image for blogging post on bloggingWe start blogs with no idea of what to expect.

But most of us have seen other blogs and said to ourselves, “I want that.”, “And that.”.

“That” is usually more readers. More subscribers. More comments.

Take your pick.

Today’s Lesson

In the comments of the post titled, Become a Blogging Phenomenon in Hours, Maddie of The Kids Ate My Homework shared (in part):

While I’m working on the fundamentals, I’m not aggressively trying to drive traffic to my site. I’m practicing and learning. In the beginning, I wanted to have lots of people find me. I’ve since learned that I wasn’t ready

I agree with Maddie. In the beginning, most new bloggers aren’t ready.

And here’s why.

Let’s say you’re new to blogging. Still learning the ropes. Spending time tweaking your theme, learning behind the scenes stuff and maxing out your daily blogging time allotment.

Let’s say one of your blog posts goes viral and you become an overnight sensation.

The readers pour in. As do the comments.

Now what?

After you’ve done your happy dance and called all of your friends, you’ll be asking yourself, “How can I quickly add enough quality content to keep these new readers?” as well as, “How will I find the time to answer all of these comments?”.

Before that happens, here’s a few things I’d suggest:

  1. Become comfortable with blogging – the process of using your preferred blogging platform (WordPress, Blogger, TypePad…)
  2. Try and figure out who will be reading your blog – your target audience.
  3. Concentrate on writing quality posts – build a portfolio of articles your visitors will enjoy.
  4. Learn what happens behind the scenes of a blog – either ask for help, hire a professional or search online.
  5. Introduce yourself to other bloggers – via comments and/or social networking sites
  6. If it’s in your plan, build a blogging community.
  7. From there, work on the growth of your blog and/or your community – at a pace you’re comfortable with.
  8. Most importantly, enjoy the journey – blogging is not a race.

What about you?

Today’s Assignment

Would you be ready if one of your posts went viral?

Care to share?

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  1. Mike GoadNo Gravatar says:

    I’d be absolutely shocked if one of my posts went viral. I suppose I would cope with it as best as I can — and continue doing what I enjoy doing.
    Check out Mike Goad’s awesome post.Badlands…My Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Mike,

      I know what you’re saying. We’d have to learn how to cope with it and then move on, making whatever adjustments we deem necessary.

  2. HilaryNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara .. as Mike – I’d be shattered if one of my posts went viral .. but I like your ideas – when the time comes we preferably need to be ready for the future, having built the knowledge and experienced loads.

    It is slow .. but opportunities come along all the time .. I got asked to do some more writing today – we never know! Cheers Hilary

    • HilaryNo Gravatar says:

      Interesting that commentLuv didn’t work for me .. that seems to be happening quite a lot recently here and there … Hilary

      • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

        Hi Hilary,

        Yes. Being prepared and having the knowledge and experience are key to handling what could be the start of great success for us.

        Congrats on your writing gig.

        P.S. I’m not sure what’s going on with CommentLuv but it has been action kinda wonky lately.

  3. Jo WakeNo Gravatar says:

    I too would be shocked if my blog went viral, I would be delighted, but whether I could cope with a stack of questions and comments I really don’t know. I wouldn’t mind the opportunity of trying though LOL
    Check out Jo Wake’s awesome post.Statues, Irene. Apron.My Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Jo,

      I like your reply about not minding finding out. 🙂 It could be a fun experience, hey?

  4. Yes, Barbara – I was wrapped up in both my writing objective and reader statistics when I first started. My enthusiasm matched a person with a new idea for a business: The idea is perfect, everyone will want it, the world is going to be dazzled and my life will be changed forever!

    However, getting on with the job, being diligent, consistent and present has helped bring reality to the fore. The comments and subscriptions are helpful. They are a good indicator for considering any necessary change, but in light of my writing objective, not in the procurement of higher numbers.

    The surprising outfall? The fabulous community that has transpired. The next step will be meeting some of these people in person to see if they are who they seem to be through their writing!

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Amy,

      I hear you. Community is like the icing on the cake. When we start blogging we don’t know where it will take us, but when regulars start showing up, we realize there’s more to blogging than just sharing our thoughts.

  5. Already happened and my blog crashed right away – I guess I wasn’t ready.
    Check out Vered DeLeeuw | Social Media Consultant’s awesome post.Facebook Privacy Changes: A Response to Google Plus?My Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Vered,

      You’ve shared a good point. If we have a blog post go viral, our site could crash from the large influx of hits. If our server can’t handle it, many may not even see what all the fuss is all about.

