huge role in my success as blogger. Like I said, anyone can start a blog but not everyone has what it takes to build a successful blog and see it through.
What do you think? Would you add any characteristics to this list?
Creating a blog was the best decision of my life! If you’re interested in starting a blog of your own, I created a tutorial that will help you step by step start a blog of your own. Take that first step and get your blog started.