How to Determine The Success of a New Blog (and Whether to Quit or Continue)

I had a question come up in my inbox a little while back from a new blogger who was asking me about how they would be able to tell if they were on the right track.

More specifically, what the numerical values of blog posts and traffic and overall engagement (social shares, comments, etc.) that they should be expecting after starting up.

Ultimately this blogger was trying to determine whether his efforts were being rewarded and if he was creating enough momentum to warrant his continued path.

I love this question but at the same time there isn’t a clear answer because you simply won’t be able to know conclusively at least for a while.

I can’t speak for everyone but here’s what I do and my thought process about continuing a blog and calculating momentum:

  1. First, I consider all blogs experiments so I don’t hold anything sacred. I know it’s tough because all blogs are emotional at some level (typically very emotionally connected) but you have to see them as experiments. This is the foundation of any blog that I start, regardless of how invested I am.
  2. My plan is to experiment with the blog for at least 6 months. As a consequence, I don’t make any qualifying remarks about “success” until the 6 month time-frame. For sure I’ll have a good “feeling” about where it’s headed but I reserve my critical judgement until we’ve passed that point.

So it’s quite simple from a blog startup perspective: Just don’t think too much about it until you’ve crossed the 6 month line.

But, what do you do after 6 months to know if you’re doing well? Here are some more thoughts about the 6 month checkup:

  • You ultimately will have to know, in your gut, how you feel like the blog is doing. Are you still excited about it (and the potential) as you once were? Or has that changed?
  • Did you give it a good chance to be successful? More specifically, did you blog a good deal, consistently, for those 6 months? Did you blog at least 3 times a week, every week, for 6 months? Or did you blog once a week, on and off?
  • Did you market and use social networks and media to showcase it? Or did you just hit publish and pray that they showed up? Did you market actively and effectively?
  • Were you distracted with other opportunities and decided to invest more time into those things that your blog? Did your heart wander?
  • Did life change dramatically, so much so that you couldn’t invest time into it? Does this mean that your life has been altered permanently where this blog no longer has a realistic chance of success long-term?

You may notice that I’ve made no mention of traffic or financial goals and the reason is because I simply don’t know. I would hope that a decent blog in a decent and focused niche is doing 100-200 pageviews a day (with $0 dollars in revenue) by the end of 6 months but that’s just a guess based on my experience.

Some of you may eclipse that. Some of you may come way below that. But only you can decide if it’s worth continuing on and making it happen.

One thing I will say is that with blogging it’s about a marathon, not a sprint. I’ve been blogging for over 10 years and it’s been only in the last few years where I’ve seen things take-off. It’s a long simmer to boil, not a nuclear warhead type effect (for most people).

Don’t quit before you strike it big. And don’t let the numbers dictate too much your heart.