  6. maddieNo Gravatar says:


    Thank you for mentioning my blog and comment! The shy me said, ‘YIKES!’ and the blogger me sounded a bit like Shirley Temple, ‘Oh my goodness! Oh my goodness!’

    Although I’m learning a lot from you, I still have a long way to go. I’m still not ready and I’m groping my way around the blogging world. I would have no idea what to do if one of my posts went viral. I’m not sure cheering would be the first thing I did.

    For now, I’ll just keep my head down and continue working on my writing skills and site design. I think I need to buy a journalism textbook and read that between diaper changes.

    Thanks again!
    Check out maddie’s awesome with young children – how to make life easierMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      You’re welcome Maddie,

      What I like about your comment is you shared what a lot of new bloggers realize – it’s one thing to become a popular blogger, but it’s another thing to be ready for that kind of success.

      Keep doing what you’re doing Maddie. Perseverance will pay off. 🙂

  7. AdelineNo Gravatar says:

    Thanks for the tips. One of my posts just went viral and your tips are proving helpful for me to cope with the surge of new visitors to my blog.
    Check out Adeline’s awesome post.A Re-FISH-ing Foot Spa at Tagaytay Picnic GroveMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      You’re welcome Adeline,

      Congratulations on having a post go viral. Enjoy the ride. I’m happy my tips have been helpful.

  8. suzenNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barb! Oh I am so ready – bring it on! I’m beginning to wonder if I write about topics regarding health and wellness that people just do not want to hear about? I had a lot more followers when I wrote about more esoteric themes and the whole lofty (aka “spiritual) topics. Now I’m into the hard core taking responsibility for your health topics and readership appears to be teetering on the edge of extinction. Not sure what to think but I keep on going anyway. Any suggestions?

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Suzen,

      I love what you’re doing, but you have entered a niche where some people aren’t going to be open to what you’re sharing. I think part of that is due to the fact we’ve learned/believe “big brother” knows best, when in fact, we need to take responsibility for our own health issues and look at ALL of the research.

      Please don’t let a low turnout discourage you. The world needs you. 8)

  9. AndrianaNo Gravatar says:

    “Baby steps” – what a word your chose…really nice, I think this state of mind is really required for all of us who do “blogging”

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Andriana,

      With blogging, I think by taking baby steps we will build a stronger foundation for whatever the future throws our way.

  10. My blog had a big spike of traffic one day (not viral, but maybe 5 times normal). No comments though. If there had been, maybe I could have figured out why it happened!
    Check out David K Waltz’s awesome post.It’s The PeopleMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi David,

      From the sounds of it, someone may have Stumbled (Stumble Upon) one of your posts. If you check your stats you’ll see the referring links.

  11. mateiNo Gravatar says:

    Well, if my site had a traffic peak, I would ensure that my hosting plan can sustain it. Moreover, I would try to get in contact as much as possible with the visitors, as this is the only chance to make them…come back again some other time.
    However, I would still concentrate to come with other killer posts, just to make my readers feel satisfied by the time spent on my site and not to make them request 2 minutes of their life back.
    Check out matei’s awesome post.Inflatable Wetsuit: Mandatory Accessory For Surfers?My Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Matei,

      That’s a good point. IF a post goes viral, we certainly wouldn’t want our new visitors say, “Is that it?”.

  12. Wise EarsNo Gravatar says:

    I do not think I want my any of my blogs to go viral or crash my site…I just want to build a good following and I want Wise Ears to finally celebrate my gifts and make a living wage, doing what I do best…I just wish it was a bit bigger baby steps, because I need to be able to pay for IT help, and I am discovering I just can not keep pace in that area…another baby step process that I need to be honest about.

    I also do not seem to be very adept at playing…which I was trying to do this week…and here I am back on the computer reading what everyone has to say 🙂

    Good words….my friend and adviser keeps saying baby steps to me repeatedly –
    Check out Wise Ears’s awesome post.Husband HearingMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Patricia,

      One thing about baby steps is we learn/experience/grow at a pace we can easily adjust to. If our blog or a a lot of our posts were to go viral, not only would be have to adjust our blogging activities, but it could also affect how much time we spend in the real world.

