Whenever I gave advice to new bloggers about promoting their blog I always told them that ‘The first few hundred subscribers are the hardest'. This is something I have believed for years and something which I believe still holds true today.
It can be very infuriating at the beginning of a blogs life. You spend hours writing top quality articles yet no one leaves a comment because no one knows your blog exists. Essentially, you are writing for the search engines, so the initial articles aren't wasted if they bring in good traffic at a later date.
Once you get more traffic and more subscribers, everything gets easier. Pretty much any article you write will get a comment, a tweet or a digg, simply because your audience is bigger. It's usually much easier to get from 500 to 3,000 subscribers than it is to get from 0 to 500. Everything snowballs and grows exponentially, though at the start, it's an uphill battle.
You can avoid a huge amount of hassle promoting a new blog if you already have a successful website i.e. a platform to launch your new website from. Looking back, this is something I wish I did with WordPress Mods. Unfortunately, I didn't plan ahead. I thought about selling Blogging Tips and a few days later it was listed for sale. Had I waited a few months I could have started my new site and told readers and newsletter subscribers about it.
Darren Rowse from ProBlogger did it the right way with his Twitter blog TwiTip. He launched the site in November 2008 and told all his loyal readers about it. Thousands had subscribed after just a few articles. According to the sites advertising page it had 5,700 RSS subscribers in 11th February 2009.
Nearly 6 thousand subscribers in 4 months is impressive any way you look at it, and 15 months later the blog has over 36,000 subscribers. Not bad for a site which he rarely posts on himself (guest posters mostly write articles there).
Again, I didn't take advantage of the platform I had with my old site. I started planning the site as soon as I decided to sell but didn't launch til 2 months later. Therefore, I need to do things the hard way :)
The blogs RSS subscriber growth is painfully slow. I get the impression people are less likely to subscribe when compared to other niches such as making money online and news. However, traffic is growing every day so I'm sure RSS growth will happen in time.
To encourage this I have wrote lots of long premium articles such as ‘How to Integrate WordPress and bbPress‘ and ‘The Ultimate Social Media Icon List. I'm also publishing an article this Monday which I spent about 4 days on (no joke!).
I am also writing another article for my old site Blogging Tips this Monday and will hopefully get enough time to write a post for Daily Blog Tips too.
The bottom line is, you can't really afford to take your foot off the pedal until your blog has been established. Getting the blog off the ground is really half the battle. Once the site has more traffic and a loyal readership everything gets easier.
So if you have just launched a new blog or are thinking about doing so, don't be too disheartened if the site isn't a success right away. This does happen occasionally with some blogs though most of the time you need to keep plugging away at it until the blog reaches a good level.