How to REALLY Create a Popular Blog From Scratch

How to REALLY Create a Popular Blog From Scratch

Last updated on

How to make your blog popular is the goal of every blogger creating his/her first blog. No one makes a blog if they don’t want people to actually read it, right?

I turned Traffic Generation Café from a brand new blog into an established online authority on all things we traffic in 3 months. So when I talk about how to make YOUR blog popular, I talk from experience.

Not all blogs are created equal.

Some blogs take off like wild fire within weeks of their creation, yet some might take months to even start seeing the light of day.

Your blog might be one of the latter ones.

You write great content, yet your competitor’s blog with mediocre posts seems to get all the website traffic.

Not all blogs are created equal.

For instance, when Guy Kawasaki created his blog, he had the benefit of already being a famous persona in business and online. No wonder he had nearly 4,000 daily visitors within weeks.

Chances are you are not Guy Kawasaki.

Or Gary Vaynerchuk.

But that’s OK. Because neither was I.

So you and I can have a real heart to heart on how to REALLY make a popular blog starting with nothing.

In the beginning, there was… hard work.

No other way around it. No silver bullet. No secrets.

Just plain old-fashioned “let’s drink lots of good coffee and stay up at all hours of the night, work around your family schedule and any other commitments you might have” kind of work.

And start from the beginning.

How to Make Your Blog Popular: Hurdle 1

Best Bloggers Are Natural Hackers

Traffic Generation Cafe is certainly not the first or the only blog to talk about how to increase website traffic. There are plenty others that paved the way.

Yet, here I am, alive and kicking and growing.

What’s my secret?

You know that phrase: “think outside the box“? I hate it.

There’s no such thing as the dreaded “box”. YOU are the only box that you need to worry about.

You see, all great bloggers are natural hackers. They took a good look around, measured themselves against their competition, and went against the grain.

Do you have what it takes?

The very first question you have to ask yourself is this:


Is your content AWESOME and unique? Is it infused with personality? Does it help your readers to solve THEIR problems?

The opposite of the above would be:

  • your content is generic and can be found on every other blog in your niche.
  • you don’t offer any unique point of view on your blog.
  • you don’t have a “hook” that would keep your readers coming back (usually, the best hook is a mixture of personality and the unique angle at solving your readers’ problems).
  • you focus on the things YOU are interested in and don’t provide any solutions to your visitors.

Start there.

Examine your blog as impartially as you can.

Ask a friend. Ask someone to take a look at your content and give you an HONEST opinion.

Don’t do anything until you get over this hurdle.

How to Make Your Blog Popular: Hurdle 2

Find Your Voice

The best voice you can give to your blog is the one you ALREADY have.

Don’t create a blogging “persona” that is a far cry from who you really are.

If you do that, there’s only that long that you can carry on with it and this will eventually become the weight to drag you down.

Example: I am not a story-teller. I don’t do fancy. I am generally not good with words. Especially considering that English is not my first language.

What I am good with is giving straight actionable advice. I speak my mind and I do it well.

However, I didn’t realize it until my first blog became an obvious flop.

I got tired pretty quickly of trying to be the kind of writer I really wasn’t and my readers noticed. Soon enough I heard crickets and that’s when I knew it was time to reinvent myself… to simply go back to what I knew how to do best.

Now let’s get down to business: stop talking about the “Whats” and get to the “Hows” of how to build your popular blog from scratch.

1. Create Pillar Content Right Off the Bat

Your next step is to write, write, write.

Don’t do anything else, but write.

Edit yourself without mercy.

Come up with brilliant ways to write about the same old stuff everybody else is writing (if you can’t come up with anything fresh) from an entirely different point of view.

Provoke your readers’ minds.

My very first post on TGC was a humongous list of 202 Bite-Sized Tips To Insanely Increase Your Blog Traffic.

Why 202? No reason.

I just wanted to create the biggest list of its kind and I did.

Needless to say, it brought me a lot of traffic right off the bat and the post was mentioned on several prestigious blogs after that.

2. Create Social Proof

Ever came to a blog that was so quiet you weren’t sure it was even alive?

No comments, no tweets; just sitting there, lonely and forgotten…

Yes, I know – I am sad for the blogger as well.

Existing engagement encourages more engagement. And that, my friend, is what social scientists call Social Proof.

I do understand your dilemma though.

You have a new or fairly new blog that hasn’t quite developed a following yet.

So how are you to prove to your visitors that you are worthy of their attention?

How do you get that initial push, that first comment, first tweet?

That’s where I come to the rescue. On the white horse and all.

  • Have enough posts: forget about bringing traffic to a blog with a couple of posts. Completely counter-productive.
  • Launch without comments: If your blog is not getting much traffic or comments, post without comments first. As your traffic grows, you can always open the posts for discussion later.
  • Create a commenting tribe: That’s right: take the matter of no comments into your own hands. Create a group of like-minded peer blogs and start commenting on each other’s posts. How to Drive Traffic To a New Blog Through a Commenting Tribe
  • Create more tweets: Here’s an easy way to create Twitter social proof: have more than 1 Twitter account! Or more than 2, or even more than 3. When I first started, I had 6 Twitter accounts. To learn more about my Twitter strategy, go here: How to Get More Followers from Twitter Fast.
  • Create more Facebook shares: It’s even easier to get more Facebook shares. All you do here is find some existing niche tribes on Facebook (just search for “your keyword” plus the word “tribe” in FB search), join the tribe pages, and start posting your links. Of course, it’s good etiquette to not just spam the pages, but check out other posts as well. Also, here’s a great post on how to get more Facebook fans (so that you can get more Facebook shares).
  • Limit Choice of Social Sharing Buttons: Don’t ever display buttons that your readers aren’t using. For instance, I noticed on my blog that I rarely get any Diggs. Since I am not an active Digg member and will never become anything close to a power player on that site, I simply removed that button from my blog.

Great post on the subject at

3. Create Profitable Alliances

Call it what you want: alliance, partnership, JV – all roads lead to Rome.