  13. Hi Barbara,

    Online marketing has been very overwhelming. Most people then think that they can easily earn money through blogging. But just like in any business, it takes a lot of understanding, time, experience, etc. before you can actually earn big money. After a month of zero income, they would give up thinking that it isn’t for them. They should know that it was part of the game. 🙂

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Jam,

      You’ve raised a good point. It’s rare someone makes it big over night, both online or off, and expecting to become a hit in a short period of time is unrealistic thinking.

  14. J.D. MeierNo Gravatar says:

    I like the way you framed it, in terms of growing at a healthy pace.

    I especially like your focus on mastering the basics, since that can help us scale and respond, as we take on more, without getting overwhelmed.

    I haven’t done any of the things I’m supposed to do to scale or grow yet (guest posting, EZine articles, etc.), and it’s partly because I’m not ready. When I’m ready, I’ll get more aggressive, but for now, I focus on a pitch at a time, and just flowing value, and learning as I go.
    Check out J.D. Meier’s awesome post.A Bucket of Criticism – Water, Sand, and GoldMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you J.D.,

      You’re right. When we’re ready we know it. Until then it’s important we make the most out of what we’ve learned thus far and keep on keeping on.

  15. Aislinn PaulNo Gravatar says:

    Starting up it’s not the most difficult thing to do, keeping the pace through the unavoidable disappointments is. Plus, nowadays you have to be exceptional to catch a “traffic spike” with so much competition around.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Aislinn,

      Yes. Part of learning blogging is knowing how to catch those traffic spikes. Not always an easy task, but it’s doable. All we can hope is when the big traffic shows up, we won’t let them down.

  16. Blogging is limitless. If you’re good in writing you can write whatever you want. If you’re not good in writing then it can be your practice ground to polish your writing skills. If you wanted to be famous then you can follow Perez Hilton’s footsteps. If you wanted to get rich then you must learn to use it as a money making tool. There’s more to blogging that what meets the eye.
    Check out Melly Lifshitz’s awesome post.Mel Lifshitz Supports the Mikveh Of LawrenceMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Melly,

      You nailed it with, “There’s more to blogging that what meets the eye.”.

      I like your idea of following those who have come before us. If we watch how they “made it”, we’re bond to pick up some tricks of the trade.

  17. Taking it slow definitely adds to the enjoyment of blogging. Every time I break my visitor record for a day, I celebrate. Sure I could spike those numbers up with a slew of off-page SEO, but I kind of like the gradual growth I’m seeing from what little I’m doing. It’s kind of like enjoying a midday drive down a back country road versus furiously weaving through traffic as I try to get to work on time.
    Check out Garrett @ Cute Corgi’s awesome post.FriendshipMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Garrett,

      That’s a great analogy. Enjoying the ride, looking at the scenery along the way and living in the moment will bring us tons of blogging joy.

  18. If you write articles about something you feel passionately about and you feel you have an expert opinion to offer, and you’re doing making significant contributions all the time and putting in the proper effort, I don’t see what the problem with gaining lots of readers early on. Just continue doing what you love doing, do it the way you want, if that’s what you were doing all along that attracted the initial attention. Just sustain the same level of effort and passion and continue to make significant work.
    Check out freddy k’s awesome post.The Crucial Steps to Closing a SaleMy Profile

  19. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Freddy,

    I don’t see anything wrong with having a large readership right from the beginning, however like you said, we need to sustain the same quality of writing that attracted them in the first place.

  20. Good mantras for people who are taking baby steps into blogging. It is important that you figure out to whom do you to communicate i.e. your target audience. It takes a lot of patience and hard work to be a good and well known blogger. It is important not to give up unless tried many times.

    • I agree, John.

      I’ve had quite a few friends pick up blogging thinking it would be a breeze, only to become discouraged by the lack of progress (traffic) they make after the first few weeks.

      It really does take hard work and perseverance to build a community around your blog, especially if you are playing by Google’s rules with legitimate traffic building practices and a heavy reliance on good content.
      Check out Garrett @ Cute Corgi’s awesome post.Tiny Corgi PuppyMy Profile

      • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

        Hi Garrett,

        You’re right. Many take up blogging expecting overnight success only to find out it’s more like a real job where we need to put in our time before we gain recognition.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you John,

      Giving up isn’t something that’s in a lot of blogger’s vocabularies, but like you said, if we try many times and don’t succeed, maybe it’s time we move onto something else.

  21. letempspasseNo Gravatar says:

    Another interesting post, and more food for thought.