This works no matter what stage your blog is in, how much perceived authority you, as a blogger, have, how big your readership is – the only thing that matters is VALUE.

We all have something we do better than the other blogger, know more about something than the next guy – we all have something to offer that someone else might want or need.

So, working together with other bloggers to achieve the greater good…

Ways to create alliances:

1.   Links / Mentions

One of the easiest forms of collaboration, it happens to be one of the most effective ones as well.

I’ve benefited greatly from it through creating more traffic from the mentioned blogs, as well as more comments – at the very least from the bloggers themselves, from being mentioned on their blogs in return, from referral business even, like consulting clients, blog audits, etc.

2.   Promoting in a post

Every once in a while, I like to highlight specific bloggers and the interesting projects they are currently working on.

For instance, this post was originally written for Danny Iny‘s incredible “Engagement from Scratch” book, in which 30+ co-authors explain how they built an engaged and loyal audience, and how they would do it if they had to start all over again.

So now that I mentioned Danny’s book, I am hoping to butter him up to keep me in mind and possibly mention my blog in one of his future tremendous guest posts for some incredibly popular blog.

How did it work, Danny?

3.   Guest blogging

Yes, I can hold this note for a long time.

Imagine you’d like to network with a blogger who seems to be simply unapproachable because of his/her strong reputation in the blogging community. The kind of blogger you really would love to get to know better, in other words.

You can’t and shouldn’t just send them an email, however nice it might be, introducing yourself and letting them know you are after a piece of their attention.

Of course, not.

But submit an awesome blog post, start commenting on their blog, and sooner than later they know who you are and you are on an email basis with them.

Sweet spot to be at.

That’s how I developed a relationship with Yaro Starak from, for instance.

I’ve been a regular contributor to E-J for about 8 months now (take a look at some of the posts I wrote there) and now that Yaro knows who I am, he was very willing to contribute to my post on banner advertising as a viable income stream from a blog.

4.   Introducing each other

It happens all the time.

You know someone I want to know? Requesting an introduction is in order, assuming, of course, that I already networked with you, linked to you, and am on a first name basis with you.

Twitter is great for that, by the way.

Just recently Gail Gardner from thought that I should definitely be introduced to Donna Anderson from, and within minutes of that idea the following tweets were sent out:

how to create an alliance on twitter

how to increase traffic through Twitter alliance

Now, thanks to Gail, Donna and I have become each other’s fans – who knows where that relationship will take us in the future!

5.   Swap ads

Simple enough, yet with a twist.

Find a blog with an untapped audience!

Don’t just go to a blogger you are already sharing the readership with. Find someone whose content doesn’t compete, but rather compliments yours.

Then approach them with the idea to swap ads and “exchange” traffic.

6.   Offer your freebie as a bonus

Know someone with a great product and think your freebie will make a great bonus to it?

Everyone loves a good bonus and as long as it’s not in competition with the product – naturally, this should be an easy deal to make.

7.   Co-registration

This is a great way to build email list.

Get some bloggers with great newsletters together and start promoting each other on a thank you page your new subscribers will see right after they sign up to your list.

“…I think you’d really love to check out these newsletters I subscribe to and know to provide tremendous value:…”

Here are more list building tips.

8.   Product co-creation

Yes, everyone wanting to make any serious money online needs their own product at some point.

Having hard time with that idea? Have no clue how to even approach it?

Partner with someone who is in the same boat – two heads are better than one.

Better yet, find someone who already has an idea or is in some stages of development of a product, but needs your expertise to make it complete.

You can even start with something as simple as Kindle publishing.

9.   Special discounts

Have a product already?

Offer a special discount to the readers of a particular blog.

Exclusivity is still a hot commodity and will guarantee to bring you red-hot traffic ready to buy.

10.   Run a contest.

This one is definitely better done with a partner or two – less work, better results.

The really hard part is attracting some strong sponsors; connections are the key here.

However, if you’ve done the initial steps listed above and already positioned yourself as an authority figure in your niche, that shouldn’t be a problem.

How to Make Your Blog Popular: Hurdle 3

Let your readers know who you are

Time and time again, I see this happen: a FACELESS BLOG.

No “Here’s what you can learn on this blog…

No “Hi, I am so and so…

No “here what I am all about”.

No “feel free to get in touch with me”.

BIG mistake.

When I come to your blog, I – your average reader – want to see the man/woman behind the lines.

I want to know if you are worth my attention. I want to know that, if I were to ask you a question, I would get an answer.

Your blog audience engagement starts with this:

1.  Your About Me page.

This is a good place to talk about… well, you. Let your readers know who is behind your blog. Why are you blogging? What are you blogging about? Why should I read your blog?

Very important: DON’T get carried away.

Yes, it is a page about you, but not really. It’s still about your reader. It’s about you showing them that you are worth a look, a read, a comment.

It’s still ALL ABOUT THEM.

Check out my About Me page and pay attention to the first few paragraphs, where I am really not talking about myself, but rather letting my readers know why I deserve their attention.

Need more inspiration?

Check out this post at

2.   Your Contact Me page.

Equally as important.

Accessibility counts.

Here you add whatever you feel comfortable adding. Some ideas:

  • your phone number
  • Skype, AOL, Yahoo messenger ID
  • social networks (Twitter, Facebook, and such)
  • a “Contact Me” form (I use plugin called “Contact Form 7″ on my blog; there are plenty of others to choose from).

How to Make Your Blog Popular: Marketing Takeaway

You know why all blogs are not created equal?

Because some of them are created by doers and others are created by spectators.

DOERS are people who read about it and then go do it. They are the go-getters, the bottom-liners, the achievers.

SPECTATORS are people who read about it, but don’t implement it. They are the side-liners, the “I could never do what she did” crowd, the eternal students.

The good news here is that YOU are the one who chooses which camp you are in.

Hope you enjoyed the post and would love for you to share it with your social media circles!

traffic generation cafe how to make your blog popular

traffic generation cafe comment below

Google+ Comments

197 Comments (click here to leave a comment)

  1. Wow. Okay…

    So many takeaways here in this one post that I don’t know where to begin.

    I do love the list-building idea of noting other newsletters opt-ins on my own opt-in thank you page. Might have to set that up now!

    Thanks again for all the tips.

  2. Ronall

    Very useful information. I am still new to blogging. I agree with you when you said blogs are not created equal. But One key point i feel is missing..Youtube. It is very useful to promote your blog by using youtube. Make videos about your blog on youtube and provide a link for your viewers to visit.

    • Ana Hoffman

      I haven’t personally used YT when I first started. Developing your YT presence takes time, just as it takes time to build a blog and might be a bit too overwhelming in the beginning.

      • You’re right. It takes time to build a YT channel. My friends use to tease me that “No pain No gain” Slow but we’ll get there as the turtle.
        Keep the tips coming for we make use of them.

  3. Another great post Ana. Although you’re not exactly helping me be a doer since I have a bunch more posts to read that I’ve opened from your other posts :) Reminds me I have a new blog post to write though…

    • Ana Hoffman

      I think you did a great job with your new blog post, Craig; just goes to show those of us who really want it can have our cake and eat it too. lol

  4. pat

    Great blog, I am so glad to have read this because I have been trying to find a way to make my blog a little more popular for people to read.

  5. Hi Ana I have a news blog which I had created ten days ago. When I search about the content of my blog in search engines I dont get my blog in the results list. And another thing, I have tried applying for adsense but everytime it reject my request saying not sufficient content whereas I have 120 more posts. Please help me out if you can!!

    • Ana Hoffman

      Your site is not currently indexed by Google, Abinash; that’s why it doesn’t see any content there. I am surprised it’s taking so long though; I’d make sure you didn’t accidentally block Google. I don’t know much about blogspot blogs, but in WordPress, I’d go to your admin panel and under your “Privacy” tab choose “I would like my blog to be visible to everyone” option.

      • Abinash Neupane

        In google also there is an option to make visible to search engine and I have done that. But also nothing happened

        • Ana Hoffman

          It there’s nothing preventing the search engines from indexing your site, then it’s just a matter of time before they do, Abinash. Keep building links and it’ll be indexed.

  6. sudha

    Hi Ana,
    Another awesome piece of writing here. I have started following your blog only a few days ago and I am really inspired by you. This article focuses on all the things that a blogger should do to gain success. A blogger should always have a voice of his own because we as a reader try to picture him while we are reading the post and can connect with it. Awesome writing.

  7. Great article. I relate to what you were describing in the beginning, about pulling all nighters. When I started my blog 3 weeks ago I was up till like 4am almost every night tweaking my blog, researching and downloading all the advice I could get. Now its not as hectic. Its up and looking just the way I want it so now I can focus on creating great content. The biggest mistake a majority of bloggers make is giving up in the first week. Persistance, determination, and goals to achieve will put the serious on the right road. And I quite love blogging!

    • Ana Hoffman

      Congrats on your blog and welcome to the blogging club, Denzil. :)

      I’d say many new bloggers focus too much on the appearance and not enough of creating great content when they first start. Tweaking the design and how things come together is a never ending task.

  8. Excellent post and a popular subject. Loved everything BUT the ending. There is another group of people other than the Doers and Spectators.

    Everyone circumstances are different. There is always a group of people who are not yet ready to embark on a blog. Call them what you will but they are Living Lifers. Maybe they are building a career, a family, volunteering, or studying. Someday they will decide to be either a Spectator or a Doer but just not today. They are living life.


  9. Amazing site!!! You have a new fan and follower. I am a new blogger and you are a wealth of amazing information to help me along the road of success. Thank you!


  10. Thanks Ana for explaining in such detail, After reading this I think I have a lot to do with my blog to turn it into a popular one.

  11. Hi Ana, thanks for explaining the entire process in such details. I really appreciate your patience and knowledge about blogging. Though it has become a common thing today, but there are a lot of people who are still unaware of its basic. Thanks a lot for sharing.

    • Ana Hoffman

      I’d say that blogging has indeed become a common thing, but knowledge about blogging – not so much.

  12. Thanks Ana – I especially like the part about finding a unique voice. Information is information but people are very often looking for a voice they can identify with or be entertained by. Great point!!

  13. Wow Ana – I read this a long time ago but came back to it after reading some other posts at your Cafe (*grin*). My site has been around for a while, and while I’ve changed up the design (again) I made some big mistakes over the last year and let real life keep me from blogging regularly.

    Now my blog looks like a ghost town and I need to start over … I feel like I just took a “Creating a Popular Blog 101″ course here!

    I don’t comment on every post here but I do want you to know you’re still one of the MOST recommended sites I not only share with with other bloggers and small business owners, but my own clients as well! You really know your stuff, and I love that you practice what you preach as well!

    • Ana Hoffman

      MUCH appreciated, Kat!

      And yes, I know how it feels when life hits you on the head… all we can do is pick up the pieces and start all over.

  14. Hey Ana !
    These points are what everyone must follow it. Many people including me did not know the importance of these points. “Let your reader know who you are” This is an important point, indeed. I know many people who don’t even bother about this important aspect. Those people should read your detailed post, I must say.
    Thanks for sharing.

  15. Hey Ana!

    I thought I’d pop in and say hi. I haven’t been around for quite a while, been tied up on a project that was a huge undertaking, and it still has a ton of work left.

    I love the changes that you’ve made! I like the sticky widget box (I saw your email on it, too) and I really like your floating social media widget! I hope the changes are working for you and converting well!

    Anyways, great actionable advice, as always. I love your writing style and the way you lay out simple steps for your readers to implement. And you always back up your information with independent and clear-cut examples of how it’s done right. It’s everything you talk about right here in this post!

    Thanks for putting so much effort into your posts. You bring true value to your readers.