    Going viral? God I hope not. My blog isn’t ready for it’s first steps, and certainly not ready for a marathon It feels more like a premature baby, alternatively smiling, wiggling, chewing its toes or crying in the incubator. I would rather let it gain some strength and put on some weight before I invite a big crowd over.

    My major issues are lack of target audience and absence of mission. I am writing for the pure pleasure of it. Hence no focus. I am hoping that, in time, a recurrent theme will emerge, perhaps through occasional feedback from visitors, or else spontaneously. Patience is the mother of all virtues….
    Check out letempspasse’s awesome post.Why Is Life So Good To Me?My Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Letempspasse,

      I like your description of your blog. They are like our babies, aren’t they? And just like infants, it takes time for them to grow and mature. 🙂

      I think if you keep writing you will find an emerging theme. Blend that with whatever you’re passionate about and you’re sure to have a blog which will go viral in it’s own time.

  22. JosephNo Gravatar says:

    Great Post Barbara, if one of my posts should go viral today I really dont have much Idea on how to keep them coming, but it become easier if they subscribe to you blog through that you can always send them an update.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Joseph,

      That’s true. If those who landed on our blog subscribed, we could hopefully keep them as readers with our (stellar) updates.

  23. I found the biggest problem was getting motivation to write posts, when I set up a blog I was full of enthusiasm, but that faded fast, when I struggles to find content.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Rentals,

      That can happen. In the beginning we can be filled with tons of ideas only to have that fade. That said, I think if we can get over that hump, we can build a blog that stands the test of time.

  24. Enjoying the journey is definitely at the root of it. If you don’t enjoy it, there’s really no point.

    As for growth, consistency and responsiveness counts. You can’t grow your community if you’re not responsive to them (via email, comments, etc). And if you’re not consistent, they’ll quickly find something else.
    Check out Ricardo Bueno’s awesome post.Are You Suffering From Information-Binge Bias?My Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Ricardo,

      The journey is what it’s all about, isn’t it?

      Yes. Consistency is another key factor. Just like in real life, if we don’t continue to nurture the relationships we build, they’ll suffer.

  25. ChristianNo Gravatar says:

    I think anyone who want to start blogging should start with “Baby Step”…Its true, blogging sounds fun but thinking of writing all those never ending topics always use to swirl my head. I believe there are times when even bloggers do run out of ideas on new topics and trying to get some inspiration always bring back that intensity. I found the articles very helpful and I’m sure every reader who loves writing will appreciate your tips.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Christian,

      Definitely. Even if we start a blog with tons of ideas, the day comes when we hit a dry spell or just don’t feel like writing.

  26. Hi Barbara,

    First of all fantastic theme and love the name “Blogging without a blog”. Since reading Baby Steps and alot of your other posts i started my own blog. The tips really helped and now have published a few posts. I started a blog about my business and the trade im in. I didnt have the confidence to do it before but i learnt alot from your blogs and some other tips from around the net. I would definatly recommend starting your own blog its a great way to get all your points and advice accross to the world.


    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Locksmiths Leeds,

      That’s true. No matter what profession we’re in, a blog is the perfect way to share our knowledge. And we never know, it could lead to more business, too.

  27. Absolutely true that sometimes the ideas are right in front of us but we just couldn’t grab that idea and turn it into a post especially if you have been blogging for a period of time.
    Check out WordPress Hosting’s awesome post.How to find ideas to post new article in your blogMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi WordPress Hosting,

      Yes. Some days those ideas escape us. What I find is if I step away from the blog and don’t try so hard, inspiration for post ideas begin to flow.

  28. Once again, you got me thinking.

    Actually, I’m not sure if I’d really want my blog or post to go viral. Of course, in terms of sales and even a bit of ego, it’d be nice, but really, I don’t like that kind of success.

    I’d prefer a nice blog with constant income, quality comments and a good feedback from respectful readers.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Ana,

      I hear you. Having our blog or a post go viral would be good for the ego, but on the other hand, it would/could throw us into a bigger pond, so to speak. With that comes more responsibility and probably time. Not something we could necessarily prepare for.
      Check out Barbara Swafford’s awesome post.Baby StepsMy Profile

  29. Sally ThompsonNo Gravatar says:

    Great suggestion.. This will really a big help for bloggers like me.. Thanks for the ideas..
    Check out Sally Thompson’s awesome couponsMy Profile