    I hope you have an outstanding weekend!


  16. Ana,

    I really appreciate the mention here, especially alongside some seriously big names – it’s an honor.

    I’ve been flat out these past few weeks working on the follow up to my post that you mentioned which is that group interview so I’m going to have to bookmark this and take another read once I’ve slept.

    Group interview is almost 10,000 words so far, so it’s going to be good 😉

    By the way, would love for you to contribute if you’ve got sometime spare.


  17. Hi Ana,

    Seems like we’ve known each other forever, doesn’t it? And the entire time I’ve preached “collaborate”! Working well for us so I hope your readers take note and act on your advice.

  18. Hello Ana,
    waw!!! This is actually the best post i have read for the month (sincerely speaking). This must have taken you more than your usual 8 hrs writing time :) . I really did learn a lot from this post and for that, i say a big thank you.

  19. yes, the quality content and the knowledge what a reader is supposed to get regarding the article name is of great importance. But, the need of the promotion of the article and the social presence of yours is what has recently joined the group also.

      • but that too can not be stated in my opinion that content is just nothing!
        content has its own share but the social presence of the content makes it more valuable.

  20. Nishant

    what is the best time to run a contest.. I mean in terms of visitors or time..
    how i can be ensure that people will take part in my contest .. cause if they do not it will be of no use.. and how to promote my contest it my blog isnt much popular/…. Please reply soon

    • Ana Hoffman

      I’d suggest googling those topics, Nishant; I am sure you’ll find a wealth of information on that.

  21. Ana, another awesome, mile-stone post from you. So many great tips useful not only for new blogs, but also for existing blogs who need a lift.
    Have more Twitter accounts- thank you for sharing that secret, appreciate your modesty. Thanks for sharing, Ana.

  22. Amazing article Ana! I think you have built a popular blog because you actually help people either through your content or the comments. You are connecting with them and supplying what they need. :)

  23. I think I might suddenly be in love with your blog if this article is any indication of the rest of the quality! Wow! I joliprint “ed” this article so I can refer to it later too! Wow!

    Your first two points really resound with me – that at the end of the day, hard work and natural hacker”ism” win out. Love it!

  24. Aaah! What a great post, as always. And timely, as I start working on my new blog.

    The one place I have always lacked is social engagement and I plan to do that differently from now on.

    I will be stalking you for a while. 😀

    • Ana Hoffman

      Surprised to hear that, Lisette – I also thought you were great at engaging with people!

  25. Linda

    Good morning Ana!

    May I just add a little reality check here for those of us who write in very tightly defined niches, please?

    I have been mentored by some of the best bloggers on the internet; followed their advice and supplemented this with only information from sites that they have agreed are worth reading. By rights – and following most of the things covered in this post – I ought to have a huge readership, at least. But no – it’s tiny.

    At first (like most people) I thought this was because I couldn’t write interestingly; or my ‘take’ on things was too off-beat; or one of a zillion other problems that I was causing. But the real reason is because I’m in a very limited niche. People only seek my sort of information when they’re thinking about going on holiday. Once the holiday is over, there’s no point in reading any more.

    On that basis, it seems unlikely I will ever have a large readership and most unlikely anything I write will ‘go viral’. I don’t think for one minute that I’m the only one in this position. What those of us who are in a limited niche need to remember is to continue to provide our best work for those readers we do have, on a regular basis.

    Kind regards,

    • Ana Hoffman

      You are making a very good point, Linda.


      From my perspective, it all comes down to whether you started your blog/site as a business or as a hobby.

      If it’s just your passion and you are not really looking into making it into a business, just happy to make a few dollars on the side, then maxing out with your audience is absolutely fine.

      But if it’s a business you are building and you realized that there’s a very feasible ceiling to how far you can take this business, you might have to consider switching the niche or starting another blog with a more profitable subject in addition to your current one.


      • Linda

        Bottom line – I need bums in beds!

        Or I’m broke…..

        There’s no option here, I have to persuade people Austria is THE place to go and not just in winter.


    • Ana Hoffman

      Just took a look at your blog, Linda, and I’d say there’s definitely a lot more you can do to develop it.

      For instance, your SEO could use some help. Your blog title still says “Just another WordPress blog”.

      Also, I don’t really see any call to action. What is it that you want your visitors to do?

      All I see is some posts about Austria, but now what?

      • Linda

        Thanks Ana,

        I don’t push the chalet on every post, having been told that I need to avoid appearing as a pushy sales person. Though I usually manage to slip it in somewhere!
        The other side of it is, that I’m also moving towards ‘paid posting’ in some way and ‘proper’ book publishing about the Austria other tourist guides don’t cover. I’m not sure that pushing the chalet too hard would help with these objectives..

        I take your point about the ‘Just another..’ – I don’t know how to remove that, so I’ll have to do some research.

        • Ana Hoffman

          You see your objective is to find guests for your chalet, Linda.

          When I look at your blog, to me it’s all about spending your holidays in Austria; I would’ve never guessed you actually own a chalet and you want me to stay there.

          Just casually mentioning it in your posts is not going to do it.

          I’d also recommend doing some research on marketing additional products related to Austria – travel books, etc. so that you have an additional income stream.

          And finally, most people who want to travel do most of their research online, and if your blog doesn’t show up for any of their searches, then generating new business is problematic, as you, I am sure, already know.

          You should be able to remove that default heading by going to your Settings => General; it’s under title.

          At some point, it might be wise for you to get some help.

  26. Thomas Jacobson

    Love your article Ana. I am new to blogging…and slow to write on it mainly because I have not yet learned […or, rather, taken the time–hah] how to invite/inspire people to visit. I have an ongoing feeling–that I have not yet shaken–that no one is going to read it.

    I know I have it backwards…like duh? :-)

    Your article gives me a boost and I appreciate your time in creating the content…not to mention, your successful background/experience.


    • Ana Hoffman

      You are right, Thomas – no one is going to read your blog.


      …unless you command the kind of respect that says “I’ve got something great here and you need to read it”.

      That kind of confidence comes over time – for me it did anyway. I blogged for about a year until I learned how to actually write something someone wanted to read.

      So keep blogging!

  27. Wow Ana…

    This was one of those posts you just come back to read, time and time again.

    But I will ask you just one tiny thing which has almost nothing to do with the post (hope you don’t ninja round-kick me from it):

    What is your first language? I though you were American, as, from the USA.

    I have always felt limited by language myself (my first language is Spanish or ‘mexican’ when american people are trying to be funny) and that’s one of the main reasons it took me a WHILE to record my first videos (they are still pretty sucky so please don’t search for them just yet lol)

    Anyway, just wanted to let you know I appreciate all the time you put into publishing these posts, I know how long a research like this can take even for a seasoned blogger like you and it is something that’s definitely not going without notice.

    Hope you have a great weekend and looking forward to speak soon again.

    Take care!

    • Ana Hoffman

      I am originally from Russia, Sergio.

      I do understand the fear of being judged based on our accents, but you can’t let that hold you back.

      Speaking of Americans… (I hope they don’t read this comment, lol)

      My father-in-law recently came back from Peru and was telling my 5 year-old about his trip. He told her they spoke Mexican there. And he wasn’t joking! Poor guy just don’t know any better!

  28. Another Really Great Post Anna,

    Since Genarating Traffic Is and Should Be A Major Concern of any
    Blog are Website, This Comment is to Admire what You are sharing
    from You Blog. As I often Read and Store the Content because of its
    Pure Value In My Own Mindset. You Have My Attention with Your
    Unique Blog Content and I Noticed That You are Not Ashamed to
    Mention that You are a child of God. That’s My Primary Passion
    at all times, so Be Blessed Always….Peace! Thank You!

    • Thanks Anna, Really Appreciate Your Personal
      Touch with our Comment below this Line. This
      Format my look better on Your Blog, Plus I have
      corrected a couple of Typos I Missed. Thank You
      again for Your Note about our Blog Post. It Is
      Really Appreciated and Held In High Regards.

      Jim, about Comment 140 on Your Blog Anna
      How to REALLY Create a Popular Blog
      From Scratch

      Thanks Again.


      Another Really Great Post Anna,

      Since Generating Traffic Is and Should Be
      A Major Concern of any Blog or Website,
      This Comment is to Admire what You are
      sharing from Your Blog. As I often Read
      and Store the Content because of its Pure
      Value In My Own Mindset. You Have My
      Attention with Your Unique Blog Content
      and I Noticed That You are Not Ashamed
      to Mention that You are a child of God.
      That’s My Primary Passion at all times,
      so Be Blessed Always….Peace!
      Thank You!

  29. Hi Ana,

    One more time I loved your article and your advice. I like the way you write things. You go just where it hurts me :) (traffic, comments etc etc…)
    I have a couple of questions if you don’t mind:
    – What is the meaning of having multiple Tweeter accounts? All these accounts are for the same blog?
    – About facebook : what exactly is FB tribe page? I have never heard about that!
    Thank you for this post.
    have a good day!

  30. Hi Ana,
    thats true I did the same job. Usually i like to read many quality blogs. There are lots of things to learn from these blogs. And now I am going to implement it.
    Thanks for this article.

  31. I must agree with you. By simply checking how others work with their blogs, as a blogger, you will surely get a clue how to come up with the best blog you will ever have. Hopefully, many people could actually make the same things as they become successful as you too.

  32. There is loads of value in this post Ana, thanks – I think the posts on my blog that are inspired by my real experience and reflect my opinions are probably the most popular, engaging and worthwhile reading. The blogs that I have tailored to fit with keywords, or simply written for the sake of generating a new post – not so much.

    So I think “to your own voice be true” is really key – no-one wants to read regurgitated content, and content that attracts real readers/traffic is worth more to a blogger than simply targeting keywords from an SEO perspective. Plus it’s a lot more fun to write stuff you care about!

    • Ana Hoffman

      Very true, Karen.

      And imagine if we can master writing from the heart while still optimizing for SEO!

  33. Enjoyed your post Ana, and boy was it thorough! I guess the secret is to pick a couple of your recommendations, get them mastered then pick a couple more – to avoid overwhelm! Thanks :-)

  34. Brilliant post. You have to be right :). The ranks are supporting your advices. It’s not easy at all.

    I have to confess that when I subscribed to your blog, I have been disappointed at first, the booklet about traffic was the lure, of course, not the plugin. It is common sense what you “sold” in the book. But then, I started to read your posts, and I liked them, I found valuable information, tips and stuff one never finds freely. I used to be subjective, if I didn’t like someone’s connections, I tend to ignore the person itself. But the person is not to blame, actually. Quality attracts rascals as it attracts other quality as well, and this other quality is what matters :)

  35. This is very well detailed Ana. There’s a lot of ideas to implement. But in terms of creating alliances, how often in a blog post should someone link to external blogs? As they say, wouldn’t it affect your SEO rankings with too many external links on your site?

  36. Ana,
    A very informative posting and a lot of information to digest as always. I liked your idea of networking with other people and using each other as guest bloggers. I am looking into guest blogging on one of my favorite dentistry blogs. The problem is the blog master wants me to write about SEO for dentists rather than dentistry, because our website ranks very well on all three of the major search engines. Can you believe that there are still dentists that do not even have a website, but I am certain they aren’t the ones he wants me to help.

    Recently, I have been trying to find things that are related to dentistry but not well known or commonly written about and then put my own spin on them. This seems to be drawing more readers to our blog. Even though I am trying to write for a general audience I am getting more dentists that are reading the blog.

    • Since guest blogging opportunities might be limited for your niche, Cynthia, I’d take them when you have them.

      You still might get traffic and definitely relevant links.

  37. Jeevanjacobjohn

    Lots of good information here!

    This will really help me to build my blog! Thanks for the tips, Ana! Right now, I am focusing more on guest posting and commenting (but, I have not got that much traffic from both of these tactics). Anyways, I will keep on trying.

    And I will surely try the techniques that you mentioned here (I especially liked the one about collaboration; I am planning to work with a blogger in a few weeks, I hope I can do that).

    Thanks for the tips,

    Jeevan Jacob John

  38. Hey Ana,

    Congratulations on your massive success once again! I am so proud of you and I have really enjoyed watching you grow :)

    You’re right. Joint ventures are very powerful. It’s all about thinking outside the box and finding the right person(s) to work with.

    Thanks for the kind mention :)

    All the best,

  39. Thanks Ana, another great post.
    Quite timely too – I’ve just started a new (hobby) blog, using posts imported from my old blogspot blog. My challenge is to get it to #1 on google for certain terms by this summer – no real motivation other than to prove to myself I can do it! Strangely enough, I’ll be competing against my own (blogspot) blog, which is already quite strong on some terms! Like I say, it’s just a technical challenge, it’s too small a niche (Triumph TR7 restoration, if you’re interested) to make any money or anything, but it’ll be interesting to see how it goes :-)

  40. In the beginning, there was hardwork….. Lol you so funny
    It will be a dream come true when I finish doing the necessary works on my blog and see it become the blog i really want.

    Ana you rock!

  41. Chukwuka Okwukwe Chukwuka

    Hi! Ana.

    Hey, it’s been long. Really love this post about creating a popular blog.

    My thoughts follows suit:
    1. I have the digg button on my sharebar but I don’t see anything being done with it. Although I registered on that site, I’m not active there. But now you’ve pointed that out, I’ll implement it and give it the red card. :-D. I engage on Facebook a lot. I’m getting acquainted to Twitter; Google +, I’m still coming to that and here comes Digg. Argh! It must get the pink slip then. 😉

    2. About creating a tribe, I recently started being active on Nairaland, the no. 1 forum in my country. And when I went to the Literature/writing section, I saw a post where you can drop your website URL and I did.
    Surprisingly, the creator of that topic visited my blog, dropped a comment, followed me on Twitter, liked my page on Facebook and subscribed to my mailing list all in an hour. He taught me a lesson about moving away from my little corner.

    3. Well, that’s all I have to say. Let’s get down to being a doer and not only Ana’s commenter. LOL

    Your post is spot on!

    Thanks a million, Ana.

    How’s the interview going for your husband? Has he gotten a job yet?


    • I did have Digg button on my blog as well, Chukwuka, but wasn’t getting any shares, so I nuked it.

      No, my husband is still interviewing… We are still in the state of limbo, but I know God’s got it covered.

      Thanks for coming by!

      • I did the same with Digg. If you don’t own a famous newspaper site, you have to pay a little for some advertising pushing you on the first page. And you have to be lucky. Otherwise it is a lot of nonsense there. The “niche” alternatives are restricted.

  42. Truly awesome Ana …

    Agree with your words on creating pillar content, truly … one should try his best to provide the best to his readers.
    I also agree on limiting the social sharing buttons ..

  43. Thanks Anna,

    I really enjoyed this article. Lots of great advice and tips, even little things that often get overlooked like updating your ‘about me’ and ‘contact me’ pages.


  44. Ana, this all looks like a fair amount of work. Do you have any tips that involve lounging, snacking, and watching TV? I believe these to be my “core competencies” and am trying to build on them.

  45. Ana, you have done thorough research and have made blogging easier for newbies. I agree with your statement that our blog needs to be reader centered and not ‘self’ centered. What can I do today to help my fellow human being should be my focus on my blog posts.

    I know that you captured my eyeballs through a Twitter posts so spending more time with social media is a goal of mine this year.

  46. Hi Ana,
    This post hit the spot. Although, it looks similar to one of you previous posts, I love the added info (I gained a lot of new stuff).

    My blog is barely 3 months old but still needs a lot of work. I don’t have a faceless blog because I have a profile summary on my sidebar and an About page (I think I talked too much on that page).

    According to your post, my blog still lacks a few things. The good thing is, I’m a doer… I think.
    Thanks once again.

  47. The FACELESS BLOG fits me! I have had a difficult time deciding if I write to other VAs, potential clients, or WHO? I usually write about someone else or give some information. The super fun authors are the ones who responded the most. Maybe they are offering to be a niche.

    • There’s no point in blogging, JudyAnn, if you have no idea who to blog for – you might change direction in the future, but I’d strongly suggest you work on narrowing it down.

  48. That was pretty comprehensive Ana! You covered so much. This is gold for anyone starting out.

    Your blog was one of the first I remember coming across when I started blogging last year. I learned a lot just from reading your archives and following along. Why didn’t you have this post for me at that time? :)

  49. Hey Ana,

    I am a newbie to your blog and I love this topic. I have been on the blogging scene for about a year now, but my blog is personal. A friend and I are planning to start a new business blog which has to be more professional in terms of niche and we were struggling to be clear on how to bring in readers and building the blog from scratch. As you said, it does take a lot of hard work, but doing it right makes all the difference!

    Thanks so much for the advice. Loved the post. Now you have one more stalker in me! :)

    • Welcome to Traffic Generation Cafe, Harja!

      In the end, no matter how many other blogs or guides or ebooks you read, you’ll still have to learn from your own mistakes on your way to a successful blog.

      I wish it was different, but you’ll get there!

      Disclaimer: stalking is allowed and encouraged.

  50. Chris

    Excellent work, Ana! I appreciated the honesty about creating the foundation of a blog being “hard work”. And I especially loved the common sense section “Is my blog worth reading”. That’s the real test of a blog, I think. If you don’t offer value/solutions to problems then why would a reader ever return?

    The remainder of this post is just pure gold. I’m always amazed when I come here because your posts are so easy to read and so incredibly thorough. Thanks!

  51. Contests, guest posting and ad swapping are some of my favorite methods if I were to create a new blog and aimed to make it popular! I would specifically prefer ad swapping and hosting or sponsoring some contests as it would bring me and my blog into notice in just a few days or even hours!

    Again, a great post Ana!

  52. Hi Ana, This is my first visit to your blog – real, solid info here! I’ll definitely “favorite” and come back for more. I’m new to blogging and can use all the “how-to’s” I can get. I, like many other commenters, appreciate your point about being yourself, using YOUR OWN voice, not trying to fake it. Thanks for supporting us “newbies”! :)

  53. Some fantastic tips Anna.Having a blog is very important these days in order to establish your web presence.But the blog owners lack on the basic parameters like consistency and fresh content updates.Starting form the first blog post to the promotion scheme, everything is important in order to have a successful blog.Thanks

  54. Holy Smokes Ana!
    I think you should start writing novels, not that I am one to talk. I would have loved to of added something of value to your post, but you covered it all 110%. Nice job lady, missing you on Skype 😉

    • I’ve love to hang out on Skype, but with my husband and daughter being around all the time, the house up for sale and Traffic Generation Cafe to run, I don’t have time to breathe sometimes! lol

      Thanks for coming by!

  55. Chante Epps

    Hey Ana,

    This is my first time visiting your blog, and I must say that I can tell you really know your stuff 😉

    I really liked the part you mention about being YOURSELF! Nothing worse than going to a blog and the author adds no authenticity or personality into their posts.

    In an “ocean of blogs” out here on the internet it’s important to stand out from the rest.

    Thanks again for a great post!

    All the best,

  56. Great post! I’m a new blogger and I think the hardest thing for me is just not getting discouraged from the lack of readers/visitors to my site and the lack of comments. I know my blog won’t grow over night and it will take time but it is slightly frustrating when you want people to interact and comment on posts posts and they aren’t. I want to hear others opinions or feelings on a topic. I love talking to people about horses since that is my biggest passion in life. But like I said I know I have to just keep positive and know that eventually it will happen. :)

  57. I believe the most important thing is to take a reader-point of view at your blog and analyze its potential flaws and strengths. Once you’re able to do that you’ll have a starting point, and you’ll know how to identify with your readers. There’s nothing worst than not understanding the readers.

  58. Hey Ana!

    I used to have your awesome (!) KL and CL-list bookmarked in my Google Chrome. Unfortunately, when I JUST clicked on it, I cannot see the list anymore.

    Where can I find it & that was great work, Ana! Have used a few websites to get involved and made some good blogger friends. I guess I have to thank you for that then, hey :).

    Keep in touch, cheers from Queensland, Australia

  59. Thanks for the great information, Ana. As someone who has only been blogging since the end of October, I think I’ve got the important initial steps in place. I think I’m getting great traffic in such a short period of time (and even get some referral traffic from here! Thanks!) for somebody who basically had no online presence at all, but it’s hard to know if I’m ahead of where I should be traffic-wise, right on track, or even behind. I don’t really know what to expect, I guess.

    That being said, this post provides some great information for areas for me to concentrate on moving forward. You’re absolutely right, it’s a ton of work getting the ball rolling while working around family obligations and work schedules! But, I can also see the profit potential once I get traffic up to a solid level. It’s all about numbers from that standpoint. A certain percentage of visitors are going to click on ads or opt in to your list so you simply have to drive enough traffic there to make the numbers work.

    Thanks for providing such quality information and helping us newbies out! It’s successful bloggers like you that are willing to help others that allow us to learn and grow ourselves! Please keep the information coming.


  60. It’s really hard to make a blog popular. One thing is for sure, it won’t happen over night. People should participate in the community and make friends and it’s nice to see people like you who are trying to help out. Thanks for the long list of great tips Ana :)

  61. Great tips Anna.. you really have a lot of great ideas. I’m trying to guest post more this year and hopefully it helps to build up my blog.

  62. Wowsers! Applied knowledge is power. Time to get to work.

    Gary Vee says, “Content is King.” Great advice when starting a new blog, like you said, “Write, write, write.”

    Thanks, as always!

  63. Hi Ana,
    “Just plain old-fashioned “let’s drink lots of good coffee and stay up at all hours of the night, work around your family schedule and any other commitments you might have” kind of work.”

    This is exactly what I did for the entire year of 2011. :)

    Wow, a lot of info to take in here but what stood out to me in this post are “the faceless bloggers.” No name after the post title, no picture or about me. Has this tactic ever worked for anyone?

    • Nice new avatar, Justin, a recent book (I saw it on Ruan’s EbookTutorials), growing audience – all that coffee is finally paying off! lol

      So good to have you back!

  64. Hi Ana,

    Wow! That’s what I call a “loaded (with information) blog post.” Lots of great tips and suggestions …and again, I am off to make some tweaks.

    Thank so much for “spilling your guts!”


    P.S. Just went to Amazon to put your book recommendation on my wishlist for my next order. Sounds like a winner!

  65. Bellaisa

    I was unfortunate to get some early on advice that being social was not the way to blog. Their reasoning was that adding social share buttons and comments to your blog distracted people from what you really wanted them to do – click on your recommended links and make a purchase. It took me a long time to realize how wrong that was and how much social interaction can really do for your blog. Plus, I just enjoy it more!

    As always, great tips. You always give me so much to think about and almost too much to implement. :) But I’ve shortened the list to what I really what to do, and I’ve got some new strategies in mind now for my blog. Thanks!

      • That sounds like typical advice from people whose focus in making money – and still quite common today. While that can be true for pure landing pages intended to generate leads or sales it is seriously unwise for MOST blog posts and pages. (Your Hire Me page could be an exception as could be pure sales pages.)

  66. All good tips and this post reminds me of Danny Iny’s book – definitely worth reading. In both cases, I keep waiting for specific points to be made – expecting what is obvious to me to be in the next sentence … or paragraph … or comment …

    Obviously I need to write at least two posts that start with this post here and his book over there and give what that famous guy used to call “the rest of the story” according to GrowMap. Almost there….easy way to do these things…just not quite all the way there – yet.

    I recently did a post about how to create pillar content that starts with knowing what content to create and ends with tools to share it right when your audience most wants to see it. That will really increase actions over what is seen when someone is not specifically looking for you. It slid just off my latest ten posts so I can’t share it as my CommentLuv link, but it so supports your step one I hope you don’t mind me offering that link: Increase Conversions By Sharing Pillar Content When Your Audience is Most Receptive.

      • Thank you, Ana, and thank you for commenting in that post on GrowMap. Together we can ensure small business owners and managers and bloggers are on the right track and focused on what will actually work instead of being hyper-busy and accomplishing little.

  67. Ana,
    Another great post that proves consistent effort does pay off. Write, write, write is huge.

    But then finding your voice as you write will hopefully happen at the same time. You would think that would happen automatically, but it doesn’t. I’ve run across sites where the content may be true, but it is … dead. There is no life or personality behind it.

    When I spend time reading blogs I turn to them for solid content expressed with personality – come on, make it fun to learn.

    I also agree with your comment above that too many bloggers give it up easily. It takes work.

  68. Dr. Bob Clarke

    Hey Ana, I agree with Keisha — this WAS an exhaustive list. In fact, I found my brain a bit exhausted as it over heated from all of the possibilities you presented. WOW.

    I especially agree with your tip on collaborations. I’ve found that most bloggers are very open to collaborating on different kinds of projects, whether it’s speaking at each other’s events or getting a dozen or so bloggers together to share their wisdom as we’ve done with Experts Speak.

    The key is to get out there and make it happen.

  69. This is great again Ana! So helpful… I think the real gold in this is not all the ideas but ALL the ideas…

    So often we feel trapped but really we just have to think outside the square.

    Thanks again friend… Going to try some of this now


  70. Great stuff as always, Ana! So appreciative of your insight about using the voice we already have. Thanks for sharing your brief failure trying to speak in a voice that wasn’t your own.

    I’m the opposite of you…storytelling is a forte for me…however, when I first started blogging the temptation was to do the types of posts that everyone else was doing. (The “how to’s” and “X ways to XYZ” type posts). I discounted my own unique perspective and voice because I wanted to be like __________(insert blogging power player name here)

    I found the greatest reader engagement came when I told great stories or used powerful illustrations which communicated to my audience’s heart.

    Thanks for such wonderful insight and staying true to your own intention…it is inspiring.

  71. This is just awesome Ana. I remember way back when I read something from Yaro about creating “pillar articles” and boy were they hard to create. However, if one can create a real good one, it works and very well I must say.. nice write up Ana and like you said, the only thing that remains is for people to take action..

  72. I had to tweet it, great article Ana, so full of sound advices that I must print it out for further reference. Really great. Actually following your blog really a blogger can become a lot better.

    Thanks for this and the other great and useful posts. :)

  73. I don’t believe that it’s possible to create a popular blog post on purpose. The Internet is big, and most content already exists in some form or other. Creating popular posts is a matter of luck, of creating enough quality content that a few things pop.

    I have about 80 articles on my blog, and only two of them have attracted impressive numbers of readers (over 80,000 in one case). That would be fine if I were able to identify in them qualities that are superior to those of my other articles, but that is not the case. They are neither better nor worse than my other content, and yet together they generate 60% of the traffic. All of the tips in your article are important, but even after doing them, there is no guarantee of a popular post. Thanks for raising some interesting points!

    • Ana Hoffman

      I do see your point in some ways, Doug – some of the most popular posts on my blog turned out to be popular to my surprise.

      However, now that I have an idea what becomes a hit with my readers, it’s much easier for me to create the kind of viral pillar content that resonates with many.

      I also believe that it IS possible to create a popular post. The kind of post that solves problems like no other post out there does.

      For instance, are there posts out their that talk about starting a popular blog? I am sure.

      But are there any that give the same advice I do? Probably not, since my post comes from experience and no one else had the same one – obviously.

      So, yes, I’ve created popular posts on purpose before and it can be done.

  74. Great post as always Ana:)

    It’s great to see how your blog has evolved in such a short space of time.

    So many people come up with excuses (I’ve been guilty too) and like you say just write, it’s so simple and it really works. I recently started blogging every day, something which was a huge challenge for me and I must admit was sceptical that it works – but it does work.


  75. Abhi Balani

    It was a FULLY packed useful post. So true about “Think outside the box”, I hate it, too, sometimes. Shocked about, you had 6 twitter accounts. And here, I am not using a single one properly.
    Great idea for introducing each other, can work on facebook as well.
    Going to read your linked post “attracting some strong sponsors”. Big thanks for this. I am have worked on my about me page, still working on it.

    Thank you for the great tips.

  76. I agree with everything except the “write pillar content right away.” In my own experience the first 5 posts I put together were largely crap. I hadn’t really found my voice and was very stiff. It took time and practice for me to figure out my own style. It took time to figure out how to really format scannable posts (I love me some shortcodes). By that time I was starting to write more linkable posts. I’m not a prolific poster so this process took me 3-4 months. Somebody with more time could get through the learning curve in 1 month. But I think most people need some “warm up” posts before they figure out how create serious pillar content.

  77. Great list Ana,

    You make a wonderful point. Most of us are not going to get that instant following since we are not famous or known to begin with. Starting from scratch most people will need to fight and claw and follow these ten steps religiously to get where they want to be

  78. Wow, Ana! This is an extremely exhaustive list! If a blogger can’t squeeze success out of this one, it’s because they have no pulse!

    By the way, thanks for including our series – I forgot all about it. We’re overdue for another, aren’t we? :)

    • Abhi Balani

      Oh yes, Kiesha I’ll squeeze success out of this one, I have pulse. :-)

      Favor me, I’d be so grateful if you’d read the post linked below and, if you enjoyed it, leave a comment to let me know!